There have only been a few Top Chef Masters winners, compared to the many winners on Top Chef who had to deal with quickfire challenges, elimination challenges, and so much more. This makes Top Chef Masters winners that much more impressive, as it's no small feat to be one of the few to have succeeded in making it to the top as a Top Chef Master winner. Anyone who wins Top Chef Master is amazingly talented in the kitchen and adept at working under pressure, so it makes sense that these victors would go on to do amazing things.
Rick Bayless, Marcus Samuelsson, Floyd Cardoz, Chris Cosentino, and Douglas Keane all won their respective seasons of the Bravo spin-off TV show that features world-renowned chefs competing every week in challenges as contestants. Hosted in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and around the country, Top Chef is full of magic chefs and sous chefs, and one of the few places we can watch masters get schooled. These masters of disaster compete in episodes such as 'Offal Tasty,' 'Miniaturize Me,' and 'The Lost Supper,' battling it to the top over the episode themes.
Top Chef Masters have gone on to open wildly popular restaurants, write memoirs, host TV shows, and so much more. Winning Top Chef Masters not only shows how talented a person is, it also sets winners up for success, giving them the recognition and fame they need to make their dreams into reality. The question that many fans of the show are wondering is, where are these masters now?
Rick Bayless won the first season of Top Chef Masters. Michael Chiarello and Hubert Keller were the runners-up, and the judges that season were James Oseland, Gael Greene, Jay Rayner, and Gail Simmons.
After advancing to the Champions round, Rick won the title of Top Chef Master in 2009.
Today, Rick has several restaurants, including Frontera Grill in Chicago. Foodies likely come from all over to sample his dishes. Who cares about dietary restrictions when you can dine like a Top Chef participant?
Marcus Samuelsson, an Ethiopian Swedish-American chef and restaurateur, beat out Rick Moonen and Susur Lee for the title on the second season. It featured the same judges and host, Kelly Choi.
Today, Marcus is the head chef of Red Rooster in Harlem in New York City. He also had a six-part series called No Passport Required on PBS in 2018 that featured immigrant food and culture in the United States. He's also an author, having written 'Yes, Chef,' a memoir co-written with Veronica Chambers about his early life that won the James Beard award for Writing and Literature about food.
On Floyd's season, Mary Sue Milliken and Traci Des Jardins were beaten by the former Paowalla owner and executive chef at Tabla. Ruth Reichl became a judge, and Curtis Stone took over as host.
Sadly, Floyd died from COVID-19 on March 25, 2020.
Chris won the next season of Top Chef Masters. He beat Kerry Heffernan for the title in a season that featured Krista Simmons and Francis Lam as judges.
According to his website, Chris is co-owner of Jackrabbit in Portland, Acacia House in Napa Valley, and Rosalie in Houston, Texas.
Douglas won the fifth Top Chef Masters season. Bryan Voltaggio and Jennifer Jasinski were runners-up in 2013, and Lesley Suter was added as a judge.
Douglas founded a restaurant in Sonoma County, Cyrus, according to his website. He also operates Two Birds/One Stone with his chef-partner Sang Yoon, as well as the Healdsburg Bar & Grill.
Other famous Top Chef Masters contestants have included Mark Peel, Jonathan Waxman, and Ludo Lefebvre.
?Do you have a favorite contestant or guest judge from Top Chef Masters?
This post was originally published on July 16, 2021.