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Top Chef Season 20 premieres on Thursday, March 9, on Bravo with — wait for it — an entire season of supersize episodes airing Thursdays from 9-10:15/8-9:15c. Episodes will be available the next day on Peacock.
Host Padma Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons are back for the landmark season of the Emmy, James Beard, and Critics’ Choice Award–winning series. For all the details on the new season, head on over here.
Get to know the Season 20 cheftestants a little better thanks to their BravoTV.com bios, below.
HOMETOWN: Soucelles, France
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Angers, France
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Executive Chef/Owner, Les Petits Prés
LAST SEASON: Winner, Top Chef France, Season 10
Born and raised in Soucelles, France, Samuel Albert is the executive chef and owner of Les Petits Prés in Angers, a restaurant based in his family’s home, where he took his first steps in the kitchen. Known for his meticulous plating, his cuisine pushes the boundaries of French and Japanese fusion. Samuel trained under Joël Robouchon in Monaco and London before traveling the globe to perfect his skills working in renowned restaurants in Australia, Switzerland, and Shanghai. He also served as the executive chef for the Belgium Embassy in Tokyo. As the winner of Top Chef France Season 10, Chef Samuel’s culinary achievements have also garnered him the honor of the Order of the Belgian Crown.
HOMETOWN: Salvador in Bahia, Brazil
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: London, England
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Owner, Catering on the Hill
LAST SEASON: Winner, Top Chef Brazil, Season 2
Luciana Berry was the winner of the second season of Top Chef Brazil. She runs her own private catering company called Catering on the Hill and cooking sauce brand called BerryBartt. Originally from Bahia, Brazil, she left for London in 2004 to attend school for electrical engineering. She quickly switched gears as her time in school fueled her true passion for cooking as she shared her favorite Brazilian dishes with friends and neighbors. Luciana also serves as an Ambassador of Brazilian cuisine in Europe, showcasing the exotic flavors and ingredients that are integral to Brazilian cuisine. She often caters for the Brazilian Embassy, Brazilian tourism board, corporate events, and private dinner parties. During her spare time, she writes recipes for Bossa Brazil magazine in the U.K.
HOMETOWN: Paducah, Kentucky
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Paducah, Kentucky
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Chef/Owner, freight house
LAST SEASON: Finalist, Top Chef: Kentucky, Season 16
Sara Bradley hails from Kentucky and is the chef and proprietor at freight house, a unique Southern-inspired restaurant and bourbon bar located in Paducah, Kentucky. Chef Sara first learned how to cook from her mother and grandmother, and she infuses that history into her dishes, created to honor her father’s Appalachian upbringing and her mother’s Jewish heritage. She has cooked professionally for 20 years, first for Michelin-starred chefs in New York and Chicago before deciding to return to Western Kentucky to open her own restaurant in 2015. Chef Sara believes food is more than just eating. She tells stories through her dishes that highlight traditional Southern flavors, ingredients, and techniques paired with international inspiration. She strives to build an equitable and compassionate work environment that promotes a healthy work/life balance, but still brings the intensity it takes to run a world-class kitchen. As a mom to two young daughters, Chef Sara believes parents in the culinary industry shouldn’t have to choose between a career and a family. Sara is a James Beard Foundation’s Bootcamp for Policy and Change alumni and was the runner-up on Top Chef Season 16 in Kentucky.
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Houston
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Chef/Partner, Late August
LAST SEASON: Finalist, Top Chef: Portland, Season 18
A finalist on Top Chef Season 18 in Portland, Oregon, Dawn Burrell is an Olympian turned chef. Her world travels with the USA Track & Field team ignited her deep love of food. After competing in the 2000 Summer Olympics, Dawn traded in her track spikes for a full-time culinary career and enrolled in the culinary arts program at the Art Institute of Houston. She cut her teeth with a variety of chefs, including Chef Tom Aikens in London and Houston’s Monica Pope, before landing a gig at Tyson Cole’s Uchi in Houston. She went on to become the sous chef at Uchi’s award-winning sister restaurant, Uchiko, in Austin. In 2020, she earned her first James Beard nomination for “Best Chef: Texas” as the executive chef at Kulture, a modern Southern restaurant. Most recently, she joined Chef Chris Williams’ Lucille’s Hospitality Group as partner/executive chef and is currently working to open her first restaurant in Houston called Late August.
