“Top Chef” is arguably one of the more popular cooking competitions on television these days. It’s hard to believe, but this incredibly addictive series is 15 years old and has casted, filmed, and broadcasted 18 seasons of “top chefs” fighting to prove they will be the winners of their season (via IndieWire). Eighteen seasons means there have been 18 winners. But surprisingly enough, it’s not always the show’s winners that have been the most successful post-production. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most triumphant chef’s of the competition. And how they achieved stardom even after cameras stopped rolling.
The first chef who has had some pretty noteworthy success after “Top Chef” is the lovely Carla Hall. She may not have won her season, but she did win “Fan Favorite” and competed for a second time in “Top Chef All Stars” Season 8 (via Tasting Table). It turns out, Hall’s attempts at becoming the next top chef is all she needed to discover a new successful path in life. Since her television debut, Hall has spent seven years co-hosting the successful talk-show series “The Chew,” and is currently a culinary contributor with “Good Morning America” (via Carla Hall). Even with her hands off the spices in the kitchen, Hall has found a way to spice up our morning routine.
Blais may have come second, but he's winning post-competition
The next successful “Top Chef” alum managed to grab the title when he returned again for “Top Chef All Stars” in 2010. Season 4 runner-up Richard Blais has taken his original second place trophy and maximized all he could do with it. Since the show, Blais has opened his own restaurant. And perhaps even more impressive, is that he wrote a cookbook that was nominated for a prestigious James Beard award (via Screen Rant).
Blais may know his way around a kitchen. But even today, he humbly admits he still has more to learn. When discussing what it was like to be seated at the judges table in the most recent season of “Top Chef,” Blais mused, “It’s great being part of this alumni panel. There’s so much strength on this panel,” adding, “And now, I get to learn from them and about them by being friends with them and not just competing with them” (via The Daily Dish).
Mei Li has Oprah on her resume
Top chef Mei Li is the next chef to grace our list of most successful alumni. Do you know why? Because she became the queen’s personal chef after winning Season 12 of “Top Chef” (via Screen Rant). And of course by queen, we mean none other than the one and only Oprah. Seriously, anybody that has Oprah anywhere on their resume is going places.
And if that’s not enough, Li was also awarded one of the highest compliments head judge, Tom Colicchio, has ever dished out, calling her strawberry lime curd the best dessert he had ever tasted on the show (per Screen Rant). She should throw that on her resume as well.
Li also has a fair share of Instagram followers, with over 63,000 as of this writing (via Instagram). And in the business of plating, basting, and whipping up a lighter-than-air Crème Brulee, popularity leads to success.
Kish is succeeding both personally and professionally
Speaking of social media popularity, “Top Chef” alum Kristen Kish has over 267,000 followers on Instagram, second only to Richard Blais (via Instagram). But it’s not only Kish’s social media presence that contributes to her post-show triumph. Since her well-earned comeback from last-chance kitchen and snagging her season’s crown (Season 10), Kish has gone on to open her own restaurant, write a cookbook, and co-host another TV show on the Travel Channel (via The Daily Dish).
With her professional success in the bag, Kish has also managed to achieve personal success by marrying her girlfriend, Bianca. “Threw on some nice clothes (my favorite blazer), headed to our backyard with our own written vows in hand, had our family with us (virtually), got all sappy, and WE DID THE DAMN THING,” she shared with Bravo TV.
So, can we really claim there is one “Top Chef” alumni that is the most successful over all the others. No way. Unlike Padma Lakshmi’s undeniable beauty, this is debatable. But we sure do love watching this insanely successful show continue to put insanely successful chefs up against one another and battle it out to find out who will be the next “Top Chef.”
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