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Top Chef 3 Contestants Announced

May 08, 2007 10:23 PM by Joe Blackmon

Just when you thought it safe to go back in the kitchen, Bravo’s hit
culinary competition series "Top Chef 3 Miami" returns with an
hour-long special "Top Chef: 4-Star All-Stars" on Wednesday, June 6 at
10:00 p.m. ET/PT. "Top Chef: 4-Star All-Stars" reunites four of the
finalists from season’s one and two – team one’s inaugural winner
Harold Dieterle, Stephen Asprinio, Tiffani Faison, and Dave Martin
compete against season two’s winner Ilan Hall, Fan Favorite Sam Talbot,
Elia Aboumrad, and molecular gastronomist Marcel Vigneron in a $20,000
cook-off for charity. The cook-off concludes with the two teams serving
their meals to "Top Chef 3 Miami’s" 15 new chefs.

Set your kitchen timers for the premiere of "Top Chef 3 Miami" on Wednesday, June 13 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT, as the latest crop of 15 of the country’s most impressive rising chefs hit beautiful Miami Beach – where the sun is hot and the competition hotter – in this third tropical season. "Queer Eye’s" culinary expert Ted Allen brings his expertise to the judges table this season, joining cookbook author, actress and host Padma Lakshmi; Tom Colicchio, celebrated culinary figure and co-founder of Craft Restaurants; and returning judge Gail Simmons of Food & Wine.

"The new chefs bring an undeniably high level of talent and expertise to the table this season," said Colicchio. "It’ll be very interesting to see what they can do with Miami’s flavorful fruits, fresh seafood, and cultural influences."

The 15 contestants will reside in the luxurious beachfront Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, where the season’s production activity will be centered. The "Top Chef 3 Miami" chefs are:

Brian, 34 – San Diego, Calif.
Camille, 34 – Brooklyn, N.Y.
Casey, 29 – Dallas, Texas
Chris, 31 – Venice, Calif.
Clay, 27 – Santa Barbara, Calif.
Dale, 33 – Chicago, Ill.
Howie, 31 – Miami, Fla.
Hung, 29 – Las Vegas, Nev.
Joey, 29 – Franklin Square, N.Y.
Lia, 28 – Brooklyn, N.Y.
Micah, 33 – Boca Raton, Fla.
Sandee, 39 – Miami Beach, Fla.
Sara M., 34 – Miami, Fla.
Sara N., 28 – New York, N.Y.
Tre, 30 – Cedar Hill, Texas

**See chef bios below.

The winning chef receives $100,000 in seed money to help open a restaurant, be featured in Food & Wine and earn the title of "Top Chef." "Top Chef" season one winner Dieterle recently opened his new restaurant Perilla in Manhattan’s trendy West Village, and plans are underway for season two winner Hall to open his NYC-based restaurant later this year.

BravoTV.com will be home to a robust food and drink destination dedicated to "Top Chef" fans and foodies. Fans will feast on contestant profiles featuring bios, video interviews, questionnaires and photo galleries. The site will also be bringing back blogs from Colicchio, Lakshmi and Simmons, in addition to introducing new blogs from Allen and season two’s runner-up Vigneron. Visitors can also "Rate The Plate" and vote for the dish they think deserves top honors each week, in addition to getting weekly cooking tips from Lakshmi and Colicchio. Those with an insatiable "Top Chef" appetite can catch interviews with special series guests in the return of "Watch What Happens," a weekly, live-streaming, online program hosted by Bravo’s own pop culture pundit Andy Cohen, Senior Vice President, Production and Programming and writer of the popular Andy’s Blog. Still hungry? "Top Chef" season one star Lee Anne Wong returns with weekly online exclusive cooking webisodes entitled "The Wong Way To Cook," teaching viewers how to make the winning recipe at home.

