Top Chef is back in the kitchen with some familiar faces behind the dishes! The Emmy-winning cooking competition has returned for its seventeenth season. Titled Top Chef: All-Stars L.A., the season will see chefs from seasons past return back into the fray for another chance at the title of Top Chef.
Read on to find out everything we know so far about season 17, including when Top Chef starts, who is in the cast, where the season was filmed and much more.
What’s the release date for Top Chef season 17?
Top Chef 17 will premiere on March 19, 2020 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.
What’s the theme of Top Chef season 17?
As the name implies, Top Chef: All-Stars L.A. will feature fifteen previous contestants from seasons past who have yet to win the title. They will return for another shot at the crown. The cast represents nearly every season from the show’s thirteen-year run.
Who are the 15 returning chefs for Top Chef season 17?
Bravo released the full cast for season 17 on December 12, 2019.
Eric Adjepong (Season 16: Kentucky)
Chef Eric Adjepong was a finalist on Season 16 of Top Chef in Kentucky, where he used his platform to introduce viewers to traditional Ghanaian cuisine. A first-generation Ghanaian-American, born and raised in New York City, Eric now resides in Washington, D.C., where he is a personal chef, caterer and public health & nutrition professional. He has degrees from Johnson & Wales in Culinary Arts, Culinary Nutrition (BS) and International Public Health Nutrition (MPH). Eric has cooked in some of NYC’s premier restaurants including two different Michelin Star rated establishments. He is currently focusing on his pop-up series Pinch & Plate that he works on with his wife.
Karen Akunowicz (Season 13: California)
Top Chef Season 13 frontrunner Karen Akunowicz is the chef and owner of Fox & the Knife enoteca in Boston, which was named one of 2019’s best new restaurants in America by FOOD & WINE magazine, Eater National, Condé Nast Traveler, and Thrillist. Since competing on the California season, Karen won a 2018 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Northeast and was named Boston Magazine’s Best Chef. With degrees from the University of Massachusetts and Cambridge School of Culinary Arts, she gained international work experience as the chef at L’Avian Blu in Modena, Italy. A year later, she returned home to Massachusetts, where she worked alongside James Beard Award-winning chef Ana Sortun at Oleana. In 2011, Karen led the kitchen at Myers+Chang as executive chef, creating dishes that earned her both local and national praise, including a four-star review in The Boston Globe. In 2017, she co-authored The Myers+Chang at Home Cookbook. Karen is proud to be a No Kid Hungry Chef, working with the organization, Share our Strength, to eradicate childhood hunger. She is currently at work on her second cookbook.
Jennifer Carroll (Season 6: Las Vegas, Season 8: All Stars & LCK Season 7)
A finalist on Top Chef Season 6 in Las Vegas, Jennifer Carroll splits her time between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and is the owner of Carroll Couture Cuisine, her catering and consulting company that has been traveling worldwide, creating fun and delicious experiences for nearly a decade. In 2018, Jennifer and her fiancé opened Spice Finch in her hometown of Philadelphia, where they curate contemporary Mediterranean dishes. Carroll has worked in some of the countries most celebrated restaurants, spending nine years under three Star Michelin Chef Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin and his Philadelphia restaurant 10 Arts. Jennifer has also worked alongside Chef Marcus Samuelsson at the Red Rooster in Harlem and led the opening of his Bermuda restaurant, Samuelsson at Hamilton Princess. Jennifer later moved to D.C. to open Requin. She contributes to many charitable causes, including The American Brain Foundation, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, No Kid Hungry, and many more. Addicted to the rush of the competition, Jennifer Carroll is back for one more go after competing on Season 6 in Las Vegas, Season 8: All Stars, Top Chef Duels and on Season 15 in Colorado through Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen.
