Asheville Resident Heads To Reality TV Cooking Contest, ‘Top Chef’


Chef Ashleigh Shanti will take part in Bravo’s “Top Chef”. The new season will air on March 3.

Rising star chefs will try to shine in a stellar culinary competition in Houston, and Ashleigh Shanti of Asheville is one of them.

The 19th season of Bravo’s “Top Chef” reality cooking competition will premiere March 3 on Bravo. Episodes will air at 8 p.m. Thursdays.

Fifteen competitors from cities coast to coast will compete.

Shanti is the chef/creator of Good Hot Fish, a local fish fry pop-up. The Virginia Beach native specializes in cuisine that pays homage to coastal Virginia and black eating habits. Shanti’s culinary expertise ranges from Northern Italian to Classic French to Southern Appalachian.

Formerly head chef at John Fleer’s Benne on Eagle in Asheville, Shanti was recognized as the 2019 Eater Young Gun Award winner and 2020 James Beard “Rising Star Chef of the Year” finalist.

This will be Shanti’s first time participating in a televised cooking competition.

“I decided to participate in Top Chef because I know I can compete against some of the best in our industry,” Shanti said in an email. “I hope to have the opportunity to show the cuisine that our part of the South has to offer.”

The new season of “Top Chef” was filmed in Houston. Many challenges will incorporate iconic regional cuisine, as well as ethnically diverse dishes that reflect the city’s culinary identity. Attendees will be tasked with preparing and presenting dishes popular with Houston locals, such as barbecue, cookies, queso, and Tex-Mex fajitas. Plus, chefs will create “space-friendly” dishes for former astronauts and learn how to fish in the Gulf of Mexico, among other adventures.

“This season of ‘Top Chef’ brings together a group of highly skilled chefs from diverse backgrounds and we are all ready to show off our talents,” Shanti said.

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“Top Chef” is hosted by Padma Lakshmi with Chief Judge Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons. Guest appearances will be made by world-renowned and Houston chefs.

Season 19 of “Top Chef” premieres March 3, 2022. Pictured: (lr) Gail Simmons, Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio

Competing Chefs will face eliminations and compete for prizes throughout the season.

The contestant who wins the title of “Top Chef” in the season finale will receive $250,000 provided by S.Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, an article from “Food & Wine” magazine, and make an appearance at the Food & Annual Wine Classic at Aspen.

For more on “Top Chef,” go to For more from Ashleigh Shanti, follow her on Instagram or visit

Tiana Kennell is a food and restaurant reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter/Instagram @PrincessOfPage.

This article originally appeared on Asheville Citizen Times: Ashleigh Shanti of Asheville Participates in Bravo’s “Top Chef”


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