San Diego Chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins To Compete On Bravo's Top Chef Culinary Competition

October 12, 2017

San Diego's own Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins will compete on the next season of Bravo's hit cooking competition Top Chef, which premieres this December.

Raised on both sides of the border in San Diego and Tijuana, Chef Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins was a pastry chef with stints at Sea180 in Imperial Beach and Jsix in East Village prior to Javier Plascencia appointing her to chef de cuisine of now-defunct Bracero Cocina de Raiz in Little Italy when the restaurant opened in summer 2015. Earlier this year, Claudette competed in the second season of Top Chef Mexico. She was also appointed to the position of Executive Chef of Rise & Shine Breakfast Group incoming El Jardin modern Mexican restaurant, anticipated to open early next year in Liberty Station. Below is Chef Claudette's biography from the Top Chef Season 15 website.

Current Residency: San Diego, CA
Occupation: Executive Chef, El Jardín (Opening in 2018)

Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins is the Executive Chef of El Jardín, a modern Mexican restaurant opening in San Diego, California in 2018. Inspired by the regional cuisine in Mexico, where her passion for food was first cultivated, El Jardín is an expression of her culinary journey as a chef. Born in the U.S. and raised between Tijuana and San Diego, she credits the confluence of flavors and ingredients she was exposed to while spending time with family in Tijuana and Guadalajara. She also spent time with her aunt Lorenza who owned her own restaurant, and credits this as paving the way for her eventual career. Prior to her role with El Jardín and her partnership with Rise & Shine Restaurant Group, she served as Chef de Cuisine at Javier Plascencia's celebrated Bracero in San Diego's Little Italy. Prior, she worked in pastry, including time spent alongside Chef Gavin Kaysen at his former San Diego restaurant, El Bizcocho. Chef Claudette previously competed on season two of Top Chef Mexico. She currently resides in her hometown of San Diego with her husband, teenage son and daughter.

The 15th season of Bravo's Top Chef starts on December 7 at 10pm and takes place around Colorado. Chef Richard Blais of Juniper & Ivy and The Crack Shack will also be featured on the series as a guest judge. Former D Bar chef Keegan Gerhard also makes an appearance on the trailer. See for yourself below.