‘Top Chef’: Where Are They Now?

We thought we’d see what’s cooking with all our old friends

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    Season Five of Top Chef debuted this week, which brings to mind the ghosts of cheftestants past. We loved them, we hated them, and in the case of our beloved season-four Gorgon, Lisa, we even loved hating them. So before we pop a big culinary boner for the new season (Martha Stewart! Foo Fighters! And more from The Ripper!), we thought we’d see what’s cooking with all our old friends since they packed up their knives and went. Think of it as our own little Top Chef reunion, minus the name-calling, tears, and awkward hugs.

    SEASON ONE

    Stephen Asprinio
    Then: Sommelier, Nobhill, MGM Grand, Las Vegas
    Now: Owner/operator of Forté di Asprinio in Palm Beach, Florida

    Andrea Beaman
    Then: Natural foods chef/teacher, author, holistic-health counselor
    Now: Same; host of Wise Up and Fed Up on the Veria Network on DISH.

    Harold Dieterle (winner)

    Then: Executive sous-chef, The Harrison, New York
    Now: Chef/owner, Perilla

    Tiffani Faison
    Then: Line cook at DB Brasserie, Las Vegas
    After Top Chef: Chef at Straight Wharf, Nantucket
    Now: Planning a restaurant in San Francisco

    Brian Hill

    Then: Personal chef
    Now: Owner and executive chef, Match BBQ, Pomona, California

    Candice Kumai

    Then: Student
    Now: Cook at Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, California; food stylist; Stiletto Chef

    Kenneth Lee

    Then: Irish native who worked in L.A.
    Now: MIA

    Dave Martin
    Then: Executive chef, XO Wine Bistro, Manhattan Beach, California;
    Now: Recently left Crave on 42nd; owner, As You Wish Catering; instructor at the Culinary Loft, New York

    Miguel Morales

    Then: Banquet chef de tournant, Mandarin Oriental, New York
    Now: Same

    Lisa Parks

    Then: Culinary-school student and cooking instructor
    Now: Cooking instructor; private chef

    Cynthia Sestito
    Then: Personal chef
    Now: Owner, Cynful Food Catering; cooking instructor

    Lee Ann Wong

    Then: Executive chef, French Culinary Institute
    Now: Supervising Culinary Producer, Top Chef; Executive chef, FCI

    Top Chef

    Clockwise from top left, Season 2 winner Ilan Hall, Josie Smith-Malave, Betty Fraser, and Sam Talbot.Photos: Getty Images

    SEASON TWO

    Elia Aboumrad
    Then: Executive sous-chef, Thehotel, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
    Now: Not working in a restaurant

    Otto G. Borsich II
    Then: Chef instructor, Culinary Institute of Las Vegas
    Now: Executive chef, Mahi Mah’s, Virginia Beach, Virginia

    Marisa Churchill
    Then: Executive chef, Ame, San Francisco, California
    Now: Formerly an executive pastry chef at Yoshi’s in San Francisco; now a restaurant consultant.

    Clifford Crooks
    Then: Executive chef, Salute, New York
    Now: Executive sous-chef, Blue Water Grill, New York

    Carlos Fernandez
    Then: Owner, Hi-Life Café, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
    Now: Same

    Betty Fraser
    Then: Chef/owner, Grub Restaurant, Hollywood, California, and As You Like It Catering
    Now: Same; also contributes to Sirius Radio's OutQ in the Morning show.

    Mia Gaines
    Then: Owner, Feed the People restaurant, Oakdale, California
    Now: Recently left as chef of Hula Shores, Hotel Molokai, Hawaii; now MIA

    Ilan Hall (winner)
    Then: Line cook, Casa Mono, New York
    Now: Opening Gorbals in Los Angeles, California

    Michael Midgley
    Then: Line cook, Wine and Roses, Lodi, California
    Now: Owner, Midgley Catering, Stockton, California; Culinary Arts instructor, Institute of Technology

    Josie Smith-Malave
    Then: Chef/consultant
    Now: Executive chef, Norwood Club, New York

    Emily Sprissler
    Then: Master cook, Nobhill, Las Vegas
    Now: Private chef; new mom

    Sam Talbot
    Then: Executive chef at Punch, New York
    Now: Executive chef at the Surf Lodge, Montauk, New York

    Frank Terzoli
    Then: Executive chef, Delicias, Rancho Santa Fe, California
    Now: Executive chef, Heat Supper Club, San Diego, California

    Suyai Steinhauer
    Then: Chef/owner, New York Fork Meal Delivery Service
    Now: Same

    Marcel Vigneron
    Then: Master cook, Joel Robuchon at the Mansion, Las Vegas
    Now: Sous-chef, Jose Andres at the Bazaar at SLS Hotel, Beverly Hills, California

