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Thread: Top Chef Masters 3 - The Chefs (Bios & Discussion)

  1. #1
    Magical Elf MFWalkoff's Avatar
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    Jul 2006

    Top Chef Masters 3 - The Chefs (Bios & Discussion)

    John Rivera Sedlar
    Owner: Playa, Los Angeles, CA
    Competing for: American Diabetes Association

    Considered “the father of modern Southwest cuisine” by Gourmet Magazine, John Rivera Sedlar has embraced the Southwest from the very start. Raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Sedlar combined the traditional foods of his childhood with the classic French techniques he learned under legendary chef Jean Bertranou. He went on to open two more acclaimed restaurants in the Los Angeles area -- Bikini in 1991 and then Abiquiu in 1994. In 1994 Sedler sold his restaurants to pursue his lifelong dream of building a food company to supply the home cook with dishes and ingredients from the Southwest. In 1999 he established Abiquiu Foods, LLC, which operates Sedlar's Modern Southwest Kitchen, a collection of contemporary tamales, chile rellenos, taco shells and condiments. He just opened his newest anticipated restaurant Playa in Los Angeles in February of 2011.


    Sue Zemanick
    Executive Chef: Gautreau’s, New Orleans, LA
    Competing for the Louisiana SPCA

    Sue Zemanick was a 2008 Food & Wine “Top 10 Best New Chef,” named 2008 “Chef of the Year” by New Orleans Magazine, one of “5 Chefs to Watch” by Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine and a Finalist for James Beard’s “Rising Star Chef” Award in 2009 and 2010 among other honors. Born and raised in Wilkes- Barre, Pennsylvania, she attended a summer program at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New Hyde Park, New York. At the age of 15, she was immediately hooked on the culinary profession and in 2001 graduated from the CIA. She began working at New Orleans’ famed Commander’s Palace before moving to Gautreau’s in 2004. She was named executive chef in 2005 where she is still bringing culinary wonders to the Uptown area. Gautreau’s was badly damaged during Hurricane Katrina and closed for a year and a half to go under repair and renovation. Once it reopened in February 2007, Zemanick was able to put her mark on the new Gautreau’s.


    Celina Tio
    Chef/Owner: JULIAN Restaurant, Kansas City, MO
    Competing for: Harvesters

    Tio obtained her degree from Drexel University in hotel and restaurant management and by age 23 she was given the opportunity to lead the Grill Room at Philadelphia’s Ritz-Carlton. Yearning for a broader challenge and audience for her cooking, Tio ventured to Orlando Florida, to help open three specialty restaurants for Walt Disney World; Spoodles, which focused on Mediterranean cuisine, Citricos, which served Southern French dishes and Palo, an upscale Italian experience. She then accepted an invitation to move to Kansas City, Missouri to become the well-known head chef of one of the city’s finest restaurants, The American Restaurant. Tio now channels her diverse experience into her own restaurant, JULIAN, where she creates chef-driven twists on American comfort food she calls, "feel-good food." Her accomplishments have earned her local and national accolades, including 2005 "Chef of the Year" by Chef Magazine, the James Beard Foundation's 2007 "Best Chef: Midwest" and most recently named Kansas City Magazine's Chef of the Year.


    Alessandro Stratta
    Executive Chef: Stratta, Las Vegas, NV
    Competing for: Milken Prostate Cancer Foundation

    Alex Stratta is the award-winning chef of Stratta at Wynn Las Vegas, where he demonstrates his mastery of classic Italian American cuisine in a casual, yet vibrant setting. Stratta came to Wynn Las Vegas from Renoir at the Mirage Hotel and Casino, where he received national acclaim for his marriage of regional French and Italian ingredients. In just four months, Renoir received Mobil's highest five-star rating. During his six-year tenure at Renoir, the restaurant maintained its Mobil five-star stature, as well as garnering AAA's five-diamond award and Las Vegas’ top culinary rating in the Zagat Guide. He comes from a long line of restaurateurs and hoteliers. After several years working in hotel kitchens, Stratta decided to pursue his dreams by enrolling in the prestigious California Culinary Academy. During this time he was given the opportunity to work in one of San Francisco’s finest hotels, the Stanford Court Hotel. Under the guidance of Pastry Chef Jim Dodge, Stratta refined his skills in the art of baking and pastry. After graduating with high honors, he decided to pursue his passion and strive to reach the top of his profession.


