Brian Malarkey and Angelo Sosa from San Diego are returning to ‘High Chef’ in 2020

San Diego Chefs Brian Malarkey and Angelo Sosa return to Top Chef, the popular cooking contest show that made them celebrities.

Bravo announced on Thursday that the show’s 17th season will debut on March 19 with “Top Chef: All Stars LA,” “featuring the fiercest group of competitors the show has seen with 15 finalists, front-runners and fan favorites. .. all of which have returned to finish what they had started. “

One of the so-called chief aunts is Malarkey, who went from relative darkness to the ubiquitous local phenomenon and arguably the most famous celebrity chef in San Diego as a fish cook at The Oceanaire in the Gaslamp after finishing fourth in the third season of “Top Chef”. Today, he and partner Chris Puffer lead a growing empire of fine dining and casual dining, including Animae in downtown San Diego, Herb & Wood in Little Italy, and the newly opened Herb & Sea in Encinitas.

Chef Angelo Sosa of Encinitas’ Death By Tequila is back for a third round of the Cheftestant game on Top Chef.

(Smallz & Raskind / Bravo)

Sosa, who moved to Carlsbad from New York in 2016 after impressing the judges as runner-up in Season 7 and appeared on the All-Star Edition of Season 8, is the head chef at Death By Tequila in Encinitas. The critically acclaimed restaurant serves modern Baja-inspired dishes, highlighted by Sosa’s trademark use of Asian flavor profiles and ingredients.

In interviews on Thursday, both Malarkey and Sosa said they – along with host Padma Lakshmi and judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons – would return to the series as different chefs than they were over 10 years ago.

“I don’t think it changed me that much, but it gave me the confidence … to feel like I can cook at the same level as these amazing chefs,” said Malarkey. “I will now have the skills of my restaurants (like (Asian flavors, wood fire grilling). I’m not just pigeonholed as a fish cook.”

Sosa said he was curious to see how his professional and personal development would play out on the show. “I’ve literally gone through so much transformation,” he said, noting his sobriety. “I wanted to see who I am, the new version of me. I was humble to be asked and invited back. What an honour; how can I not say yes? “

Malarkey called his return a “thank you to ‘Top Chef’ and what it has done for my career and how it really got me notoriety (status) and got San Diego to hug me.”

Both chefs stated that the weekly competition against national chefs from different culinary backgrounds who cook at the highest level provides an unprecedented opportunity to learn and be inspired. Sosa called it “an incubator for great cooks”. Other chefs include Joe Sasto, Bryan Voltaggio, Lee Anne Wong and Gregory Gourdet, Sosa’s former associate at New York’s Jean-Georges in New York.

Malarkey described the experience with a typical Malarkey ism: “It’s like a think tank with styles and techniques. It’s a deep, dark university for culinary adventure. “

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