Earlier this month, Saugerties resident Lorenzo Beronilla won his episode of the inaugural season of Top Chef Amateurs, a spinoff of Bravo’s longtime staple Top Chef. The new series, filmed in Portland alongside the next season of Top Chef, sees two amateur chefs battling head-to-head each week with guidance from renowned professionals.
Beronilla has lived in Saugerties for approximately six years, has been in the Hudson Valley for the past two decades and was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An actor and writer, Beronilla is no stranger to marrying his love of cooking with his screen-friendly personality.
“My heart still skips a beat when I realize I won,” said Beronilla this week. “Truly thankful to Top Chef for granting us home cooks a close-your-eyes and blow-out-the-candle like wish. What an honor it was to complete in the illustrious Top Chef kitchen. Not only to meet, but to cook alongside a slew of all-star chefs. These amazing folks are the reason why I continue to watch and cook. The experience was absolutely surreal.”
Unlike the season-long competition seen on its parent show, Top Chef Amateurs pits two home cooks against one another in head-to-head competition, with aid from celebrity chefs along the way. Viewers have the opportunity to play a role as well, with online voting, along with influencing whether competitors compete in the Seven Deadly Sins challenge — with dishes inspired by one of the seven deadly sins — or the Aphrodisiac challenge — with dishes using foods said to be aphrodisiacs.
Beronilla’s winning appearance first aired on Thursday, July 8 and includes guest Top Chef all-Stars Richard Blais and Melissa King. The program is hosted by Gail Simmons, a food writer, cookbook author and longtime Top Chef judge.