The Truth About Dawn Burrell From Top Chef Season 18

The popular reality show Top Chef is back with a new season. According to Bravo TV, the latest season was shot in Portland, Oregon, and has a batch of 15 contestants who will battle for the top prize. Here's the best part: as per host and judge Padma Lakshmi, the contestants "represent an incredible diversity of cooking styles and cuisines."

The show promises to take its viewers on a highly competitive ride as the talented participants give each other a tough fight through all the different challenges presented by the culinary competition. As Lakshmi promises, "This season is gonna be an exciting one. Here we go!"

One of the contestants being featured this season is chef Dawn Burrell from Houston, Texas. As per Food & Wine, Burrell is no stranger to fame. She's a former Olympian who was a part of the national Track & Field team. Burrell was among the gifted athletes who participated in the 2000 Summer Olympics.

According to Food & Wine, Burrell found herself fascinated by food when she traveled across the globe as an Olympian. In fact, she was so drawn to the culinary world that she decided to study at the Art Institute of Houston for formal culinary training.

She is a determined chef

She worked with several renowned chefs, including Tom Aikens and Monica Pope. She worked at the renowned restaurant Uchi in Houston before being appointed the executive chef position at its sister establishment, Kulture. She was even nominated for the James Beard Award for her work last year.

She's currently digging deeper into the world of Afro-Asian cuisine as a partner and executive chef at chef William Lucille's hospitality company. At the same time, she's busy working on her delivery business, called Pivot. She also had to overcome personal challenges during the pandemic and look after her mom who suffered a stroke last year (via the Houston Chronicle). When she was offered Top Chef, she didn't know how to ensure her mom was looked after and participate in the show at the same time. Thankfully, Lucille made sure to help her out when she was away shooting for the show. 

Being a part of Top Chef has been a learning experience for Burrell. "It was one of the most meaningful learning experiences of my life," she said. "I already knew I could endure a lot, but it was a refresher on just how much I could endure."

The new season premieres April 1 on Bravo.