I’ve been addicted to the Food Network since it’s inception.  I love watching food programming and cooking competitions on my downtime.  Thanks to Food Network’s success, other networks like Bravo and Fox are producing shows for foodie fanatics as well.  From Chopped to Master Chef, Restaurant:Impossible to Top Chef… I love them all!

Since I’ve been on Team Easy Ice (Marketing Iceologist), watching my favorite shows has a thrilling new component:  seeing Easy Ice customers on TV!  Robert Irvine (Restaurant:Impossible, Dinner Impossible and upcoming Restaurant Express), Gordon Ramsay (Master Chef, Hell’s Kitchen) and Marc Murphy (Chopped) are all Easy Ice customers.  How cool is that?

Bravo’s Top Chef debuted it’s new season a few weeks ago and (you guessed it!), one of the contestants is a customer!  Justin Devillier, owner and executive chef of La Petite Grocery in New Orleans, is already a rising star of this competition.  Justin has been nominated twice for a James Beard award and his restaurant consistently receives rave reviews.

In the episode of Top Chef that aired October 16th the chefs had the honor (and fear) of cooking for renowned New Orleans chefs at iconic Commander’s Palace.  The special guest judges included Emeril Lagasse, Paul Prodhomme, and Tory McPhail (current executive chef at Commander’s).  The elimination challenge was intense with the contestants replicating one of four menu items.  Justin was in the group that was assigned the dessert “trio of strawberries”:  mini-strawberry shortcake, strawberry cocktail and strawberry beignet.

Justin’s perfect beignet propelled his dish to the top and he won the elimination challenge. The Top Chef judges thought Justin’s beignet was even better than the original he was tasked to replicate.

Chef Justin is a Southern California native who has called New Orleans “home” since 2003.  He joined La Petite Grocery in 2004 and within a couple of years was promoted to Executive Chef.  Hurricane Katrina had a devastating impact on the infrastructure of La Petite Grocery’s historic building and Chef Justin stayed on, helping to rebuild La Petite Grocery, running the kitchen and training new staff.

In 2010, Justin and his wife Mia bought the restaurant and Justin subsequently earned not one, but two James Beard nominations (Best Chef South).  Mia serves as General Manager and Justin is the master of the kitchen.  La Petite Grocery earned the honor of “best neighborhood restaurant” in New Orleans and has received national recognition.

Justin’s love for seafood and traditional New Orleans cuisine shine through menu items like seafood stew and shrimp & grits.  Skilled culinary chops and astute business decisions (like subscribing to ice machines instead of owning them) set the foundation for La Petite Grocery’s success.

You can see Chef Justin in action on Bravo’s Top Chef airing Wednesday nights.