The upcoming season of "Top Chef" will finally include a Utah contestant.
Katie Weinner, a 35-year-old culinary instructor at the Art Institute of Salt Lake and the co-owner of recently closed SLC POP eatery, is one of the 16 cheftestants selected to compete on the 12th season of the award-winning culinary reality show, officials from Bravo announced Wednesday.
The 12th season takes place in Boston and premieres Wednesday, Oct. 15.
Weinner is believed to be the first chef with Utah ties to compete. A native of Rosemont, Minn., she was the head development chef for the two-week Mist Project, a pop-up restaurant concept that came to Salt Lake City in January 2012.
She continued the idea when she created SLC POP, a pop-up restaurant and catering business. Later, she and business partner Mike Burtis collected more than $5,000 through Kickstarter to remodel the Nata gallery and create a permanent 12-seat home for their culinary concept. After two years in business, the Nata Gallery closed this past spring.
In her "Top Chef" bio, Weinner said she likes "working with exotic ingredients and spinning classic ingredients into something amazing."
She said her cooking style resembles her life: "out-of-the-ordinary and full of surprises." And when she’s not in a kitchen, you can find her on the river fly-fishing or "shredding the pow" at Snowbird Ski Resort.
Weinner received her culinary diploma from the Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver and worked at Plumpjack Café in Squaw Valley before moving to Utah to work at the Art Institute.
During the "Top Chef" season, Weinner and the other chefs will go knife-to-knife at iconic Boston locales including Fenway Park, Plimoth Plantation and The Bull and Finch Pub, which served as the inspiration for the popular television show "Cheers."
The winner of "Top Chef" gets $125,000, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and the title of "Top Chef."
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