    Suvir Saran
    Executive Chef: Dévi, New York, NY
    Competing for Agricultural Stewardship Association

    An accomplished chef, cookbook author, educator, and farmer, Chef Suvir Saran views the kitchen as both a culinary and spiritual haven. Born in New Delhi, India, Saran has nurtured a lifelong passion for the traditional flavors of Indian cooking. As Executive Chef of Dévi, Saran's is the only Indian restaurant in the U.S. to have earned a Michelin star. A respected culinary authority, Saran is Chairman of Asian Culinary Studies for The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). He is a contributor to Food Arts Magazine and has penned several cookbooks including Indian Home Cooking: A Fresh Introduction to Indian Food, with More Than 150 Recipes (Clarkson Potter, 2004) with Stephanie Lyness and American Masala: 125 New Classics From My Home Kitchen (Clarkson Potter, 2007) with Raquel Pelzel. Saran is the only U.S.-based contributor to the largest Indian cookbook ever published, India Cookbook, featuring 1,000 recipes (Phaidon Press, 2010). Saran and partner Charlie Burd live and care for American Masala Farm, a nineteenth century farm in upstate New York.


    Naomi Pomeroy
    Owner: Beast in Portland, OR
    Competing for: Seed Savers Exchange

    Naomi Pomeroy and her sous chef Mika Paredes first welcomed customers to Beast on September 27, 2007. Since then, the restaurant has received features in Gourmet and Elle magazine. Additionally, Bon Appètit named Pomeroy as one of the top 6 of a new generation of female chefs in September 2008 and Food & Wine magazine recognized her as one of the 10 Best New Chefs in America in 2009. Born and raised in Corvallis, Oregon, Pomeroy spent her childhood hanging around the stove and in backyard gardens with her and with Grandmother Vivian from New Orleans. Before opening Beast, Pomeroy, and Michael Hebb started up Ripe Catering in 1999 and soon after launched an underground supper club called Family Supper. In rapid succession they opened the Gotham Coffee Shop, ClarkLewis Restaurant, and the Gotham Tavern. In the summer of 2007, after Gotham Coffee Shop and Tavern closed and ClarkLewis was sold, Pomeroy started to cook small family-style suppers again. The intimacy of these suppers is preserved at Beast, a 24-seat restaurant where people chat freely with each other at communal tables.

  2. #2
    Magical Elf MFWalkoff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Re: Top Chef Masters 3 - The Chefs

    Mary Sue Milliken
    Co-Chef/Owner: Border Grill Restaurants and Truck, Los Angeles, CA
    Competing for Share Our Strength

    Mary Sue Milliken is co-chef/owner of the popular, critically acclaimed Border Grill, serving modern Mexican food in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, and on the Border Grill Truck. Milliken is well known as one half of the dynamic "Too Hot Tamales" with longtime business partner Chef Susan Feniger. Always a trailblazer, Milliken was the first female chef to work at Chicago's prestigious Le Perroquet in the late 1970s, going on to train at a Michelin two-star, female chef-owned restaurant in Paris, and later joining a handful of progressive women chefs to found Women Chefs & Restaurateurs. An active member of the community, Milliken is on the national board of Share Our Strength, committed to ending childhood hunger in America by 2015 with the No Kid Hungry campaign. In addition, Milliken is passionate about the environment and leads the culinary industry with eco-friendly policies at her Border Grill restaurants and Truck.


