‘Top Chef': Where Are They Now?

Clockwise from top left, season-one winner Harold Dieterle, judge Katie Lee Joel, Dave Martin, and Lee Ann Wong.
Photo: Getty Images

Season five of Top Chef debuts tonight, 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.


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-two winner Ilan Hall, Josie Smith-Malave, Betty Fraser, and Sam Talbot.Photos: Getty Images


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
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, Fort 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

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

Top Chef

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


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

Camille Becerra
Then: Chef-owner, Paloma, Brooklyn
Now: Same

Sandee Birdsong
Then: Executive chef, Tantra, Miami
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
Now: Chef-owner, Bulldog BBQ, Miami

Sara Mair
Then: Cheese maker
Now: Same

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

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

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

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

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

Top Chef

Clockwise from top left, season four's Spike Mendelsohn, Andrew D'Ambrosi; Richard Blais; and Nikki Cascone.Photos: Getty Images


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

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

Richard Blais

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
Now: Same; designing Piratewear, a line of sleeveless chefs' coats

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

Antonia Lofaso
Then: Executive chef, Foxtail, Los Angeles
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
Now: Kitchen manager, Sun in My Belly Café Catering and Event Design, Atlanta

Ryan Scott
Then: Executive chef, Myth Café, San Francisco
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

More Top Chef Coverage!
Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi Take On the Haters
Padma and Tom As Sex Symbols
Where to Watch the Season-Five Premiere
What Top Chef Will Shill This Season
Who We'll Be Watching on the New Top Chef
N.Y. Diet: Gail Simmons

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