"Chef" fans can also visit wap.bravotv.com from their web-enabled phone for exclusive contestant and judge Q & As, photo diaries, foodie favorites, video tips, wallpapers, and ringtones. Fans also can text CHEF to 27286 to get the spicy behind-the-scenes dish (three in-show text messages every week). Also, devotees can use their cell phones for exclusive mobisodes featuring interviews with the "Top Chef" special guest judges.

Lakshmi Bio: Actress, model, food expert, and award-winning cookbook writer, Lakshmi returns as host of "Top Chef 3 Miami," introducing the challenges to the contestants and presiding over judges’ table each week. Lakshmi’s second cookbook, "Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet," is a culinary endeavor of over 120 recipes from around the world and intriguing personal memoirs and is due in October 2007 from Weinstein Books. This is a follow up to her successful first cookbook, "Easy Exotic," for which she won the International Versailles Event for best cookbook by a first time writer. Lakshmi hosted "Padma’s Passport" on The Food Network, cooking diverse and low-fat cuisine based on those recipes from her first cookbook. Lakshmi also hosted the documentary series "Planet Food" for The Food Network and worldwide Discovery Channel, in which she journeyed the world for exotic cuisine.

Colicchio Bio: Colicchio is the chef and owner of Craft, Craftbar and Craftsteak in New York; Craft Dallas; Craftsteak Las Vegas; and ‘wichcraft in New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas. He’s the former chef and co-owner of Gramercy Tavern in New York, and is soon opening Craft Los Angeles (2007) and Craft at the Mansion on Peachtree in Atlanta (2008). Colicchio is the recipient of a three-star review for Craft restaurant from The New York Times and three James Beard Awards. He is the author of two cookbooks and is currently at work on a ‘wichcraft sandwich book.

Simmons Bio: Simmons lends her strong culinary expertise as a judge and critic for Bravo’s "Top Chef," and will taste and critique the competing chefs’ creations each week alongside judge Colicchio. Simmons has been with Food & Wine since 2004, currently in charge of special projects for the epicurean magazine. In this role, Simmons oversees the brand’s signature event, the Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen, which will celebrate its 25th year next June. In addition, she works on the magazine’s chef-related events and programs.

Allen Bio: Allen is the food and wine specialist on the Emmy Award-winning Bravo hit "Queer Eye," where he helps guests and viewers sharpen their cooking and entertaining skills. He is also the host/narrator of a new wine show on PBS, "Uncorked: Wine Made Simple," due out this summer, and is author of "The Food You Want to Eat: 100 Smart, Simple Recipes" (Clarkson-Potter), a cookbook for beginners that features easy, all-natural recipes for everything from steak to cocktails. Allen also appears regularly as a judge on Food Network’s "Iron Chef America."

Bravo’s hit reality competition series "Top Chef" offers a fascinating window into the competitive, pressure-filled environment of world-class cookery and the restaurant business at the highest level. A delight for all the senses, each episode holds two challenges for the chefs. The first is a quickfire test of their basic abilities and the second is a more involved elimination challenge designed to test the versatility and invention of the chefs as they take on unique culinary trials, such as working with unusual and exotic foods or catering for a range of demanding clients. The challenges not only test their skills in the kitchen, but also uncover if they have the customer service, management and teamwork abilities required of a "Top Chef." The heat is on in Miami as the competing chefs live and breathe the high-pressure lifestyle that comes with being a master chef, and each week someone is asked to "pack up their knives" and go home. In addition, each week will feature a special guest judge, some of the most respected figures in the culinary industry.

"Top Chef" debuted in March 2006 to critical acclaim and ratings success, only to return with season two in August 2006, which averaged over 2 million total viewers, ranking as the top food series on cable among adults18-49. The "Top Chef" season two finale was cable’s most-watched entertainment telecast of the month among adults 18-49.

Magical Elves returns to produce "Top Chef 3 Miami." Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, who also produced "Project Runway" and "Project Greenlight" for Bravo, return as executive producers. Shauna Minoprio also serves as executive producer.

