Bravo reveals its 'Top Chef 3' cast, series to premiere June 13
By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 05/09/2007
Bravo has revealed the identies of the 15 up-and-coming culinary wizards who will compete onTop Chef's third season, which will premiere Wednesday, June 13 at 10PM ET/PT but be proceeded by a special hour-long charity cook-off that will pit previous Top Chef contestants against one another and air a week earlier.
Top Chef: 4-Star All-Stars, set to air Wednesday, June 6 at 10PM ET/PT, will reunite four of the finalists from Top Chef's first season and four finalists from the culinary competition's second season as they square-off in a $20,000 charity cook-off that will conclude with both teams serving their meals to the cast of Top Chef 3 Miami, Bravo's colon-less official title for Top Chef's third season. Original Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle, as well as Stephen Asprinio, Tiffani Faison, and Dave Martin will represent the show's first season while second-season winner Ilan Hall, as well as Sam Talbot, Elia Aboumrad, and runner-up Marcel Vigneron will represent their season's cast.
Then, one week later, the 15 contestants competing on Top Chef 3 Miami will begin their journey in Miami Beach, with one of them eventually claiming the grand prize of $100,000 in seed money to help open a restaurant and a feature on them in Food & Wine magazine. Top Chef's third season, which was previously announced in January, is the first to be filmed in Miami (Season 1 filmed in San Francisco, Season 2 filmed in Los Angeles).
"The new chefs bring an undeniably high level of talent and expertise to the table this season," said Top Chef judge and restauranteur Tom Colicchio. "It'll be very interesting to see what they can do with Miami's flavorful fruits, fresh seafood, and cultural influences."
Rounding out the judging panel with Colicchio will be Padma Lakshmi (returning for her second season of hosting duties), Food & Wine magazine editor Gail Simmons, and new judge Ted Allen, the soon-to-be formerQueer Eye food and wine expert.
The 15 contestants competing on Top Chef 3 Miami -- and their Bravo-supplied profile information -- are:
Brian, a 34-year-old executive chef from Bend, OR who currently resides in San Diego, CA
A native of Oregon, Brian grew up inspired by his grandmother's cooking and by all the fresh seafood and produce the area offered. He soon set his sights on California, where he was recently voted 2007 Best Chef in San Diego for his work as Executive Chef at the Oceanaire Seafood Room. He's in constant competition with everyone in San Diego and makes it a point to do everything bigger and better in his restaurant. At the top of his game, Brian's high-energy makes him a whirlwind in the kitchen. Stay-tuned to see just how long he can live by his motto, "Love, peace and happiness."
Camille, a 34-year-old chef and restaurant owner from Elizabeth, NJ who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY
Camille hails from Puerto Rico, and is the proud owner of Paloma Restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. She incorporates Latin spice into her kitchen, and is all business when it comes to her cooking. Camille has a 5-year-old daughter, and attempts to stay positive and balanced by meditating with a 100-year-old Zen Master. She has worked in all aspects of the restaurant business, and often surprises people by her occupation. Camille says the world would be a better place if everyone knew how to cook.
Casey, a 29-year-old executive chef from Cedar Hills, TX who currently resides in Dallas, TX
The executive chef at Shinsei Restaurant in Dallas, one of the most successful in the state, Casey's cuisine incorporates Asian and Mexican cultural influences. This rising star lives by her simple yet time-tested cooking philosophy - serve food that people want more of. Casey names tartare the most romantic dish because it's raw, risky, ice cold and delicious. Her outgoing and confident manner will "serve" her well in the competition.
Chris, a 31-year-old personal chef from El Toro, CA who currently resides in Venice, CA
A true Californian at heart, Chris is a private chef who has worked for the likes of author and columnist Arianna Huffington and the Marciano Family of the Guess Corporation. An ex-volleyball player standing at 6'8" - it seems everyone looks up to him. Chris is motivated to live life to the fullest having overcome testicular cancer. He has a competitive spirit and the utmost confidence in his culinary skills.
Clay, a 28-year-old sous chef from Northern Mississippi who currently resides in Santa Barba, CA
Clay says he is just a good ole' boy from Mississippi. Self-taught, Clay developed his skills from working his way up the ladder in various kitchens and truly feels he has an innate talent. Now living in Santa Barbara, he is a sous chef at the renowned Santa Barbara University Club. Clay has enjoyed bringing his southern style cooking to California and will definitely bring some different flavors and styles to the judge's table this third season.
Dale, a 34-year-old chef and culinary consultant from Chicago, IL
Chicago native Dale has been a chef for six years, with plans underway to open his own restaurant. Whether he's cooking four-star meals, diving, or doing gymnastics, Dale's competitive edge is undeniable. He has created something he calls "flavor math," where the right number of spices can bring the perfect flavor and taste. He uses French American cultural influences in his cooking, and is serious about putting his skills to the ultimate test. He loves the fact that the other contestants could be "out-cooked by a queer." Dale will say what everyone else is thinking.
Howie, a 31-year-old executive chef from Miami, FL
A Miami native, Howie claims home-court advantage in this competition. A true chef at heart he can't help but let his passion come through in everything he does. Due to his father's early death, Howie was raised by women and has no problem communicating his feelings. A chef for 10 years, his culinary expertise is contemporary American, Asian, and Mediterranean cuisines. A "hurricane" in the kitchen, he loves to source the best products and let them speak for themselves.