Stephanie Cmar (Season 11: New Orleans)
A frontrunner on Top Chef Season 11 in New Orleans where she was eliminated after a technicality, Stephanie Cmar is back to show the world she has what it takes. Possessing a genuine passion for cooking from a young age, Stephanie was only 15 when she began working in the food industry at the Muffin Shop in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Stephanie graduated in 2007 from Johnson & Wales University and returned to Boston, Massachusetts, to begin her career at the Top of the Hub restaurant. From there, she went to work with Barbara Lynch Gruppo as a line cook at B&G Oysters, where she quickly rose through the ranks to the position of sous chef. Stephanie continued to further hone her fine dining skills at restaurants like Stir and No. 9 Park, eventually showcasing her culinary prowess by competing on Top Chef. After the show, she opened the pop-up Stacked Donuts in Boston. In 2015, Stephanie joined Fairsted Kitchen as the executive chef, crafting a menu that reflects her personal cooking style with French and Italian dishes that have a Middle Eastern spin. After a year at Fairsted, Stephanie took a position at Venetian restaurant SRV in Boston’s South End, where she worked to master the art of making pasta. During that time she also worked part time as a private chef and discovered that she loved the creative freedom of working for herself and cooking for small groups. She has since become a full-time private chef for multiple families, and also caters upscale intimate dinner parties.
Lisa Fernandes (Season 4: Chicago)
A finalist on Top Chef Season 4 in Chicago, Toronto native Lisa Fernandes is currently based in Brooklyn, NY. With over 20 years of culinary experience, she has worked at several high-end restaurants in NYC including Asia de Cuba, Rain, Public, Mai House and Dos Caminos. In 2013, she launched Sweet Chili food truck featuring her take on southeastern Asian cuisine. She recently opened her first brick and mortar location for Sweet Chili in Bushwick, where she takes inspiration from Asian Cuisines and creates unique dishes and cocktails. While it’s been 10 years since she competed on Top Chef, Lisa has been refining her skills and is ready to show the world she has what it takes to win the title.
Kevin Gillespie (Season 6: Las Vegas)
Chef Kevin Gillespie was a runner up on Top Chef Season 6 in Las Vegas where he earned the title of “Fan Favorite.” His true passion lies in serving his guests quality food by incorporating fresh, organic and sustainable ingredients in all of his dishes. After leaving the Top Chef kitchen, Kevin opened his restaurant, Gunshow, in the Glenwood Park neighborhood of Atlanta, focusing on a unique dining style that combines refined and rustic dishes. In 2014, Gunshow earned a spot on GQ magazine’s list of “12 Most Outstanding Restaurants.” He has since opened four more restaurants Revival, Gamechanger, Ole Reliable and his newest restaurant Cold Beer, which opened in June 2019. Nominated for six James Beard Foundation Awards, Kevin has also been recognized as one of FOOD & WINE’s “The People’s Best New Chef: Southeast” and was also included on Forbes’ food & wine “30 Under 30.” His cookbooks Fire in my Belly and Pure Pork Awesomeness have both received recognition from the James Beard Foundation. After battling cancer, Kevin is always up for a new challenge and is ready to show the world he is stronger than ever.
Gregory Gourdet (Season 12: Boston)
The runner-up on Top Chef Season 12 in Boston, Chef Gregory Gourdet serves as Director of Culinary Operations at Departure Restaurant, overseeing food programming, menus and events. A three-time James Beard Award semifinalist and native New Yorker from Queens, he honed his culinary skills within celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant dynasty before moving to Portland in 2008. In the spring of 2010, he took the reins at Departure as Executive Chef, quickly gaining praise for his innovative dishes that combine local ingredients of the Pacific Northwest with meaningful preparations. He made his mark curating local products with the bold flavors and traditions of Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Korea to create modern Asian fare. Throughout his 10-year tenure at Departure, Gregory has played an integral role in Portland’s culinary boom via awards, TV appearances and trips where he’s cooked the bounty of Oregon for diners all over the world. In 2019, he announced he will be opening his own restaurant which will tap into flavors from around the world, with a strong focus on his Haitian heritage. A dedicated trail runner, yoga devotee, and fitness lover, Gregory brings his health-mindedness to the table. His first cookbook, Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health is slated to come out in spring 2021.
