Current: Co-owner and Chef at Béarnaise, We, The Pizza, and Good Stuff Eatery in Washington, D.C.
Spike Mendelsohn first competed on Top Chef: Chicago Season 4 and came back to compete on Top Chef All-Stars Season 8. Growing up in St. Petersburg, FL and Montreal, Canada, where his parents operated a restaurant, Spike knew early on he wanted a career in the culinary world and eventually went on to graduate from the Culinary Institute of America. He then learned the classic cuisines at world renowned restaurants Gerard Boyer at Les Crayeres, Thomas Keller at Bouchon, and The Maccioni Family's Le Cirque. In 2008, he opened his first restaurant, the award-winning burger joint in Washington D.C. called Good Stuff Eatery and has since opened two more, very popular locations in the area. Spike also opened two locations of We, The Pizza in D.C. and most recently a steak frites restaurant Béarnaise located just next to the original Good Stuff Eatery location.
Current: Chef de Cuisine at Hill Country Barbeque Market in Brooklyn, NY
Ash Fulk hails from Pleasant Hill, California. Fulk has recently been the chef de cuisine of Hill Country Barbecue Market in Manhattan, where he delivered them two stars from the NY Times and made it the highest rated Barbecue spot in NYC. He is currently the chef de cuisine of the new Hill Country Barbecue Market in Brooklyn, NY. Fulk is an entirely self-taught locavore who focuses on regional and seasonal preparations and operates by the principle "If it grows together, it goes together." Fulk got his start in San Diego where he led the kitchen at the W and worked with Katie Grebow to open Café Chloe. He soon moved to New York and became the Chef de Cuisine at Trestle on Tenth, where his boss Ralf Kreutel considered him "a freewheeler." "He just figures it out as it goes along, and the dishes usually come out fantastic. It's a good trait to have."
Current: Chef and Owner of Añejo in New York City and Poppy Den in Las Vegas, NV
Currently, Angelo serves as the chef and owner of the Michelin Recommended Añejo in Hell's Kitchen NYC (with a second location opening in TriBeCa soon) and Poppy Den in Las Vegas. Serving modern takes on traditional Mexican tastes, the menu at Añejo is engineered to complement the tequila list - one of the city's best - from top to bottom. The cuisine at Poppy Den is at once familiar and new, achieved through Chef Sosa's extraordinary ability to extract simple ingredients and build them into complex layers of flavor. In 2012 he also released his first cookbook, Flavor Exposed, guiding readers through the culinary philosophy and approach to flavor and ingredients that are found across his menus. Angelo, who also created the menu for Buddakan, the Stephen Starr hotspot restaurant in NYC, always has salt, Japanese fish sauce, cinnamon, green cardamom and lily bulbs handy in the kitchen.
Current: Chef and Proprietor of Qui and East Side King in Austin, TX
Paul Qui is chef/proprietor at qui restaurant and East Side King, a group of food trailers and restaurants, in Austin, Texas. Born in Manila, Philippines and trained in classic French and Japanese cuisine, Paul takes a modernist approach towards food, where there are no boundaries. Paul learned to adapt traditional Japanese dishes with an eye towards local flavor, all while incorporating influences from South East Asian and European cuisine during his time in the kitchen at Uchi and Uchiko. Paul is the recipient of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southwest 2012, winner of Top Chef Season 9, and winner of the San Pellegrino Cooking Cup 2013. Paul was named one of Food & Wine magazine's 2014 Best New Chefs and Top 10 Empire Builders of 2012.
Current: Chef and Owner of Sweet Cheeks Q in Boston, MA
Tiffani Faison began working in restaurants at the age of 14. She has worked her way from busser to Chef/Owner. She began cooking for Todd English in Boston and has traveled the country and the world working for such renowned chefs as Daniel Boulud, Alain Ducasse & Tony Maws. In 2009, Tiffani was tapped to run Rocca Kitchen & Bar, earning a three-star review from the Boston Globe. She then opened her first venture, Sweet Cheeks, adding another three-star review to her resume. Tiffani was the runner-up on Top Chef Season 1 and competed on Top Chef All-Stars and the upcoming Top Chef Duels. She is a tireless advocate for LGBT human rights issues and lives in Boston with her wife and furry kids.
Current: Co-Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Hudson House, The Tripel and Playa Provisions in California
Brooke is a self-taught chef who started her career at age 15 as an assistant at the Epicurean Institute of Los Angeles. At 18, she worked as a pastry assistant at Fenix at the Argyle Hotel, and was soon noticed by Chef Ken Frank, who invited her to work in the savory kitchen. Brooke moved onto the acclaimed restaurant Michael's in Santa Monica, where she became Sous Chef. After a brief internship at Daniel in New York, she returned to Los Angeles, where she was appointed Executive Chef at Boxer and later Zax. She was heralded by The Los Angeles Times as a "culinary wunderkind," and was also the youngest chef to ever cook at the James Beard House. Brooke left Zax to open Amuse Café and Beechwood with husband Nick Roberts, where she earned the title "Rising Star Chef" by StarChefs.com, and now the two own and operate popular gastropubs The Tripel & Hudson House, as well as their new 4-in-1 concept Playa Provisions.
Current: Top Chef 11 Runner-up and Fan Favorite
A native of St. Lucia, Nina Compton has trained in French, Caribbean and Italian kitchens. She has worked under renowned Chef Daniel Boulud and now lives in Miami where she worked for acclaimed chef Scott Conant. A self-proclaimed "gnocchi queen," Nina always keeps Maldon salt, good olive oil, lemon, calabrese chilies, and either pancetta or guanciale on hand. Nina strongly believes one should enjoy the moment whenever they are cooking.
