Top Chef DC: Bios Beyond What Bravo Tells You

We did some digging to find dirt on the 17 cheftestants. Here's what you should know before tuning into Top Chef DC.

Photograph courtesy of Bravo TV.

Alex Reznik


Lives in:
Hollywood, by way of Brooklyn and Paramus.

Executive chef at Ivan Kane’s Cafe Was, which the Los Angeles Times calls a “complex of indulgence,” with a French menu offering caviar and soufflés and an extravagant wine list.

Used to work at:
The Vegas branch of the high-rolling French institution Lutèce, now closed.

Le Cordon Bleu in Las Vegas.

Gets around in:
A ’65 Mustang.

Craziest customer:
A regular at Cafe Was who “orders French onion soup without onions or cheese.”

Yep, he’s a chef:
“How do I know Alex? Alex is ‘that’ friend of my husband,” vents a writer in the Paramus Buzz. “You know the one that drives you nuts because they stay out drinking all night and call at 3:30 AM with a drunken apology. Yup, he’s ‘that’ friend.”

What he thinks of fellow L.A. cheftestant Amanda Baumgarten:
“She can be my sous chef anytime.”

Don’t get him mixed up with:
Alex Reznik, Ukrainian actor.

Reminds us of:
If Tom Colicchio, Michael Voltaggio, and Stefan Richter could have a love child, it’d look like him.

What he always has on hand:
He tells iVillage that his fridge is always stocked with unsalted butter, salami, capers, stinky cheese, and a freezer bottle of Vodka.

5 points for restaurant experience, 2 points for love of indulgence, 1 point for being “that friend” and managing to hold down a job. Total: 8 points.

Photograph courtesy of Bravo TV.

Kenny Gilbert


Lives in:
Telluride, Colorado. But it sounds like he’s contemplating a move. Last week he tweeted, “Decisions, decisions. . .Boston or West Palm Beach.”

Most recently led three restaurants at Capella Telluride, a resort in the skiing town. Also owns Passionate Culinary Enterprises, where he plays restaurant consultant, and G’s Restaurant Group, although we can’t find anything on its restaurants.

All over the map. His menu at a James Beard House dinner ranged from rock-shrimp/sugarcane fritters with peanut/chili sauce to corn-crusted quail with smoked-bacon grits.

Pennsylvania Culinary Institute in Pittsburgh.

Also worked at:
The Grill at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, where he was named executive chef at age 23 and earned multiple AAA five-diamond awards.

Runs in the family:
His brother Kirk is executive chef at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff River House Restaurant in South Carolina.

You may have seen him on:
The Food Network show Ready, Set, Cook!, which he won in 2001.

Psychoanalyze him:
On his blog, Kenny’s Thought’s (sic). Start off with “Pain of a Chef.”

Drink of choice:

What the future holds:
He wants to train up-and-coming chefs who can’t swing culinary school. “Within a two-year period,” he promises, “you’ll be a stud in the kitchen.”

8 points for restaurant experience, 3 points for being versed in so many cuisines, 2 points for focus and ambition. Total: 13 points.

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