Formerly, Executive Chef – Merkato 55
New York, N.Y.
I'm 40-years-old and I'm a chef in New York City. Formerly I was the executive chef at Merkato 55 and I'm now planning to open up my own restaurant. Every chef's dream is to have their own place and I want mine to be a global, high-end diner. I came to New York as a dancer with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater but a broken foot left me on my couch to explore a new career path. After graduating from the New York Restaurant School, I learned that being in a kitchen was not as easy as I thought. I doubted if I was cut out for the line and left to become an artisan baker. I eventually went back to the line and worked in Italian, Indian, African and American restaurants. I love to cook fresh, seasonal ingredients and educate people on what good food really is. When I'm cooking, I may look calm but I'm freaking out on the inside. Tasting is an absolute must in my kitchen — I think if you haven't left your shift feeling full, you weren't doing your job correctly. I don't mean to sound cocky, but I'm a really good cook and definitely a well-known player in the New York restaurant world. I'm constantly eating out to keep an eye on the competition. I don't know if I'm going to win this competition, but I'm certainly not here just for fun. I just hope I'm inspired that day and the judges like what I give them.
Executive Chef at Bloomingdale Road and Wine Directory
Upper West Side – New York, N.Y.
I'm 35-years-old and I'm the executive chef at Bloomingdale Road on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I've been chefing for 16 years. My parents thought I couldn't make a living as a chef, so I went to college. But I had 4 majors in 3 years at a couple of different colleges and eventually dropped out and went to culinary school. Cooking is one of those things that has always come naturally to me and that I know I'm meant to do. I'd rather eat nothing than eat something bad. I've worked at a couple of wine restaurants, so wine has become a big passion of mine. Every job I've had I've always taken from someone who was ahead of me. When someone called out sick, I'd be able to take over the job. It's one of those things, if I can do it better than you, I'll take your job. I already know I'm going to win. This competition will be a day off compared to running a restaurant.
Former Executive Chef at Bruno Jamais and Current Restaurateur
New York, N.Y.
I'm 31-years-old and I'm a restaurateur in New York. I left my position as the Executive Chef of Bruno Jamais to focus on a self-propelled career. Now I consult with new restaurants and am in the process of opening up a sushi inspired restaurant. I've been in the industry since I was fourteen years old — starting as a busboy. When I turned 18, I was a bit of a troublemaker and misguided, so when my mom told me I had to do something with my life, I chose cooking. We couldn't afford culinary school, but I had the opportunity to move out to Utah to snowboard. So I got a job as a dishwasher to afford the ski-lift tickets. After 3 months the chef asked me to start cooking. I moved to New York for a girl and for culinary school. The girl didn't work out but the cooking did. I don't think food should be classified, especially in New York. But if I have to classify what I do, I would say I cook New York cuisine. I'm going to win because I put my heart and soul into cooking and because I'm better. I go out to eat often but I am impressed very rarely. Being a winner is an attitude. If you can dream it, you can do it.
WINNER!: Josh Emett
Chef de Cuisine Gordon Ramsay at The London
New York, N.Y.
I'm 35-years-old and I'm the Chef de Cuisine for Gordon Ramsay at The London. I love food and I love to eat. I grew up on a farm in New Zealand where my parents encouraged us to cook with whatever products were available to us. My first jobs in food involved picking asparagus and serving dinner to old ladies in a retirement home. As Chef de Cuisine I run all operations and oversee the kitchens and 60 chefs for the restaurants in New York and Los Angeles. I run a strict but fair kitchen — chefs don't come to Gordon Ramsay to be coddled. I love to work with unusual ingredients like pigeon, duck tongue and pig tails and believe strongly in no waste in the kitchen. I will win at all costs and know I will thrive under the pressure of this competition.