This week's elimination challenge asks the cheftestants to cook a meal that represents their hometown -- fitting, since Top Chef has just relocated to the nation's capital. With seventeen fresh faces from places as far-flung as the sunny Caribbean (Tamesha Warren), rural Texas (Tiffany Derry), and "small cow town" Connecticut (Angelo Sosa), the judging plates play host to a veritable variety of down-home cuisines. One problem, though: while we want to root for the top chef who properly reps our hood, we here at Bravo HQ can't even start to think about hometowns while we're still trying to remember all of their' names!
Since it's always helpful to pair a name with a face, and a face with a place, here's a breakdown of where they're all from, along with a headshot, their job titles, and a choice quote from their video bios. Note that they're grouped by current locations, not hometowns -- it ended up making more sense that way. Learn it well, because there's seventeen of 'em! (For now.)
First, get a better idea of how the chefs prepared for the elimination challenge in the grocery store with this video:
New York City Slickers: Cheftestants Who Work in the Big Apple
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Job Title: Executive Chef, Plein Sud
Job Neighborhood: The Smyth Hotel in Tribeca (Manhattan)
Choice Bio Quote: "You can definitely learn to be a chef, you can go to school and all that stuff, but I honestly, truly believe that it's in the blood. It was a gift. It was something I was born with."
Hometown: Boston, MA; grew up in upstate New York
Job Title: Chef/Owner, Jacqueline Lombard Events; Dining and Wine Editor, NYHerald.com
Work Neighborhood: Brooklyn
Choice Bio Quote: "My senior thesis was a central Asian cookbook."
Hometown: Durham, Connecticut (which Angelo calls a "small cow-tippin' town")
Job Title: Chef/Owner, Xie Xie Sandwich Shop
Work Neighborhood: Hell's Kitchen (Manhattan)
Choice Bio Quote: "For a long time I always thought I was going to play professional baseball, but food was always an integral part of my ethnic background."
The Commuter Set: Two Folks Who Live Within a Train's Ride From D.C.
Hometown: Washington, D.C.; currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland
Job Title: Chef/Owner, Prime Steak House
Choice Bio Quote: "[I] pretty much started [cooking] at the age of 14 because I wanted a pair of Air Jordans."
Hometown: Born and raised in Barbados; now lives in Maryland
Job Title: Sous Chef, the Oval Room
Work Neighborhood: Capitol Hill (right next to the White House!)
Choice Bio Quote: "If I win Top Chef, my life would just do a 720. Not even a 360, just beyond that."
Hometown: Shortsville, New York (upstate)
Job Title: Executive Chef, Table 1280
Work Neighborhood: Atlanta, Georgia
Choice Bio Quote: "Whatever I like to eat, my customers are gonna eat."
Hometown: Beaumont, Texas; family from Louisiana
Job Title: Executive Chef, Go Fish Ocean Club
Work Neighborhood: Dallas, Texas
Choice Bio Quote: "My grandmother had 11 children, and all of them cooked."
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee; family from Thailand and Burma
Job Title: Chef/Owner, Cha Chah, PM, and Suzy Wong's House of Yum
Work Neighborhood: Nashville (he stuck around!)
Choice Bio Quote: "Before the restaurant industry, I was a figure skater, and I toured the world."
Hometown: Somewhere in Ohio; grew up in Detroit
Job Title: Chef de Cuisine, the Lark
Work Neighborhood: West Bloomfield, Michigan
Choice Bio Quote: "If you look at the cast today, you might be hard-pressed to find a guy from Detroit."
Hometown: Willingboro, New Jersey
Job Title: Executive Chef, Rat's Restaurant at the Grounds for Scuplture
Work Neighborhood: Willingboro, New Jersey
Choice Bio Quote: "Both my parents were bakers. I grew up in a bakery."
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Job Title: Assistant Professor, Culinary Institute of America
Work Neighborhood: A building we assume is on the Culinary Institute of America campus
Choice Bio Quote: "I've been cooking for over 18 years, professionally, and
Chefs Who May or May Not Have Tapped the Rockies
Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Job Title: Executive Chef
Work Neighborhood: Vail, Colorado
Choice Bio Quote: "I studied physics, for a while, but I cooked all through college -- professionally. By tht time I was 22, I decided I wanted to change paths and go after the chef life."
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Job Title: President/Owner, Passionate Culinary Enterprises, LLC; Chef/Partner, G's Restaurant Group
Work Neighborhood: Telluride, Colorado
Choice Bio Quote: "Especially after last season, I don't want to be shown as: this is the guy that's the prick on the show. I want to be the guy that they show as, 'Wow, he's helped out someone on the show.' "
Valley Girls, Beach Bums, and Casino Cookers
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Job Title: Sous Chef, Water Grill
Work Neighborhood: Downtown L.A.
Choice Bio Quote: "My dad was single at the time, so I was cooking him dinner every night, and I got really, really into it. And I said, 'Hey, I might want to be a chef.' "
Hometown: Cleveland, OH; now resides in Las Vegas
Job Title: Executive Chef, Seablue at the MGM Grand
Work Neighborhood: Vegas, baby!
Choice Bio Quote: "When I originally moved to the West Coast, my plan was to go to art school."
Hometown: Vero Beach, Florida
Job Title: Chef/Owner for three businesses: The Water Club, Talula Restaurant and Creative Tastes
Work Neighborhood: Miami, Florida
Choice Bio Quote: "My food doensn't do backflips on the plate. It is thoughtful, and soulful. It's creative, but it's approachable. It's the kind of food where, at the end, you need a piece of bread to sop it all up with."
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Job Title: Executive Chef, Ivan Kane’s Café Was
Work Neighborhood: Hollywood, California
Choice Bio Quote: "I know what things are supposed to taste like. All I have to do is try it once, and then I cook it, and I just replicate it."