I recently purchased the DVD set for Top Chef Season 4, which has remained my personal favorite of all (presently) eight seasons of the show.
Anyway, I was of course disappointed in both Season 2 and Season 3. S2 had a lot of drama, but generally the quality of chefs was down from S1. And I thought S3 was a total disaster. I was ready to give up on a show that I thought was quite promising. Suffice it to say, I’m glad that I stayed with it.
Season 4 was a knockout.
First of all, I think that the cast for Season 4 overall was one of the best ever, not just from a cooking perspective, but because there was a great mix of personalities among the chefs.
In terms of terrific cooking, Stephanie, Dale and Antonia were nearly his equals.
Finally, there was a supporting cast of cooks who were just plain interesting, in and of themselves. They were all fun to watch: there was the Lesbian couple from San Francisco, Jennifer Biesty and Zoi Antonitsas, there was a motor-mouth California treat, Ryan Scott, a cheeky New Zealander, Mark Simmons, who actually brought his own didgeridoo, there was Nikki Cascone, the pasta queen, and Manuel Trevino, a nice, apparently stable, Hispanic man in the middle of this madness. The cast was very well filled out with interesting characters and every episode was fun to watch.