Hung, a 29-year-old sous chef from Pittsfield, MA who currently resides in Las Vegas, NV
Hung works as the Executive Sous Chef at one of the most expensive restaurants in Las Vegas, Guy Savoy. Born in Vietnam and trained in classic French and Asian cuisine, he believes in cooking from the soul. Hung especially loves seafood because he says there are a million varieties and flavors to combine. He has traveled the world over learning different types of cuisines, and speaks four languages. He incorporates Asian, French and Spanish influences in his cooking. If he were a food, he says, "I would be spicy chili - it takes a while to get used to, but once you eat it you always come back for more."
Joey, a 29-year-old executive chef from Franklin Square, Long Island, NY who currently resides in New York City
A native New Yorker and four-star chef, Joey has worked at some of New York City's premiere restaurants - including Waters Edge, Jean Georges, Vong, and most currently Cafe de Artistes. His cooking is influenced by world cultures, and he loves to serve simple, light food always on a hot plate. Joey's intense passion and playful mentality make him a serious contender. His romantic self enjoys whipping up white chocolate and coconut-dipped strawberries with Veuve Clicquot Champagne - while his aggressive self lives by the motto - if you can't take the heat, get the f**k outta the kitchen.
Lia, a 28-year-old executive sous chef from Tacoma, WA who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY
Originally a literature major, Lia found her passion in cooking and never looked back. Currently the executive sous chef at Manhattan's elite Jean Georges restaurant, this self-taught, self-starter knew that to be the best - she had to train under the best. She has honed her skills at Jean Georges and now feels she is one of the top line cooks around. Living in New York, she has been influenced by many different types of food and calls her signature style eclectic. Lia feels it's key to always be proud of what you do.
Micah, a 33-year-old catering business owner from South Africa who currently resides in Boca Raton, FL
A world-traveled single mother, Micah currently owns her own catering company. Best known for her eclectic world cuisine, her customers rave about her specialty - guava chili glazed lamb chop with passion fruit mint sauce. She thrives on usually being the only woman in the kitchen and loves when people underestimate her. For fun, she used to race sailboats and enjoys fishing if she can cook what she catches. An English Literature major, Micah was a restaurant reviewer and the editor of a boating magazine. She is currently at work on a children's book entitled "Silly Tilly Cooks Fusilli."
Sandee, a 39-year-old executive chef from Saint Simon's Island, GA who currently resides in Miami Beach, FL
A Georgia native, Sandee specializes in southern soul food. Her signature dish is grilled hamachi collar with southern collard greens and soy sherry reduction with jalapeĆ±o corn bread. Enough said. Not a chef by trade, Sandee never attended Culinary School and has only worked at Tantra, a hot South Beach restaurant. Hired as a line cook, she has worked hard and studied just about every book around to become the Executive Chef. Since taking over the kitchen at Tantra, she has received 3-stars and rave reviews. Strong and independent, she is not a pushover. Sandee is aware that everyone will underestimate her, but she is adamant that while her opponents are playing it safe, she will work harder because she doesn't know any other way. Sandee says, "Dream as if you'll live forever, and live as if you'll die today."
Sara M., a 34-year-old cheese maker from Kingston, Jamaica who currently resides in Miami, FL
Sara M. grew up in Kingston Jamaica, and began her culinary career under Chef Mark Militello, one of the forefathers of New Florida cuisine. She then became the Sous Chef for Michelle Bernstein at Tantra in Miami, her second home. After a five-year stint as Chef de Cuisine at Ortanique in Miami, she left her comfort zone to discover her true passion for cheese. Sarah M. wants to bring cheese to her native land of Jamaica because she says there's a real need for good cheese there. She feels her passion and strong palate will shine through as she competes on her home turf. Time will tell if Sarah M. can hold true to her motto, "Do unto others as you would do unto yourself."
Sara N., a 25-year-old executive sous chef from Santa Monica, CA who currently resides in New York City
A native of Santa Monica, California, Sara N. attacks everything she attempts with the utmost passion. After graduating at the top of her class from culinary school, Sara N. landed an internship at the upscale Per Se in New York City. She then had the opportunity to be the sous chef at Chef & Company and moved on to work as the Executive Chef at Stone Rose. Sarah N. attributes her fast rise in the restaurant industry to her innate cooking skills and ability to manage people. She excels at fine dining, corporate and private catering, and feels that food should be simple, seasonal and satisfying. She plans to beat out the competition by saying she'll either find a way or make one.
Tre, a 30-year-old chef de cuisine from Duncanville, TX who currently resides in Cedar Hills, TX
A self-taught chef, Tre worked his way through the ranks to become the main chef at Abacus, one of the best restaurants in Dallas. The proud father of two, he remains extremely passionate about both his family and his food. It's all in the presentation for Tre, who considers the spoon his paintbrush. He lives by the motto "make it nice or make it twice." In great shape, he loves the gym almost as much as cooking. Sure to win over America with his beautiful plates and charming dimples, Tre is ready to be nationally recognized for his culinary abilities.