This season on Bravo’s hit, ‘Top Chef’, boasts three chefs from the D.C. area — more represented than any other city! This perfectly reflects The District’s restaurant revival: With more and more amazing, niche restaurants popping up in our city, it’s getting serious national attention. This is part of a larger trend: It used to be that chefs had to be in major cities in order to be considered serious, talented, and up-and-coming. Not so anymore! Cities like Charleston, S.C., and Nashville, Tenn., now claim a thriving restaurant scene. Second- and third-tier cities are proving to be the perfect turf for chefs to take risks and truly own a space. Although D.C. has long been home to some heavy hitters (José Andrés of Minibar and Vikram Sunderam of Rasika), recently its garnered attention from famous transplants (Stephen Starr’s Le Diplomate is a local favorite), signaling a shift in D.C.’s intrinsic brand identity. The local foodie culture has transcending our borders and developed more of a national reputation. Adding to the voices of the renowned chef above are the current “Top Chef” competitors: Learn how they’re helping elevate The District’s foodie credibility. Meet them, their restaurants, and their current standings in the series below!
Current position: Executive chef, Barrel on Capitol Hill
History: Fleming got his started in the booming Charleston, S.C. restaurant scene, and was integral in establishing Lincoln and The Pig before opening his own joint.
Show status: Sadly, Fleming was ousted the very first episode.
Current position: Executive Chef/Owner, The Shaw Bijou (opening late winter 2016)
History: He’s pretty new on the scene! At just 25, Onwuachi has worked in New York City at Per Se and Eleven Madison Park.
Show status: Onwuachi is killing it. He’s won two competitions already, and is tied with Jeremy for the winningest contestant so far this season. His Pickled Shrimp with Cucumber Onion Salad, Citrus Vinaigrette & Cashews is the dish that won the episode supermodel Chrissy Teigen guest-judged for!
Current position: Executive Chef of Ripple and Roofers Union. Plus! She’s opening a new fast-casual restaurant later this year at 9th and N Streets, Smoked & Stacked.
History: Meek-Bradley is definitely a rising star: She was a semi-finalist for a James Beard Award, and has worked under some serious names in the biz: José Andrés, Marcus Samuelsson, and Thomas Keller.
Show status: Meek-Bradley is going strong! She won the competition in episode two with an amazing(-looking) Mediterranean dessert that totally reeks of her Zaytinya experience: Yogurt Mousse with Pistachio Sponge Cake & Saffron Orange Syrup.
(Photo: Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley Prepares Her Dish, by flickr user DC Central Kitchen via Attribution 2.0 License)