Meet the Extreme Chefs

Find out which seven chefs are competing on this season of Food Network's Extreme Chef and get a sneak peek at the rugged terrain on which they are cooking.
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Photo By: Jeremiah Alley ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Viet Pham

Born in Malaysia and raised near San Francisco, chef and restaurateur Viet Pham graduated from the California Culinary Academy in 2002. After a short stint in the catering business, he moved to Provo, Utah, to become the executive chef at Spark Restaurant Lounge. In July 2009, Viet and business partner Bowman Brown opened Forage Restaurant in Salt Lake City. Viet has been named one of Food & Wine magazine's Best New Chefs and a James Beard Foundation semifinalist.

Susanne Dillingham

With a passion for food and cooking, chef Susanne Dillingham enrolled in Apicius, the Culinary Institute of Florence, Italy. After graduating, she worked in a North Carolina restaurant before completing programs at the Wine & Spirits Education Trust and the International Sommelier Guild. She later became the executive chef for HADCO, a Viking appliance distributor, and started her own business, The Tiny Chef.

Lance Knowling

Born and raised in Kansas City, Mo., chef and restaurateur Lance Knowling first began cooking alongside his mother. After completing apprenticeships at El Centro College in Dallas, he became a saucier then chef de cuisine at hotels across the country. He later transitioned into chef roles at fine-dining restaurants before opening his own restaurant, Indigo Smoke Restaurant in Montclair, N.J., which specializes in "backyard barbecue."

Tiffany Ward

Since graduating from the California Culinary Academy, Chef Tiffany Ward has combined her training in French cuisine with her love of Asian flavors and cooking techniques to develop her specialty of French-Asian fusion. For the last 10 years, she has worked with some of Hawaii's best regional ingredients, including produce that is indigenous to Maui. She currently works at Maui Catering Services and focuses on serving gourmet dishes that feature fresh organic products.

Terry French

Born in Evansville, Ind., "Rebel Chef" Terry French grew up cooking with his family and joined the United States Navy in 1985. Once he returned from the military, Terry enrolled in the Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz., and soon earned the title of executive chef. He later became a first mate on a sport-fishing boat and a United States Coast Guard licensed captain. He currently works as a personal caterer and culinary consultant and supports the nonprofit Chefs for Life.

Isadora Sarto

Chef Isadora Sarto has been cooking in some of the country's best restaurants for more than a decade. After a short stint as a line cook, she quickly rose in rank to become sous chef then executive chef at area hot spots, including the Ritz-Carlton Hotels in New York and Marina Del Ray, Calif., Café Boulud in New York City and Tremont 647 in Boston. She currently works in community service at Woman’s Lunch Place in Boston.

Scott Brandolini

Chef Scott Brandolini is an American Culinary Federation-certified chef who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu School in Cambridge, Mass. He has worked as the chef de cuisine at Cassis Bistro in Andover, Mass., and the sous chef at several well-known Newburyport restaurants, including Ten Center Street and Michael's Harborside. As the executive chef of Seaglass Restaurant since July 2009, Scott prepares fine dishes with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients.

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