Following are the 15 candidates of Bravo’s "Top Chef 3 Miami."

BRIAN
AGE: 34
HOMETOWN: Bend, Ore. – currently resides in San Diego, Calif.
PROFESSION: Executive Chef, The Oceanaire Seafood Room
CULINARY EDUCATION: Western Culinary Institute
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Cold Beer, Cold Wine & Cold Seafood

A native of Oregon, Brian grew up inspired by his grandmother’s cooking and by all the fresh seafood and produce the area offered. He soon set his sights on California, where he was recently voted 2007 Best Chef in San Diego for his work as Executive Chef at the Oceanaire Seafood Room. He’s in constant competition with everyone in San Diego and makes it a point to do everything bigger and better in his restaurant. At the top of his game, Brian’s high-energy makes him a whirlwind in the kitchen. Stay-tuned to see just how long he can live by his motto, "Love, peace and happiness."

CAMILLE
AGE: 34
HOMETOWN: Elizabeth, N.J. – currently resides in Brooklyn, N.Y.
PROFESSION: Owner/Chef, Paloma
CULINARY EDUCATION: Culinary School, Academy of Culinary Arts
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Mixed Greens Salad with Baby Grains

Camille hails from Puerto Rico, and is the proud owner of Paloma Restaurant in Brooklyn, New York. She incorporates Latin spice into her kitchen, and is all business when it comes to her cooking. Camille has a 5-year-old daughter, and attempts to stay positive and balanced by meditating with a 100-year-old Zen Master. She has worked in all aspects of the restaurant business, and often surprises people by her occupation. Camille says the world would be a better place if everyone knew how to cook.

CASEY
AGE: 29
HOMETOWN: Cedar Hills, Texas – currently resides in Dallas, Texas
PROFESSION: Executive Chef, Shinsei Restaurant
CULINARY EDUCATION: Self-Taught
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Big Burgers

The executive chef at Shinsei Restaurant in Dallas, one of the most successful in the state, Casey’s cuisine incorporates Asian and Mexican cultural influences. This rising star lives by her simple yet time-tested cooking philosophy – serve food that people want more of. Casey names tartare the most romantic dish because it’s raw, risky, ice cold and delicious. Her outgoing and confident manner will "serve" her well in the competition.

CHRIS
AGE: 31
HOMETOWN: El Toro, Calif. – currently resides in Venice, Calif.
PROFESSION: Private Chef
CULINARY EDUCATION: Associated Culinary Arts (CSCA)
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Marinated Tomatoes with Beef and Cheese

A true Californian at heart, Chris is a private chef who has worked for the likes of author and columnist Arianna Huffington and the Marciano Family of the Guess Corporation. An ex-volleyball player standing at 6’8" – it seems everyone looks up to him. Chris is motivated to live life to the fullest having overcome testicular cancer. He has a competitive spirit and the utmost confidence in his culinary skills.

CLAY
AGE: 28
HOMETOWN: Northern Mississippi – currently resides in Santa Barbara, Calif.
PROFESSION: Sous Chef, Santa Barbara University Club
CULINARY EDUCATION: Self-Taught

Clay says he is just a good ole’ boy from Mississippi. Self-taught, Clay developed his skills from working his way up the ladder in various kitchens and truly feels he has an innate talent. Now living in Santa Barbara, he is a sous chef at the renowned Santa Barbara University Club. Clay has enjoyed bringing his southern style cooking to California and will definitely bring some different flavors and styles to the judge’s table this third season.

DALE
AGE: 34
HOMETOWN: Chicago, Ill.
PROFESSION: Chef/Consultant
CULINARY EDUCATION: Self-Taught
SIGNATURE DISH/CUISINE: Croque Monsieur

Chicago native Dale has been a chef for six years, with plans underway to open his own restaurant. Whether he’s cooking four-star meals, diving, or doing gymnastics, Dale’s competitive edge is undeniable. He has created something he calls "flavor math," where the right number of spices can bring the perfect flavor and taste. He uses French American cultural influences in his cooking, and is serious about putting his skills to the ultimate test. He loves the fact that the other contestants could be "out-cooked by a queer." Dale will say what everyone else is thinking.

