Next Level Chef Season 2: Where Are The Contestants Now?

The competitive cooking reality television series, ‘Next Level Chef,’ which premiered in 2022 on Fox, is a massive hit for food lovers. Chef Gordon Ramsay, Nyesha Arrington, and Richard Blais don the judge’s hat in the series and take on 18 extremely competent chefs as they battle it out for the prize. Season 2, which premiered in 2023, had the same judges return to mentor the chefs of varying expertise. Eventually, professional chef Tucker Ricchio took the coveted prize home. As it’s been a while since the season wrapped up, loyal fans of the show have been wondering about the current whereabouts of their favorite chefs.

Tucker Ricchio is Now a Traveling Private Chef

San Jose, California’s Tucker Ricchio, the winner of season 2 of ‘Next Level Chef’ was handpicked by chef Gordon Ramsay himself for mentorship. Having previously worked at high-end Michelin-star restaurants like Acquerello in New York City, Tucker, who belonged to a large immigrant family, was a professional chef and showed extreme confidence throughout the series. Her three dishes, under 30 minutes, in the finale were able to leave the judges speechless, and she won the grand prize of $250,000 and an envious year-long mentorship with the three mentors: Gordon Ramsay, Nyesha Arrington, and Richard Blais.

After the win, Tucker continued working on her Truffle Shuffle show, which she had started when the pandemic struck. She shifted her focus to the ‘Eat Around the World with Chef Tucker’ series, wherein she now travels to places and cooks up unique culinary delights for the world to see. The traveling private chef is the owner of Gastronomy Gangster LLC and does pop-ups all around the country on varying themes and also hosts in-home private cooking classes. Tucker, who identifies as queer, hopes to utilize her win to enforce the representation of gay women in the cooking industry. She also runs her own channel on YouTube and TikTok and enables people with the opportunity to cook live with her online!

Pilar Omega Serves as the Chef De Cuisine in a Boutique Hotel Today

Chef Pilar Omega from Detroit, Michigan, was one of the co-runners-up of season 2, along with Christopher Spinosa, and was a part of Nyesha Arrington’s team. The professional chef with over a decade of cooking experience had previously catered for grand events like the Emmys, Oscars, The Governors Ball, and NFL events as a part of Wolfgang Puck Catering. Pilar is also the CEO and chef of her food delivery service, Soul Fusion, which pitches tasty, satisfying, and nutritious meals one plate at a time.

After becoming a runner-up on the show, Pilar returned her focus to Soul Fusion. Her website also provides a one-stop shop to buy all the things required for cooking up a storm. Currently residing in Texas, the proud mother works as the chef de cuisine for Hyatt Centric, The Woodlands. She also provides catering and private chef services, particularly Sushi parties and food styling inspiration. Pilar also has a YouTube channel to her name, but it currently remains inactive.

Christopher Spinosa is Now a Quirky Home Chef

Long Island, New York’s Christopher Spinosa was the other co-runners-up with Pilar Omega. He was mentored by Richard Blais on the show. Before arriving on the series, he had a flourishing culinary career for over a decade and had been a part of several of New York’s most prominent kitchens, such as Bagatelle NYC, Spice Market, and The John Dory Oyster Bar. Having studied music at the University of Connecticut, he earned himself a certificate degree at the Institute of Culinary Education before foraying into the culinary scene. After managing to reach the finals of the coveted show, Christopher decided to take some time off. He did a few podcast interviews and a few dinner services, one of which was a Major League Baseball client.

He is currently working on upping his social media game to help enhance his overall presence. Christopher, who now resides in West Palm Beach, Florida, focuses on using his passion for food and invaluable training techniques learned by providing his clients with gourmet food experiences in the comforts of their homes. Calling himself a “quirky home chef,” his social media profile contains all sorts of dishes he cooks and experiments with. Other than that, the personal chef, who runs a company called Crs Culinary Solutions, has also been catering for private dinners and parties, doing meal preps, and offering cooking lessons.

Omallys “Omi” Hopper Continues Her Role as a Social Media Influencer

Omallys “Omi” Hopper is a Río Grande, Puerto Rico native who was under the mentorship of Nyesha Arrington. She was part of a double elimination with Nuri Muhammad just before the finals. The mother of four currently resides in Providence, Rhode Island, where she works with sponsors and collaborates with influencers while highlighting her food entrepreneurial venture.

Omi is the owner of Cooking Con Omi LLC and has recently launched her very first product – her Abuelita’s Sofrito Fresquecito, a herb base for several Latin American dishes. Her website provides a wide range of products that are authentic to her Puerto Rican roots, which her admirers can buy. Omi’s social media profile is packed with simple soul food recipes that give the world a glimpse into who she is.

