Unlike the winners of Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model (who seem to disappear into the stratosphere), some Top Chef winners have actual careers. As Top Chef: Just Desserts returned on Bravo this week, we caught up with some of the notable past winners of the original series.
Before Top Chef: Sous-chef at the Harrison restaurant in New York.
After Top Chef: Dieterle opened Perilla (“earnest, endearing and just a bit of a snooze”—New York Times) in Manhattan in 2007, then Kin Shop (two stars from Adam Platt in New York magazine) in 2010.
Before Top Chef: Cook at Casa Mono, Mario Batali’s NYC Spanish restaurant.
After Top Chef: Hall opened the Gorbals (two stars from the LA Times) in Los Angeles in 2009.
Before Top Chef: Executive sous-chef at Restaurant Guy Savoy in Las Vegas.
After Top Chef: After bouncing around a couple of NYC restaurants, Huynh is even now running Craigslist ads for “bad ass line cooks” for his new venture, “new American seafood” restaurant Catch.
Before Top Chef: Chef-owner of now-shuttered Scylla in Chicago.
After Top Chef: Izard opened Girl & the Goat (“fresh and expansive”—Saveur) in 2010; a diner offshoot, Little Goat, is planned for 2012.
Before Top Chef: Head chef at Jax Fish House in Boulder.
After Top Chef: According to Rosenberg’s website, he mostly seems to be working with Jax, just not full time.
Before Top Chef: Chef de cuisine at the Dining Room, Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena (now The Royce at the Langham).
After Top Chef: Voltaggio has just opened up a sandwich shop in Los Angeles, ink.sack.
Before Top Chef: Blais designed restaurants under his Trail Blais label in Atlanta.
After Top Chef: Between his two stints on the show (Blais originally competed in Season 4, then went on to win the All-Stars series in Season 8), Blais launched upscale burger chain Flip Burger Boutique, with multiple locations in the Southeast.