HOWIE
AGE: 31
HOMETOWN: Miami, Fla.
PROFESSION: Executive Chef
CULINARY EDUCATION: Self-Taught
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Seared Scallops with Chorizo and Corn Emulsion

A Miami native, Howie claims home-court advantage in this competition. A true chef at heart he can’t help but let his passion come through in everything he does. Due to his father’s early death, Howie was raised by women and has no problem communicating his feelings. A chef for 10 years, his culinary expertise is contemporary American, Asian, and Mediterranean cuisines. A "hurricane" in the kitchen, he loves to source the best products and let them speak for themselves.

HUNG
AGE: 29
HOMETOWN: Pittsfield, Mass. – currently resides in Las Vegas, Nev.
PROFESSION: Sous Chef, Guy Savoy
CULINARY EDUCATION: A.O.S Culinary Arts, C.I.A
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Heirloom Tomatoes, Balsamic Vinegar, Basil, Mint & Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Hung works as the Executive Sous Chef at one of the most expensive restaurants in Las Vegas, Guy Savoy. Born in Vietnam and trained in classic French and Asian cuisine, he believes in cooking from the soul. Hung especially loves seafood because he says there are a million varieties and flavors to combine. He has traveled the world over learning different types of cuisines, and speaks four languages. He incorporates Asian, French and Spanish influences in his cooking. If he were a food, he says, "I would be spicy chili – it takes a while to get used to, but once you eat it you always come back for more."

JOEY
AGE: 29
HOMETOWN: Franklin Square, Long Island, N.Y. – currently resides in New York City
PROFESSION: Executive Chef, Cafà Des Artistes
EDUCATION: Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School
SIGNATURE DISH: Caramelized Diver Sea Scallops with a Wild Mushroom and Truffle Risotto

A native New Yorker and four-star chef, Joey has worked at some of New York City’s premiere restaurants – including Waters Edge, Jean Georges, Vong, and most currently Cafe de Artistes. His cooking is influenced by world cultures, and he loves to serve simple, light food always on a hot plate. Joey’s intense passion and playful mentality make him a serious contender. His romantic self enjoys whipping up white chocolate and coconut-dipped strawberries with Veuve Clicquot Champagne – while his aggressive self lives by the motto – if you can’t take the heat, get the f*** outta the kitchen.

LIA
AGE: 28
HOMETOWN: Tacoma, Wash. – currently resides in Brooklyn, N.Y.
PROFESSION: Executive Sous Chef, Jean Georges
CULINARY EDUCATION: Self-Taught
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Guacamole

Originally a literature major, Lia found her passion in cooking and never looked back. Currently the executive sous chef at M

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4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Top Chef 3 Contestants Announced”

  1. Michael K. Willis Says:
    May 9th, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    The new group sounds like another interesting…and eclectic…bunch. Should be fun.

    The “All-Star” thing should be fun as well. There’s a lot of cooking talent…not to mention, ego…on those teams so it will intriguing how they work together and what they come up with.

  2. Tunisia Says:
    May 10th, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    Oh my god! Top Chef is back and better than ever. 8 returning all stars come back to battle for 15 new chefs. Should be interesting!

  3. Jamaican Chef Says:
    May 15th, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Glad to see a Jamaican in the lineup…Not surprising, considering the food is so delicious on the island! Good luck to all the contestants, its sure to be a great season.

  4. Jamaican Chef Says:
    May 15th, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Glad to see a Jamaican in the lineup…Not surprising, considering the food is so delicious on the island! Good luck to all the contestants, its sure to be a great season.

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