Nuri Muhammad Has Focused on Growing as a Private Chef

Bowie, Maryland’s Nuri Muhammad, was one of the last eliminations with Omi just before the finale. He was under Nyesha Arrington’s mentorship. After his elimination from the show, Nuri decided to once again shift his focus back to his business, Chef Stretch Kitchen, LLC. Having started in 2017, he continues to provide exceptional catering services and dine-in experiences for all sorts of events, which include brunches, dinners, and special occasions.

Nuri does all that from the comfort of the client’s residence, office space, and if necessary, in an assortment of special destinations too. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Nuri enjoys traveling the world as a private chef. He puts out food pop-ups from time to time. Moreover, his social media is filled with all sorts of cooking content, in which he is often joined by his adorable one-year-old daughter.

Mehreen Karim is Expanding Her Career as a Food Writer and Pop-Up Chef

Mehreen Karim, an Auburn, Alabama local and a home cook, was under Richard Blais’ mentorship. She was eliminated during a difficult cook-off. However, Mehreen has since then brushed off the loss and focussed on expanding her career. Currently working in Brooklyn, she runs a food pop-up and is actively working as a food writer and recipe developer. She has also recently launched her newsletter, ‘Brown Butter Club,’ so that her fans can stay updated with her recipes and all things surrounding food in her life! Mehreen’s recipes have also been featured in several prestigious publications, including Bon Appétit, where she previously worked on digital recipe building, writing food stories, and developing recipes, Food52, The Washington Post, Fox, and TASTE. She also shares her daily food learnings and experiments on her social media profile.

Michelle Calcagni Enjoys Being a Food Traveler

Michelle Calcagni, an Oradell, New Jersey native currently residing in Bergen County, was part of Gordon Ramsey’s team on the show. A seasoned home cook, Michelle was already working as a senior brand marketing manager for Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure when she was called onto the show. While she didn’t go on to feature in the finals, the show served as a blessing for her, as sometime after her exit, her daughter Ava Emilia Calcagni was born. While continuing to work on her brand marketing profile, the Italian perfectionist has also put her focus on her cooking after the show. Michelle’s social media profile is filled with videos of authentic recipes that she keeps whipping up for family and friends.

Tineke Younger Now Holds Food Pop-Ups

Frederick, Maryland’s Tineke Younger, was a social media chef when she became a part of Gordon Ramsay’s show. Under the mentorship of Richard Blais, she learned a lot about the intricacies of the cooking world and gained confidence in her abilities as well. Having released her first cookbook just before joining the show, Tineke decided to utilize her newfound knowledge to further expand her food base.

While she continues to post recipes on TikTok and Instagram, she often holds food pop-ups on behalf of Pepper as well as individually as a means of interacting with fans and showcasing her culinary skills. On the personal front, her boyfriend proposed to her in November 2023, and ironically, the romantic gesture came in her favorite place, the kitchen!

Shay Spence is Now a Traveling Food Writer

Shay Spence is a social media chef native to Austin, Texas. Mentored by Nyesha Arrington, Shay’s food experience came from his time as a test kitchen intern, after which he forayed as an editorial assistant at ‘Everyday with Rachael Ray.’ While his time in the show wasn’t as long as he’d hoped for it to be, Shay has continued to focus on taking his food experiences far and wide. Currently residing in Key West, Florida, he now works as a freelance travel and food writer for Food & Wine, having previously worked as a food editor for People Magazine. He continues to post all sorts of travel and food content on his social media profiles.

Vincent “Vinny” Alia is a Happy and Content Home Cook Today

Columbia, South Carolina native Vincent “Vinny” Alia was a firefighter in Leominster when he joined the show and came under the tutelage of chef Gordon Ramsay. The single father and Navy veteran was urged by his co-worker to apply, as the latter was well aware of how much cooking for the team at Leominster Fire Department made Vinny happy. After his stint on the show ended, the Leominster, Massachusetts resident has held onto his love for cooking by holding food pop-ups with his castmates and posting videos of his recipes and cooking experiences on his social media profile, along with occasional pictures of his daughter and their fun moments together.

Preston Nguyen Now Travels For Apprenticeships Across the World

The youngest professional chef of the season, Dallas, Texas’ Preston Nguyen, was a star by the time he was on the show under Gordon Ramsay’s mentorship. Having previously won the chef category in the ‘World Food Championships’ in 2021, Preston was aware of the cut-throat competitive cooking world from before. Even though he got eliminated in episode 8, Preston hasn’t let the loss get to him. After his time on the show ended, he worked part-time at Arlington’s Prince Lebanese Grill.