Melissa King (Season 12: Boston)
Melissa King placed as a finalist on Top Chef Season 12 in Boston and has since been recognized by Thrillist as “one of the best female chefs in San Francisco” and FSR’s “40 under 40: Rising Star.” Her unique Californian cooking style combines hyper-local ingredients with modern techniques and Asian flavors. Born and raised in Los Angeles by her Cantonese mother and Shanghainese father, Melissa took pride in her heritage and learned to cook with a wok by age six. After moonlighting in kitchens while achieving a B.A. in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Irvine, she went on to graduate at the top of her class from the Culinary Institute of America. Melissa led the kitchens of several Michelin starred restaurants in San Francisco (Campton Place, Luce, The Ritz Carlton Dining Room) under acclaimed names such as Dominique Crenn and Ron Siegel. She has cooked for several notable figures such as Oprah Winfrey and Al Gore. Melissa founded a company with a focus on culinary partnerships and experiences. She was named the first chef ambassador for Whole Foods Market and has collaborated on an innovative ice cream line with Humphry Slocombe. Internationally she consulted on the opening of Elle Café Aoyama, a fine dining restaurant in the fashion district of Tokyo, in collaboration with Elle Magazine. As an Asian-American, queer, female chef, Melissa has a passion for supporting the community and giving back to others — working with several organizations supporting women’s empowerment, environmental sustainability, food education for youths, and LGBTQ charities such as the Human Rights Campaign, Tegan and Sara Foundation, Brave Trails, and more.
Jamie Lynch (Season 14: Charleston)
Chef Jamie Lynch is the Chef Partner of 5Church Restaurants in Charlotte, NC and Charleston, SC as well as Sophia’s Lounge, located in the heart of Charlotte’s Uptown. Jamie competed on Season 14 of Top Chef in Charleston where he made his mark for his controversial decision to give up immunity. A New York native with a passion for sustainable upscale dining, Jamie attended the New England Culinary Institute in Burlington, Vermont and upon graduation was offered a position by New York Times’ four-star Le Cirque 2000 Restaurant in The Palace Hotel. He went on to gain experience at culinary heavyweights Aureole, Café Boulud, and Tocqueville before moving to Charlotte in 2002 to pursue his dream and open his own restaurant, now with locations in Charlotte & Charleston. He has garnered many accolades such as being voted Best Chef in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2018 in Charlotte Magazine’s “Best of the Best” Awards. In 2018, Jamie and his girlfriend Corey opened Chef Jamie’s Farm, a six-acre fruit and vegetable farm in Belmont, NC furthering his mission of sustainability and supplying local ingredients to his restaurants. He is currently working a new restaurant Tempest in Charleston and a new restaurant concept in Nashville with the team from 5Church, both set to open in 2020. In his spare time, Jamie enjoys farming, riding motorcycles and spending time with his girlfriend, farm dog Harlem and his teenage son.
Brian Malarkey (Season 3: Miami)
Chef Brian Malarkey was a finalist on Top Chef Season 3 in Miami. He grew up on a ranch in Oregon, and that foundation of enjoying fresh seafood on the coast landed him to where he is today with 10 restaurants across Southern California. This includes award-winning Herb & Wood in San Diego, which was named one of the country’s “Biggest Restaurant Openings” by Zagat, one of America’s “10 Best Restaurants” by USA Today and “Restaurant of the Year” by Eater San Diego. After appearing on Top Chef, he opened Searsucker and Herringbone restaurants, which under his guidance expanded across the country and internationally to 10 locations that he sold to the Hakkasan group. In 2018, he resigned to focus on the Puffer Malarkey Restaurants alongside his business partner Christopher Puffer and their talented team. The Puffer Malarkey Restaurants include Herb & Wood, Herb & Eatery, Green Acre, Farmer & The Seahorse, and four more that opened this fall, including Herb & Sea, Animae, NIMA Cafe and Herb & Ranch. Brian attended the Western Culinary Institute in Portland (now Le Cordon Bleu) and prior to opening his first restaurant, held positions at several marquee restaurants in Los Angeles, including Chef Michel Richard’s Citrus. Brian has supported dozens of organizations and nonprofits throughout the years. He is active in his free time, surfing, paddle boarding, fishing and enjoying life with his wife of 17 years, Chantelle, and their three beautiful children.
