Top Chef Vegas: First Look at the Fauxhawks


Top Chef returns to Bravo August 26, when he sixth season takes up residence in Las Vegas, chosen for Padma’s excitement about showgirl costumes the rapidly developing local restaurant scene. Inexplicably, Toby Young will return for a second go as everyone’s least favorite judge, while the guest judges will range from the standards (Daniel Boulud) to the Vegas-y (Penn and Teller), the exciting (Nigella) and the even more exciting (Natalie Portman).

But more importantly, which chef-testant is most likely to skyrocket to instant culinary superstardom Spike Mendelsohn-level ubiquity? Here’s our snap judgment of this season’s chef-tenders, ranked by — what else — the audacity of their fauxhawks:

One-Star Fauxhawk: Preeti


That fauxhawk is pretty good, Preeti, but we’d like to see a little more effort. The sides are appropriately glued down, but the top isn’t nearly pouffed enough, and could be mistaken for just a tuft of mistakenly sticking-up hair. With just a little more hair gel, Preeti could be in the running.

Two-Star Fauxhawk: Mattin


Mattin, who hails from French Basque country, could use a little more height, but he makes up for that loss of flair with his cartoonish neckware, which we’re pretty sure someone in Top Chef casting brought along and forced him, as the token Euro contestant, to wear against his will.

Three-Star Fauxhawk: Michael


Now that’s more like it! Michael Isabella shows up with not just a rock star name, but a hairstyle that would make any passerby on the street instantly recognize him as a reality TV cooking contestant. The chef at Jose Andres’ Zaytina, the Jersey-born, DC-residing Michael is clearly an ES hometown favorite.

Four-Star Fauxhawk: Eli


Oh, snap! Full fauxhawk plus sneer! Eli’s got it down. Our money’s on him to go all the way.

Zero-star Fauxhawk: The Other Michael


Oh man, you got it all wrong, bro! Every season, Top Chef includes one hair-gelled, frat boy-ish contestant who may have been the prom king, but looks painfully out-of-place among Bravo’s foam-wielding, culinary boner-having, team rainbow chef crew. Look for Michael to hit the chopping block in episode one, or maybe get pinned down by all the other chefs while they forcibly style his hair towards the middle.

As always, ES will be on hand to guide you through this season of Top Chef, and we might even talk about the food.

You may also like


  • gansie July 13, 2009  

    i was hoping for at least one female fauxhawk

  • BS July 13, 2009  

    @gansie: It’s my pleasure to inform you that one of these five faux-hawked chef’testants is indeed a woman. You’ll have to guess which one.

  • Moira July 13, 2009  

    oh oh oh – i know – is it the really preeti one??

  • Britannia July 13, 2009  

    Omg, gansie- please tell me you were kidding, or don’t, as that would be hairlarious.

  • gansie July 13, 2009  

    omg i am a terrible person
    please excuse me

  • JoeHoya July 13, 2009  

    Frat-tastic hair or not, you can count on Michael Voltaggio to stick around for a while.


    Simple – no way in hell Bravo is casting two brothers on the same show and then giving one the boot right off the bat.

    Michael’s brother is Bryan Voltaggio, former chef at Charlie Palmer in DC who now runs his own restaurant (VOLT) out in Frederick.

  • BS July 13, 2009  

    @JoeHoya — agreed, you’re probably right — although I was surprised that they kicked off 1/2 of the couple last season (I believe it was the one with the fauxhawk that went first?)

  • JoeHoya July 14, 2009  

    Do you mean Zoi and Jennifer from Season 4 in Chicago? They ended up getting eliminated within two episodes of each other (episodes 5 and 7).

    But that’s a different situation – with a couple, the drama is all about how long they’ll both stay in together and what it will do to their relationship if they have to compete.

    With siblings, it’s almost exactly opposite to that: the drama comes from which one outlasts the other and whether their relationship is defined by rivalry or cooperation.

    Add to that the fact that these two particular brothers are both pretty well respected in the kitchen, and my money is on at least one of them cracking the top 5, with a brother-vs.-brother drama playing out somewhere around episode 7 or 8.

  • Britannia July 14, 2009  

    When do we start to distinguish Top Chef with Top Chef: Masters? Many of these chefs in their own right could have easily been accepted on Masters, is there some criteria for this, does anybody know?

Leave a comment