‘Top Chef’ Turns 15: Where Are All the Standout Cheftestants Now?


Bravo couldn’t have known when it launched Top Chef 15 years ago on March 8 that the cooking competition would become a juggernaut franchise for the cable network, earning multiple Emmys and spawning spinoffs, cookbooks, videogames, frozen foods, and even cruises.

But the reality TV show has also been a big boost for the “cheftestants” who have won their seasons, not to mention many of the also-rans who were told to “pack their knives and go” along the way.

To mark Top Chef’s 15th anniversary — and to whet your appetite for Season 18’s April 1 premiere — we’re dishing up career updates for several fan-favorite contestants in the gallery below.

Top Chef, Season 18 Premiere, Thursday, April 1, 8/7c, Bravo

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Richard Blais

This Season 4 finalist and winner of Top Chef‘s All-Stars Season 8 is a frequent guest judge. According to his website, he’s the owner of Trail Blais, a culinary company behind restaurants around the country, including Flip Burger Boutique, Crack Shack, and Juniper & Ivy. You may have also caught Blais elsewhere on TV: He has made dozens of appearances on such shows as Guy’s Grocery Games, Rachael Ray, and Good Morning America.

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Nina Compton

Like fellow alum Stephanie Izard, this Season 11 runner-up won a James Beard Foundation Award—as Best Chef: South in 2018—after being named one of Food and Wine’s Best New Chefs. These days, she’s the chef-owner behind the New Orleans restaurants Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro, alongside husband and business partner Larry Miller. Plus, Compton serves as the “Culinary Ambassador” for her native St. Lucia, per her bio on the Connect Group website.

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Kevin Gillespie

An alum of both Season 6 and Season 17, Gillespie is the chef behind the Atlanta restaurants Gunshow, Revival, Gamechanger, Ole Reliable, and Cold Beer, and he has racked up six James Beard Foundation Award nominations, according to his Bravo bio. Between his two rounds on Top Chef, Gillespie was treated for renal cancer, but he told Instagram followers in March 2019 that he was one year cancer-free.

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Carla Hall

Hootie hoo! This Season 5 finalist, who also competed in the show’s first All-Stars season, was a cohost of ABC’s The Chew and even won a Daytime Emmy Award alongside the long-running talk show’s other hosts. Earlier this year, Hall returned to TV screens as a cohost of Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America.

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Stephanie Izard

After becoming Top Chef’s first female champ with her Season 4 win, Izard started a restaurant empire in Chicago, opening the eateries Girl & the Goat, Little Goat, Duck Duck Goat, and Cabra within blocks of one another. She also won a Food & Wine Best New Chef title in 2011 and the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes two years later.

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Kristen Kish

Top Chef’s Season 10 winner—who battled her way back from Last Chance Kitchen to take the crown—released her cookbook Kristen Kish Cooking in 2017 and opened her first restaurant, Arlo Grey, in Austin the following year. These days, she cohosts the truTV series Fast Foodies, in which she and two other cooks try to reimagine a celebrity guest’s favorite fast food delicacy.

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Brian Malarkey

This Season 4 and Season 17 contestant’s culinary success is no malarkey! According to his official bio, Malarkey has created more than 15 restaurant concepts, and he sold the majority stake of his first restaurant group to Hakkasan Group for $25 million in 2012. “Brian Malarkey has probably done better than any chef ever on the show in terms of business,” Top Chef cohost Tom Colicchio said on Watch What Happens Live in 2020.

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Fabio Viviani

This Season 5 and Season 8 alum has Chicago restaurants right down the street from Izard’s eateries, having opened Siena Tavern, Bar Siena, Prime & Provisions, and BomboBar in the Windy City since 2013. Among his hotspots around the country, Viviani also had restaurants in Tampa, Florida, but cut ties with those venues in 2020 after a business partner was accused of posting violent comments on social media, according to the Tampa Bay Times.