With shooting for its 16th season now underway, Bravo's Top Chef has amassed a roster of diverse and incredibly talented affiliates, including judges and cheftestants past and present. And while those masterful chefs all got to where they are through hard work and unique talent, they also owe much to the people who brought them up and encouraged their curiosities.
In honor of Father's Day, we culled comments Top Chef's roster of foodies for tributes to their dads, and quotes about their fathers' unique influences on their passions and work. Here's what the chefs had to say about their dads' teachings — and fond memories of shared quality time.
1. Tom Colicchio: Head Judge
On how his dad put him on his path to success: "I grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, blue-collar town. My dad was a corrections officer in the country jail. My mom managed a school cafeteria. I grew up scrappy, I grew up hungry, I grew up wanting to get out of my town. It was my dad who suggested that I become a chef... I hustled my ass off. I promised myself if I found that other thing that I had a gift for, I'd practice it. And cooking was it."
2. Laura Cole: Season 15 Cheftestant
On her favorite holiday dish: "Yule log. This was the first cake I learned how to make with my dad. It is the best and I make a version at the restaurant and sell it as a 'hoho.'"
3. Gail Simmons: Judge
On the most important food lesson she learned from her dad and mom: "My parents were always intrepid eaters, constantly bringing home new ingredients and introducing us to new flavors that we would cook and try together.
4. Michael Voltaggio: Season 6 Winner
On his favorite food tradition from his dad and mom: "What people often forget is the ritual of eating is the idea of sitting around the table and having time together. And I think when the conversation's good and the company's good, although the food brings people together, nine times out of 10, it's the time that you had together that people are going to remember, not what was on the table, so don't stress over it. We're all so busy that we get very few times throughout the year to actually sit down and enjoy each other's company. So my recipe from that is order food out, put it on the table, and just enjoy each other's time."
5. Tu David Phu: Season 15 Cheftestant
On his biggest influences: "My mother and father. I would endlessly watch and help them cook as an adolescent. [My favorite holiday dish is] fried quail that my dad cooks during Thanksgiving."
6. Anthony Bourdain: Five-Time Guest Judge
The prolific writer chose just few poignant words to remember his father, the chef Pierre Bourdain.
...and needed only one to celebrate the role that by all accounts he cherished himself.
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