4. Season 6: Las Vegas
Winner: Michael Voltaggio
Controversial opinion warning: Season 6 is not the greatest season of Top Chef, and Las Vegas is not, in fact, the culinary capital of America. There, I said it.
Now that that's been established, let's move on to why Season 6 is pretty freakin' good (just not the best ever). In light of the previous season's general lack of significant kitchen talent and its overall smarminess, Bravo thankfully upped the ante with this cast. Some seriously accomplished chefs entered the competition, namely Jen Carroll, a badass with a chef's knife who was admirably confident, if somewhat callous, when dealing with the show's pervasive boys-club climate. And who could forget the rival brothers, winner Michael and runner-up (aka first loser) Bryan Voltaggio, with their fierce good boy-bad boy vibe? Not to mention the insanely, undeniably lovable finalist/house teddy bear Kevin Gillespie, and his goofier, Jersey-boy counterpart, Mike Isabella? Golden.
On the flip side, Jen's unrelenting hard-ass demeanor was occasionally tough to stomach, and the brothers' squabbles, while definitely adding heat, sometimes distracted from the tasks at hand. And, lastly, this might have been the most impressive cast to date, but with just a handful of chefs dominating every elimination challenge, the final four was pretty clear from the get. Upsets make for interesting TV, and sadly, there was surprisingly little unpredictability to be found in Vegas.