HOMETOWN: Irbid, Jordan
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Amman, Jordan
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Chef/Owner, Alee
LAST SEASON: Winner, Top Chef Middle East & North Africa, Season 3: Lebanon
Ali Ghzawi is the chef and owner of Alee, an upscale Middle Eastern restaurant that reflects the culture, background, and roots of Jordan and the Middle East. During high school, Ali discovered his passion for food and would make 150 sandwiches a day to sell to everyone on campus, including faculty. He went on to complete his education at the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Campus of Les Roches. Since then, he has traveled the world working in high-end kitchens at the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels, and the two-star Michelin restaurant Enoteca Paco Pérez. Since winning the third season of Top Chef Middle East & North Africa, he has proudly represented Jordan in many culinary and philanthropic events, including humanitarian work with the United Nations by supporting their Sustainable Development Goals. He is known for a sophisticated style of Middle Eastern cooking in which he uses simple ingredients to create high-end dishes. Ali was nominated in Forbes Middle East’s 30 under 30. Ali is passionate about upholding sustainability and empowering women and the younger generation which are represented at his restaurant, Alee, that includes a culinary creative center.
HOMETOWN: Mainz, Germany
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Worldwide Aboard the Scenic Ocean Vessels
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Executive Chef/Director, Food & Beverage Scenic Luxury Cruises Ocean
LAST SEASON: Finalist, Top Chef Germany, Season 1
Born and raised in Mainz, Germany, Tom Goetter trained at Hyatt Hotels in Mainz, followed by Steinberger Academy in southern Germany, where he obtained his Masters in Culinary Arts, graduating with honors. He trained under Thomas Keller and his team in Napa Valley. Tom has traveled the world extensively, specializing in international cuisine with experience working at Michelin-starred restaurants, high-end hotels, and ultra-luxury cruise ships. He competed on Top Chef Germany in 2018, where he finished as a finalist. Since then, he has been the executive chef for the Scenic Eclipse, a six-star world’s first Discovery Yacht, serving a variety of cuisines, including modern Asian, Asian street food, French, and Italian. In 2022, he was promoted to director of food and beverage, overseeing all operations and menu development for all Scenic ocean vessels.
HOMETOWN: Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Executive Chef/Owner, Cluck ‘N’ Cleaver
LAST SEASON: Winner, Top Chef Canada, Season 5: All-Stars
Nicole Gomes is the chef, co-founder, and owner at Cluck ‘N’ Cleaver, a chicken joint in Calgary, Canada. Operated by Nicole and her sister Francine, they serve fried and rotisserie chicken made from scratch with all natural ingredients and pride themselves on cultivating an inclusive and positive work environment. Nicole’s 28 years of culinary experience has taken her all around the globe, from Vancouver to Paris and even to a naval base in Sydney. No stranger to competition, Nicole has participated in a variety of cooking competitions, most notably becoming the first woman to earn the title of Top Chef Canada Champion by winning the All-Star season of Top Chef Canada. She also earned the bragging rights of beating Bobby Flay on Beat Bobby Flay. Outside the kitchen, Nicole enjoys singing jazz, traveling, and swimming, and loves doing anything outdoors.
HOMETOWN: Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Milan, Italy
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Private Chef
LAST SEASON: Finalist, Top Chef Italy, Season 2
Born and raised in the Republic of the Congo, Victoire Gouloubi left her war-torn country and traveled to Italy to study law. It was there that she found her passion for food and switched gears. She has cooked her way through notable restaurants in Europe, from Italy to France, and served as a sous chef under Michelin-starred chef Marc Farellacci at L’Assassino. Victoire combines her love for Italian food with African cuisine and uses an infinite range of ingredients to showcase her passion for European and Congolese flavors and traditions. She believes that food is a daily cure that can bring health and pleasure to taste. Victoire is the creator and host of the cooking television programs Il Tocco di Victoire and La Mia Africa for Sky TV. In 2021, she was named one of the 100 most influential women of 2021 by F magazine in Italy. A runner-up on the second season of Top Chef Italy, she currently resides in Milan as a private chef.
