Here’s 5 Things You Should Know About ‘Top Chef’ Alum Kwame Onwuachi

Award-winning chef Kwame Onwuachi’s star power is steadily on the rise. With an ever-growing résumé, the best-selling author is still penning his life story. From working in Michelin-starred kitchens to opening his Afro-Caribbean restaurant in the heart of New York City, the Top Chef alum is adding even more to his plate.

“I realized that being a cook wasn’t only about providing people with food, but rather about providing them with the feeling that they were cared for,” Onwuachi wrote in his memoir.

Here are five things you should know about the 33-year-old Nigerian-American chef.

1. Onwuachi is a James Beard Award Winner.

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Onwuachi worked in top-rated restaurants such as Per Se and Eleven Madison Park. Onwuachi opened his restaurant (The Shaw Bijou) and later became the executive chef at Kith and Kin. The restaurant earned him the James Beard Foundation’s “Rising Star Chef Award” in 2019, which paved his path to hosting the 2021 James Beard Awards.

2. Onwuachi appeared as a contestant on Season 13 of Bravo’s Top Chef.

Onwuachi put his ultimate culinary skills to the test in front of a national audience on Season 13 of Top Chef, where he finished in sixth place. Since competing in the series, he has been named one of Food & Wine‘s Best New Chefs, Esquire Magazine‘s 2019 Chef of the Year, and a 30 Under 30 honoree by Zagat and Forbes. In 2021 he returned as an All-Star judge in Season 18 of the Bravo competition show.

“It was great to give a platform to those restaurants that may not have had it. It was also great to have a platform for West African cuisine and Caribbean cuisine,” Kwame said in an interview with ET.

3. Onwuachi launched a nail polish collection in partnership with Orly.

Taking his talents beyond the kitchen, he recently partnered with Orly, creating a “limited-edition Breathable collection” of nail polish, according to the company’s site. The first three nail colors in the collection included Eggplant, Chef’s Kiss, and Sautéed Silver—personally chosen by Onwuachi.

“It’s important for me to be able to express myself in any way I want,” he told Esquire, adding. “I’m versatile in my art form and my profession.”

4. Onwuachi has been linked to Elisabeth Ovesen, formerly known as Karrine Steffans, aka Superhead.

In recent news, the Bronx native has been linked to Elisabeth Ovesen, a former video vixen known for exposing her sexual escapades with various celebrities in her memoir, Confessions of a Video VixenThe author, creative director, and former music video actress announced her pregnancy via Instagram last year, thanking Onwuachi “for the most exciting, most terrifying gift.” However, since her pregnancy announcement, the culinary artist’s legal team issued a cease and desist letter, insinuating there is a chance that he is not the father of her unborn child. 

5. Onwuachi brings flavors of his childhood to Lincoln Center

Inspired by his culinary muse (and beloved sister) Tatiana, Onwuachi does not shy away from mixing spices reflecting the flavors and textures of his childhood. Diners can soak in the aromas of Mom Dukes Shrimp and Brown stew red snapper in Onwuachi’s newest restaurant in New York City’s beloved hub of the performing arts, Lincoln Center.  

“I wanted to tell the story of what was here before Lincoln Center,” Onwuachi told Esquire about his upbringing in and around the Bronx and the old neighborhood of San Juan Hill.

“Everything that I do is always deeply rooted in story and soul, and I saw that this was San Juan Hill, which was an Afro-Caribbean neighborhood. So it all kind of tied it together.”