Bravo’s Top Chef


Lucky for us foodies out there in need of a reality TV fix, Bravo’s Top Chef returns tomorrow in Washington, D.C. for the ultimate cooking showdown. Make sure to check out the premier at 9/8c. This is the show’s seventh season, and all of the regular judges are back.

Yes, Eric Ripert, Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons will be there to roast and toast the 17 new contestants. What’s up for grabs? Well, these lucky chefs will be competing for a prize of $125,000 and the title of Top Chef. I read through the biographies of the new contestants, and while you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, I’m going to dish on what my initial reactions and expectations for them are.

  1. Tracey Bloom – She’s 33, an Executive Chef at Table 1820 and her favorite recipe is an English pea salad. Really? Her fave recipe is a salad? That’s a little simple. Hopefully, that won’t become a trend. I’ll have to give her props for saying that her last meal would be with Stevie Nicks. That’s pretty awesome.
  2. Timothy Dean– This guy looks like he means business. He’s 39, the chef/owner of Prime Steak House, and his  favorite recipe is Soft Shell Crab Tempura with Virginia Ramps, Morel Mushroom and Garlic Confit Emulsion. I’ll give him an A+ just because that dish sounds so complicated. He’s also worked alongside numerous notable chefs and his first job in a kitchen was as a dishwasher. I like him. He intrigues me.
  3. Tiffany Derry – She’s 26, Executive Chef of  Go Fish Ocean Club and her favorite recipe is a spring risotto. She always keeps dijon, Creole mustard, champagne vinegar, kosher salt and Creole seasoning on hand. I’d like to try one of her dishes already. I’m expecting some bold dishes.
  4. Tamesha Warren – She’s 25, a sous chef at The Ovan Room and her favorite recipe is white asparagus soup. Basically, she’s young, born in Barbados and captivating. Either she’ll be an early front-runner or go down in flames.
  5. Stephen Hopcraft – He’s 40, the Executive Chef at Seablue at the MGM Grand and his favorit recipe is agholitti, a small pasta filled with goat cheese tossed in olive oil and tomato water. He likes to put a playful touch to traditional dishes, and I’m afraid he’s going to get annoying fast.
  6. Lynne Gigliotti – She’s 51, an Assistant Professor at the Culinary Institute of America  and her favorite recipe is anything with peas and asparagus. Even though she’s a professor now, don’t be fooled. She previously was the Chef/Owner of Grappa. I think she might be a favorite.
  7. Kevin Sbraga – He’s 31, the Executive Chef at Rat’s Restaurant at the Grounds for Sculpture and his favorite simple spring recipe is asparagus and morels. He calls himself “Barack Obama of the cooking game.” He better put his money where his mouth is fast because that’s a bold claim.
  8. Kenny Gilbert – He’s 36, the President/Owner or Passionate Culinary Enterprises LLC and Chef/Partner, G’s Restaurant Group. His favorite recipe is a tomato and mozzarella salad with an onion marmalade. He doesn’t have one cuisine, it ranges from American Regional, Japanese, Thai, , Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian, Native American, African and more. I think that’ll be an issue.
  9. Kelly Liken – She’s 33, the Chef/Owner at Restaurant Kelly Liken and her favorite recipe is parmesan-mascarpone tortellini with spring vegetables and crispy artichokes. It says that she is one of the most promising female chefs in America. Why can’t she just be one of the most promising chefs??
  10. John Summerville – He’s 42, the Chef de Cuisine at The Lark and his favorite recipe is spiced spring cucumbers with dill. Even though he does have some nice dreadlocks, he doesn’t seem to have as much experience as the rest of the contestants.
  11. Jacqueline Lombard – She’s 33, the Chef/Owner of Jacqueline Lombard Events and her favorite recipe is Summer Corn Risotto with Butter-Poached Lobster, Black Truffles and Green Onions. She’s a private chef, but also the the Dining & Wine Editor of the She can certainly multitask.
  12. Ed Cotton – He’s 32, the Executive Chef at Plein Sud at the Smyth Hotel and his favorite recipe is Fresh Farm Egg Ravioli with a silky English pea puree, spring onion fondue and crispy pancetta. He likes to cook with rabbit. No thank you.
  13. Arnold Myint – He’s 32, the Chef/Owner ofCha Chah, PM, and Suzy Wong’s House of Yum and his favorite recipe is anything with peas. He used to be a figure skater, and is also a skilled mixologist and event planner. Very cool.
  14. Angelo Sosa – He’s 35, the Chef/Owner of Xie Xie and his favorite recipe is steamed madai snapper with lily bulbs. He always has salt, Japanese fish sauce, cinnamon, green cardamom and lily bulbs on hand when cooking. I’ve never tasted lily bulbs. Has anyone?
  15. Andrea Curto-Randazzo – She’s 39, the Chef/Owner of The Water Club, Talula Restaurant and Creative Tastes Catering and her favorite recipe is Braised Short Ribs with Homemade Gnocchi. Yes, finally a recipe that I would eat! She’s also a mother of three. I think I’m going to like her.
  16. Amanda Baumgarten – She’s 27, a Sous Chef at Water Grill in Downtown Los Angeles and her favorite recipe is roasted baby lamb with pomme cocotte persillade. Another youngster. She’s a skilled butcher, which is pretty cool. I’m sure her meat dishes will be delicious.
  17. Alex Reznik – He’s 33, the Executive Chef at Ivan Kane’s Café Was and his favorite recipe is avocado panna cotta with pickled ramps and tomato. He started cooking ebcause of his mother and grandmother, and is the son of first genreation European family. I’m curious and intrigued by him.

That’s all of them. I’ll be watching Top Chef tomorrow. Will you? Let me know what your thoughts of the contestants are in the comments.

All of the information above comes from Bravo’s Bios

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