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‘Top Chef’s Milwaukee Season Includes Two Austin Chefs

Olamaie’s Amanda Turner and FoliePop’s Kévin D’Andrea are competing in the cooking reality series this year

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Two chefs.
Chefs Amanda Turner and Kévin D’Andrea.
Stephanie Diani/Bravo
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

The Top Chef lineup for season 21 is here, and there’s not one but two Austin chefs on the list. Chef Amanda Turner of downtown Southern restaurant Olamaie and chef and owner Kévin D’Andrea of desserts shop FoliePops will compete in the cooking reality series, which will premiere on Wednesday, March 20.

Turner joined Olamaie as the chef de cuisine in 2021. Before that, she had worked in various Austin restaurants such as Juniper, Jester King Brewery, Uchi, Odd Duck. She studied in Japan, where she staged at restaurants such as Den and RyuGin. She’s also behind the ridiculously fun role-playing-game-themed food pop-up Fiery Talon (which does have some events coming up). She’s also been a James Beard Awards semifinalist in 2022.

D’Andrea was actually a finalist in Top Chef: France in 2015. Before that, per Food & Wine, he worked at the Hôtel Belles Rives in the French Riviera under chef Alain Llorca; Paris’s Hôtel Plaza Athénée under chef Alain Ducasse; and London’s Le Meurice. He ran his own restaurant in Paris, Mensae, in 2015, and then left France to come to America. That’s where he ran the kitchen of Houston restaurant La Villa in 2019. Then he came to Austin and joined FoliePops — known for its layered desserts — in 2020 as a partial owner, and then became full owner and executive chef in 2021.

A man looking at packaged meats in a grocery store.
Kévin D’Andrea shopping for groceries on the new Top Chef.
Top Chef

That’s not the only Austin-related Top Chef player on this season. After longtime judge Padma Lakshmi left the show, she was replaced by Kirsten Kish. The chef had actually won the show in 2013, and opened her first restaurant in Austin at the Line Hotel, Arlo Grey, in 2018.

Previous Austin Top Chef contestants include Jo Chan in season 19 (who now runs her own French restaurant in the city, Bureau de Poste). There’s the controversial season 18, where Gabe Erales won season, but after the finale premiered, it was reported that he was fired from Austin restaurant Comedor due to allegations of sexual harassment. And then there was Paul Qui, who had been with Uchiko at the time, who won in 2011.

Top Chef airs on the Bravo channel on Wednesdays at 8 p.m.; the episodes will be available on its streaming service Peacock the next day.


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