Bravo unveiled the first batch of East Coast-based Cheftestants for Season 11 of Top Chef yesterday, and now we're proud to reveal the next six hopefuls who will duke it out for the top prize in New Orleans. From a Chinese immigrant who has worked for Thomas Keller to the Colorado native who cut his teeth in his family's butcher shop, meet the second crop of competitors, most of whom hail from the West Coast.
Bravo will unveil the last group of Cheftestants tomorrow morning. Top Chef ignites New Orleans on October 2 at 10p ET/PT and our new web series Padma's Picks, which features Padma Lakshmi searching for her own contestant to compete, kicks off on Bravotv.com tomorrow.
Carrie Mashaney, 35, Carpenter, IA
Chef Carrie Mashaney works as the chef de cuisine at Aragona, following Jason Stratton from Spinasse. Having attended baking and pastry school in Seattle, her early culinary focus was on the sweet side but she quickly realized she loved cooking savory as well. Her style of cooking focuses on simple flavors and more traditional cooking techniques. While she has trained in Italian and most recently Spanish restaurants, she most enjoys cooking Mexican, Vietnamese and Caribbean cuisines at home.
Shirley Chung, 36, Fremont, CA
Shirley Chung is a former Executive Chef for China Poblano by Jose Andres, and under her guidance, the restaurant was nominated for James Beard Award’s prestigious "Best New Restaurant" in 2011. Born and raised in Beijing, Shirley came to America for a college education. She worked in Silicon Valley for a few years after college but decided to follow her passion for food—and enrolled in culinary school. She trained in classic French and Italian cuisine, and went on to work and open restaurants for culinary superstars Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy and Mario Batali. Through her work at China Poblano, she fell in love with Mexican cuisine and learned more about her own heritage, Chinese cuisine.
Louis Maldonado, 32, Healdsburg, CA
Chef Louis Maldonado launched his culinary career at One Marker in San Francisco, working under Chef Adrian Hoffman. After working his way up, Louis earned a sous chef position at Cortez, where he was quickly promoted to co-executive chef in 2006 and earned a Michelin star for his work. In addition, Louis has worked at top San Francisco restaurants including French Laundry, Café Majestic and worked for 3 years as chef de cuisine of Aziza. In 2012 Louis moved to Healdsburg to become the executive chef of Spoonbar at h2hotel, where he was able to create a menu of clean and simple dishes that honor the culinary traditions of the United States. Louis also oversees the menu of Pizzando, the restaurant at h2hotel’s sister property, hotel Healdsburg.
Catch a first look at Top Chef Season 11
Ramon Bojorquez, 31, San Diego, CA
Ramon Bojorquez is the Sous Chef at Nine-Ten, an upscale farm to table restaurant in downtown La Jolla, California. Ramon is of Mexican descent, born in Rio Rico, Arizona, and was professionally trained at the Scottsdale Culinary School. He grew up watching his grandfather cook, and carries a considerable amount of Mexican, Spanish, and Thai influence in his cuisine. He has traveled the world, from serving as a stage in Spain to fighting Muy Thai professionally in Thailand.
Brian Huskey, 32, Los Angeles
Chef Brian Huskey is a native of Pasadena, California. After attending UCLA, where he had his first job as a short order cook, Brian moved to San Francisco to get his formal culinary education at CCA. After CCA, Brian went on a culinary journey, traveling to places as far as the Caribbean but eventually landing back in Los Angeles. For the past two and half years, Brian has been working directly with Chef Ricardo Zarate in opening his three restaurants: Picca, Mochica, and Paiche.
Travis Masar, 27, La Junta, CO
Chef Travis Masar was born and raised in Southeast Colorado where his exposure to food was mainly through his family and upbringing. Growing up in Colorado, he gained experience hunting wild game such as elk, deer, and antelope and he honed his craft by helping his family butcher whole pigs and beef. He has traveled and cooked all over the world including Alaska, Wales, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, Czech Republic, Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Over the last 5 years, Travis has focused on traditional Asian cuisine and says the food he cooks represents grandmothers all over the world.