Top Chef' Winners: Where Are They Now?
Wondering about Top Chef' Winners: Where Are They Now? For a whole season, you tuned in to cheer them and jeer them…and then you probably forgot all about your favorite Top Chef winners. But for these talented chefs, then end of the show was just the beginning. Some have opened restaurants, and some have continued to compete, but all of them are still pursuing their passion for cooking. Read on to find out what each of the Top Chef winners is doing now.
As the first winner of Top Chef, Harold Dieterle has had the most time to capitalize on his victory, and he hasn’t disappointed. In 2007, he partnered with Alicia Nosenzo Perilla to open Perilla in New York City. The small restaurant is widely considered a neighborhood gem and has received mostly favorable reviews for its seasonal American cuisine. Since opening Perilla, Dieterle has stepped out of the spotlight, declining to appear on Top Chef reunions or at promotional events. Instead, he says he’s working on another concept in order to circumvent prohibitively high rent prices.
The youngest Top Chef thus far, Ilan Hall won the competition in Season Two at the age of 24. After winning Top Chef, Ilan Hall quit his job and travelled around the world, exploring different cuisines, flavors, and cooking techniques along the way. He settled in Los Angeles in 2008, where he opened his own restaurant in the Alexandria Hotel in 2009. Named after a neighborhood in Scotland, The Gorbals serves food that is described as Jewish fare with a Scottish twist. Hall also makes appearances at food festivals and offers cooking demonstrations at local farms and other events.
Love-to-hate-him Season Three Top Chef champ Hung Huynh has spent most of his time cooking in Manhattan since winning the competition. In 2008, he worked as a guest executive chef at Solo in the Sony Atrium for several months before becoming the chef at Ajna Bar, the renamed Buddha Bar in the Meatpacking district in 2009. He was also a semi-finalist at the 2008 Bocuse d’Or USA competition.
Hometown favorite Stephanie Izard snagged the Top Chef prize on Season Four, which was set in Chicago. Since then, she’s been busy making preparations for her own local restaurant, the Drunken Goat, which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2010. In the meantime, she hosted a series of “Wandering Goat” dinners that were held in secret locations around Chicago in 2009. Izard also has a cookbook in the works and creates a regular video podcast called “The Tasty Life.”
Hosea Rosenberg made America proud by beating out German competitor Stefan Richter to claim Top Chef honors in Season Five. Since then, Rosenberg appeared as a Top Chef at numerous cooking festivals and events like the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival. He also consults, offers regular cooking demonstrations, and occasionally returns to Jax Restaurant in Colorado as a guest chef. While he plans to open his own restaurant, he is currently working on a prepared food product line that will be sold at Whole Foods.
Michael Voltaggio won the battle-of-the-brothers and took home the Top Chef award in Season Six. He works as the Chef de Cuisine at The Dining Room at The Langham, Huntington Hotel & Spa, a one Michelin star restaurant in Pasadena, and was recently named a finalist for the 2009 James Beard Awards. He frequently appears as a Top Chef to raise money for charities. He also launched a web site with his brother and fellow Top Chef finalist Bryan Voltaggio to share their cooking expertise, and the two plan to pursue additional ventures together in the future.