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Adrienne has gotten engaged to Stephen Bailey (pictured below), who she'll wed on March 17, and she has moved into a new place in the Big Apple since this season of Top Chef ended. She's also starting a new Sunday Best pop-up series in Harlem as she figures out whether or not she still wants to open up a restaurant of her own one day, as she discussed this season of Top Chef. "The restaurant plans I'm putting on hold, just because I don't want to be tied to a kitchen for 24 hours a day for the rest of my life right now. I'm getting married, we just bought a place and moved, so there was a lot going on at once. I needed a little flexibility in my schedule," Adrienne recently told The Daily Dish. "I'm starting a pop-up series in Harlem where I can focus on my cuisine, and I can put my food out there."
Adrienne, who previously worked at famous New York eateries Le Bernadin and Red Rooster, kicked off her pop-up series with friends and family earlier this week. She told The Daily Dish that she plans to host the pop-up in Harlem once or twice a month, depending on the availability of spaces. Adrienne is focusing on cooking regional southern cuisine, which we saw her really excel with this season of Top Chef, pulling inspiration from the food of East Texas through the Carolinas and everywhere in between. "There's so much crossover between different cultures, so highlighting some of those similarities. Like, everybody has a fermented table condiment in Mississippi and not a lot of people know that," Adrienne said. "So I'm just highlighting some of those regional, beautiful, unknown parts of the cuisine and just kind of incorporating them into French technique."
Meals will be prepared for 12 to 20 diners and will likely be priced for less than $100 a head, according to amNewYork. Dates and ticket info will be available via Adrienne's Instagram. And yes, Adrienne is hoping to have her sure-to-be-signature finale dish of spoonbread, sea urchin, buttermilk dashi, ham, caviar, and wheat tuile on her pop-up menu.
Fellow Season 15 Cheftestant Tu David Phu has been holding his own pop-up series in San Francisco, and his expert knowledge has been a big help to Adrienne. "It was really great to talk with him and some of the other chefs who do pop-ups. They had great tips and great pointers on how to grow it and how to scale it. And then potentially turn it into a restaurant," Adrienne shared. "So we keep in touch, and I'm always interested in what they're doing with their pop-ups because it's helping me formulate my plan."
Adrienne said that she would consider opening up a restaurant within the next three to five years. But for now, she said her pop-up is really helping lay the groundwork for opening up a more permanent place of her own one day. "I want to take this time to really nail the cuisine. A pop-up is a great way to do that. You get immediate feedback, you have a smaller audience. I really want to use the pop-up series as a way to develop my cuisine and test it out and get people's feedback and see the guest experience and kind of hone the overall atmosphere, not just the food but the overall dining experience," she explained. "And then down the road, look at turning that into a brick-and-mortar restaurant."
We couldn't be more excited for Adrienne's present and future.
Watch the Cheftestants try their hand at running a restaurant of their own during this season's Restaurant Wars, below.
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