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Catching Up With Top Chef's Grayson Schmitz

Where is the former cheftestant now?

By John Brandi
Isaac Takes On... Grilling

One of the most memorable cheftestants to ever compete on Top Chef, Grayson Schmitz has never been afraid to speak her mind. Grayson originally competed on season 9, but then returned for season 13 and there's no denying she's a talent in the kitchen. So would this two time competitor do it all again? Find out below.

How to Watch

Catch up on Top Chef on Peacock or the Bravo App. What's changed for you since competing on Top Chef?

Grayson Schmitz: Well...lots!!! On the surface I have way more buddies for life, ha. Top Chef brings a ton of super talented chefs to one arena, the trials and tribulations of the competition bond those talented souls for life! Therefore, you gain life-long buddies. :) In terms of personal changes and reflections, I always come out of Top Chef gaining some sort of internal awareness. For the Texas season, I came out WAY more confident and fired up. The California season was a bit different, I came out realizing that I should have stopped while I was ahead, lololol! The first time completing on Top Chef you have no idea what is happening and you very quickly transition into survival mode. Unfortunately, the second time I competed I went into defense mode. Which in turn, made me realize that I'm a better "think fast" and just do it kinda gal! When I get into my head, it's all over for me. It takes a special being to compete on Top Chef over and over again. :) I was not one of those humans that handled it well, hahahaha. Do I regret competing twice...absolutely not! The Top Chef family and following is a special thing and I'm stoked to be a part of it...for real! What would you say is the biggest upside or downside of competing on Top Chef?

GS: Upside: You are forced to think out of the box and make quick decisions. It takes a lot of balls, but in the end you come out with a sense of accomplishment and confidence. 

Downside: The cameras never stop rolling, ha! Whether your having a good day or a bad day, it's allllllllll documented! Not always a bad thing, but definitely a stressful thing. ;) What is the most challenging cooking experience you've ever had?

GS: I will never, ever, ever, ever, forget my experience cooking at The Salt Lick on the Texas season of Top Chef! Picture this...Texas, 115 degree weather, 5 BBQ pits in full effect, cooking for 36 hours straight, Padma! I was on a team with Chefs Paul Quiand Lindsay Autry...WE WON!!! Up until the winning point, it was complete brutality. Definitely the most challenging cooking experience I have ever endured. What are you working on now?

GS: At the moment, I travel a ton with my lovely boyfriend Patrick Cappiello, he's a wine guy, and do recipe development for Olivier Cheng. Lots of things on the horizon but shhhhhhhhh...can't say them out loud yet. ;) Has growing up in Wisconsin influenced your cooking style at all?

GS: Yes and no. I, for sure, make big portions, ha. In terms of my German roots, it's definitely a part of me, but pretty much all of my cooking training happened in NYC. Don't get me wrong, my favorite thing in the world is my grandmother's pot roast and mashed potatoes...don't forget the peanut squares. ;) Would you compete on Top Chef ever again?


And now it's time to catch up with another Top Chef fan favorite, Isaac Toups. Isaac is back and tackling all-new culinary challenges aboard a cruise ship sailing around the Caribbean. Watch as Isaac goes head-to-head with the ship's most talented chefs and face off against local chefs along the way for fun, new cooking challenges -- how will he stack up against some of the world's best chefs? Watch's new original digital series, Isaac Takes!

Isaac Takes On... Mofongo
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