2010 - Joe Sasto
Joe Sasto (B.A., communication, ’10) was a contestant on the latest season of Bravo’s Top Chef television series, making it to the Final 3 before exiting the show. The 15th season, according to the show’s website, took 15 chefs on “an epicurean road trip” through Denver, Boulder, Telluride and Aspen, Colorado. Sasto, the executive chef for Cal Mare restaurant in Los Angeles, told the Los Angeles Daily News that cooking gives him a way to stay connected to his mom, who died of cancer during his freshman year at UC Davis: “She’s my whole inspiration for cooking. Growing up, she instilled in me that power of food, and the way that food connects people. And I realize now how much food can evoke memories.” After graduating, he worked in restaurant kitchens in Ukiah and the San Francisco Bay Area. He was working as executive sous chef at Lazy Bear in San Francisco when Top Chef’s producers came in to eat. “I never saw an episode, and didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Sasto told Eater LA. “I refused to apply initially, and my girlfriend called me an idiot. Next thing you know, I’m flying to Denver to compete on a show that I knew nothing about.” Read an article in Dateline UC Davis, "Coffee House Veteran Goes for ‘Top Chef’ Title."