Meet the 10 Finalists for PEOPLE's Sexiest Chef Alive 2018!
There’s something inherently sexy about a man who can cook, and these 10 culinary hotshots are living proof. These chefs have it all: good looks, accolades, hearts of gold, and, of course, serious skills in the kitchen.
But only one will be named PEOPLE’s Sexiest Chef Alive 2018. Find out who will receive the coveted title when Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle announces the winner on Food Network’s special PEOPLE Magazine: Sexiest Chef Alive (premieres Thursday, Nov. 1, at 8 p.m. ET/PT) and in PEOPLE’s Sexiest Man Alive issue (on newsstands Friday, Nov. 9).
It has been a very good year for Edouardo Jordan. The chef won two 2018 James Beard Awards: Best Chef Northwest for Salare restaurant and Best New Restaurant for JuneBaby in Seattle (the first African-American chef to win the Best New Restaurant award). During his acceptance speech, Jordan, 38, thanked his staff and his parents, and dedicated the award to his son, Akil, who loves cooking by his Dad’s side. “My four-year-old son is a spontaneous, brilliant, ball of joy,” Jordan tells PEOPLE. “He probably knows more spices and herbs than half of my chefs!”
“I have two massive life-changing events happening weeks apart from each other,” says Johnny Spero, who recently opened Reverie restaurant in Washington, D.C., and welcomed his first child, daughter Fiona, with wife Alexis. “Getting ready for our baby has been good for me,” says Spero, 32. “It’s stressful opening a restaurant and it’s been a positive, wonderful distraction and keeps things in perspective.” The chef will also be one of 24 chefs appearing on Netflix’s new cooking competition show The Final Table, which will begin streaming on Nov. 20.
The first thing you may notice about Jordan Andino, 30, is that million-dollar smile but, when it comes to his career, he’s all business. The chef-owner of Filipino taqueria Flip Sigi in New York City and the host of Cooking Channel’s Late Nite Eats has “a life-long dream of having a Michelin star,” he says. “I want to be first Filipino chef to have one Michelin star in Filipino cuisine. It would put our food on the map.”
“West African flavors are definitely the most sexy in the culinary world because there’s a mystery to them,” says Eric Adjepong, 31, of Pinch & Plate mobile dining service in Washington, D.C. Inspired by his family’s home cooking—his parents moved to America from Ghana—he says “showcasing that food is something I’m super passionate about.” You’ll soon be seeing a lot of Adjepong: He’s one of 15 chefs who will be competing on the upcoming season of Top Chef on Bravo. The series, filmed in Kentucky earlier this year, premieres on Dec. 6th.
After working for years to establish himself—and his gloriously-crispy Korean fried chicken—on the New York City dining scene, Deuki Hong needed a change and moved to California. Now the “very single” Hong, 29, is the chef of Sunday at the Museum restaurant at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, and is energized by his new surroundings. “I think every dish has a story. I’m able to tell stories through food, and able to connect with somebody through food,” says the author of the Koreatown cookbook.
“I’m comfortable with my dad bod,” jokes Andrew Isabella, 29, the father of two kids and executive chef of Atlanta’s BeetleCat restaurant—and the winner of Maine’s Down East magazine’s Best Lobster Roll. “You can still have those cuddle moments but also some of that daddy strength. Some people are built for speed and some people are built for comfort!”
Viewers of Bravo’s Top Chef may remember Louis Maldonado, who won loyal fans as he fought his way back through Last Chance Kitchen to compete in the season 11 finale. Today, the chef—and newlywed—is working towards another culinary goal: to open his hotly-anticipated restaurant Amara in San Francisco. It’s a family business for Maldonado, 37, who has has teamed up with his pastry-chef wife, Annemarie, who oversees dessert. “I always want her there with me,” he says.
Kevin Tien is racking up the accomplishments: He was named one of Food & Wine‘s 2018 Best New Chefs and will soon open Emilie’s (named after his fiancée Emily). But the chef-owner of Washington, D.C.’s Himitsu restaurant says he’s also always thinking about ways to help others. “Giving back to the community is very important to me,” says Tien, 31. He started Kevin’s Kitchen, a nonprofit that helps people who work in the restaurant industry in times of need.
You’ve likely seen one of Thiago Silva’s creative confections appear on your social media timelines—remember the doughnut stuffed with a full cinnamon roll? Yeah, that was him. “I love over-the-top, really clever desserts—that’s what my role is, to come up with the next big thing,” says Silva, 34, the Brazilian-born executive pastry chef consultant at Catch NYC. As the only pastry chef on PEOPLE’s list, Silva knows he’s in the sweet spot: “The advantage I have over these other chefs who think they’re sexy is that I work with chocolate!”
Ryan Durant, 33, went viral in 2015 for making a local Connecticut news anchor drop his fork on air when he heard the chef was single, but Durant says “times have changed and I’m a married man now!” Despite the attention he received after that Better Connecticut appearance, the chef-owner of Assaggio restaurant in Branford, Conn. says he hopes his cooking is what shines the brightest. “First and foremost, I love to be in the kitchen and put interesting flavors together, and I hope people enjoy what I’m making.”