What would you do to score your ideal career? Upskill in your field? Move cities? Well, these 12 home cooks will be taking on a competition TV show to earn their dream job as the next cast member of America’s Test Kitchen.
Get to know each contestant a bit better before watching America’s Test Kitchen: The Next Generation on Amazon Freevee this December.
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Hometown: Lexington, KY
Johnson is all about accessible recipes with Southern inspiration. She looks to cut down on cook time while still achieving delicious results, like with her one-hour burnt ends. Johnson loves finding new ways to make classic dishes, such as scallops and spinach with bacon beurre blanc or broiled carne asada with charred red onions.
Johnson has recently started her own social media business. Winning the competition would help catapult her career and prove that she is ready for the next chapter in her culinary adventure. She also wants to be an inspiration to her daughter, to show her that anything is possible.
Dr. Basil Maqbool
Hometown: Winchester, CA
Maqbool was born and raised in the United States and grew up cooking alongside his mother who immigrated here from Pakistan. He loves the kitchen and celebrates his heritage with flavors from his childhood and says the dishes pair nicely with any cuisine, especially Latin American and European. His favorite kitchen tool is his knife, essential and versatile. He also likes to sous vide and grill. He can cook anything this way, including vegetables, but he’s most interested in cooking proteins. As a pharmacist by trade, Maqbool focuses on the science of food. He enjoys studying the chemistry of cooking and flavor and learned techniques like geometric mixing in grad school which help to enhance his experiments in the kitchen.
Maqbool is no stranger to competition, having won Top Chef Amateurs in 2021. Winning America’s Test Kitchen: The Next Generation would help turn something he’s been passionate about his entire life into a career. If he wins, he is proving that he is meant to be in the culinary space. With the prize money, he would build an outdoor kitchen and make more food content with the help of his wife and children.
Hometown: Santa Monica, CA
Baevsky, professionally known as "Chef Bae,” is a professional private chef in Los Angeles. She grew up in Massachusetts, not too far from the ATK office! Baevsky’s mantra is "food for all," and she specializes in catering to dietary needs and restrictions, including gluten-free, dairy-free and refined sugar–free preparations. She breaks the traditional allergy-friendly food stigma with delicious, elegant, and viral recipes that do not compromise on taste, photo-ready appearance, or social media–worthy fun.
Baevsky captures the online attention of millions with her innovative approach to health-forward dishes and unique flavor combinations. She is best known for eye-catching recipe reels and bubbly, comedic content, all presented while disrupting classic chef fashion. Baevsky has partnered with some of the largest food companies in the world to develop better-for-you products for international consumers. She is passionate about creating a healthier world starting with diet and founded a nonprofit cooking program for inner-city children and families. If she wins would use the money and the ATK platform to expand her philanthropic reach and aid inner-city food programs.
Hometown: Long Beach, CA
As a self-taught home cook, food has always been at the center of Phan’s life. Her parents were Vietnamese refugees and her mother was always cooking large Vietnamese meals for their equally large family. As a young adult, Phan became a self-proclaimed “food nerd” and visited as many restaurants and cities as she could. It opened up her eyes to all sorts of different cuisines, and she became obsessed with cooking. She cooks with an understanding of the history of her dishes, the purpose of the ingredients, and the evolution through generations.
If Phan wins America’s Test Kitchen: The Next Generation, she will be finally able to pivot from the fashion industry to the food world full time, perhaps melding different types of cuisine that are found in her Southern California neighborhood into one concept or pop-up shop. Phan would use her winnings to start a local pop-up supper club, much like the one where she became inspired to dive into the culinary world. Full circle.
Hometown: Costa Mesa, CA
Sepulveda’s inspiration is pulled from her Colombian and Mexican heritages combined with American classics. She loves to cook savory and sweet; whether a flame-broiled birria or dulce de leche macarons, Sepulveda does it all. This chef is gluten intolerant and prefers to eat a gluten-free diet; however, she cooks everything! Ideally, all of her dishes would be gluten-free, but she doesn’t want to sacrifice flavor in the competition.
ATK has been a critical part of her journey in the kitchen. She has been watching for many years, soaking up hours of online content. She appreciates how straightforward the ATK content is. Sepulveda hopes to bring her skill set to a larger scale in this competition and prove to herself—and others—that anything is possible. Her father is an immigrant from Colombia and winning would be Sepulveda’s version of the American Dream.