HOMETOWN: Beirut, Lebanon
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Lake Worth, Florida
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Private Chef
LAST SEASON: Winner, Top Chef Middle East & North Africa, Season 5: Saudi Arabia
Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Charbel Hayek fell in love with cooking at a young age while spending time in the kitchen with his mother. He studied culinary arts at the French School of Excellence. He soon traveled to Los Angeles with his family and honed his skills working at Mélisse under two-star Michelin chef Josiah Citrin for nearly three years. After moving back to Beirut, he competed in and won the fifth season of Top Chef Middle East & North Africa. Since then, Charbel has strived to continue expanding his knowledge and skills in the kitchen. He calls his cuisine “New American” with French and Lebanese influence and is always ready to take risks with his dishes. He currently resides in Lake Worth, Florida, where he works as a private chef. In his spare time, he is a fitness enthusiast, enjoys spending quality time with his family, and is working on a book to be published later this year.
HOMETOWN: Port Douglas, Australia
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Brooklyn, New York
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Executive Chef, Marky’s Caviar / Huso
LAST SEASON: Winner, Top Chef: Houston, Season 19
The winner of Top Chef Season 19 in Houston, Buddha Lo is the executive chef of Marky’s Caviar / Huso restaurant in New York City. Huso is a 14-seat restaurant that serves a tasting menu with caviar as the star of the show and high-quality produce paired together. Born and raised in Australia, Buddha started cooking at age 12 at his parents’ restaurant. He was taught the fundamentals of cooking under his father, who is a Hong Kong native. At age 17, he moved to Melbourne to work for some of the best chefs in Australia. After five years in Melbourne, he moved to London, where he landed a job at the three-star Michelin restaurant Gordon Ramsay, where he worked under chefs Clare Smyth and Matt Abe. On his days off, he would stage at various restaurants, both locally and internationally, where he was exposed to different kitchens and cuisines in various countries including France, England, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the United States. During his time in the U.S., he accepted his dream job at the three-star Michelin restaurant Eleven Madison Park in New York City. Buddha hopped on a one-way flight from Australia to New York with his wife, Rebekah, and their pug, Kroshka, and they now live in Brooklyn.
HOMETOWN: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Chef/Co-Owner, Grassroots Restaurant Group
LAST SEASON: Winner, Top Chef Canada, Season 1
Dale MacKay was born in Saskatchewan, Canada, and knew from an early age that he was destined for the kitchen. He traveled the world, working his way through the kitchens of Gordon Ramsay and Daniel Boulud for a decade before winning the first season of Top Chef Canada. Following his time on the show, he moved back to Saskatoon. Over the past eight years, he and his longtime co-worker and business partner, Christopher Cho, have opened five award-winning restaurants in Saskatchewan under Grassroots Restaurant Group. Featuring Japanese, Korean, and French influences, the restaurants include Ayden Kitchen and Bar, Little Grouse on the Prairie, Sticks and Stones, Avenue Restaurant, and Dojo Ramen. A single dad to his son, Ayden, he enjoys spending his free time cooking together, watching movies at home, and training and racing in triathlons. Always testing his competitive side, Dale has also appeared on Iron Chef Gauntlet, Fire Masters, and Wall of Chefs.
HOMETOWN: Chiang Mai, Thailand
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Bangkok, Thailand
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Executive Chef & Co-Partner, MAZE Dining
LAST SEASON: Finalist, Top Chef Thailand, Season 1
May Phattanant Thongthong is the executive chef and co-partner at MAZE Dining, voted one of the Top 20 Bangkok restaurants by W magazine in 2020 and 2021. The name is a playful riff on her career journey to becoming a chef. Born and raised in Chiang Mai, Thailand, May didn’t have the money to go to culinary school so she taught herself by reading cookbooks. She has worked for more than 15 years as a professional chef, running the very popular Monkey’s Kitchen and My Bistro restaurants in Chiang Mai. She was the runner-up on Season 1 of Top Chef Thailand and she won Iron Chef Thailand twice. She has an amazing palate and the ability to remember and recreate any dish. She is excited to compete on Top Chef World All-Stars and bring her native northern Thai cuisine to the world stage. In her free time, she loves to sing as much as she loves to cook.
