Bravo Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View
The Daily Dish Top Chef

Want to Compete on Top Chef? Here's the Season 17 Finalists' Best Advice for Future Contestants

Melissa King, Bryan Voltaggio, and Stephanie Cmar share how future chefs can be successful in the competition.

By Laura Rosenfeld

Season 17 of Bravo's Top Chef served up some of the fiercest competition we've ever seen on the show. If you sat at home watching this all-star season of the culinary competition and thought that you too would like a shot at the title of Top Chef, there are some things you should know first.

How to Watch

Watch the Top Chef Season 21 premiere on Wednesday, March 20 at 9/8c on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

When The Daily Dish caught up with Melissa KingStephanie Cmar, and Bryan Voltaggio, Season 17's final three cheftestants, prior to the June 18 finale, we asked each of the finalists for their best advice for future Top Chef competitors. Find out the secret to these All Stars' success, below.

Melissa King

"For future contestants, I would say [believing] in yourself, is the number one thing. I know there are many times I second guessed myself on my first season [Season 12]. Even throughout the competition, you hear it from everyone around you. Everyone’s second guessing and like, 'Oh no, I shouldn’t have done that.' But I think believing in yourself is the most important thing. If you have that and that confidence and that foundation, then anything you create moving forward you’ll be proud of. I think that’s the one thing that carried me through this season... Don’t be afraid to take risks. You know, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and think outside the box. And just go for it."

Stephanie Cmar

"The whole thing about Top Chef is you’re taking one of the most public risks that you possibly can. So remember why you’re there, which is because you’re a great cook. And do that. And worry about everything else a little bit later. But go in with 100 percent confidence and don’t doubt yourself, because there’s a reason why you’re there. It is an incredible adventure, and just take advantage of it."

Bryan Voltaggio

"Pick me for their sous chef so I can come back [laughs]... Go in and cook your food. Cook your own food and don’t get caught up in the challenge... Don’t look left and right; just look down on your own plate and make the best food you can because that’s all that matters. That way, you can come home — whether you go home or not — feeling good about what you’ve done. I feel really great about my time on Top Chef all three times I’ve competed. I never left anything on the table, like I put everything out there that I could. I sometimes [was on] the brink of going too far and trying to accomplish too much in the time constraints. But I was never going to not do enough, and I felt like I always did that. So I feel like any contestant that’s going out there, you never try to ride the middle. Go in there, put your best food forward and try to win."

Want more Top Chef? Catch up on the latest season through the Bravo app.

Relive the Season 17 finale, below.

The Judges Cook a Meal for the Top 3 Chefs
Want the latest Bravo updates? Text us for breaking news and more!