Dallas' Top Chef Triple Threat

In case you've been living under a rock, Top Chef All-Stars premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on Bravo. With three tough competitors in the mix, we've got a pretty good chance of bringing home a win. The Feast sat down with our favorite chefestants to find out what each is bringing to the table this season.


Age: 27
Hometown: Beaumont, TX
Culinary Training: Art Institute of Houston
Current Gig: Private caterer (Former executive chef at Go Fish Ocean Club)
Cooking Style: Simple but flavorful.
Competitive Advantage: Stamina. "I always go 100 percent and don't let negative energy get to me."
Weakness: Emotions. "Whether I'm happy or sad, it always ends in tears."
Strategy: Focus. "I kept telling myself to forget about the pressure and everyone else. I just cooked my food and was proud of it."

What did you learn from the first go-around?
To not be shy with my cooking. Last season I held back at first and started cooking more my style once I got more comfortable. This season I just want to let them have it. If they like it, they like it; if they don't, they don't."

What was it like living with 17 other chefs?
It was different this time. I didn't know anyone very well going in, so I felt like an outsider. I got to be really good friends with Carla, though. She's awesome.

Who was your toughest competition?
I viewed everybody as tough competitors. I could go down the line and point out something that each person is good at.


Age: 33
Hometown: Fort Worth, TX
Culinary Training: Worked her way up from the bottom.
Current Gig: Executive chef at Brownstone.
Cooking Style: Local and Seasonal.
Competitive Advantage: Ability to work under pressure.
Weakness: "I didn't take the game as seriously as I did before."
Strategy: "I figured they were going to trick us this time so I tried to focus on the challenges. I also paid attention to the judges' styles—that plays a huge factor."

What did you learn from past experiences on Top Chef?
To take criticism constructively and apply it to the next challenge.

What was particularly challenging about this season?
This time there were 18 contestants—that's a lot of chefs in the kitchen. The toughest part was getting along with everyone and working with that many people.

What was it like working with Carla again?
Carla is a good friend. It was fun to be on a season with her—she's pretty funny.


Age: 34
Hometown: Duncanville, TX
Culinary Training: School of Hard Knocks
Current Gig: Executive chef at Loft 610; soon to be executive chef at Marquee in Highland Park Village.
Cooking Style: Artistic. "Plates are like a canvas and spoons are my paintbrushes."
Competitive Advantage: Discipline. "I'm very focused and in the best shape of my life."
Weakness: "I'm a creature of habit so it was hard to be away from my daily routine and family."
Strategy: "I just went in with an open mind."

What do your kids think about seeing you on TV?
They enjoy watching it. They don't really care if I win or lose. It's entertaining for them.

Who was your toughest competition?
Everybody had a chance to win. Some were highly trained—Angelo Sosa, Mike Isabella, Richard Blais—but it only takes one bad dish to lose.

What was it like living in the house?
For me, it was better than the first time. I had five guys in my room and we had a decent time, although it's not something I could do forever.

[The Feast]

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