Chef Josh Valentine is Oklahoma's First "Top Chef" Contestant
Anyone with a discerning palate was heartbroken when the “for lease” sign went up in front of The Divine Swine Pork Bistro a few months ago. But then there was this cryptic handwritten note left on the door about how “life-changing opportunities” had been responsible for the shuttering.
Now it can be told, Josh Valentine came home one day to find out from his wife Courtney that “Top Chef” was holding auditions in Denver. Josh was nonplussed until Courtney said, “And we’re going” as she showed him two plane tickets to Denver. He went, he crushed it, and he was chosen for the cast of season 10 of “Top Chef,” which was filmed in Seattle.
Josh returned from shooting the show a few weeks ago sporting a Snydley Whiplash/Abel Ramos mustache, which begs the question: Will he be the new Stefan?
He could do worse.
Josh, 33, is a graduate of The Coach House Apprenticeship Program before heading to Dallas where he worked at both SPR and Samar by Stephan Pyles restaurants in Dallas. At Divine Swine, Valentine was baking his own breads, curing and smoking his own bacon and ham, grinding his own sausage and burgers, and making gravy and ketchup from scratch.
The coup de grace was the Candied Bacon Sticky Buns, which are still good enough to inspire a food empire. Brown sugar, butter, cream, bacon, apples and pecans go into a hot pan and out comes a thick, rich, robust syrup with hints of maple. Poured over a homemade brioche bun and served with a dollop of homemade whipped cream, I’ll never forget the day it made La Baguette restaurateur Michel Buthion curse and cast away his diet after one bite.
“Top Chef: Seattle” premieres on Wednesday, November 7. Josh will compete against 20 other chefs from around the country.
World-famous chef and restauranteur Wolfgang Puck, who owns a restaurant in Tulsa, joins the show as a judge this season, alongside Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Hugh Acheson and Emeril Lagasse, with Padma Lakshmi returning as host, as the 21 chefs compete for the $125,000 prize.