Part of the fun in watching "Top Chef" is seeing all kinds of haute cuisine, eye-catching presentations, and exotic ingredients. But when push comes to shove, all we really want from our chefs is good, simple food. That's why we're celebrating the dishes below, each and every one a memorable sandwich creation.
In the first season episode "Blind Confusion," the chefs are tasked with creating a unique fusion dish, using Latin elements, as well as elements from another global cuisine. Working on a team, Dave and Tiffani produce a Moroccan Cubano pork sandwich, which they sell from a cart in the Mission District, and it wins them the challenge.
A few episodes after "Blind Confusion," the chefs get a new challenge: Create a sandwich so tasty, Tom will put it on the menu at his restaurant, 'Wichcraft. Harold pairs weeds and fatty meat to create a mortadella dandelion sandwich on grilled sourdough with trumpet royales and a black olive aioli.
In the Season 2 episode "Unhappy Customers," the Quickfire forces the chefs to create a snack using a Kraft product. Marcel and Sam tie for the win, but we prefer Sam's Southern Kraft Sandwich with tempura shrimp, pickled peaches, and BBQ aioli. It's such a unique combination, we just have to try it in order to wrap our heads around the flavors.
In the fifth season episode "Down on the Farm," Padma allows the chefs to use only canned goods and pantry staples (nothing fresh!) to create something tasty. Hosea and Jeff get high marks, but Stefan beats out the rest of the pack with a soup and sammie combo: Baked bean soup with Spam and Velveeta, plus a Spam grilled cheese. Total Spam-o-rama!
In the seventh, D.C.-located season, the chefs worked in teams of two to create a "bipartisan" sandwich. Working with a shared apron and only two hands between them Angelo and Tracey concocted a sandwich with flounder marinated in fish sauce, spicy sriracha mayo, pickled red onions, and herbaceous salad. Our mouths are watering just thinking about that addictive "rooster sauce" burn.
In the Target challenge during "All Stars," Dale took home $25,000 for his rib-eye grilled cheese sandwich with spicy tomato soup. Which he cooked with a clothes iron, of all things. Tony Bourdain was impressed.
You didn't think we'd overlook "Top Chef: Just Desserts," did you? While Season 1 featured Morgan's "Sunday Snack" (Oreo mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich with chocolate milk), it pales in comparison to Season 2. That's when Sally unleashed her "Cuban Sandwich," which consisted of brioche, cream cheese mousse and strawberry caramel gel, plus a "potato salad" (made of pineapple, banana, and Asian pear.)