Nini Nguyen (Season 16: Kentucky)
A New York based chef, instructor and recipe developer, Nini Nguyen was a frontrunner on Top Chef Season 16 in Kentucky but was eliminated during Restaurant Wars after being front of house. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, Nini combines her Vietnamese heritage and NOLA flair into a unique cooking style. Early in her career, she started as a pastry cook at restaurants like Coquette & Eleven Madison Park. She later moved into savory cooking with the touring pop-up, Dinner Lab. She also has a knack for teaching and mentoring other cooks. She expressed this passion through her work at Cook Space, a recreational cooking school in Brooklyn where she developed the culinary program. As a naturally curious person, Nini’s favorite pastime is roaming through markets in different cities, tasting, smelling and squeezing all the fruits and vegetables she can get her hands on. Since being on Top Chef, Nini has kept herself busy collaborating with chefs, hosting private events and starting a pop-up dinner series.
Joe Sasto (Season 15: Colorado)
A finalist on Top Chef Season 15 in Colorado, Joe Sasto found his love for cooking as a child, spending time in the kitchen with his mother. Instead of taking the traditional path of culinary school, he spent his undergraduate years at the University of California at Davis, largely sustained by cooking gigs and his driving passion for food. After earning his bachelor’s degree, Joe opened a restaurant as a line cook in Ukiah, CA, earning a swift education in the business, its pitfalls, and a passion of the restaurant world. He then decided it was time to move to San Francisco, and began to work under Chef Jason Berthold, making the rise from line cook to sous chef in just six short months. Following a break to travel through Europe, he brought his newly found international inspiration to San Francisco at Quince’s rustic Italian sister-restaurant Cotogna, before moving over to the highly acclaimed Quince. Under Chef Michael Tusk, he spent over three years at the restaurant contributing to its rise from one to three-Michelin stars. Learning the ropes and roots from one of America’s most celebrated Italian-influenced chefs, Joe was ultimately trusted to manage the handmade pasta program. Joe continued to grow and moved on to become Executive Sous Chef at Lazy Bear with Chef David Barzelay. while there, he contributed in the restaurant’s rise from one to two-Michelin stars. Joe moved to Los Angeles in 2017 to help a friend open a restaurant, serving as the Executive Chef. Currently, Chef Joe is outside of the “traditional” restaurant, hosting private events, fine-dining dinner parties and pasta classes as part of his pop-up series Tanto Si. He plans to move back to Northern California, where he is looking forward to opening up his dream restaurant.
Angelo Sosa (Season 7: Washington D.C. & Season 8: All Stars New York)
Angelo Sosa first appeared on Top Chef Season 7 in Washington D.C. where he finished in second place and later returned to compete on Season 8: All-Stars in New York. Born in Connecticut to a Dominican father and an Italian mother, Chef Angelo Sosa earned his stripes in the kitchen working through the ranks with Jean-Georges Vongerichten, consulting for Morimoto restaurants and cooking alongside Alain Ducasse. Since competing, Angelo has opened multiple restaurants including the Michelin Recommended Añejo in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, Anejo Tribeca and Mexican cantina Abajo. He has also released two cookbooks Flavor Exposed: 100 Global Recipes from Sweet to Salty, Earth to Spicy and Healthy Latin Eating: Our Favorite Family Recipes Remixed, the latter, which was a collaboration with TV and radio personality, Angie Martinez. Most recently, Angelo moved to Encinitas, CA to open Death by Tequila, a Baja-inspired restaurant that was recently named “Best New Restaurant” by San Diego Magazine. Recently celebrating four years of sobriety, Angelo is full of passion and hopes to empower the world through his culinary expertise and creations.
