Was there something in the water in Kentucky for Bravo's Top Chef Season 16? Indeed, two of the top five cheftestants of the season are expecting babies at the same time: Sara Bradley and Adrienne Wright are pregnant.
The Feast caught up the chef moms-to-be on April 16 in Los Angeles, on the red carpet for an Emmys panel featuring Top Chef as well as Project Runway. Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons, as well the whole lot of Season 16's five finalists, were also in attendance. (And Padma might have dropped a bombshell about the future of Top Chef... )
Chef Sara told us that her diet philosophy is, "I eat whatever I want," and of course that's the case, "especially right now."
She said, "I have some crazy cravings: tons of Oreos, cottage cheese, anything dairy. I want dairy and chocolate!"
For her part, Chef Adrienne is having rather spicier pregnancy cravings. In a recent Instagram post showing herself enjoying a bowl of Szechuan fish stew in Chinatown, she wrote that the dish is something she considers "so crave-able!" It's also, "served lava hot with a half inch of chili oil on top PLUS a generous pile of raw garlic and ground Szechuan peppercorn to stir in as you eat."
Beyond indulging their cravings, of course, the chefs say they're thrilled to discover what the future holds. "I think that it’s really important for people to cook with their children," Chef Sara told us. "One of the things I’m most excited about starting my new family is being able to teach my child how to cook."
With Mother's Day coming up, she said, "We always give my mother breakfast in bed. This year, I don’t know if I’ll have a first child by Mother's Day but if I do, I’m really looking forward to breakfast in bed!"
As for Chef Adrienne, she's enjoying the lead-up to parenthood by indulging in creative pleasures. Showing her pregnant belly in profile next to a butterfly painting in an Instagram photo, she wrote, "I decided to paint nursery pictures for my friends’ babies about a year ago, all with a rainbow theme, and this is the first one I have painted for my own nursery! We are very excited!"
Season 16's winner Kelsey Barnard Clark is also a new mom, unfortunately missing her baby's first steps while she battled it out in the competition. But at the same time, Kelsey told The Feast her baby was also the secret weapon that powered her to the top prize: "I don’t know if I would’ve won without that driving force because it kept me going."
She also underscored how important it is for her to be both a parent and a working chef — and reject cultural pressures to feel guilty about it. "One thing that I’ve had a ton of positive feedback from is just, to just show people that you can balance all of it carefully," she said. "You can have a husband and you can have a child, you can have a career, you can be a badass, and you can be motherly, you can be nurturing, and you can be tough," she said... "and win Top Chef."
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