From Reality TV to the Real World: Our Favorite Top Chef Personalities and Where You Can Find Their Food
By LL Editorial Staff
Give your cravings a Finnish finish by taking a walk on the bright side to Stefan’s Catering (by Stefan Richter) in sunny Santa Monica, California. Born in Finland and raised in Germany, Stefan’s heavy European influence surfaces on his stove with some added Asian touches to create a unique flavor that’s markedly (and marketable-ly) his own. And if you just can’t get enough, bring your culinary curiosity to one of his cooking classes so that you can recreate the magic in your own home (Caution: results may vary).
If Jaime Lauren’s cuisine had half as much spunk as her style does, she’d be an executive chef. Oh wait, she is. Find her innovative culinary creations at one of the busiest restaurants in San Francisco, the chic Absinthe Brasseire & Bar. You won’t be hallucinating just how delicious the dishes are (come on guys, its just the name of the place). And as we would except from a San Franciscan, Jaime’s socially conscientious: she opts to use organic, local and seasonal ingredients. So not only does her food taste great, its great for you (and the community). So head to the City by the Bay and leave with your stomach deliciously full and your spirits flying high.
Since you’re already on the West Coast, take a drive along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway until you hit Ventura County. Hopefully road trips whet your appetite because here you’ll find Fabio Viviani’s charming Café Firenz. Voted the season’s “Fan Favorite,” this charismatic chef will serve you up an authentic plate of Italian cuisine that’s actually, well, authentic (Fabio was born and raised in Florence, Italy). Furthermore, Fabio’s more than a chef: he’s currently working on opening a foundation—Firenze4Kids—that seeks to promote health and wellness through good nutrition to children. I think that deserves a good tip, don’t you? So head over to Ventura, California (or befriend William Shatner… Fabio’s also his personal chef).
Don’t let Jeff McInnis' boyishly good looks fool you—he’s a real animal in the kitchen, doing things with spatulas you couldn’t even begin to imagine doing, things like cooking award-winning cuisine. Get a taste (and look) for yourself at the DiLido Beach Club in the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, where Jeff shines as the Chef de Cuisine. His adventurous spirit (he’s recently traveled to North Africa, Turkey, Italy and the Greek Isles) comes out flavorfully in his daring and unique fusion cuisine that will surely leave you exceptionally satisfied. And if after grubbing down on celebrity cuisine you feel up to stripping down to a bikini, the white sands of Miami Beach await.
If you can’t cook like a master chef, don’t sweat it — you can still dine like one. And the fact that season 5 of Top Chef has come to a close hardly requires you to terminate your relationship with Hosea, Carla, Stefan, Jaime, Fabio or Jeff (or all of them, if you’re a poly-chefist). In fact, you can now get more up-close-and-personal than ever with your favorite celebrity chefs by catching them doing what they do best: their day jobs. We promise that the trip will be well worth the cost when your stomach graciously thanks you for letting your deprived taste buds finally catch up with your Top Chef loving eyes. Bon Appétit.