The network, Bravo, has gathered 12 aspiring chefs to live in a house for about 21 days and compete against each other for the title of being the “Top Chef.”This is a California-based American reality television series that gives the competitors two challenges per episode. The Top Chef winner gets $100,000 grand prize and may have a shot at culinary stardom. Food & Wine magazine will also feature the show’s winner. The very first season was taped in the 3rd quarter of 2005 in California and the first episode was aired in March 8, 2006. The show was hosted by Katie Lee Joel and the contestants were judged by Chef Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons of Food & Wine Magazine.
There’s a mix in the line-up of contestants for the first season. There were culinary school graduates, culinary students, personal celebrity chefs, and yes, a self-practiced stay-at-home mother of three. Let us see how they are living their lives after Top Chef.
Kenneth Lee. Trained in Europe, Kenneth Lee dared to move to America where he dreamed big of being a great chef. During those days, he bounced from one restaurant to another working as Chef. He couldn’t stay long with his job because his temper always got the worse of him. Success did not come easy for him in the restaurant business. The optimist in him got him to join the series as one of the contestants, hoping to make a name for himself. Unfortunately, he was the first to be eliminated from the competition. Ask where Kenneth Lee is now, sadly, there has been no word to pinpoint what he has been up to these days.
Cynthia Sestito. She has been collaborating with Grey Goose for a couple of VIP events of famous Hollywood stars. She is also the top pick for a personal chef for Beyonce and Jay-Z. Cynthia Sestito was responsible for a very colorful weekend for the wrap of Gossip Girl’s season. She is now also making most of her time and talent participating in fundraising events for President Barack Obama and his White House Project “Organizing for America.”Chef Cynthia’s Cynfulfood is one of Hampton’s hot goodies.
Brian Hill. He landed a lead part in Food Network’s reality show “Private Chefs of Beverly Hills“along with 5 other celebrity chefs, currently being Mary J. Blige’s personal chef. In 2010, Hill has ventured into a catering truck business along with his female business partner, Nikki. People are going crazy over his famous Crack Chips and other sliders of which everything were cooked and prepared inside his truck.
Candice Kumai. This “sexy stiletto chef”has had a pretty successful life in food blogging, had hosting stint in TLC’s Home Made Simple, Lifetime’s Cook Yourself Thin and some guestings on Cooking Channel’s Unique Eats. To top it all, she released her first ever solo cookbook diary entitled “Pretty Delicious,”where she shares the secrets to guilt-free cravings while living a healthy lifestyle.
Lisa Parks. A mother of three, Chef Lisa Park debuted in the reality series Top Chef. She has a law degree while being a food lover at the same time. Her philosophy in life is that mothers can fulfill their dreams while raising a family. She was and she is still working as a cooking instructor for several schools and programs. She is also currently a private chef, but nobody knows whom she’s working with. Maybe it’s private.
Andrea Beaman. A nutritionist by heart, Chef Andrea Beaman aims to spread the word of the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle. Being tagged as a “natural food chef,”she has had guestings on several Cooking shows and graced interviews about her advocacy. She hosts the cooking show “Fed Up!”that teaches the people how cooking and certain foods can cure certain ailments. A health coach by profession, Chef Andrea has also published a book for the health buffs, “Health is Wealth”
Miguel Morales. After his debut in the reality series, Top Chef, he has been working in the kitchen of some of the biggest names in the restaurant industry such as Soho Grand, Tribeca Grand, and at Mandarin Oriental where he really grew to stand out amongst everybody else. He is currently the Banquet Chef de Tournat at Mandarin Oriental in New York City.
Stephen Asprinio. This Top Chef alumnus opened his first ever restaurant in Florida named Forte di Asprinio and was part of the Top 10 Best New Restaurants in the U.S. He was also made part of the All Star Top Chef Season 8 along with the other best chefs from previous seasons. Despite his busy scheduled being a businessman, he has continuously dedicated time for the food and wine industry and has appeared in several national publications for his works. He is set to publish his own book and open a new pizza and wine restaurant soon.
Lee Ann Wong. A fan favorite from season 1, Chef Lee Ann Wong has been pretty successful in her culinary career. After her final 4 appearance in the first season, she became the culinary producer for the succeeding seasons of the same series. She remains a Food Consultant for Top Chef and the Executive Chef of the French Culinary Institute, where she had worked prior to Top Chef.
Dave Martin. A French-Fry truck business has hired this Top Chef alumnus and he came back to Santa Barbara Winery to showcase his latest diary cookbook and a special brand of rubs and sauces for summer season’s BBQ days. He also recommends wines that suit his dishes well. He does consultancy, catering, cooking classes, special events, etc. He proved that there’s more to life after Top Chef.
Tiffani Faison. After being short of winning season 1 of Top Chef, the same show got her for an All-Star season in 2010. In January 2011, she was sent packing along with her episode-partner Jamie as their dish were named the worse fish dish in the said episode. She is set to guest in The Taste of Provincetown, a festival of fine food and wines and cocktails in August of this year. She’s planning to open a restaurant in San Francisco but kept her lips sealed about her new project.
Harold Dieterle. He opened his first restaurant Perilla in 2007. His previous trips to Thailand got him into the Thai style of cooking. When he came back to New York, upon realizing there weren’t really good Thai restaurants in the area, he opened his own Thai restaurant named Kin Shop where Thai flavors were in focus. Today, he still runs Kin Shop and continuously re-discovers the art of Thai cuisine.
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