Dawn Burrell Returns For Top Chef: All Stars

The acclaimed local chef sets her sights on winning it all in her return to Bravo’s popular cooking competition.

By Shelby Stewart February 3, 2023

Houston Chef Dawn Burrell will appear as a "cheftestant" on Top Chef All Stars.

Winning the title of Bravo's Top Chef has launched the career of dozens of talented chefs around the globe. Over the nearly 20 years the show has been on the air, it has become a proving ground for established cooks and up-and-comers alike. In just the past two years, two promising Houston women have been featured: Dawn Burrell and Evelyn Garcia. Both of whom narrowly lost the competition in the finals. Burrell will get her chance at redemption in the upcoming season, Top Chef: All Stars edition.

Stills from the upcoming season of Bravo's Top Chef: Pictured: (l-r) Tom Goetter, Samuel Albert, Buddha Lo, Sylwia Stachyra, Ali Al Ghzawi, Dawn Burrell, Amar Santana, Charbel Hayek, Victoire Gouloubi, Nicole Gomez

In an Instagram post, Burrell wrote, “The word is out! Get ready for an epic international showdown @bravotopchef! Watch me compete with Cheftestants from around the world on #TopChef World All Stars premiering Thursday, March 9th on @BravoTV!”

Burrell isn’t just a top-rated chef. She’s a multi-hyphenate talent who spent the first part of her career as a high level track and field athlete, even representing the United States at the 2000 Olympics as a long jumper. (Burrell’s brother, Leroy Burrell, is also a world champion track and field star). Though her professional athletic career would be derailed by an ACL injury, that competitive spirit would serve her well as she quickly pivoted to the culinary arts, enrolling in the Art Institute of Houston. 

Burrell has been a familiar face in Houston, both for her considerable athletic accomplishments and her cooking skills, a passion that, she says, has truly been her calling. In the time since her departure from season 18, she’s racked up quite a list of accolades. A James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Texas in 2020, Burrell also started her own organization, I’ll Have What She’s Having, and plans to open up her own restaurant, called Late August (whose eagerly anticipated opening date remains a mystery). She was also the executive chef at Kulture, Houston’s “urban comfort kitchen,” and worked alongside Chef Chris Williams of Lucille’s. 

Burrell’s return to Top Chef isn’t entirely surprising when you consider her past collaborations with the show—she was heavily featured as a guest judge on season 19 (filmed in Houston). This time she joins 15 other former contestants in London for the 20th season. According to a report, the contestants will visit some of London’s iconic locales (and no doubt have to perform some bizarre cooking challenge), including Highclere Castle (where Netflix’s Downtown Abbey was filmed). The season’s finale will film in Paris. 

For those of us who are fans of the show and will be eagerly watching every episode from home, a few of the competing chefs will look familiar. Winner of season 19, Chef Buddha Lo returns, and finalists Amar Santana (season 13) and Sara Bradley (season 16) are also back.

The stakes are high and the competition is fierce for the all star cast, as some of the most talented contenders from different seasons battle it out in exotic locales including France, Brazil, Germany, Canada, and more. 

Can our beloved Houston chef win it all this time? Tune in and find out next month! 

Top Chef: All Stars premieres Thursday, March 9, at 8 p.m. on Bravo. 

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