Cooking shows have always been popular, whether they're featuring adults in Cutthroat Kitchen, or kids in series such as the Kid's Baking Championship. Either way, many times these shows are featured on networks that specialize in food programs, but my favorite cooking show is on the network that specializes in The Real Housewives: Top Chef, on Bravo. Top Chef has been on for over 10 years, and somehow they still manage to think of new, creative challenges every time. As an extreme Top Chef fan, whenever I go to a new city, I am always on the look out to see if there are any restaurants owned by my favorite Top Chef participants. Here is a list of great restaurants opened by Top Chef Alumni.
This is a restaurant that I have wanted to go to for a long time, and when I found out it is run by not only one, but two, Top Chef Alumni, it made me want to try it even more. Jeff Mcinnis from season 5 of Top Chef, and his wife Janine Booth from season 11 of Top Chef, opened Root and Bone in New York City, but it mainly features "Southern, rural American cooking." Some of the restaurant's specialties include their biscuits and their mac n' cheese.
At this restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the chef is a personal Top Chef Alumni favorite of mine, Carl Dooley. Carl was on season 13 of Top Chef, and opened The Table in January of 2016. At The Table, Carl uses his training in French techniques to highlight seasonal ingredients. Carl made it very far in the competition and since Top Chef he has been very successful in his personal career as the chef at The Table.
Richard Blais is acting chef and partner at Juniper and Ivy. Blais first competed on Top Chef Season 4, where he lost in the finale, so he came back in season 8, Top Chef All-Stars, for redemption. He won Top Chef season 8, and since then has featured regularly as a judge on the show. Juniper and Ivy is in San Diego, California, and offers "refined American food with Left Coast Edge." Blais was known for his extravagantly creative techniques on Top Chef and brings that same style to his restaurant.
Stephanie Izard is not only a badass who was the first woman to win Top Chef, but she is also the chef at this restaurant in Chicago, Illinois. Izard was the winner of Top Chef Season 4, and even throughout all the seasons of Top Chef she remains only one of three women winners of the competition. Her restaurant, The Girl and the Goat, opened in 2010 and serves family style food with a global influence. Izard has two other restaurants as well: Little Goat Diner and Duck Duck Goat.
5. Pig and Khao
As a New York native, Pig and Khao is another restaurant I have been wanting to try for a while. Pig and Khao offers Southeast Asian inspired cuisine with a variety of Thai and Filipino influences. Leah Cohen competed on Season 5 of Top Chef and made it very far in the competition. She is most well-remembered for having a relationship with the winner of Season 5 Hosea Rosenberg and was the only relationship between contestants ever featured on the show.
This steakhouse is run by the infamous Voltaggio brothers, the only siblings to ever compete on Top Chef. Bryan and Michael were on Top Chef season 6, eventually going head-to-head in the finale of the season, with younger brother Michael coming out on top. Since the show, both brothers have opened multiple individual restaurants, but they finally came together to open a steakhouse. In their modern restaurant, they created a comforting atmosphere for the guest, extracting inspiration from their home state of Maryland, where the restaurant is located.
This is one of multiple restaurants of Dale Talde, a contestant from both season 4 and season 8 of Top Chef. TALDE is Dale's restaurant in Brooklyn, opened in 2012 and offers Asian-American cuisine. Dale did very well on season 8 of Top Chef, and this is only one of five restaurants he owns. I rank TALDE as definitely one of the best restaurants of Top Chef alumni.
8. The Tripel
The Tripel is Brooke Williamson's third restaurant. Brooke competed on season 10 of Top Chef and lost in the finale. She came back on season 14 and was eliminated, but ended up making it back through Last Chance Kitchen. She is now in the final 3 of season 14, with the semi-finals premiering this Thursday 2/23. Brooke has been a strong contender this entire season, and her restaurant serves the same high quality food that she presents on the show.
Graffiato, opened in June of 2011, is one of nine of Mike Isabella's restaurants. Isabella, known for his somewhat cocky demeanor, competed on season 6 and made it to the finale of season 8 of Top Chef. From personal experience, I can say that Graffiato offers delicious Italian food which is a great representation of how much Isabella advocated for his Italian roots on Top Chef.
Blackbelly is the first restaurant of Hosea Rosenberg. Hosea was the winner of Season 5 Top Chef. Blackbelly is located in Boulder, Colorado, and specializes in locally-sourced, sustainable, organic food. Hosea first opened Blackbelly catering in 2011, and shortly after he opened Blackbelly restaurant.
11. Matador Room
Jeremy Ford was the winner of Top Chef season 13. He is currently the executive chef at Matador Room, the restaurant of Jean-Georges, at Miami Beach's EDITION hotel. He has said that he will eventually want to open his own restaurant, but right now he wants to focus on Matador Room and his daughter.
I would argue that Top Chef is the best cooking show out there, complete with a perfect balance of drama between the contestants creative cooking challenges. Season 14 is coming to an end in a few weeks, but I certainly hope it continues for at least 14 more.