Bryan Voltaggio (Season 6: Las Vegas)
Two-time runner up Bryan Voltaggio is the only chef who has competed on Top Chef (Season Six: Las Vegas) and Top Chef Masters (Season 5). He is back for Season 17 All Stars LA to prove that he has what it takes to bring home the title. A Maryland native and James Beard Foundation Award finalist, Bryan is the executive chef and owner of VOLT, Family Meal, and has three additional restaurants with his brother Michael including Estuary, Voltaggio Brothers Steak House and STRFSH. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Bryan was a cook at Aureole where he met his mentor chef Charlie Palmer. He later was a stagier at Pic, a three-star Michelin restaurant in Valence, France, before reuniting as executive chef at Charlie Palmer Steak in Washington, D.C. After working for Charlie Palmer for almost 10 years, he set out on his own opening Volt in 2008, followed by Family Meal in 2012. His latest project, Estuary, opened in March of 2019 and is the third restaurant he opened with his brother Michael. He has also released two cookbooks Home: Recipes to Cook with Family and Friends and VOLT.Ink, the latter which he co-authored with his brother Michael. As a father and chef, Bryan is a passionate philanthropist and has helped raise over one million dollars working with Chefs Cycle and No Kid Hungry to end childhood hunger. He lives with his wife Jennifer and three children in his hometown of Frederick, MD.
Lee Anne Wong (Season 1: San Francisco & LCK Season 7)
Lee Anne Wong was a contestant on first season of Top Chef in San Francisco and later returned via Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen for Season 15 in Colorado but ended up withdrawing after suffering from altitude sickness while pregnant with her son. A native of Troy, New York, she is the chef and owner of Koko Head Cafe in Honolulu, Hawaii and currently serves as the Executive Chef for Hawaiian Airlines. Following her Top Chef debut in 2006, Lee Anne was hired as the series’ Supervising Culinary Producer for the next six seasons, helping to build the show into what it is today. She graduated from the International Culinary Center (ICC), formerly known as the French Culinary Institute, and began her culinary training at Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit before playing an integral role in the opening of Jean Georges Vongerichten’s Chinese concept, Restaurant 66. In late 2013, she moved from New York City to Honolulu and in 2014, opened Koko Head Cafe, an island-style brunch house in the Kaimuki neighborhood. Opening to popular acclaim, she was recognized on the cover of Honolulu Magazine and has been featured in Bon Appétit, FOOD & WINE, The New York Times, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, and Huffington Post. In August 2014, Lee Anne released her first cookbook, Dumplings All Day Wong. In March 2017, Lee Anne was named Executive Chef for Hawaiian Airlines, creating gourmet menus for the airline worldwide. Most recently, she moved to Maui with her husband and son to reimagine the restaurant concept for The Pioneer Inn, Maui’s first and oldest hotel, located on the waterfront in historic Lahaina. She is currently also working on a second location for Koko Head Café in Tokyo, scheduled to open in late fall of 2020.
Who are the judges for Top Chef season 17?
This season’s judging panel will once again feature host Padma Lakshmi and head judge Tom Colicchio. Re-joining them will be Gail Simmons, who was absent the previous season due to the birth of her child.
Where did Top Chef season 17 film?
Season 17 moved westward from its previous few locations to film in Los Angeles, California. Top Chef previously filmed there during its second season and part of its thirteenth season.
What is Bravo’s Top Chef Food & Wine Festival?
Along with the cast of season 17, Bravo announced the inaugural Bravo’s Top Chef Food & Wine Festival. It will take place from March 19-20, 2020, coinciding with the season 17 premiere. The festival will feature an all-inclusive eclectic menu inspired by the series, live cooking competitions, food & wine pairings and panels with Top Chef alums. To learn more and to purchase tickets: click here.
Where can I watch Top Chef online?
Top Chef airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. on Bravo. Episodes will then be available the next day on the Bravo website.
Where can I find news about Top Chef?
We’ll be bringing you news about Top Chef throughout season 17.
Source: Thanks https://parade.com/972041/mikebloom/top-chef-season-17/