Giving Back: The Best ‘Top Chef’ Charity Challenges

Yahoo Contributor Network

For nearly as long as "Top Chef" has been on the air, this cooking reality series has been linked to charitable giving. In addition to "Top Chef: Masters," a spinoff series where every celebrity chef is competing on behalf of a charity, the main "Top Chef" series is also committed to charitable challenges. Here are some of the most memorable charity challenges "Top Chef" has ever devised.

Habitat for Humanity

In the second episode of Season 11, the chefs were asked to serve lunch from food trucks to the hungry volunteers at a Habitat for Humanity build site. Carrie's carne empanadas with watercress and mango wowed the judges, but Jason's salmon roll with quinoa and honey mustard miso got him sent packing.

Meals on Wheels

Way back in Season 4, the chefs created dishes inspired by the four elements. The dishes were served at a fundraiser for Meals on Wheels. Lisa's fire-inspired grilled shrimp scored her the win (and a trip to Italy!). Sadly, Zoi's earth-inspired beef carpaccio with mushroom salad wasn't to the judges' tastes, and she was sent home.


The Season 5 chefs were asked to cater a charity event for amFAR (the American Foundation for AIDS Research). The event had 250 guests, including celebrities like Natasha Richardson. This episode was memorable because of the epic appliance malfunction that ruined Hosea and Radhika's dishes. For that reason, none of the chefs were eliminated.

Pigs & Pinot

Pigs & Pinot is an annual charity event held by Charlie Palmer at the Hotel Healdsburg in California. The event raises money for a variety of causes, including Share Our Strength's "No Kid Left Hungry" initiative. In Season 6, the chefs had to prepare a pork-based dish that was perfectly paired with a Pinot Noir wine. Kevin won after making a rustic pate from pork legs and pickled cherries. Ash made the bold choice to serve a chilled pork tenderloin, but it backfired spectacularly.

Greater New Orleans Foundation

In the All-Stars season, the chefs had to cook at a benefit for the Greater New Orleans Foundation. The organization was created to counteract the negative economic downturn that the New Orleans seafood industry took after the BP oil spill. Richard, aided by Fabio, created a winning dish of Gulf snapper, pulled pork, and grits. This was the episode that saw Dale Talde get eliminated. Dale prepared an amberjack stew with Andouille sausage.

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