The countdown has begun: Top Chef Colorado Season 15 starts Thursday night, and, in addition to being filmed across the state, two of the Front Range’s own chef contestants are competing for the title. Carrie Baird currently runs the kitchen at Denver’s Bar Dough, and Brother Luck operates his own restaurant by the same name in downtown Colorado Springs. Though they’re the first to compete in their home state, Baird and Luck join a handful of Colorado cooks who have vied for — and one who has won — the Top Chef title. Here, an update to those chefs’ whereabouts:
Hosea Rosenberg was Top Chef’s Season 5 winner. The Boulder-based chef operates Blackbelly restaurant, market, and butcher, and just last month he opened Santo, a casual but modern interpretation of his native New Mexican cooking.
Melissa Harrison competed in Top Chef New York and made it halfway through the season. Then Boulder-based, Harrison has since moved from Colorado. In 2011, she founded Seasonal Montana, a catering company that has expanded into a fly fishing lodge. And in 2015, she added Seasonal Puerto Rico.
Kenny Gilbert was the 10th contestant to leave Top Chef D.C. After the season, Gilbert moved around in his native Florida and the Caribbean. He has consulted, cooked for celebrities, and started a line of spice blends. He now owns Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen, serving “Deep Southern” food in Fernandina Beach outside of Jacksonville.
Kelly Liken made it to the No. 4 spot on Season 7 of Top Chef. The James Beard Award nominee operated her eponymous restaurant in Vail for 11 years, and, most recently, she opened Harvest in Edwards. After parting ways with the Sonnenalp Hotel, however, she is currently in between projects. Stay tuned.
Jorel Pierce left after the first episode of Top Chef’s Seattle season. But he went on to compete successfully as Jennifer Jasinski’s (see below) sous chef in Top Chef Masters. Pierce is now a partner at Denver’s Euclid Hall, Stoic & Genuine, and the soon-to-open Ultreia. He spends most of his time cooking at Euclid Hall, where he just introduced a new winter menu.
Tyler Wiard left after the fifth episode of the Top Chef Seattle season. Earlier this fall, Wiard left his longtime position as executive chef and culinary director of Elway’s steakhouse to join the TAG Restaurant Group as Guard and Grace’s new executive chef.
Eliza Gavin faired only slightly better than Pierce and Wiard in Top Chef Season 10. Since 2000, she has been the chef-owner of Telluride’s 221 South Oak bistro, where she hosts cooking classes, writes cookbooks, and also caters.
Travis Masar of La Junta, Colorado, was working in Philadelphia after he competed on Top Chef New Orleans. But the chef moved back to Colorado over a year ago to run a private catering business that operates across the state. In the spring, he’ll move to Los Angeles to start a “modern Chinese-style supper club” (stay tuned) but will continue to cater Colorado events.
Gregory Gourdet was the runner up for Top Chef Boston in 2015, and, a year later, he brought his successful Portland restaurant Departure to Denver’s Halcyon Hotel. Gourdet now serves as the culinary director for Departure Portland and Denver, while Khamla Vongsakoun is the Cherry Creek location’s executive chef.
Top Chef Masters
Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson nearly made it to the end of the first season of Top Chef Masters. The Frasca Food & Wine and Pizzeria Locale chef-owner just opened his latest project, Tavernetta, alongside the Frasca team and chef Ian Wortham.
Jennifer Jasinski made it to the finals of Masters Season 5, competing against chefs Douglas Keane and Bryan Voltaggio for the Top Chef title. Even though she lost to Keane, Jasinski did raise $35,000 over the course of the season for Denver charity Work Options for Women. Jasinski owns and operates Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Euclid Hall, and Stoic & Genuine, and she’s about to open Ultreia.
- Top Chef Heads to Colorado This December; Here’s a Sneak Peek [EATER]
- Top Chef Judge Tom Colicchio Reveals Behind the Scenes Secrets [EDEN]
- Life After Top Chef: Travis Masar on Colorado Roots and Modern Asian Cuisine [EDEN]