    Lia Bardeen
    Then: Executive sous-chef, Jean Georges, New York
    Now: Opening chef de cuisine, J+G Steakhouse, St. Regis, Mexico City

    Top Chef

    Clockwise from top left, Brian Malarkey, Camille Becerra, Season 3 winner Hung Huynh, and Sara Nguyen.Photos: Getty Images

    SEASON THREE

    Camille Becerra
    Then: Chef/owner, Paloma, Brooklyn, New York
    Now: Same

    Sandee Birdsong
    Then: Executive chef, Tantra, Miami, Florida
    Now: MIA

    Clay Bowen
    Then: Sous-chef, Santa Barbara University Club
    Now: Executive chef of a private club in Mississippi

    Micah Edelstein
    Then: Owner, The Wandering Chef Caterers, Boca Raton, Florida
    Now: Same

    Hung Huynh (winner)
    Then: Executive sous-chef, Guy Savoy, Las Vegas
    Now: Chef/consultant of Sòlo in New York

    Chris Jacobson
    Then: Private Chef
    Now: Launched a line of breakfast items for Hilton Hotels; opening Town and Country Restaurant in Chicago with Dale Levitski

    Dale Levitski
    Then: Unemployed
    Now: Former waiter at Sola in Chicago; now chef/partner of Town and Country, under construction in Chicago.

    Howie Kleinberg
    Then: Executive chef, Food Gang, Miami, Florida
    Now: Chef/owner, Bulldog BBQ, Miami

    Sara Mair
    Then: Cheese maker
    Now: Same

    Brian Malarkey
    Then: Executive chef, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, San Diego, California
    Now: Same; new dad.

    Sara Nguyen
    Then: Executive chef, Boucarou, New York
    Now: Future sous-chef, Town and Country in Chicago, Illinois

    Joey Paulino
    Then: Executive chef, Café Des Artistes, New York
    Now: Same

    Casey Thompson
    Then: Executive chef, Shinsei, Dallas, Texas
    Now: Cooking private dinners at Fisher Winery in Napa.

    Tre Wilcox
    Then: Chef de cuisine, Abacus, Dallas, Texas
    Now: Private chef

    Top Chef

    Clockwise from top left, Season 4's Spike Mendelsohn, Andrew D'Ambrosi; Richard Blaise; and Nikki Cascone .Photos: Getty Images

    SEASON FOUR

    Zoi Antonitsas
    Then: Chef de cuisine, Presidio Social Club, San Francisco, California
    Now: Chef de cuisine at Zazu Restaurant & Farm in Santa Rosa, California

    Jennifer Biesty
    Then: Executive chef COCO500 Restaurant, San Francisco, California
    Now: Executive chef, Scala’s Bistro, San Francisco

    Richard Blaise

    Then: Former chef at two shuttered restaurants in Atlanta: Blais and Element
    Now: Creative director, Flip Burger Boutique, Atlanta

    Valerie Bolon

    Then: Personal Chef
    Now: Same.

    Nikki Cascone
    Then: Chef/co-owner, 24 Prince, New York
    Now: Same; designing a line of chef/hospitality clothing

    Andrew D’Ambrosi
    Then: Sous-chef, Le Cirque, New York
    Now: Same

    Lisa Fernandes
    Then: Sous-chef, Public, New York
    Now: Recently left as temporary chef at Mai House; writing a cookbook

    Erik Hopfinger
    Then: Executive chef, Circa, San Francisco, California
    Now: Same; designing Piratewear, a line of sleeveless chefs' coats

    Stephanie Izard, winner
    Then: Former chef/owner of Scylla, Chicago, Illinois
    Now: Traveling, planning a new restuarant

    Antonia Lofaso
    Then: Executive chef, Foxtail, Los Angeles, California
    Now: Same

    Spike Mendelsohn
    Then: Chef de cuisine, Mai House, New York
    Now: Owner, Good Stuff Eatery, Washington D.C.

    Nimma Osman
    Then: Line cook at Repast, Atlanta, Georgia
    Now: Kitchen manager, Sun in My Belly Café Catering and Event Design, Atlanta

    Ryan Scott
    Then: Executive chef, Myth Café, San Francisco, California
    Now: Executive chef, Mission Beach Café, San Francisco; Owner, Ryan Scott To Go catering

    Mark Simmons
    Then: Sous-chef, Public, New York
    Now: Sous-chef, Double Crown, New York

    Manuel Trevino
    Then: Executive chef, Dos Caminos, New York
    Now: Chef/consultant; executive chef at unnamed New York restaurant opening in January


    Previously on Grub Street...