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Thanks to his success on the show, his Frederick, Md.,restaurant Volt has seen a tremendous increase in business, including a two-year waiting list for its premier Table 21. ''It shed a whole new light on the restaurant, and it opened up the door for us to have clients who are coming in from different areas from the whole D.C.--Baltimore metro area making the trip to Frederick,'' the season 6 runner-up tells EW. ''It's not only impacted our restaurant, but it's also impacted the economy in town.'' Because of his contribution to the area, Voltaggio was awarded the first key to the city in 60 years. He recently traveled to the White House to take part in Michelle Obama's healthy food campaign, and will be working with Washington, D.C., schools to improve the quality of food and educate students on healthy eating.
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The Florence native opened Firenze Osteria in Toluca Lake, Calif., with his childhood friend and business partner Jacopo Falleni in October 2009. ''Thanks to the exposure of Top Chef, we're doing well,'' he tells EW. ''We just have an Italian restaurant, a good Italian restaurant, relaxing, very laid-back — we're just having a good time.'' The lovable season 5 fan favorite is also a spokesperson for Bertolli olive oils. ''I'm Italian. I guess it was a good fit for me — I drink olive oil!'' he says. Fabio fans, don't rule out the possibility of seeing him on your TV screens in the future; the chef has hinted at having another television project in the works.
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The co-owner/executive chef of Woodfire Grill Atlanta tells EW, ''The restaurant has become much busier since Top Chef. In fact, every night is like Saturday night there now!'' The friendly season 6 fan favorite warns incoming cheftestants to ''watch out for the drama,'' claiming that his own experience on the show helped him learn more about himself and build up his confidence. ''I?m not sure it changed my approach to cooking, but I learned a lot about myself during the show that has helped me. I take more risks and I believe in myself even more.'' Gillespie hopes to open another restaurant — a small, casual barbecue joint — with his Woodfire partners.
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Things have certainly changed for the season 5 winner. Following the show, Rosenberg has taken a smaller role at his Colorado eatery Jax Fish House in Boulder, which has allowed for extensive travel. Right now he's focused on launching a new cooking venture, StrEatChefs, which he describes as ''a mobile restaurant serving global street food.'' His new project may require simpler presentation — like paper plates and utensils — but that doesn't mean the taste will be compromised. ''[My food is] simple, straightforward, and flavorful,'' Rosenberg tells us. ''To me, the taste of the food is paramount. Presentation comes second.''
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The reigning Top Chef returned to his position as chef de cuisine at The Dining Room at The Langham Hotel & Spa in Pasadena, Calif. He and his brother — and runner-up — Bryan have also created the website VoltaggioBrothers.com to showcase their newest culinary projects and ideas.
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Following his appearance on the show, the season 6 cheftestant left his native Atlanta and the ENO Restaurant and Wine Bar for the Big Apple, serving as guest chef at Sólo at the Sony Atrium for about a year. Recently, Kirshtein has appeared on the Top Chef tour, sharing his delectable creations with foodies and fans around the country.
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A native of Finland, the season 5 runner-up took his exposure from Top Chef and his European technique and launched two restaurants in Santa Monica. Stefan?s at L.A. Farm opened in August 2009, and Stefan?s on Montana opened in February.
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Things couldn?t be busier for the season 4 champ, who plans to open her Chicago restaurant Girl & The Goat later this month.