Tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT, on the Bravo network, is the season 15 finale of Top Chef. The remaining two chefs will face off and cook the meals of their lives for the judges, along with culinary icons Nancy Silverton, Jonathan Waxman and Curtis Duffy. Joseph Flamm is one of the final two contestants and recently, as a Marist alum, he spoke to the high school about his time on the show, saying, “It was an incredible experience. There is nothing like it. There is nothing that prepares you for it. It is incredibly hard. But the people you get to meet, and the places you get to go are all so unreal. It provides so many opportunities that you would just never get otherwise.” Get to know more about Flamm as he heads into the finale, in our 5 Fast Facts below.
1. He Is the Executive Chef In a Michelin-Starred Restaurant
Before heading to Top Chef, Flamm had made himself a great career as the Executive Chef at Chicago’s Michelin-starred Spiaggia and Café Spiaggia, according to his Bravo profile. Some of the menu items at Spiaggia include wagyu beef carpaccio, black truffle gnocchi, a porterhouse steak with truffle hollandaise, spiced cider sorbet, and toasted milk gelato. Flamm is a 2008 graduate of Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, according to Beverly Review.
2. Flamm Was the Winner of “Last Chance Kitchen”
Flamm was knocked out of the competition during episode 9 of the show, after losing a Sudden Death Quickfire Challenge. But, he came back on episode 11 after winning Last Chance Kitchen. Throughout the course of the season, when a chef is eliminated, they have the opportunity to win their way back into the competition, by going up against other cast-offs in the kitchen. Fortunately for Flamm, he was able to beat fellow contestant Brother Luck in the finale episode of Last Chance Kitchen. His winning dish was a Lamb Shoulder with a Fava Bean Pesto, Charred Fava Pecorino, Shallot and Balsamic Glaze.
3. Previously He Appeared on “Iron Chef America”
When Flamm first came aboard Top Chef, according to the Chicago Tribune, he sought advice from Season 4 winner Stephanie Izard. Izard has gone on to compete on Iron Chef America, and Flamm has actually stepped in as one of her sous chefs on the show. For their episode together in July 2011, Iron Chef Michael Symon was challenged, according to the Beverly Review.
Unfortunately, Flamm and Izard didn’t win the competition. For two years, Flamm worked at the restaurant Girl and the Goat, which Izard owns.
4. Flamm Is Good Friends With Fellow “Top Chef” Contestant Fatima Ali, Who Recently Beat Cancer
Fatima Ali was one of the contestants this season on Top Chef and she has also battled and beaten Ewing’s sarcoma, which is a type of bone and soft tissue cancer. Flamm is a good friend of Ali’s and when he heard the news that she had been diagnosed, he was very upset. He had told Bravo TV, “I called her and I remember talking to her and she told me. I remember just walking around the restaurant all day, just shaking my head. It was such a gut punch. I couldn’t believe it, that somebody so young and vibrant, it’s just like she’s amazing. So it was horrible. This is supposed to be one of the most fun times of her life, such a great experience for her, and she’s literally battling to stay alive right now.”
Fortunately, Ali is reported to currently be cancer-free and Flamm is ecstatic, telling Bravo that, “It was a really tough road for her … She’s so positive, she’s so strong … She’s so incredible in every sense of a person …. Now feeling like she’s gonna come on the other side of this and absolutely fucking crush it.”
5. He Is Up Against Adrienne Cheatham In the “Top Chef” Finale
Adrienne Cheatham is the contestant who Flamm is up against in the finale episode of the show. Cheatham is also from Chicago, though she currently resides in New York City, where she works as a chef. According to Bravo, she is currently working on the opening of her own restaurant in Harlem, New York. Cheatham has had a pretty good track record this season on the show, though she has had a little bit of a rough time in the last couple challenges.
When offering his advice to future Top Chef contestants and dishing on the finale, Flamm told the Chicago Sun Times, “Enjoy the ride. You need to have a clear, concise vision. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. You can spend the whole time being stressed out or just enjoy being around these really incredible people and just take a fucking moment to enjoy it. I couldn’t be happier that the finals are a [Chicago] South Side showdown.” The winner of Top Chef will take home a $125,000 prize.