HOMETOWN: Valencia, Spain
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Valencia, Spain
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Executive Chef/Owner, La Salita
LAST SEASON: Winner, Top Chef Spain, Season 1
Begoña Rodrigo is the Executive Chef and Owner of La Salita, a one Michelin-starred restaurant in Valencia, Spain. While studying industrial engineering at the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, she decided to leave university to follow her passion for food and travel. When she was 20 years old, Begoña traveled to Amsterdam in search of new experiences and started working in the kitchen at the
Amsterdam Marriott Hotel under Executive Chef Nick Reade. She worked in the Netherlands for eight years before moving to London where she worked at the restaurant Aquarium. Her extensive experience comes from years of training and traveling around the world looking for new flavors. Competing on season one of Top Chef Spain, she takes pride in being the first winner. At her restaurant La Salita, Begoña conjures up two tasting menus featuring defined flavors with an elegant touch.
HOMETOWN: Iztapalapa, Mexico City
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Madrid, Spain
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Private Chef
LAST SEASON: Winner, Top Chef Mexico, Season 2
Born and raised in Mexico City, Gabriel Rodriguez worked his way up the ranks in the kitchen after starting as a dishwasher at Pujol, one of the best restaurants in the world. After traveling south to explore the country’s unique cuisine, he was presented with the opportunity to work as a Sous Chef for Eduardo Garcia at Maximo’s Bistrot in CDMX. With the support of Eduardo Garcia, he competed and won the second season of Top Chef Mexico. He then moved to Mazatlán where he had the chance to develop his own cooking style, experimenting with different flavors. He prides himself on his technique, cooking with local Mexican ingredients and spices. While in Mazatlán, he served as the Executive Chef at fine-dining favorite Presidio. Ready for a change, he recently moved to Madrid, Spain to be a private chef.
HOMETOWN: Dominican Republic and Queens, New York
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Santa Ana, California
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Executive Chef/Owner, Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, California, and Vaca Restaurant in Costa Mesa, California
LAST SEASON: Finalist, Top Chef: California, Season 13
Amar Santana serves as the executive chef and owner at Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, and Vaca in Costa Mesa, California. Born in the Dominican Republic, he immigrated to the U.S. at 13 and began his culinary career at 16. He has been mentored by some of the world’s most renowned chefs, including Charlie Palmer, who helped him develop his skills of expressing his passion through food. By combining flavors and culinary traditions from all over the world, Amar provides a truly unforgettable gastronomical experience. He was the runner-up on Top Chef Season 13 in California and has also competed internationally for the Korean culinary series Korean Food Battle, finishing as a finalist.
HOMETOWN: Lublin, Poland
CURRENT CITY OF RESIDENCE: Lublin, Poland
OCCUPATION/PROFESSION: Owner, CookShe
LAST SEASON: Winner, Top Chef Poland, Season 7
Born and raised in Poland, Sylwia Stachyra runs her own cooking school and consultancy called “CookShe.” From an early age, she knew she was destined to be a chef and moved to London to gain culinary experience. Slywia trained at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill and studied at Bournemouth College. She spent years traveling across the globe learning about different cultures, which has been instrumental in establishing her cooking style. Her unique culinary style combines French-Asian fusion with her traditional Polish background. She is proud to represent different cultures, flavors, and traditions in her dishes. After winning Top Chef Poland Season 7, she focused on her new passion for teaching. Since then, Sylwia has worked as an independent consultant, lectured at the University in Lublin, designed tasting menus and occasionally worked as a private chef. During her free time, she loves to be with her family, including her 3-year-old daughter, Laura.
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