Top Chef Masters Alum Tony Mantuano Gave Joe Flamm This Key Advice During Filming

Not just Top Chef cooking advice — it's great life advice, too, really.

After tireless effort on the part of all the cheftestants, Top Chef Season 15 has come to a bittersweet end. Joe Flamm took home the coveted Top Chef title on March 9's finale, proving that hard work — reminder: he battled his way back via Last Chance Kitchen — most certainly pays off. Ahead of Flamm's victory, The Feast chatted with his mentor (and Top Chef Masters alum) Tony Mantuano for a little insight into the chef's background and why, according to Mantuano, he had what it took to win.

"Joe has an incredible résumé," Mantuano gushed. "He has that charisma people want to follow," and the people he works with are his biggest fans — especially those at Michelin-starred Italian restaurant Spiaggia in Chicago.

Also, he really does love pasta.

Throughout Season 15, we watched Flamm's love for Italian cuisine shine through our TV screens, and that's because he has a genuine passion for Italy and its food.

"He just said to me the other day, he was like, 'I went to this [highly-rated restaurant in Chicago]. It was good, but it wasn't Italian and I really missed the pasta course!"

As one of Flamm's mentors, Mantuano has watched the newly crowned Top Chef "get in touch with his Italian side" over the years. And, of course, as a Top Chef Masters alum, he had some particularly useful advice for Flamm to heed while filming the high-stakes show.

"We only spoke a couple times when he was on the show," Mantuano told us, "but one of the things I told Joe was that anytime I ever got behind was when I decided to change what I was making. Once you make your decision, don't doubt yourself. You know, just go for it. Don't change [it]. Be confident, and rely on what you know."

Obviously, it worked, but Mantuano said the part he enjoyed most about watching his mentee take center stage was seeing Flamm befriend his fellow cheftestants. "You have this common thing that you're going to have for the rest of your life."

Photo: Matthew Reeves

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