There might be a lot going on in the kitchen on Top Chef, but former cheftestant Casey Thompson shut it all out to make it to the season 3 finale. Falling short, the fans felt a special connection and nominated her one of their favorites. Chef Casey returned for the most recent season, Top Chef 14 in the veteran category to fight off fellow former cheftestants and a new batch of "rookies", to try and claim the grand title once more. Though this chef has kept busy between seasons, find out what she's been up to these days...
Bravotv.com: What's changed for you since competing on Top Chef three times?
Casey Thompson: I certainly enjoyed my time on Top Chef. I learned so much about myself as a chef and what I am capable of. Having participated on this last season with the "rookies," I definitely see how my experience on the show helped calm my nerves and allowed me to think clearly. Many doors have opened from this show. People know my food without ever having eaten it! It certainly makes a meeting or a first conversation a lot easier!
Bravotv.com: What was the biggest lesson you've learned from your time on Top Chef?
CT: That it is best to stay true to yourself. Always speak up. Never let someone else influence your thoughts in a negative way. Know how you are and stick with it!
Bravotv.com: If you could redeem yourself in one challenge during your time on Top Chef, which one would it be and why?
CT: The Trash Fish episode. I was so flustered and could not get on top of it. I was SO embarrassed when I went out to that table, I wanted to crawl under the table and hide, but that would have been weird. I took it harder than anyone else there or watching!
Bravotv.com: Do you keep in touch with anyone from Top Chef?
CT: I keep in touch with so many -- this list would be too long! All of us from this past season chat everyday on WhatsApp all of the time, still.
Bravotv.com: What are you working on now?
CT: I do many different things in my day-to-day, but I am the Executive Chef of the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe near San Diego.
Bravotv.com: What ingredient or dish do you find overrated or overused?
CT: Sriracha. Remember the days of balsamic reduction? Same feeling toward it now.
Bravotv.com: What's your favorite memory from competing on Top Chef season 14?
CT: All of us watching The Notebook in the house. You guys missed an AMAZING moment to see a bunch of chefs, guys too -- crying. It was a blubbering mess! We ended up laughing and crying. It was a real bonding moment for everyone. This is all while Chef Silvia made fresh pasta in the kitchen. Crazy. Oh, and our nights swimming in the ocean when we snuck out. We would swim in the pool to get all of the sand off after the beach so we wouldn't get busted. It felt like childhood.
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 Bravotv.com's new original digital series, Isaac Takes On...now!