The 6 Most Successful 'Top Chef' Alumni

For these former cheftestants, Restaurant Wars is their reality

Between cutthroat Quickfires, tense elimination challenges and the occasional pea purée scandal, Top Chef has been our main source of reality cooking show drama for over a decade. And, more importantly, the show has given the world a steady supply of talented cooks, each eager to jump headfirst into America's thriving restaurant scene.

These six Top Chef alums have continued to own the culinary spotlight long after their seasons ended.

① Carla Hall

Hall's lovable, bubbly personality earned her Fan Favorite status and, later, her spot as a cohost on ABC's wildly popular The Chew. Those jonesing for a taste of this Southern chef's quirky personality can get their fill at Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen in Brooklyn, a casual neighborhood joint dedicated to all things Nashville hot chicken.

② Kevin Gillespie

After going head-to-head with season six winner Michael Voltaggio in a particularly heated finale, the Georgia native snagged himself a James Beard nomination for his cookbook, Fire in My Belly. Gillespie is also the driving force behind Revival, a Decatur restaurant focused on recreating the perfect Sunday supper.

③ Fabio Viviani

Offscreen, the loveable Florentine transplant and Top Chef All-Star competitor has managed to author a series of acclaimed books on Italian cooking, while continuing to make regular Food Network appearances. Viviani's list of restaurants—namely, Southern California hot spot Cafe Firenze, as well as Chicago's Bar Siena and Siena Tavern—are equally impressive.

④ Stephanie Izard

Top Chef's first female winner has gone on to open a series of award-winning Chicago restos, including Little Goat Diner and Duck Duck Goat, but it's Izard's first post-victory restaurant, Girl & the Goat, that earned her the 2013 James Beard Award for Best Chef.

⑤ Michael Voltaggio

After Tom Colicchio singled him out as the most talented Top Chef contestant ever, the season six champ opened the hotly anticipated ink. in L.A. These days, Voltaggio is in the midst of adding a steakhouse to his growing restaurant empire in partnership with his brother—and fellow TC alum—Bryan Voltaggio.

⑥ Richard Blais

Following this season four runner-up's triumphant comeback on Top Chef All-Stars, Blais got to work on his James Beard-nominated cookbook, Try This at Home, and soon after opened San Diego's beloved new American spot, Juniper and Ivy. Never one to slow his roll, Blais has also kept busy with a slew of TV gigs, competing on shows like Iron Chef America and Cutthroat Kitchen, hosting Food Network's Hungry Games and, of course, maintaining a recurring role as a Top Chef judge. In 2015, he opened his latest venture, The Crack Shack, which continues to top San Diego's hit list. What's more, the chef even manages to keep a creative eye on FLIP, the Southern-based burger chain he opened just after his first Top Chef season.