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Jun 17, 2009 01:56 PM

Top Chef: where are they now (ongoing)

I thought it might be handy to have a single thread to comment on post-Top Chef news/appearances by former "cheftestants."

To start: Fabio is hosting the "Garlic Showdown" at the Gilroy Garlic Festival (July 24-26, 2009; the "Showdown" is the 26th).

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  1. And Lee Anne apparently has a new gig as "Executive Chef of Kogi BBQ’s east coast operations."

    1. I read in the Improper Bostonian that Tiffani Faison is a sous chef at O Ya. I saw Hung Huynh hanging out in the kitchen at the apps station at WD-50 one night in April.

      1. Fabio is also doing a 16-day Webathon at Bravo's site (scroll down for the two Fabio videos so far) where he's creating dishes that are derivative of Italy's central region, the area devastated by the April earthquake.

        And doesn't he have a book or show coming out soon?

        4 Replies
        1. re: LindaWhit

          Fabio and LeeAnne are proof that winning Top Chef isn't as important as lasting deep into the competition so that you develop name recognition and an attractive TV persona, or as important as being seen as both talented and good to work with. LeeAnne has done a lot more with her fourth place finish than Tiffani with her appearance in the top two. Not to mention more than Hung and Illan have with their wins. Only one person can win Top Chef, but if you're smart, you can use the opportunity to make connections in the business that will do you just as well.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Exactly. I have more respect for Fabio, Lee Anne, Dale Levitski, et al for using their exposure to do something else and get restaurants open. Even Dave Martin had his West Side restaurant that, I guess due to location and the economy, had to close.

            Some more info re: where are they now? from the NYTimes back in May:

   Looks like Manuel is opening a restaurant as EC very soon.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              I agree. Except for Season 1, I can't remember who actually won. Once you get down to four or five really good cooks, it's sort of irrelevant who won. Harold was an exception. I was really rooting for him.

              When you see someone do something amazing, it really doesn't matter if they go all the way. Hosea may have won, but Carla really knocked me out with her Krew dishes. Jeff was incredible as well. I would go to their restaurants first among that batch.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Hung has been exec chef'ing at Solo in Manhattan (kosher), with plans to open his own restaurant in Manhattan soon while maintaining a consultancy role w/ Solo. Seems pretty productive to me.

            2. Not a contestant, but definitely part of the show: the house where the cheftestants lived in San Francisco is up for rent at a cool $12,500 a month.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                $2500 per person if you fill all 5 BRs. Holy crap! (quotingFrank Barone)....But I have to say the BEST comment in response to this part of the article/ad: " described as having "gorgeous designer detail throughout" and being walkable to Chestnut St "for coffee, numerous restaurants, delis, shopping and entertainment" is this one:

                "I've always wanted a house that could walk. If it doesn't need a leash I could finish my breakfast while it takes me to work on Chestnut."


              2. Re: Brian Malarkey, the Oceanaire chain filed Ch. 11 this week. Although I’ve read conflicting reports, according to the first link below, the San Diego branch (where Malarkey is) is still open. The second link is to a lengthier piece from a Seattle perspective, where another Oceanaire store closed. I can personally confirm that the Cincinnati Oceanaire has closed, although it was a little disconcerting to see several fellows in bus boy uniforms dodging downtown traffic from the closed venue into an alley across the street carrying bus trays filled with booze the day after the news was announced . . .



                1 Reply
                1. re: intuitive eggplant

                  The San Diego branch of Oceanaire is(was?) the #2 performing unit in the chain. Brian Malarkey is currently on paternity leave and not cheffing there. He says he will return once his 6 weeks of leave are over, but there is strong speculation he, and the SD unit of Oceaniare, are history. Too bad, the Oceanaire in SD is really good and is(was?) well run, plus it has one of the best happy hours downtown.