Hands Up, Knives Down

Get Ready to Cheer on Two Houston Stars on Top Chef

Dawn Burrell and Sasha Grumman will compete against 13 others.

By Timothy Malcolm February 8, 2021

About a week ago I checked the Bravo website to see if Top Chef Season 18 contestants had been announced. Nope. Not yet.

A few minutes later while raiding my refrigerator I asked myself which Houston-area chefs were at the level of competing on the popular cooking show. The very quick and incomplete list that I imagined started with three names: Anita Jaisinghani (Pondicheri), Nick Wong (UB Preserv), and Dawn Burrell (formerly Kulture, soon to be Late August).

On Monday Bravo revealed a list of the 15 contestants battling on Top Chef, which was filmed in Portland with some very strict Covid-19 regulations in play. I was right on one of my picks: Burrell will be there. But so will another Houston chef, small business owner and chef Sasha Grumman.

Check out the video teaser here for the new season, which begins at 8 p.m. April 1 on Bravo. You'll see both Burrell and Grumman, who've both pivoted hard in 2020 and have found themselves happy on the other side. Later in 2021, Burrell will open Late August as part of Chris Williams's new company, Lucille's Hospitality Group, while Grumman, who started 2020 at Downtown Italian restaurant Rosalie, is finding success selling homemade focaccia and cinnamon rolls from her apartment kitchen.

It's pretty great news for the Houston culinary scene. We can't wait to watch.

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