America's best 'Top Chef' restaurants
Since its 2006 debut, "Top Chef" has turned Tom Colicchio and F&W’s Gail Simmons into food celebrities, introduced Americans to the pleasures of cooking with vending-machine food, and taught viewers that you should never, ever serve chef Colicchio over-roasted Broccolini (CJ, Season 3).
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"Top Chef" winners walk away with $100,000 to $200,000, but the increasingly impressive level of talent each season means that those who don’t earn the title still go on to work in some of the most exciting restaurants in the country. Watch Bravo's new season—set in Seattle—on Wednesday nights to catch the next batch of aspiring restaurateurs.
Girl & the Goat; Chicago
(Photo courtesy of Girl & The Goat)
"Top Chef: Chicago" victor Stephanie Izard kept in touch with fans via a blog, an enthusiastic Twitter account, and behind-the-scenes videos before opening Chicago’s Girl & the Goat in 2010 and earning her spot as an F&W Best New Chef 2011.
Izard emphasizes a bold mix of Mediterranean and Southeast Asian flavors in dishes like grilled octopus with guanciale and pistachio-lemon vinaigrette, and wood-oven-roasted pig’s face with tamarind and red-wine–maple sauce. Her second venture, Little Goat, opens in November, and is modeled after the East Coast diners she frequented as a child.
Perilla and Kin Shop; New York City
(Photo: © Vicky Wasik)
Less focused on fame and book deals than most, "Top Chef’s" first winner, Harold Dieterle, is already working on his third New York restaurant. His first project, Perilla, became a neighborhood favorite thanks to the satisfying New American menu with global accents. Dieterle brought a contemporary interpretation of Thai flavors to his second Greenwich Village outpost, Kin Shop, where he makes curry pastes from scratch. At The Marrow, opening this fall, Dieterle will look to his heritage for a menu that’s “meat-focused, with strong Italian and German influences,” he says.
ink. and ink.sack; Los Angeles
(Photo: courtesy of ink.Sak)
For a taste of the modernist cuisine that won Michael Voltaggio "Top Chef: Las Vegas"—dehydrated potatoes, burnt-wood ice cream, yogurt curds—head to his new Melrose Avenue hot spot, ink. There, the tattoo-loving chef crafts playful, stunning dishes. His take on the Canadian comfort food poutine trades the traditional ingredients for chickpea fries and lamb’s neck gravy. Just a few doors down is ink.sack, where sandwiches are served in 4-inch “taste” portions. Options include a Reuben with corned beef tongue and tangy Swiss Appenzeller cheese, and “The Spanish Godfather,” an ode to chef José Andrés, with a selection of cured imported meats.