A Side Dish of Love

Things get hot in the kitchen for Top Chef contestants Jennifer and Zoi. They may be partners in life, but they're now squaring off for the title and there can only be one winner



The new season of Bravo’s sizzling Top Chef has a lot of things going for it, but none more appetizing than Jennifer and Zoi, the San Francisco lesbian couple competing against each other. So how hot do things get in the kitchen and beyond? Let’s count the ways: The gals are bunkmates with their culinary sisters, they don’t monitor their feelings for each other (much), and so far, competing against the testosterone set hasn’t bumped them off the popular reality show. And while TopChef's winning chef -- who is selected from the 14 remaining wannabes currently stewing in Chicago -- nabs $100,000 in seed money to help open a restaurant, it’s not all dueling whisks for Jennifer and Zoi. The Advocate uncovers the secrets behind the couple’s recipe for success, love near the gas burner, and a surprising appreciation of oxtail.

What were your thoughts when you both discovered you would be doing Top Chef together?

Jennifer: It was one of those emotional feelings where you feel your blood go up 20 degrees.

Zoi: Our first thought was, Holy shit! We’ve worked together before, but we truly didn’t think they were going to pick both of us. In the back of our minds, we thought, No way are we going to be on. This has never been done before! But then we became really excited to go on together. On the flip side was being in the public eye as a couple. I am a private person, believe it or not. I’m not in the dining room -- I am in the kitchen. So this was definitely a change for me in that I was really putting myself out there. To add on to that, we are on the show together and we obviously want each other to do really well. And we also both want to win.

Jennifer: We were trying to process the whole idea of the possibilities of the contestants thinking it was unfair that we were a couple. But we decided to go with the flow and know that we are strong enough people -- we’ve been together more than four years -- and that we could handle whatever came our way.

Top Chef Jennifer (Bravo) | Advocate.comContestant Jennifer

Tags: television