Top Chef: Alumni Predictions—Episode 1

Throughout the season, we're asking local Top Chef alumni Carla Hall, Spike Mendelsohn, Mike Isabella, and Bryan Voltaggio for their predictions on upcoming episodes.

Photograph courtesy of Bravo TV.

Spike Mendelsohn (season four), chef/owner of Good Stuff Eatery

On the weak link: "I think Jacqueline Lombard will get voted off first."

On the strong links: "My top three: Angelo Sosa, Tamesha Warren, and Ed Cotton—his favorite recipe [fresh farm-egg ravioli with a silky English-pea puree, spring-onion fondue, and crispy pancetta] melted my heart."

Who you should root for: "You got to have hope for Tamesha Warren, who's from DC! WOO HOO!"

Memories of the first day of filming: "The first day was cool, meeting all the chefs, getting to know people, identifying who you'll take down, who you'll 'buddy' up to . . . keep your enemies close. No, just kidding! It's all about having fun and going with the flow."

How to do well: "I think you'll get further on the show the more relaxed you are and the more you focus on the food and not the drama—even though drama's a little fun every once in awhile!"

Photograph courtesy of Bravo TV.

Mike Isabella (season six), chef of Zaytinya:

On the strong links: "I like Kevin Sbraga and Angelo Sosa. They have worked at great restaurants, and that's a big part of it." 

Memories of the first day of filming: "It was nerve-racking, adrenaline-rushing, and intense all at once."

How long it takes to get over the nerves: "The nerves go away after the show is over."
What contestants need to go far on Top Chef: "Experience to think quickly and execute on a high level."

Famous last words: "I wish I could go back and do—okay, maybe say—a few things differently."

Photograph courtesy of Bravo TV.

Bryan Voltaggio (season six), chef of Volt:

On first-day thoughts: "I was excited. The build up to the competition makes your mind race. Being very familar with past seasons, i thought, 'What will the challenges be? Who will be the guest judges? Oh, and will my brother make the flight?' "

What contestants need to go far on Top Chef: "Stay focused on thier cuisine, don't let outside influences or other contestants persuade you into second-guessing a dish. Remember it's a competition. Stay true to your repetoire and you'll do well. Stay clear of the drama. Some are there for camera time!"

How long it takes to get over the nerves: "Not long for me. I'm a seasoned chef. It depends how far in your career you are and how comfortable you are under pressure. I live it daily, I own a restaurant."

>>For more Top Chef DC coverage, click here.

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