Ahh, reality TV—the ideal balm after a long day of work, or really, any day during the pandemic. Starting tomorrow, though, reality TV will hit especially close to home, when Top Chef Season 18—which was filmed in Portland—premieres.
Tune in to Bravo tomorrow night at 8 p.m. for the 75-minute-long, super-sized premiere episode of the series, when chef and guest judge Gregory Gourdet will stand alongside host Padma Lakshmi to welcome this season’s contestants.
Of this season’s fifteen contestants, two call Portland home. Gabriel Pascuzzi, born and raised in Portland, is the chef and owner of three Portland restaurants: Mama Bird, a Slabtown restaurant specializing in wood-fired chicken, Stacked Sandwich Shop, a Southeast spot known for its oxtail French dip sandwiches and meatball subs, and Feel Good, a grain bowl café in Southeast. He was also named Eater PDX’s Chef of the Year in 2017.
Sara Hauman, originally from Vista, CA, is the head chef at Soter Vineyards, located at Mineral Springs Ranch in Carlton, a biodynamic farm and vineyard where she cooks nearly entirely with ingredients straight from the farm. She boasts an impressive resume that includes work at Bar Agricole in San Francisco, Asador Etxebarri in the Basque country of Spain, and a stint as head chef at Huxley in San Francisco. There, she earned a three-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle, recognition from Eater and Zagat, and two James Beard Rising Star Chef semi-finalist awards. She also garnered a Rising Star Chef award from the San Francisco Chronicle for her work as chef de cuisine at Michelin-starred restaurant Octavia.
Plus, this season’s sneak preview promises footage of plenty of local hotspots, including Oregon wine country, the Tillamook cheese factory, and beloved West African restaurant Akadi. Check out the video here.
And check back on our website every Friday for the duration of the season, where arts editor Conner Reed and I will post recaps of each week’s episode.