Sasto Returns to ‘Top Chef’

by | Mar 17, 2020 | Alumni Profiles, Food

When Top Chef gathers its “all-stars” for season 17 starting on March 19, Joe Sasto ’10 will have another chance to take the prize. And this time, he said, he knows what to expect. “I had never seen the show before,” he recently told UC Davis, about his first stint on season 15 of the hit TV series. “It was surprising how hard the mental game was — not really knowing what to expect next. It’s not so much a cooking competition as it is a mental competition.” Over the years, Sasto has made a name for himself in the restaurant industry. After running his own establishment in Ukiah, California, he went on to work in Bay Area Michelin-rated restaurants Quince and then Lazy Bear. Most recently, he has focused on his pasta expertise, hosting private events, fine-dining dinner parties and pasta classes as part of his pop-up series Tanto Si. “If there’s a challenge surrounding pasta, I’ll definitely take that one,” said Sasto. He credits his time at UC Davis, where he worked in the Coffee House for two years, for helping him get started. “A lot of people underestimate their time there,” Sasto said. “It will always hold a special place in my heart.”

— Reporting by Chloe Archambault