Anybody who loves to cook is a fan of Top Chef. This reality competition show in Bravo network where chefs compete with each other in invigorating culinary challenges has been hailed as the perfect cooking show of all time. What with its non-stop drama, vibrant judges and interesting contestants. A show that clearly epitomizes the country’s love for talent shows.
Now that Season 9 is set to premiere this month, we are brought to wonder about the previous Top Chef winners. Where are they now?
Harold Dieterle took the Top Chef prize in October 2005 and went back to his kitchen spot in The Harrison in New York City. But by 2006 he opened his very own Asian kitchen in Perilla in New York’s Greenwich Village, which had very good reviews and is still up and about today. Recent news tells us that he is now moving to another niche—this time European—when he opens The Marrow in Brooklyn.
After winning the second season in January 2007, Ilan Hall launched his first restaurant in Los Angeles in 2009 which he named The Gorbals. Following a short dispute with the county health department a week after it opened, the restaurant stands strong today, known for their bacon pina coladas. Latest news reported this top chef alumnus joining the recent L.A. Beer Float Showdown.
Following a charismatic victory on the reality show’s third season, Hung Huynh continued working as executive chef in cool chef whites in prestigious restaurants, like the Ajna Bar (formerly Buddha Bar) where he was a regular and the Solo restaurant in New York City, where he had a “guest executive chef” stint. Now, after four years of dodging many other opportunities, waiting for the right impact, he unveiled last September what he calls as his first serious restaurant, Catch, located in Manhattan.
Stephanie Izard won the top post in the show’s fourth season last June 2008 and from thereon became busy coming up with her second restaurant, peculiarly called Girl & The Goat (she closed her first restaurant before competing in Top Chef). The name “izard” is said to be a type of mountain goat, hence the Chicago West Loop restaurant’s uncanny name. At the moment, Stephanie is busy promoting her cookbook entitled Girl In The Kitchen, and was recently hailed as the Best New Chef of 2011 during the 2nd Annual Food and Wine All-Star Weekend.
After his success as the Top Chef in the program’s fifth season in March 2009, Hosea Rosenberg has been doing guest appearances and cooking demonstrations all across America, keeping his fans always updated with his blogs. He’s also very active in supporting sustainable agriculture. His recent stints as of this writing include cooking tasty dishes at Bellagio’s Tuscany Kitchen in Las Vegas, and a cooking demonstration at MGM’s City Center.
Since winning the Top Chef title in December 2009, Michael Voltaggio continued serving as Chef de Cuisine at the Langham Hotel’s The Dining Room in Pasadena until very recently. He’s now in full-swing as a restaurant operator in chef whites as he simultaneously opened two restaurants last September, ink and ink.sack in West Hollywood. He also launched VOLT ink last month, a 350-page cookbook with his brother Bryan, with the name a combination of each of their restaurants’ labels.
Following his success as Top Chef in its seventh season, Kevin Sbraga carried on his role as Executive Chef at Rat’s Restaurant for a while. Now he is top chef in his own upscale restaurant in Philadelphia, Sbraga, where he works with his wife who is actively helping out as pastry chef.
Top Chef Season 8 winner Richard Blais has been active in the limelight even before he won, having placed runner-up in the show’s fourth season. He has had three locations for his Flip Burger Boutique—one in Birmingham and two in Atlanta. Just last month he opened an avant garde hotdog spot in Atlanta called HD1, which is said to stand for “Haute Doggery.” He is also finalizing plans to open another restaurant, the Spence, which is slated to open in the fall of 2012. A cook book deal is also in the making, also up for release next year.
Now that we have laid that out, can you tell us your favorite, and who inspires you the most?