Meanwhile, he also focussed on his own catering under the name The Culinary Code. He has been keeping his social media profile up-to-date with his cooking videos and has also done a pop-up with his ‘NLC’ castmates. Preston, who currently resides in Arlington, Texas, has been extensively traveling around the world to work on a bunch of lucrative apprenticeships. He also plans on appearing for the World Food Championships again.

Matt Groark Continues to Run His Barbeque Business

Matt Groark, well-known as TheMeatTeacher from Medford Lakes, is a former physical education and health teacher who had a thriving barbeque business by the name of Groark Boys BBQ before he came on the show. The social media chef was a part of Richard Blais’ team. After getting eliminated in the seventh episode of the season, Matt decided to shift his focus back to his barbeque business.

His love for all things cooking, particularly barbeque, has seen Matt co-found RubCity, a company that makes small batches of premium seasonings, and Embers TV, a one-of-a-kind streaming platform dedicated to the world of barbeque and outdoor cooking. He continues to be active on his social media profiles, posting food content exclusively focussed on barbeque. In February, he and fellow ‘NLC’ chef Tineke Younger were part of a Superbowl LVIII Tailgate Showdown.

April Clayton Has Shifted Her Priority Back to Her Catering Business

A Henderson, Tennessee native, April Clayton was mentored by Nyesha Arrington on the show. The home cook, who now lives in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, already had a thriving catering business called Southern Skillet Catering, which she had opened in 2017 before appearing on the show. While she wasn’t able to go very far on the ‘Next Level Chef,’ April returned her focus to the family-owned catering business that she runs with her husband, Kyle. Not only does she provide for weddings and event catering, but she also has a successful take-home meal service.

Cassie Yeung Now Shares Her Cooking Content on Her Social Media

Cassie Yeung, a social media chef from South Brunswick, New Jersey, was part of Gordon Ramsay’s team. She was the fourth cook to get eliminated, as her potatoes were a little too lumpy for the chefs’ liking. After her stint on the show ended, Cassie shifted base to Brooklyn and decided to continue with her digital creator role by posting her cooking videos on her social media profiles. She has collaborated with the kitchen shopping and retail chain Hedley & Bennett to bring out her own creator’s collection apron. Cassie also puts out food pop-ups along with fellow ‘NLC’ chefs in collaboration with Pepper.

Mark McMillian Now Works With Programs to Help Enhance the Lives of Young Adults

Mark McMillian is a well-known name in the NFL arena for having played on behalf of the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs and for leaving an indelible mark as a cornerback. Being a part of Gordon Ramsay’s team, Mark grew his culinary knowledge quite a bit despite his short stay. After his exit from the show, he went back to broadcast and host for the Las Vegas Raiders. Currently residing in Los Angeles, California, Mark runs Grill’n McMillian while working with programs that help to improve the lives of young adults and children. The Emmy Award winner also has his own exclusive store, which includes an array of assorted spices and sauces that fans can buy.

Darryl Taylor Sells Keto-Friendly Barbeque Sauces Today

Professional chef Darryl Taylor from Memphis, Tennessee, didn’t get much time to show his culinary expertise. Despite being a part of Richard Blais’ team, he was eliminated in the third episode when a spicy chicken sandwich he had served didn’t meet the spice factor as much as the judges would have liked. After his exit from the show, the Atlanta celebrity chef redirected his focus back to his catering company, Epicurean Drama, where he continues to hold events of all sizes and provides lip-smacking delicacies for his clients, which include several well-known guests such as Nene Leakes and former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin. He also recently released his very first keto barbeque sauce, Kickin’ Country Keto BBQ Sauce.

Alex Morizio is Focused on Furthering His Career as a Stand-Up Comedian

Brooklyn, New York’s Alex Morizio was in Nyesha Arrington’s team and was the second contestant to get eliminated. After his short stint on the show, the Miami home cook has decided to refocus on his stand-up comedy and is now a regular at Bay Club Miami, as a part of Bay Club Comedy, where he performs every two weeks. While he has also held onto his cooking and occasionally posts snaps of specials that he whips up, it seems to have taken a back seat as of now. Alex also had a YouTube podcast, but it hasn’t been active for a while now.

Kamahlai Stewart Has Been Concentrating on Her Catering Business

Kamahlai Stewart, from Washington D.C., was a mentoree of Richard Blais and the first chef to get eliminated from the show. While her time on the show was quite short-lived, Kamahlai hasn’t been sitting on the loss and has instead shifted her vision back to the thriving catering business she and her husband Maurice run, called House of Soul Catering. The couple, who reside in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with their children, have also started another venture called Top Tier Venues, wherein they offer one-of-a-kind customized experiences in specific venues for special occasions.

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