Top Chef has produced some of the most pioneering culinary marvels over the years. While some former finalists have gone to head kitchens at some of the most esteemed fine diners across America, some former contestants have started their own restaurants and food brands.
Many former contestants of Top Chef are thriving as entrepreneurs in the food and beverage industry and since some former contestants garnered a steady following during their sting on the show, fans want to keep tabs on their future projects as well. Many former ‘cheftestants’ are in fact, participating in other culinary reality challenges. Here are the best platforms for following the contestants who did not win Top Chef.
11 Lee Ann Wong
Lee Ann Wong was one of the finalists ON the very first season of Top Chef and proudly wears an ‘OG Top Chef’ badge on her Instagram handle. Instagram and Twitter are incidentally also the best places to keep up with Lee because she has quite a lot going on. Though she worked as the Executive Chef of Event Operations at The French Culinary Institute in the past, she is currently a partner at the island-style brunch house Koko Head Cafe in Hawaii. She moved to Maui with her family to conceptually revamp The Pioneer Inn, Maui’s first and oldest hotel. Lee’s Instagram is as stunning as it’s educational, she often promotes small businesses, shares pictures of the most stunning and elaborate garden dinners and behind-the-scenes moments from her properties.
10 Leah Cohen
Leah Cohen from season 5 offers the most authentic Filipino-Thai-accented South East Asian food at her New York eatery Pig and Khao which has coped well amid the pandemic. She’s also the author of the cookbook Lemongrass and Lime and Instagram is beyond a doubt the best place to follow Leah.
Not only she shares updates about her restaurant on her page but shares really engaging videos from her own kitchen where she talks about her diet, her favorite culinary hacks and even some easy air-fryer recipes which should certainly explain why she has more than 31,000 followers and counting.
9 Antonia Lofaso
After she came in fourth in season 4, Lofaso went back for season 8 and came in third, and has also been a part of culinary shows like Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen and Restaurant Startup. She currently owns three LA properties, the curved brick late-night joint Black Market Liquor Bar, the Italian diner Scopa Italian Roots, and the Latin-inspired restaurant and bar DAMA. Though she has a Twitter page, she’s the most active on Instagram where she doesn’t just share DIY recipes and hacks but also shares workout secrets.
8 Bryan Voltaggio
Bryan Voltaggio competed against his brother Michael on Top Chef season 6 and while Michael won, Bryan went on to start quite a few properties, the most noteworthy being the Santa Monica seafood joint Voltaggio STRFSH and he joined hands with Michael to come up with a modern steakhouse in Maryland’s Oxon Hill, known as the Voltaggio Steak House. Twitter is a great place to follow him, as he shares updates of his upcoming appearances.
But his Instagram handle has some of the most fascinating images of local produce and signature dishes whipped up by him personally using farm-fresh ingredients. An example? His soft shell crab ramp nuoc cham, celeriac and tiarra cabbage slaw.
7 Angelo Sosa
Sosa, of course, owns the Tribeca hotspot Anejo and though he has a website and a Twitter presence, Sosa’s Instagram is a total stunner especially for culinary enthusiasts who are looking to perk up their feed. The chef whips up some of the most radical recipes and experiments with a lot of unusual ingredients that aren’t usually spotted together. He specifically loves sharing images of searing Wagyu ribeye varieties and live barbecue videos and often shares his experiments with his followers. For instance, he shared the picture of an Australian Wagyu Pastrami that took him five attempts to perfect.
6 Tiffani Faison
Twitter is a great place to follow Season one and All-Stars finalist Tiffani Faison; not only does the chef share personal updates and funny tweets but fans can also keep tabs on her opinions on social and cultural issues and learn about her upcoming appearances.
Faison doesn’t share a lot of food snaps on her social media, be it Twitter or Instagram, but if a fan wants to browse through her immaculate southern grills and Berkshire pork racks, her Boston BBQ joint Sweet Cheeks BBQ’s Instagram handle is a great platform.
5 Sam Talbot
Sam Talbot made quite a splash on the second season of Top Chef and has one of the most interesting Instagram pages. He is currently a judge on Chopped 420 and often shares videos from the show on his social media; he also posts a lot of videos about diabetes awareness since he is a Type 1 Diabetic. But his cooking hacks are the most useful to his fans because they are so handy and time-efficient. This Christmas, for instance, he shared a detailed recipe of barbecue beer can chicken and also revealed how to use the leftovers.
4 Spike Mendelsohn
Barack Obama himself follows Mendelsohn on Twitter so his feed is all kinds of amazing; be it updates about his properties or unusual food and produce brands or reminders to restock snacks, his Twitter has it all. He has more than 29,000 followers on Instagram and his handle is the perfect balance of personal updates and promotional details about his many properties. His healthy diner, Vim & Victor, and his artisanal burger, Good Stuff Eatery, both have dedicated Instagram pages and some amazingly elaborate food snaps.
3 Jen Biesty
Top Chef finalist and Chopped Season 43 champion Jen Biesty was really active on Twitter till the end of 2019, but last year onwards she has steered towards Instagram as she began sharing a lot more content about her Oakland Mediterranean diner Shakewell that is famed for its tapas pairings, bomba rice paella, handcrafted cocktails, and wood-fired flatbreads. Biesty took to Instagram in early May to announce that the diner is resuming indoor dining and regularly posts snaps from the Shakewell kitchen.
2 Brooke Williamson
Brooke Williamson is one of the most popular Top Chef contestants. For fans who want to keep up with her appearances at Guy Fieri’s Food Network show Tournament of Champions, Twitter is the best place. Williamson shares regular updates and promos about the show, and on Instagram, she shares any behind-the-scenes snaps from her many properties. The ex-Top Chef contender and husband Nick Roberts own a unique four-in-one model featuring four kinds of spaces nestled within a 7,000-square foot property called Playa Provisions.
1 Beverly Kim
The James Beard Award-winning chef Beverly King was a contestant on Top Chef season 9 and co-owns the Michelin-starred Korean restaurant Parachute in Chicago. Twitter is where Beverly shares her philanthropic endeavors and social work, often also sharing the work of her peers. On Instagram shares many endearing family pictures, personal triumphs, and delicious recipes from her kitchen. Her Instagram is a treasure trove of authentic South Asian curations that are easy to recreate like squash porridge with homemade pine nut stuffed rice cake balls and Beef Short rib with butter rice etc.
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