Top Chef Masters - Meet The Chefs
From Bravo Bio -Suzanne Tracht is on top of the culinary world as Executive Chef and Owner of two distinct California restaurants – Jar, a modern chophouse in the center of Los Angeles and Tracht’s, which features retro Americana cuisine in Long Beach. Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, Tracht’s culinary journey began as a teen when she took a three-year apprenticeship under Siegbert Wendler, renowned chef at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa. She moved to Southern California to continue her education in the kitchen of Hotel Bel-Air and then served as sous-chef at Noa Noa. Her move to Campanile in 1992 placed her on the map, and she was soon named the restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine. Tracht launched her first solo venture in 1996 as Executive Chef at Jozu, a highly praised Cal-Asian restaurant that helped her develop a devoted following. She opened Jar in 2001and has been recognized nationally, including a spot among Food and Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs in 2002, national appearances on the Today Show, Food Network and Extra and induction into the Fine Dining Hall of Fame by Nation’s Restaurant News in May 2007. Her newest concept, Suzpree, a modern oyster bar and noodle house, is scheduled to open in Los Angeles in 2010.
Competing for: JFS/SOVA Community Food and Resource Program
Chef Art Smith - Illinois
From Brav Bio - Well known for being Oprah Winfrey's long time personal chef, Art Smith is the co-owner of the successful restaurant TABLE fifty-two in Chicago, as well as Art and Soul restaurant in Washington DC. He has published three award winning cookbooks and has a fourth on the way – all of which concentrate on home cooking and family life. Smith and Jesus Salgueiro are the founders of the non-profit charity “Common Threads” which focuses on teaching children about different cultures through food and art. In 2007 he received the Humanitarian of the year award from the James Beard Foundation.
Competing for: Common Threads
From Bravo Bio - A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Wilo Benet honed his craft in several New York City restaurants such as Maurice, Le Bernardin and the Water Club. Benet was called in upon in 1988 to become Chef de Cuisine of “La Fortaleza,” the Governor of Puerto Rico’s Mansion. After two years, he opened his flagship restaurant, Pikayo, which is now located at the Puerto Rico Museum of Art in San Juan and specializes in timeless classics. In 2004, Benet opened Payá, his creole fusion restaurant and last month opened his third gastronomic scenario, Varita, which features comfort foods from Puerto Rico. Last year he wrote, Puerto Rico True Flavors, which won “Best Cookbook in English & Spanish” at the 10th Annual International Latino Book Awards during Book Expo America.
Competing for: San Jorge Children's Foundation
From Bravo Bio - Having started his culinary education at Johnson and Wales University, Graham Elliot Bowles began his career by working at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, a five diamond/five-star property located in Dallas, Texas. This was followed by a move to Chicago where Bowles had the opportunity to work at the famed restaurant Charlie Trotters for a total of three years, as well as work alongside Chefs Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand as the Chef de Cuisine of Tru. A stint at The Jackson House Inn & Restaurant in Woodstock, Vermont earned him a spot as one of Food & Wine Magazine's Best New Chefs of 2004. This opened the doors for Bowles’to return to Chicago to become Chef de Cuisine of Avenues at The Peninsula Hotel. During his four years leading the kitchen, he became the nations youngest four-star chef with perfect reviews from Chicago Magazine, Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune, as well as three James Beard award nominations. Bowles has since gone on to open Graham Elliot in Chicago, a "bistronomic" restaurant combining four-star cuisine with humor and accessibility.
Competing for: American Heart Association