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Check out these tips and tricks for Top Chef, courtesy of Brighter Minds Media’s Ben Snider.

BASIC GAME TECHNIQUES

  • The Top Chef video game, much akin to other time management games, requires you to manage your time wisely in order to succeed. Top Chef also combines knowledge of ingredient pairings to the traditional time management faire. In order to excel at Top Chef, a player must be both excellent at managing time and excellent at choosing ingredients that go well together. There are several techniques that are essential to mastering the complexities of Top Chef including knowledge of ingredients and how to pace Anna’s cooking.
  • The first technique, and probably the most important, is to always keep Anna working at one station at a time. So, once cooking begins, we simply choose our first ingredient and immediately start Anna cooking on that one ingredient. We then have the time it takes to finish cooking that one ingredient to select the other ingredients for this set. Use this time wisely to choose ingredients that go well together and that will reward you with as many classic combos as possible. More information on which ingredients grant bonuses will follow in a later section.
  • This time can also be used to plan choosing ingredients, because we may not always want to put a red onion in a red slot. If for example there is another empty slot that requires a Mexican spicy ingredient, and there is no red chili pepper, but there is paprika available, then we would place the red onion in the Mexican spicy slot and the paprika in the red slot. These sorts of decisions must take place rather quickly in order to avoid Anna stalling on a dish and losing a flame or losing your max combo bonus.


CLASSIC COMBOS

  • One of the main mechanics for getting bonus points is the “classic combo” system. Each classic combo you get will add 250 points to your score instantly, which can be quite a boost in some levels and necessary in others.Essentially this works by cooking two ingredients that go well together at the same time. So say we are asked to choose an ingredient that is red and we choose a tomato. Next we are asked to choose an ingredient that is white and we choose mozzarella cheese. Once we drag the mozzarella from the ingredient area to a cooking station we are granted bonus points for pairing the two ingredients together.
  • Note that we need not be actively cooking either ingredient to get the bonus, and the bonus does not exclude us from getting other bonuses. For example we could then add a third ingredient, say bacon, which would give us a classic combo with the tomato we have on a cooking station.
  • The ingredients must, however, be currently on the cooking table in order to get a classic combo. So for example say we finish cooking the tomato and then drag bacon onto a cooking station, we would not get the classic combo bonus because the tomato is no longer on the cooking table.


POWER-UPS

  • Power-ups in the Top Chef game can be very confusing. In addition, when experimenting with them, precious time is ticking off the clock, combos are decreasing, and flames are going out. This led me to not use combos until I had already completed several levels so as not to fail new levels. However, power-ups are a very powerful and useful feature that can make earning Top Chef much easier.
  • In general, some power-ups are available only in later levels. Beginning levels have both fewer power-ups and fewer types of power-ups available. However, the power-ups do not roll over to the next challenge so they must be used or they will be lost.
  • Each challenge begins with a set amount of power-ups and there is no way to get more power-ups during the challenge.
  • With all power-ups there is a x1, x2, etc. in the lower right corner of each power-up that signifies how many of each power-up is available to use.
  • There are two essential groups of power-ups, ingredient shuffling and cooking related power-ups.


Shuffle Power-ups

  • The ingredient shuffling power-ups are the simplest type of power-up to use. The shuffle power-ups, unsurprisingly, shuffle the ingredients available. If we find ourselves with no ingredients that fit the recipe, we can simply use the appropriate shuffle power-up to get a new batch of ingredients, and probably a match for the recipe.
  • They are located in the top row of the power-up area. From left to right they are Shuffle Vegetables, Shuffle Meats, and Shuffle Flavoring. In the image above we have one each of Shuffle Vegetable and Shuffle Meat, and four Shuffle Flavoring power-ups, as signified by the number in the lower right corner of each power-up.
  • Shuffle power-ups are colored and labeled to match the type of ingredients they shuffle, so meat shuffling power-ups have a picture of meat and are colored pink. Below is an example of using these three power-ups.


Cooking Power-ups

  • The next type of power-up are cooking related power-ups. From left to right in the image above they are Experience, Intuition, and Skill. These power-ups have a duration of 30 seconds, so make sure you have used all of each power-up’s time before you use another cooking power-up if you want to get as much benefit out of them as possible.


Skill

  • The Skill power-up, on the bottom right, is the simplest to use, as it makes Anna cook faster. I like to use it when I am actively cooking meat, and I know I will lose my flame bonus if I do not cook it faster. I also use it at the end of the level, if I haven’t already, to get bonus time points added to my score. The graphical effect this power-up has is to create blue glowing light around Anna’s head.


Experience

  • The Experience power-up aids in finding ingredients that are classic combos with ingredients on your cooking stage. To use it, first click the power-up, then mouse over the image of the ingredient for which you want a combo. The ingredients in the ingredient panel that are classic combos with the ingredient in your cooking slot will be highlighted. You can then choose an ingredient that was highlighted, place it in an empty slot, and you will receive a classic combo bonus of 250 points instantly.
  • If there are no ingredients highlighted then use a shuffle power-up to get new ingredients and probably a match. The graphical effect this power-up has makes blue sparkles appear around ingredients on the cooking station. This is a rather complex process so below is a video showing how to use all three cooking power-ups.


Intuition

  • The second power-up on the bottom row is the Intuition power-up that finds ingredients that match the recipe for a given cooking slot. To use it, first click the power-up, then mouse over a cooking slot with a recipe in it but no ingredient. Mouse directly over the text of the recipe and the ingredients in the ingredient panel that match the recipe for this given slot will be highlighted. Next simply choose a highlighted ingredient and place it in your cooking slot for a flame bonus.
  • Upon ingredient completion, the flame bonus will give you 250 points per flame.
  • The graphical effect this power-up has makes blue sparkles appear around ingredients on the cooking station, similar to the Experience power-up.

 

  • With some practice you can be using power-ups with ease. During later levels, especially the levels with multiple ethnic recipes, the Intuition power-up can be extremely useful until you learn all the types of ingredients.
  • Likewise, using the Experience power-up can provide a significant boost to your overall score and help in getting Top Chef on each level.
    The shuffle power-ups are quite useful for when you can’t find a certain ingredient and when you don’t have any of the other power-ups available. So, mastering power-ups should provide a great boost to your score and help you on the road to becoming Top Chef!

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