    George Mendes
    Chef/Owner of ALDEA , Manhattan, NY
    Competing for Charity: Water

    A first-generation American born to Portuguese parents, George Mendes has fond memories of the elaborate, festive meals his family would prepare while he was growing up in Danbury, Connecticut. After finishing high school, Mendes enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in New York and following his 1992 graduation, he sharpened his cooking skills as garde manger, entremetier and poissonier at the original Bouley in Tribeca. When Bouley closed in 1996, Mendes became the executive chef of Le Zoo in Greenwich Village, where he began to develop his own cooking style. Two years later, Mendes became the executive sous chef at the three-star Lespinasse in Washington, D.C. He then returned to New York to help his friend Kurt Gutenbrunner, open his Austrian restaurant, Wallsé. Later, Mendes decided to pursue his own restaurant and in 2009, he opened ALDEA in Manhattan's Union Square neighborhood where he serves rustic yet refined Mediterranean cuisine with influences from Spain, France and Portugal. ALDEA, which received glowing two-star reviews from both New York Magazine and The New York Times, was named one of the country's ten best new restaurants by Alan Richman of GQ magazine and was awarded a Michelin star from the 2011 Guide.


    Traci Des Jardins
    Chef/Co-owner: Jardinière, Mijita Cocina Mexicana, and Chef/Partner: Public House and Manzanita, San Francisco, CA
    Competing For: La Cocina

    Traci Des Jardins was raised in a farming family in California’s San Joaquin Valley where she developed a deep love for the earth and its bounty at an early age. Though she never had a job in a restaurant before, she landed a tryout with Joachim Splichal, then at 7th Street Bistro in Los Angeles and within two weeks she was running a station in the kitchen. In Splichal’s kitchen, Des Jardins was inspired to further her craft in France where she apprenticed with legendary chefs including Michel and Pierre Troisgros, Alain Senderens, Alain Ducasse, and Alain Passard. In 1995 she won the James Beard Foundation’s “Rising Star Chef of the Year”, Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chef” in 1997, and the James Beard Foundation Award in 2007 for “Best Chef: Pacific.” Jardinière won Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant.” In December 2009, Des Jardins opened Manzanita in the new Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe California. In 2004, she opened Mijita Cocina Mexicana in the San Francisco Ferry Building and in 2010 the second location at AT&T Park. She also serves as chef/partner for Public House located at AT&T Park, which opened in March 2010. Beyond the kitchen, she sits on the advisory board of Bocuse d’Or USA joining fellow chefs in the quest to elevate culinary excellence in the United States. Des Jardins also works with non-profits Share Our Strength, Citymeals On-Wheels, La Cocina and amfAR.


    John Currence
    City Grocery Restaurant Group, Oxford, MS
    Competing for: No Kid Hungry

    John Currence began cooking in his home in New Orleans Louisiana where his family loved to spend time in the kitchen. While studying at the University of North Carolina, he got his first job working at Neal Crook’s Corner, where he worked his way up from washing dishes to becoming a cook. After three years at Crook’s, Currence returned to New Orleans to open Gautreau’s as sous chef. After several years, he started working for the Brennan family of restaurants to help open Bacco before settling in Oxford, Mississippi, and opening City Grocery in 1992. Since then, the City Grocery Restaurant Group has had a number of openings, including Nacho Mama’s, Kalo’s, Ajax Diner, City Grocery Catering Company, Bouré, Big Bad Breakfast, and Snackbar. Recipient of 2009 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef, John Currence was honored as Restaurateur Of The Year and Chef Of The Year by the Mississippi Restaurant Association in 1998. In 2006, he received the Southern Foodways Alliance Guardian of Tradition Award, won the 2008 Great American Seafood Cookoff in New Orleans and the 2009 Charleston Food and Wine Festival’s Iron Chef Challenge. In addition to the City Grocery Restaurant Group’s success, he has served as chairman and president of the Mississippi Restaurant Association and president of the Yoknapatapha Arts Council. He is also a contributing editor for Garden and Gun Magazine and is an active volunteer with St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.


