Chicago’s very own Chef Joseph Flamm took home the coveted title of “Top Chef” in the series’ season 15 finale Thursday, beating Hyde Park native Chef Adrienne Cheatham for the top spot in the culinary competition.
Flamm, who is executive chef at Spiaggia, grew up in Chicago’s Ashburn neighborhood and went to Marist High School.
“I’ve learned so much, I’ve pushed myself so hard,” said Flamm in the finale. “I’m excited to bring that to Spiaggia and see how hard I can push it.”
This Colorado-based season was the first where both finalists going head-to-head for the $125,000 prize are from Chicago. The pair beat out 14 other chefs to get to the finale.
Each chef was tasked with serving a four-course meal to a table of famous chefs and restaurateurs. Flamm cooked dishes in line with his Italian roots, the highlight of which was a pig head tortellini. Cheatham showcased her love of southern food, serving the judges dishes that included a spoon bread and a blackened octopus with grits.
The competition was close, with judges nit-picking each dish to try to determine a winner. In the end, judges chose Flamm, who they said was able to cook Italian food “in his own way.”
“Would I have preferred to win? Yeah,” said Cheatham through tears. “But I have no regrets.”
Flamm was eliminated earlier on in the competition during a sudden death quick fire challenge, but fought his way back into the finale in “Last Chance Kitchen,” a contest that pits eliminated chefs against one another leading up to the final five.
Before becoming executive chef at Spiaggia, Flamm had stints at BellyQ, Girl and the Goat and Table 52. He lives in Humboldt Park with his wife, Hillary.