With its 13th season currently airing it is fair to say that Bravo's 'Top Chef' has truly become one of the 'grandaddys' of cooking shows and a trailblazer for all of the cookery contests that have followed in its footsteps.
This means of course that since Season 1 aired way back in 2006 there have been a slew of talented chefs featured.
After the show ends, win or lose, all of the 'Cheftestants' have gained some significant exposure and a big career boost. Any many of them, no matter where they came from, have headed to one of two places to further their culinary ambitions; New York or LA.
In 2016, 16 former Top Chef “cheftestants” run the kitchens at 23 different Los Angeles restaurants and so if you ever watched the show and thought to yourself 'wow, I'd love to try their food' here are some of the best spots in LA to do just that.
Ilan Hall - Ramen Hood
Ramen Hood is located at 317 S Broadway
Having conquered his native New York City with his 'Gorbals' eatery, a venture that originally failed out in LA, Season 2 winner Ilan Hall has returned to California to give the West Coast another shot with a vegan joint called Ramen Hood. And this time things are going swimmingly.
The idea of a vegan ramen might sound strange to many. But instead of using eggs to create the noodles Hall and his chef devised a surprisingly delicious way to craft vegan 'egg whites' using soymilk set with agar and they replace the traditional pork tonkotsu with a thick sunflower seed broth and offer up a mushroom infused spicy ramen that even a meat eater can love.
Michael Voltaggio - Ink and Ink.Sack
Ink is located at 8360 Melrose Avenue and Ink.Sack is right next door and also at LAX
The dashing Season 6 winner is building himself a nice little restaurant empire in West Hollywood with his flagship Ink eatery and its smaller, more casual sibling Ink.Sack.
At Ink, along with one time assistant Cole Dickinson Voltaggio has created a menu that is designed to offer innovative takes on American classics with the Wagyu beef cheek, lamb belly pine nut cassoulet and turbot and chips all being particular stand outs.
Ink.Sack on the other hand is devoted to the art of the artisanal sandwich. Initially opened as a stop gap while Ink was being constructed. However, it has become so popular that lines out of the door are not unusual sights and a spin off opened not too long ago at LAX.
The blackboard specials, which do rotate on a regular basis, are all takes on familiar classics. the cold fried chicken ranch, which also features brie, gindo’s spice of life, lettuce and pickles is a real treat as is the delightfully gooey grilled cheese which makes use of brie, Swiss and sharp cheddar cheeses along with Mostarda di frutta and offers a unique sandwich experience for less than the price of a McDonald's burger.
Fabio Viviani - Café Firenze
Café Firenze is located at 563 W Los Angeles Ave.
The Season 5 and Season 8 All Stars standout first concentrated on building a four restaurant mini empire in Chicago but has now headed out west and is creating quite a buzz with his Café Firenze, a rustic space that is extravagant and colorful as its chef, filled with wood, leather and huge crystal chandeliers.
The food is bold too. The pancetta-wrapped jumbo shrimp stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese and osso buco with pancetta saffron risotto are both worth a trip from anywhere and the hand tossed Neapolitan style pizzas are wildly popular as well.
Brooke Williamson - The Tripel, Playa Provisions and Hudson House
Hudson House is located at 514 N. Pacific Coast Hwy, Playa Provisions at 119 Culver Blvd and you'll find The Tripel at 333 Culver Blvd.
The Season 10 runner up currently owns and operates three very different LA eateries with husband Nick Roberts; The Tripel, Playa Provisions and Hudson House. Hunter House, which is named after the couple's son offers bar friendly dishes and a fabulous selection of beer while Playa Provisions specializes in seasonal California fare and hand churned ice cream that is, in a word, heavenly (as well as very hip)
Finally, at The Tripel Williamson heads up a team building a great gastropub that draws its menu inspirations from across the globe, with dishes as varied as the Belgian Chicken Waterzooi, Black Rice Paella and the wildly popular Tripel Burger a hearty offering that features duck Confit, pork and aged beef on an onion Brioche bun.