Many chefs used Top Chef as a springboard for new ventures:
Harold Dieterle (near right) — Season one's winner debuted Perilla in 2007. In 2010 he opened Kin Shop, which The New York Times gave two stars.
Tiffani Faison — This fall in Boston, season one's runner-up will open her first restaurant, Sweet Cheeks, serving homespun barbeque.
Ilan Hall (far left) — Season two's victor left Casa Mono to open The Gorbals in L.A., where he serves dishes like gefilte fish and chips.
Dale Levitski — Season three's runner-up is executive chef of Sprout, a new organic restaurant in Chicago.
Hung Huynh (center) — This champ opened his first restaurant this fall, Catch
Spike Mendelsohn (center) The season four chef opened two D.C. spots, Good Stuff Eatery and We, The Pizza, and competed on theNext Iron Chef.
Stefan Richter Season five's runner-up followed his TV foray by opening Stefans at LA FarmandStefans on Montanain L.A.
Michael Voltaggio(near left) The season six winner opened ink.sack,in August andink.in October.He also authored his first cookbook.
Mike Isabella (far right) Isabella openedGraffiatoin D.C. this june.
Check out what some of the chefs voted Fan Favorite have been up to:
Sam Talbot (near left) — Talbot helms the kitchen at Imperial No. 9, in New York’s Mondrian Hotel. He published a book called The Sweet Life: Diabetes Without Borders.
Fabio Viviani — This competitor has endorsement deals with San Pellegrino and Santa Margarita Winery. He stars in a cooking program for Yahoo! called Chow Ciao!.
Kevin Gillespie (center) — Gillespie was a semi-finalist for the James Beard Rising Chef of the Year award. He is the chef-owner of the Woodfire Grill in Atlanta.
Stephanie Izard (far right) — This victor opened Chicago's The Girl & The Goat, which received a James Beard Award nomination.
Some former contestants returned to the small screen after the show as hosts and reality TV stars.
Marcel Vigneron (far right) — This season two chef stars in Marcel's Quantum Kitchen, a SyFy Channel reality show that follows his team as they cook molecular gastronomy.
Brian Malarkey (center) — Since season three, Malarkey opened two San Diego restaurants: Searsucker and Burlap. TV gigs include hosting the TLC special Megabites and co-hosting TLC's Kick Off Cook Off.
Carla Hall (near left) — Season five's bubbly personality landed a role as co-host of ABCs new daytime talk show The Chew.
A number of Top Chef contestants began their small-screen glory with stints on another culinary competition show, Iron Chef America.
Kelly Liken (center) — Season seven's Kelly Liken duked it out against Iron Chef Jose Garces in the spring of 2010, just a few months before appearing on Top Chef. She continues to run her namesake restaurant in Vail, Colo.
Richard Blais (near left) — This contestant first appeared on ICA as a challenger in "Battle Chickpeas," with fellow Top Chef alum Eli Kirshtein as his sous chef. Blais showed up in Kitchen Stadium years later as Iron Chef Cat Cora's sous chef in a number of other battles.
Ed Cotton (far right) — Another former ICA sous chef of Cat Cora is Ed Cotton, runner-up of season seven.
Brian Malarkey (center) — Malarkey learned a lot about cooking from his grandmother, who happened to be a friend of James Beard.
Dale Levitski — This competitor dated fellow former Bravo contestant, Jack Mackenroth of Project Runway.
Hung Huynh (near left) — Huynh competed in the 2008 Bocuse d’Or USA. Although he did not win a coveted spot on the USA team for the international competition, Huynh did win the “Best Fish Award”.
Fabio Viviani (far right) — This vivacious contestant was formerly William Shatner’s private chef.
A few former contestants have stepped outside of the kitchen and taken on roles in other areas of the food industry.
Stephen Asprinio (center) — The season one contestant started a hospitality consulting business for restaurants and hotels in 2006, and is the resident sommelier of Nespresso USA. Asprinio plans to publish his first book later this year.
Lee Anne Wong (near left) — After appearing on Season One, Wong became a culinary producer for the next four Top Chef seasons. She has also served as a culinary consultant for the film No Reservations and is a regular commentator on the Cooking Channel show Unique Eats. Wong continues to serve as the executive chef of events at the FCI.
Brian Hill (far right) — Since appearing on Top Chef, Hill scored a recurring role on Food Network’s show, Private Chefs of Beverly Hills. In 2010 he launched a food truck in Los Angeles called the Comfort Truck, which specializes in home-style Caribbean cuisine.