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The Daily Dish

Top Chef Nation: Root for Your Hometown's Cooking Competitor!

A breakdown of where each cheftestant is from and where they live now so you know who's representing your 'hood.

By Evan Mulvihill

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

Ed_Full.pngEd Cotton

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."
















Jacqueline Lombard

Hometown: Boston, MA; grew up in upstate New York

Job Title: Chef/Owner, Jacqueline Lombard Events; Dining and Wine Editor,

Work Neighborhood: Brooklyn

Choice Bio Quote: "My senior thesis was a central Asian cookbook."

















Angelo Sosa

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."


Click through for the rest of the contestants' backgrounds. And, if you can't get enough of this season's Top Chefs: See the full video bios here and the full text ones here!













The Commuter Set: Two Folks Who Live Within a Train's Ride From D.C.

Timothy_Full.pngTimothy Dean

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."



















Tamesha Warren

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."
















Hospitality, Southern-Fried


Tracey Bloom

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."

















Tiffany Derry

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."

















Arnold Myint

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."
















Rural Northerners



John Somerville

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."

















Kevin Sbraga

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."
















Lynne Gigliotti

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


Kelly Liken

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."

















Kenny Gilbert

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


Amanda Baumgarten

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.' "

















Stephen Hopcraft

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."

















Andrea Curto-Randazzo

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."














Alex Reznik

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."

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