Chopped: Alton's Challenge — Meet the Competitors

Get to know the 16 chefs taking on Alton Brown's culinary curve balls for a chance at winning $50,000.

Round 1: Jamal Bland — New York

Jamal is the executive chef at Tavern 29 in New York City where he hones his talents at transforming classic dishes. Originally from Georgia, Jamal attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Pittsburg.

Round 1: Jessica Chaney — Detroit

Jessica is a pastry chef who got her start in the kitchen cooking with her grandmothers. After attending culinary school straight out of high school, Jessica interned at Disney World, working at park restaurants, and is now serving her creative masterpieces to her hometown of Detroit.

Round 1: Leah Gourlie — Cleveland

Leah started her culinary career as a child, helping her mother bake cookies and making her own mini creations in her toy oven. She studied savory cooking in culinary school, but she's now the chef/owner of a bakery that specializes in custom cakes.

Round 1: Gavin Jobe — Baton Rouge, LA

Gavin started his culinary at the age of five when his dad taught him how to make eggs. He went to school for business, but eventually left for culinary school, and he's now the chef/owner of two Baton Rouge restaurants.

Round 2: Ben Bebenroth — Cleveland

Ben is the chef/owner of Spice Kitchen & Bar which focuses on local, seasonal food and social change. He started out as a dishwasher, and one day when the cook didn't show up for work, Ben took over, and he's been cooking ever since.

Round 2: Vinson "Vinnie" Cimino — Cleveland

Vinnie's interest in food stems from his childhood traveling the world with his grandparents. After wrestling for 16 years, a knee injury forced him to find a new calling, and he rediscovered his passion for food. He's currently working as a Chef de Cuisine at The Green House Tavern.

Round 2: Lisa Pucci Delgado — Cleveland

Growing up in an Italian family, cooking was always a part of Lisa's childhood. She worked for years as a restaurant manager for major corporations, but she realized her true passion was being in the kitchen. She now works as a personal chef, focusing on farm-to-table cuisine.

Round 2: Nick Wallace — Jackson, MS

Nick grew up in rural Mississippi and was farming and raising animals as soon as he could walk. He started his culinary career washing dishes in high school, and he's now the Executive Chef at Palette Cafe at the Mississippi Museum of Modern Art.

Round 3: Andrea Anom — New York

Originally from Atlanta, Andrea grew up with dreams of becoming a surgeon, but she ended up majoring in nutrition. Formerly an executive chef, she decided to take a step down the culinary ladder to hone her skills. She's currently a line cook at Jean Georges' restaurant, Perry Street.

Round 3: Louis Goral — New York

Louis is the Executive Chef at Iron Chef Jose Garces' New York City restaurant, Amada. Originally from Iowa, he learned to cook from his grandmother and has a passion for music — he's been playing drums for over 20 years.

Round 3: Christopher Holland — Sparkhill, NY

Christopher grew up in a restaurant family — his father was a chef and his mom was a waitress — but he went to college in lieu of culinary school and became a paralegal. After a battle with drug addiction, Christopher returned to his true passion, and is now an Executive Chef specializing in eclectic Asian cuisine.

Round 3: Tiffany Schleigh — New York

Tiffany is a pastry chef living in New York City. She originally moved from Ohio to peruse a career in communications, but after experiencing all the different cuisines New York has to offer, she started taking classes at the Institute of Culinary Education. In her free time, she likes to host 16-course dinner parties to showcase her talents on the savory side.

Round 4: Michael Nelson — New Orleans

Originally from Pittsburg, Michael went to the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. He's now the Executive Chef at New Orleans' top seafood restaurant where the menu changes daily.

Round 4: Regan Reik — Cleveland

Growing up the son of an army cook, Regan learned the basics from his dad, and attended culinary school at Johnson and Wales. He's now the Executive Chef at Cleveland's premiere seafood restaurant, spending much of his time breaking down whole fish flown in from across the globe.

Round 4: Jason Rodriguez — New York

Jason has worked at some of New York City's most iconic restaurants and is now the owner and Executive Chef of an event planning and catering company. He's classically trained in French and Chinese cuisine, but now focuses on elevated Latin dishes.

Round 4: Kashi Smith — New York

Kashi is a chef at Asiate in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Originally from the Dominican Republic, she learned to cook from her grandmother, and she loves elevating basic dishes.