Alex Eusebio, Stefan Richter, Fabio Viviani
We had so much fun tracking and outting the Top Chef contestants for the upcoming season (between the three Eaters, we had about 11 named), but now we have the official confirmation on who is actually on the show. Per usual, the 17 contestants hail from all over the country---Ohio, New York, Illinois, Florida---but we have a strong showing from Southern California this year. Three are from the LA area (and were spot-on outtages): Alex Eusebio from Echo Park's Restaurant 15, former Enoteca Drago chef and Stefan's Catering founder Stefan Richter, and Fabio Viviani from Cafe Firenze in Moorpark.
This year the show takes place in New York, and there's more Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons, plus new judge Toby Young (author of "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People,"), than you can handle. Guest judges like Martha Stewart, Eric Ripert, Rocco DiSpirito, Wyle Dufresne and our beloved Foo Fighters should make it interesting. All the quickfires, Whole Foods shopping, slicing and dicing, elimination rounds but not nearly enough faux hawks debut on November 12 on Bravo. Set the DVR now.
33 - Hometown: New York, N.Y.; Resides in Los Angeles, Calif.
BIO: Alex currently serves as Executive Chef /Partner at a small boutique restaurant in Los Angeles, Calif., Restaurant 15. His culinary career is based primarily in small individually owned restaurants, which is fitting since he has a personal relationship with food and finds his creativity is best expressed in those intimate circumstances. Born in Madrid, raised in the Dominican Republic and then New York City, he has a very distinct cultural background that fuels his passion for cooking. Classically trained in French and Spanish cuisine, he often plays with Caribbean flair to add depth to his food. When not training for marathons, he enjoys making one of his favorite dishes, Paella.
35 – Hometown: Tampere, Finland; Resides in Santa Monica, Calif.
BIO: Stefan was born in Finland but spent the majority of his childhood in Germany, where he began culinary training in his early teens. He worked his way through various European kitchens, learning new techniques and collecting awards along the way. In 1998, he joined master chefs Grant McPherson, Sotta Kuhn, Jacques Torres, Jean Philip Maury and Marc Poidevin as part of the creative team for the opening of the Bellagio Hotel, Resort & Spa in Las Vegas. As Executive Sous-Chef, he created, developed and executed menus for the $25 million-dollar banquet kitchen. Since then, he has held a number of Executive Chef positions and most recently worked with Celestino Drago at Enoteca Drago before opening his own business, Stefan's Catering in Santa Monica. Although he currently resides in Los Angeles, he spends his summer months hunting and fishing in his native Finland.
30 - Hometown: Florence, Italy; Resides in Moorpark, Calif.
BIO: Fabio is the Owner and Executive Chef of Cafe Firenze Italian Restaurant and Martini Bar, one of the most recognized restaurants in Ventura County. Born and raised in Florence, Italy, he has traveled across Europe and is trained in classic Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. He incorporates Italian, French and Spanish influences in his dishes and believes that cooking is a craft. He is currently working on opening the Firenze4Kids Foundation, which will emphasize the promotion of health and wellness for kids through good nutrition and will also launch kidshealthcafe.com, the largest informative resource library available online, designed to enhance a healthy and safe lifestyle for children. Additionally, Fabio also works as William Shatner's private chef.
And the rest....
27 - Hometown: Long Island, N.Y.; Resides in San Diego, Calif.
Fun Fact: Richard’s motto in the kitchen is, “Keep it simple (stupid).”
41 - Hometown/Resides in: Verona, N.J.
Fun Fact: Loves the beach, her fam, and, of course, her four-star restaurant CulinAriane.
44 - Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.; Resides in Washington, D.C.
Fun Fact: When Carla's not busy running Alchemy Caterers, she loooves making pies.
26 – Hometown/ resides in: New Hyde Park, N.Y.
Fun Fact: Danny's fav summer recipe? Fresh calamari salad.
33 – Hometown: Whitmore Village, Hawaii; Resides in Las Vegas, Nev.
Fun Fact: Gene’s cooking philosophy has always been “think outside the box.”
34 - Hometown: Taos, N.M.; Resides in Boulder, Colo.
Fun Fact: Hosea’s not just a foodie - he’s brainy. He has his BS in Engineering Physics.
30 - Hometown: New York, N.Y.; Resides in San Francisco, Calif.
Fun Fact: Jamie is totally, completely, 100% obsessed with onions.
30 – Hometown: Niceville, Fla.; Resides in: Miami, Fla.
Fun Fact: Jeff started his culinary career at age 15, peeling shrimp and cleaning squid on Florida fishing boats.
28 - Hometown: Latrobe, Pa.; Resides in Baltimore, Md.
Fun Fact: Jill’s dream is to own a resort that serves great food and offers rides in her hot air balloon.
24 - Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio; currently stationed at Fort Stewart
Fun Fact: If Lauren were a food, she’d be a box of chocolates. Why? Because "you never know what you're going to get, but it's always going to be good!"
27 - Hometown: Scarsdale, N.Y.; Resides in New York, N.Y.
Fun Fact: Leah’s favorite dish is good ol’ homemade pasta.
28 – Hometown: Md.; Resides in Boulder, Colo.
Fun Fact: Melissa loves to travel, and likes cooking because it makes people happy.
21 - Hometown: Quincy, Mass.; Resides in Hyde Park, N.Y.
Fun Fact: Patrick, this season’s youngest contestant, likes to make his dishes into works of art.
28 - Hometown/Resides in: Chicago, Ill.
Fun Fact: Radhika’s cooking style is globally eclectic with a huuuuge spoonful of love.
· Top Chef Season 5 [Bravo]
· All Top Chef: New York Coverage [~ELA~]