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Schlichte is a freelance writer and a talented home chef whose culinary style is “FUN.” Cooking is an expression of love. It should be bold and unafraid—anything to impress a party. Their favorite tool in the kitchen is the cast-iron skillet, because it can do it all. Schlichte started their competitive cooking at age 12 when they won the “Mary T Schlichte Apple Pie Contest” at the county fair, named after their late grandmother who used to win the contest every year.
Schlichte wants validation that moving away from home and truly finding who they are in this world was worth it. If they win, Schlichte would like to start their own cooking series called Ugh, That’s So Good! Schlichte will donate part of their winnings to The Okra Project, which is an organization that provides food security for trans people.
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Lawson grew up in a very close-knit family. As a child, Lawson was fascinated by her elders' cooking and loved to be assigned kitchen chores. Her grandmother is her cooking inspiration and she would always pull up a chair to the kitchen counter and let Lawson climb up and help her. Lawson loves to bring people together through food and is always cooking for her family and friends.
ATK is everything Lawson loves about cooking—the science, the precision, and the techniques—and it would be her real-life dream come true to be a part of the cast. Lawson is doing this for her grandma and knows that she would be so tickled if she could see her now! In addition to running her food blog, Big Delicious Life, Lawson is also a cofounder of The Mariposa DR Foundation, a nonprofit that educates and empowers girls. Lawson is passionate about showing other girls that look like her that if they can dream it, they can do it!
Hometown: Lawrence, MA
From a young age, Sievers found America’s Test Kitchen to be instrumental in teaching him how to be a home cook. A self-taught chef, cookbook author, food content creator, and food stylist, he still makes his nana's famous grilled cheese for his family, especially when his cousins are all together. Today, his focus in the kitchen is on elevated vegetarian comfort food, perfect for entertaining. Sievers comes from an Italian and French heritage that is rich with meaty dishes. His vegetarian cooking is inspired in part by what he learned growing up on his grandmother’s comfort food and he aims to create elegant flavors with simple steps for everyday cooks. Sievers will use the prize money to move to Paris for a few months to immerse himself in French vegetarian cooking.
Hometown: Malden, MA
Cardoz is the son of the late, world-renowned chef Floyd Cardoz, who taught him everything he knows. Cardoz’s parents immigrated from India and always kept spices at the forefront of their home meals. Cardoz is now the owner of a cannabis consulting company called Cardoz Blended Gourmet, which specializes in formulating products for licensed cannabis manufacturers, as well as educating and inspiring home consumers to create their own products and blends. He recently launched his own line of CBD-infused culinary products focusing on the flavors of hemp, including truffle and chili finishing oils.
Since the passing of his dad, Cardoz finds himself supplementing what he learned from his father with America’s Test Kitchen videos. Winning America’s Test Kitchen: The Next Generation would mean so much to Cardoz, who never got to work alongside his father. Winning would help launch his new cannabis-focused culinary program and enable him to reach more people who could benefit from the products.
Hometown: Orlando, FL
Primlani lives in Orlando, Florida but was born and raised in Delhi, India. Primlani, a self-taught home chef, learned how to use spices and aromatics to heighten dishes. She started cooking as the family's head cook at the age of 12 and today is also a freelance wine educator and writer, sharing her unique insights as “Indian Wine Goddess” on Instagram. Primlani describes herself as having the soul of a Mexican grandmother, the heart of an Italian mother, and the aspirations of a French chef.
Primlani may have a leg-up on her competitors because she has a photographic memory and can reverse-engineer any meal she’s had once and recreate it. Primlani wants to share the spotlight with other mothers that put their families first. She sees this competition as a chance to step out from the shadows and take back her personal passions. Primlani also would like to start an ethnic culinary teaching program focusing on local produce and incorporating global cuisines including Israeli, Mexican, Italian, Spanish, Thai, and Indian.
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Guevarra grew up in New Jersey in a large Filipino family, where food was the center of every gathering. His father worked in food hospitality and shared his love for cooking and being adventurous through food with his son. Much of his devotion and interest in cooking started with his dad, but it was Guevarra’s mom who taught him technique and inspired him to use traditional Filipino flavors.
Guevarra’s parents sacrificed a lot to give Robbie a wonderful life with great opportunities like appearing on America’s Test Kitchen: The Next Generation. Winning would mean honoring their support and proving to his dad that cooking can be a fulfilling, sustainable career.