You might recognize sales consultant David Johnson (Indianapolis/Louisville) from a video we posted during Pride Month.

Or maybe you recognize him from the Bravo reality show Top Chef Amateurs. He competed on the episode “Make No Bones About It,” which aired August 12.

In each episode, two home cooks compete head-to-head in challenges drawn from previous seasons of Top Chef. Each amateur is paired with a past Top Chef contestant, who acts as an advisor and sous chef. Their dishes are evaluated by the judges and the winner takes home a $5,000 prize.

The making of a Top Chef

From audition to airing, it was almost a full year in the making. The casting process consisted of scheduled phone calls with producers that led to video calls, at-home cooking demonstrations, and, ultimately, the call that he was officially cast on the show. “I loved the audition process in and of itself – it was a blast!” David said.

It goes without saying that you wouldn’t compete on a cooking show unless you were passionate about cooking, so we asked David about his culinary journey.

“Growing up, my eyes were glued to the Food Network, and Top Chef has always been one of my favorite shows. I use what I see on TV as my culinary education, trying to replicate their techniques and dishes.”

What does he love to make the most? Desserts. He calls them a guilty pleasure. “I have to be careful as I can get in a bad habit of baking sweet treats multiple times a week that show themselves on the scale!”

David often goes live on Instagram so people can watch him bake, but when he doesn’t need all those baked goods in his house, he’ll bring them to work and deliver them to his homeowners and customers.

“I think it allows me to connect with them on a personal level,” he said. “It’s also kind of fun to think about which customer this item or that item will be for when I’m making it.”

He also noted that seafood is a huge passion of his – a passion which came in handy for his Top Chef Amateurs challenge that involved preparing a fish entrée for the show’s three judges. While he said he wasn’t necessarily comfortable with the challenge, he was happy to have a challenge centered around a protein he was fairly familiar with.

An “electrifying” experience

David has been a fan of Top Chef since the show premiered in 2006, so being in the space he’d only ever seen on TV felt like a dream brought to life.

“It was electrifying to be there, so the nerves I felt gave me energy and passion to keep moving forward. The clock we have to work from moves faster than anything you’ve ever seen, so I barely had time to stop and think about what I was doing,” he said. “There was a fun I felt during the filming process that I’m not sure I’ve felt before, so I can confidently say filming an episode of Top Chef Amateurs was one of the most fun experiences of my life.”

And the winner is…

So, did David win? You can find out for yourself by watching his episode here.


A huge thank you to David for sharing his story with us!