Foodies are eagerly anticipating the new season of Top Chef, when the competition heats up with creative challenges and inventive cheftestants.
Premiering tomorrow, October 15, the Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series brings its 12th season to Boston with a competitor we’re already raving about: Atlanta’s Chef Ron Eyester. Owner of program restaurants Rosebud, Timone’s, and The Family Dog, Eyester will be one to watch this season, which features challenges like cooking for New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and serving the judges on Fenway Park’s legendary field.
Being a Top Chef competitor is a tremendous opportunity for chefs looking to gain national recognition and make strides in their careers. But with so many great chefs across the country, how does one get on Top Chef? And how do you make the most of your TV appearance?
Although Bravo keeps the show’s secrets tightly under wraps (no spoilers here!), Eyester shared his thoughts with me about how to get on Top Chef as well as some insight into competing on Top Chef, and what it means for him in the future.
In the public eye
In Eyester’s case, his achievements as a chef and restaurateur caught the eyes of Top Chef producers when they were looking for contestants. He also has been featured in national articles as an authority on restaurant etiquette.
Top Chef producers had reached out to his public relations firm, Green Olive Media, to ask if Eyester was interested in auditioning for previous seasons, but he declined due to the time commitment. With three popular Atlanta restaurants and a new concept, Diner, set to open this month, Eyester has a packed schedule. “I am very involved in all of my concepts and make a point to be in the restaurants,” he said.
Opportunity only knocks once
The tables turned, however, when Top Chef producers came calling to cast season 12. “When this opportunity came up, I took some time to think about the next phase of my career, and the thought of being on television is something that I am very interested [in],” Eyester explained. “I believe that Top Chef will open doors for me.”
With success stories like Stephanie Izard, Michael Voltaggio, and Hung Huynh (of program restaurants Catch and The General), Top Chef winners have gone on to build restaurant empires and frequently appear on TV as restaurant industry experts. Eyester will even be judged on Top Chef Boston by a fellow Atlanta-based chef and restaurateur: Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais of program restaurant The Spence.
Although Top Chef sought out Eyester to compete, he still had to make it past the audition rounds. “The audition process was full of applications and interviews, and gave me an opportunity to show off my personality,” said Eyester.
While he cannot speak to what exactly the producers are looking for during the audition, Eyester obviously had what it takes to be a Top Chef competitor. Eyester is already known as Twitter’s witty and opinionated @TheAngryChef, so we predict he’ll be entertaining as he tackles Top Chef’s challenges.
But how do you win?
Top Chef fans often think they know why one contestant won while another had to “pack [their] knives and go.” Some of the best advice, though, comes from someone who actually competed on the show. If you’re looking to step into the Top Chef ring, Eyester offered guidance from his experience: “Keep your thought process regarding food very simple. Don’t try to overdo it. It is also very important that you are able to acclimate to any situation – mentally and physically. Finally… sleep while you can!”
Eyester and his fellow cheftestants are among the few who know the outcome of Top Chef Boston, and they’re keeping their lips zipped until after the finale. Top Chef contestants don’t have to win, though, to see success from their appearance – just look at “Fan Favorites” Carla Hall and Fabio Viviani.
So while no one can easily predict what will happen to Top Chef Boston’s competitors until the show airs, Eyester and his team are optimistic that good things are on the horizon. “We are hopeful that it benefits our brand, but we are still waiting on the premiere,” he said. “I think it is still too early to tell, but we are excited!” As are we here at Rewards Network.
Applications are currently being taken for “Top Chef” Season 13! If you think you have what it takes, apply now.
Now get inside Bravo’s other top television show with a look at why restaurateurs should be watching: