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Just Passing Through: Top Chef Winner Brooke Williamson

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The two-time Top Chef contestant is kicking off Kristen Kish’s guest chef series at Arlo Grey. 

By Courtney Runn, Photo courtesy of Nomadic Reverie

Brooke Williamson - Austin Woman Magazine

Calling all Top Chef fans! Two of our favorite contestants (and winners!) are reuniting at Arlo Grey Jan. 20 for a special dinner series. Kristen Kish announced her first guest-chef series and is kicking it off with her former-competitor-turned-real-life-friend Brooke Williamson. The three-part series features a multicourse meal with drink pairings plus dessert.

We chatted with Williamson ahead of her Austin debut about her friendship with Kish and kitchen culture. 

Austin Woman: What are your favorite Austin spots? 

Brooke Williamson: I’ve only been to Austin once, on business, so I’m very excited about this trip. I don’t normally book an extra day when I travel for an event like this, but I wanted to spend an extra day in Austin to see the city a bit and spend some extra time with Kristen.

AW: What are you most looking forward to about your Arlo Grey pop-up? 

BW: To get to work with one of my closest chef friends who I adore and respect deeply but also just have so much fun working with.

AW: Everyone loved watching you and Kristen compete on-screen. What is your real-life friendship like? 

BW: We’re real with each other. We know each other well and have a very honest friendship. She’s family and always will be. At the same time, we can talk s–t to each other in every which way and know that it comes from a place of love. 

AW: In your own restaurant, how do you create a positive team culture, especially for women?

BW: I try to create an environment that feels like family, where everyone knows that they have a job to do, but that they have the support that they need when they need it. There is no such thing as a “boys’ club” in my restaurants, as it was in most of the kitchens that I grew up cooking in. We support each other and respect one another. 

AW: This January, we’re focusing on moms in print and in our online content. How has your son made you a better chef and influenced your craft? 

BW: My son inspires me every day, not only with his curiosity and creativity, but by being the one person that I need to set an example and provide for. He inspires me to be a better person, to work harder and to dive deep to find the motivation needed to remain successful, relevant and, most importantly, someone that he can look to for support on any level. 

AW: What’s inspiring you in the kitchen right now? 

BW: Simplicity. Simplicity is something that always inspires me and has my entire career. The challenge to be creative and present an inspired dish with the most approachable methods is something that I find inspires me. 

AW: What’s a food trend you’re ready to see die and what’s one you predict will only get bigger in 2020? 

BW: I’m not one to judge trends. Whatever makes people happy should be what they choose to eat. 

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