Her boyfriend and restaurant partner Brad Grossman popped the question over the holidays

By Alyssa Shelasky
January 05, 2009 09:10 AM
Chuck Hodes/Bravo

One of Top Chef‘s most spirited contestants, Nikki Cascone, got engaged to her long time boyfriend and partner, Brad Grossman, over the holidays.

“I’m beyond happy,” Cascone, 36, tells PEOPLE exclusively. “My only issue is that I can’t cook with my engagement ring on!”

Grossman, 31, proposed while Cascone was, appropriately, cooking him dinner. “I tied the ring around one of the dogs’ necks and tried to get him to run over to Nikki … but that wasn’t happening … so in the end I told Nikki to go see the dog,” he says.

The couple co-owns 24 Prince, a popular restaurant in SoHo.

Top Chef fans remember Cascone for her rustic, Italian-inspired cooking and big-sister-like relationships. She plans on having a entirely “green and sustainable” wedding in Spring 2010 with more than 200 guests.

“Nikki started planning two seconds after I proposed,” Grossman says with a smile.

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