Top Chef is currently cooking in rainy Seattle, but I’d like to offer some sunnier vistas: the ten hottest contestants in Top Chef history. We’ll have to save our Tom Colicchio/Rocco DiSpirito lust for another post.
In the meantime, take a look at these ten hotties, glare ominously into their eyes like an intrigued Padma Lakshmi, and fight with me in the comments about who should be ranked higher/lower/not at all.
10. Chris Crary (season nine)
You’re working with some kind of charm when you can place ninth and still garner the Fan Favorite award, and as you can see, Chris Crary of Top Chef: Texas was working with some fine pectoral charms. Too bad my vision of that season is tainted by weird, vaguely mean-seeming guest judge Pee Wee Herman.
9. Hung Hunyh (season three)
God, I love cockiness. Unabashed, ego-poppin’ cockiness. Hung Huynh was a hotshot the minute that season three began, and he rode that hot streak right to the finale (which was aired live from Chicago, for some reason). Look at that smirk. Bastard.
8. Marcel Vigneron (season two)
He was just a bit too bizarre and willing to rap (ugh), but Marcel Vigneron’s supermodel eyes and Ludwig von Koopa haircut are too unmistakable to pass up here.
7. Spike Mendelsohn (season four)
The “butternut squash” fight is one of the great alltime rumbles on Top Chef, and Spike came out of it looking awful. Except for the fact that he’s hot, and let’s not forget that.
6. Michael Voltaggio (season six)
In a way, I’m sorry to subject everyone to my love of cockiness, but there’s a reason the Voltaggio season of Top Chef won the Best Reality Competition Series Emmy: Those gents were compelling as hell, and hotness had something to do with it. Winner Michael Voltaggio’s nervy arm art is alone worthy of a spot on this list.
5. Fabio Viviani (season four)
Fabio surely ranks as a fan favorite even among fan favorites, and I’m psyched he’s a part of Life After Top Chef (along with Spike) because Bravo needs him to balance out their Italian-American representation. Teresa Giudice, your presence mandates this.
4. Dale Levitski (season three)
He was gay, adorable, a rightful all-star, a kickass Chicagoan and University of Iowa alum (which is relevant to me). He was cheeky and fun on both his seasons, but I admit I was never more jealous of him than when he dated Project Runway hunk Jack Mackenroth.
3. Bryan Voltaggio (season six)
The angst coming off of Bryan Voltaggio when he lost to his brother was palpable, and he channeled it all in those intense, deeply stoic eyes. He also happens to be Mattel prototype hot, and who doesn’t love a soupcon of that?
2. Tre Wilcox (season three)
Hell yes to this guy. He’s a somehow more-muscular version of the hottest Real World cast member of all time, Alton from the first Las Vegas season. His smile is as enormous as his biceps, and that’s always a libidinous combination in my book.
1. Sam Talbot (season two)
Accept no substitutes! Sam was and always will be the finest heterosexual crush ever to grace Bravo. He was even-keel, gorgeous, unassuming, and rugged. And just so damn huggable? Am I making that up? I’m going with it.