Current: Top Chef Fan Favorite
Chris is the Executive Chef of Hyde Sunset and Cooley's in Los Angeles. Born in a small town in Ohio, Chris decided he wanted to venture into larger cities to follow his culinary passions. He attended Johnson & Wales University in Norfolk, Virginia and Providence, Rhode Island where he received his Bachelors of Science degree in Culinary Arts. From there, he journeyed to California where he trained with his chef mentor Tony DiSalvo, former Executive Chef at Jean Georges in NYC. Chris incorporates Italian, Asian, and Spanish influences in his cooking, but never loses sight of the customer's culinary journey. His focus is on flavor, texture, whimsy, and creating the most memorable dining experience possible. If he were given a last supper, he says, "It would have to include biscuits and gravy, to honor my southern roots."
Current: Top Chef Season 10 winner
Born in South Korea and adopted into a family in Kentwood, MI, Kristen Kish showed an affinity for cooking at a young age. Her mother suggested she go to culinary school and since attending Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, Kristen has never looked back. After moving to Boston, Kristen has worked in many high-profile restaurants including Michelin-star Chef Guy Martin's Sensing and Barbara Lynch's Stir as Chef de Cuisine, overseeing all back of house operations, including the design and execution of nightly menus and demonstration dinners for 10 guests. Kristen went on to compete on Bravo's Top Chef Season 10 where she won the coveted title, becoming the second female chef to win the prestigious competition. Most recently, Kristen was Chef de Cuisine of Menton, Chef Barbara Lynch's fine dining restaurant.
Current: developing her own restaurant concept in partnership with long time friend and peer, Meg Sahs, in Chicago.
Sarah Grueneberg developed a love for the culinary arts as a very small child. Raised in Houston, Texas, Sarah spent the majority of her free time cooking and baking with her grandparents while her mother traveled for work. Grueneberg attended the Art Institute of Houston and attained her Associate's degree in the Culinary Arts in 2001. To gain hands-on experience and further broaden her love of all things Italian, Sarah began travelling to Italy at least once a year to work with and visit some of the country's best Chefs and food producers. Grueneberg cooked in some of the most heralded Italian kitchens, including Il San Lorenzo and Grano in Rome, Il Rigolleto in Reggiolo, and Del Pescatore, the three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Canento Sul’Oligo. She is also preparing for her next big adventure, developing her very own restaurant concept in partnership with long time friend and peer, Meg Sahs in her favorite American city, Chicago.
Current: Chef owner at Blackbelly Catering, Blackbelly Farm and Blackbelly Market
Winner of Top Chef: New York Season 5, hails from Taos, New Mexico and currently resides in Colorado. While pursuing his Engineering Physics degree, he worked at a variety of restaurants. It was only after graduating that he realized he wanted to become a professional chef. He worked his way up the ranks, under the guidance of chefs such as Wolfgang Puck, Kevin Taylor, Sean Yontz and Dave Query. Hosea has won numerous awards including Best Chef of Denver International Wine Festival; seven-time winner of the Flatiron Chef Competition; and serving as Guest Chef at the James Beard House three times. Most recently, he opened Blackbelly Catering and Blackbelly Farm that utilizes the organic produce and livestock raised at the farm. In July of 2014, Hosea will unveil his new eatery, butcher shop, and bar, Blackbelly Market, which will offer guests an incredible farm to table dining experience.
Current: Chef of Aveline and The European in San Francisco, CA
Learning from celebrity chef Dean Fearing at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, one of Texas' most historical fine dining restaurants. She then opened and became the Executive Chef at one of Dallas' most popular Asian restaurants, Shinsei. After competing on Top Chef, Casey then settled in San Francisco and traveled the world, learning techniques from places as far as Thailand and Argentina. She became the American Ambassador for an Argentinian Malbec, a brand of Moet-Hennessey, and cooked her way through the Napa Valley learning the art of pairing farmed foods with wines. Casey split her time between the West Coast and Texas. In 2010, she opened Brownstone Restaurant in Fort Worth to critical acclaim. In the spring of 2014, she opened Aveline restaurant and The European bar in the heart of San Francisco. Casey can currently be seen on Better Living's television show, In the Kitch.
Current: Owner of TD Concepts
Tiffany's "Don't Mess with Texas" attitude has a warmth and charm that makes everyone want to visit her home state. She began in the kitchen when she was 15 at IHOP where she learned speed, and by 17, her leadership skills in the business were evident as she became the youngest person in management. In addition, she received her seafood training from Houston's Pesce Restaurant while still in school. After graduation, became the Executive Sous Chef of Grotto Cucina. In 2011, Derry teamed with Patrick Halbert of the Halstin Group to open Private|Social in the heart of Uptown, Dallas to much fanfare. In 2013, Derry parted ways with Private|Social to focus on Tiffany Derry Concepts (TDC), a company established to support Derry's business and culinary ventures, which include television shows and partnerships with the world's most recognized brands.
Current: Chef and Owner of Chung Lee Consulting
Shirley is the finalist for season 11 Top Chef New Orleans. She opened her own culinary consulting company, Chung Lee Consulting in Las Vegas after Top Chef. Her first project, Twenty Eight, modern Chinese cuisine restaurant will be open in summer of 2014 in Orange County California. Before Top Chef, she was the Executive Chef for China Poblano by Jose Andres. Shortly after she opened China Poblano, it was nominated for the Best New Restaurant Award by James Beard in 2011. Born and raised in Beijing China, Shirley immigrated to America at age 17 for college education. She is trained in classic French and Italian cuisine, worked and opened restaurants for Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy and Mario Batali. After she opened CarneVino as Chef de Cuisine for the Batali group, CarneVino earned multiple awards for Best Steak House internationally.