    Floyd Cardoz
    Former Executive Chef/Partner of Tabla and soon-to-be Executive Chef/Partner of a new Danny Meyer restaurant
    Competing for: Young Scientist Cancer Research Fund at Mount Sinai Medical School

    Floyd Cardoz is the Executive Chef of the forthcoming restaurant from Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group. Before embarking on this new restaurant, Cardoz was the executive chef of Tabla, a groundbreaking restaurant that served New Indian cuisine cooked with the sensual flavors and spices of his native land. With Cardoz at the helm, Tabla received numerous accolades including a three-star review from The New York Times. The restaurant also spawned an entirely new category of modern Indian restaurants across the country and internationally. After 12 incredibly rewarding years, Tabla closed its doors in December 2010. Cardoz began his career in his native Bombay, where he attended culinary school and interned in the kitchen of the Taj Mahal Intercontinental Hotel. To further his classic culinary technique, Cardoz moved to Switzerland, and spent his days at the hotel management and culinary school, Les Roches. Cardoz later moved to New York, and worked under Chef Gary Kunz of the venerable Lespinasse. During his seven years at the world-renowned restaurant, he rose from Chef de Partie to Executive Sous Chef. In 2006, Cardoz wrote his first cookbook, One Spice, Two Spice (Clarkson Potter). In 2009, he launched a line of meals for online grocer Fresh Direct. He is also the consulting chef for El Verano Taqueria located at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. Actively engaged in the community beyond the walls of his restaurants, Cardoz received the "Humanitarian Award of the Year Award" from Share Our Strength in 2007.


    Hugh Acheson
    Chef/Partner: Five&Ten, The National, Gosford Wine in Athens, GA; Empire State South in Atlanta, GA
    Competing for Wholesome Wave Foundation

    Hugh Acheson is the chef/partner of Five & Ten, The National, Gosford Wine, and Empire State South. Born and raised in Ottawa, Canada Acheson began working in restaurants after school at Age 15. Today, Acheson's experience includes working under Chef Rob MacDonald at the renowned Henri Burger restaurant in Ottawa as well as in San Francisco as the chef de cuisine with Chef Mike Fennelly at Mecca, and later as opening sous-chef with famed Chef Gary Danko at his namesake restaurant. Taking these experiences, Acheson developed his own style of forging together the beauty of the South with the flavors of Europe by opening the critically acclaimed Athens, GA restaurant Five & Ten in March of 2000. Since 2000, Acheson has gone on to open Gosford Wine in 2004 with sommelier Ben Giacchino, The National in 2007 with fellow chef Peter Dale and his Atlanta based restaurant Empire State South in 2010. Acheson was named Food & Wine’s Best New Chef (2002), the AJC Restaurant of the Year (2007), a four time James Beard nominee for Best Chef Southeast (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) and a 2007 Rising Star from StarChefs.com. Chef Mario Batali chose Acheson as one of the 100 contemporary chefs in Phaidon Press' Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs. In addition to running three restaurants and a wine shop, Acheson is writing a cookbook titled A New Turn in the South: The Cuisine of Hugh Acheson.
    Last edited by MFWalkoff; 04-04-2011 at 02:04 PM.

  3. #3
    I Bleed Scarlet And Gray FireWoman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    At the High Rollers Table

    Re: Top Chef Masters 3 - The Chefs (Bios & Discussion)

    I love TCM, however the only chef on here i really like this season is Tio. So with out a doubt, shes my pick to win based on that alone! l
    "Irregardless? That's not even a real word. You're affixing the negative prefix 'ir-' to 'regardless', but, as 'regardless' is already negative, it's a logical absurdity!" ~Steve Smith

    "Once I swore I would die for you, But I never meant it like this."

  4. #4
    Mixing Old Fashioneds PhoneGrrrl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    Re: Top Chef Masters 3 - The Chefs (Bios & Discussion)

    The only chef on the roster I really have any familiarity with is Mary Sue Milliken from back when she was on The Food Network on Too Hot Tamales back in the late 90s. I can't remember if it was her or Susan Feniger who always talked about cooking with "impeccably clean hands".

  5. #5

    Re: Top Chef Masters 3 - The Chefs (Bios & Discussion)

    This has a new format. I am looking forward to this! Top Chef is my very favorite reality show anyway I get it!

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