It’s no secret that Minnesota is home to some incredible chefs and outstanding restaurants. And now, some of the most talented Minnesotans in the culinary world have made their way onto the national stage, competing on hit reality TV shows like Top Chef on Bravo and Winner Cake All on the Food Network.
Meet your reality TV contestants:
Chef Justin Sutherland
Justin Sutherland, chef of the famed St. Paul restaurant Handsome Hog and Stillwater’s Pearl and the Thief, a Southern style whiskey and oyster bar, is currently competing on Season 16 of Top Chef battling against 14 other chefs to take home the top prize of $125,000.
This season takes place in Kentucky which would seemingly bode well for Sutherland as his speciality is creating and serving up Southern-style dishes and flavors like at his restaurant the Handsome Hog where you’ll find pig-centric plates including the Whole Roasted Hog Jowls and P.O.D. (Pig Of The Day), as well as other Southern classics such as Chicken N Waffles, Whole Fried Catfish, and Bone-In Pork Chops.
The season is already well underway with episode 8 airing this coming week on January 24.
Spoiler Alert: Sutherland is still alive and well in the competition.
If you haven’t been following the show, it’s easy enough to catch up or simply jump into the series to see Sutherland work some kitchen magic. In the latest episode Sutherland impressed the judges with his reinterpretation of the ‘hot brown’, a classic Kentucky open-faced sandwich. And luckily for us, Sutherland serves up a version of the ‘hot brown’ at his restaurants so we can get a taste for ourselves.
I have a feeling Sutherland will go far in this competition as he’s no stranger to high-pressure reality tv challenges. Just this past year, Sutherland also competed on Iron Chef America and came home victorious with the win after creating a spectacular lamb dish.
Be sure to watch and root for Justin Sutherland on Top Chef as on the next episode it looks like drama ensues with the challenge of cooking on a small houseboat.
Maddie Lu Carlos
Maddie Lu is a young and talented baker with two bakeries in the Twin Cities: Something Sweet by Maddie Lu and Macarons by Maddie Lu. Creating incredible detailed and delicious cakes, cookies, cupcakes, macarons, and more, Maddie Lu will vie for the win on the Food Network’s Winner Cake All. In this show, four competitors are asked to create intricate, delicious, and mind-blowing themed cake displays to showcase at celebrity events. The top prize is $10,000. And Maddie Lu and her decorating partner, Crystal, will be competing in an upcoming episode airing on February 18.
Just like Justin Sutherland, Maddie Lu is no stranger to competing on reality TV cooking shows. She recently also competed on the Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship show and placed in the top two in the first round.
You can see how she does in this competition and join Maddie Lu for a viewing party on February 18 at Riversbend Bar and Grill where there will be discounts on drinks and appetizers as well as free cake, naturally.
It’s easy to see why she’s a part of the Winner Cake All competition as a simple gander through her website reveals incredible works of edible art from cakes in the shape of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars to cakes shaped like whiskey bottles and a slot machine. Unreal.
Be sure to cheer on both Justin and Maddie Lu as they compete to win these intense and entertaining competitions. And with their talents, I have a good feeling about both of them.