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Where Are They Now? Top Chef Edition

Top Chef contestants on set

Each season we fall in love with the talented chefs on Top Chef. But each year after the winner is announced and the cameras click off, we often lose touch with the personalities and foodies who captured our hearts in the first place. Sure, after 18 seasons there are a lot of competitors to keep up with, but we figured it was about time to look back at some of the most memorable chefs and see what they’re up to now.

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Carla Hall

Top Chef Appearances: Seasons 5 & 8

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Carla is probably one of the most recognizable faces to come from the Top Chef franchise so much so that we sometimes forget that’s where she got her start. Although she didn’t win her initial season or her All-Stars run she was voted Fan Favourite in the latter, which may have been partially why, later that year, she was cast as one of the hosts on The Chew.

Related: Carla Hall Shares Her Favourite Moments From This Season of Halloween Baking Championship

Since The Chew’s cancellation in 2018, Hall has been a TV staple, appearing on Halloween Baking Championship, Sesame Street, Best Baker in America, and Worst Cooks in America.

Richard Blais

Top Chef Appearances: Seasons 4 & 8

 

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This chef, with his memorable take on classic American cuisine, was super popular during his first run on the show, which led to his invitation to Top Chef: All-Stars. There, he beat Mike Isabella and took home the ultimate title. Since that memorable season, the New Yorker has been involved with a handful of restaurants and has written three cookbooks, while also appearing on several TV shows.

Last December Richard opened Four Flamingos in Orlando, adding to his collection of established eateries.

Michael Voltaggio

Top Chef Appearances: Season 6

 

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Part of Michael’s original appeal to viewers when he joined the franchise was the fact he joined it with his brother, Bryan. In the end, it was Michael who won the entire thing, solidifying his spot in Top Chef history. Since then the talented chef has gone on to do some pretty notable things, including stopping by as a guest judge on Top Chef Canada and making cameos as himself on shows like Young & Hungry and Lucifer.

Most recently Michael appeared on The Julia Child Challenge to judge a new batch of foodie hopefuls. He’s also been involved with several restaurants, including Estuary with his brother in Washington, D.C., which they only recently parted ways with.

Mei Lin

Top Chef Appearances: Season 12

Mei easily won over our hearts during her Top Chef appearances thanks to her notable Chinese-American plates and impressive background including working as Michael Voltaggio’s sous-chef and at the Las Vegas iteration of Wolfgang Puck’s Spago. It was no real surprise when she won the season, but her career only grew from there.

After the show, Mei worked as Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef and contributed to her cookbook, Food, Health & Happiness. In 2019 she also opened her first restaurant, Nightshade, and was a James Beard Foundation Award finalist for Best New Restaurant. Most recently she opened the doors on her second L.A. spot, Daybird, in March 2021.

Melissa King

Top Chef Appearances: Seasons 12 & 17

 

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Melissa is one of the most notable Top Chef competitors since she’s the record-holder for most single-season challenge wins. (She currently holds a 41% best win percentage, the highest of any competitor.) Although she only made it to the finals her first time around, she emerged victorious following the Season 17 All-Star competition, beating out Bryan Voltaggio and Stephanie Cmar.

Since her time on the show, Melissa has collaborated with ice cream company Humphry Slocombe and created a small-batch line of condiments called King Sauce. Recently she’s been teaching her skills to others with virtual cooking classes and she was one of the chefs behind the 2022 Met Gala menu.

Brian Malarkey

Top Chef Appearances: Seasons 3 & 17

After making it to the finals in the franchise’s third season, Brian returned for an All-Star edition years later and placed fourth. Those aren’t his only TV appearances though: the chef has been on a slew of Food Network shows and has also been a regular contributor to the Today Show and Good Morning America.

Over his career, Brian has created more than 15 successful restaurants. In 2012 he notably sold his majority stake in his very first restaurant group for $25 million and he’s been plugging away at eateries ever since.

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