Dining With Denise Neil

Well-known Kansas chef will be a contestant on ‘Top Chef’

Chef Renee Kelly, a Kansas City restaurant owner who will be on this season of “Top Chef,” cooked for a Wichita fundraiser last fall.
Chef Renee Kelly, a Kansas City restaurant owner who will be on this season of “Top Chef,” cooked for a Wichita fundraiser last fall. File photo

I used to never miss a season of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef,” but it’s been several years since I tuned in.

Starting on Dec. 2, though, I’ll be back. A Kansan is going to be one of the contestants – a Kansan I’ve met.

Renee Kelly is one of Kansas City’s more recognizable celebrity chefs. She owns Renee Kelly’s Harvest, a farm-to-table restaurant that operates out of the beautiful and historic Caenen Castle at 12401 Johnson Drive in Shawnee. I met her last year when she was cooking for a Music Theatre Wichita fundraiser at a private home in Wichita. She was friendly and approachable and cooked alongside local chefs Joumana Toubia of Latour and the late Tanya Tandoc.

Kelly, 34, grew up in Shawnee and studied culinary arts at the Art Institute of Houston then moved home, where she started a catering company. She opened Harvest in 2012.

The 13th season of Top Chef, which airs on cable channel 61, starts with a two-night premiere at 9 p.m. on Dec. 2-3. This season will be based in California and will include guest appearances from Chrissy Teigen and MC Hammer. The show features host Padma Lakshmi and judges Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Richard Blais and Emeril Lagasse.

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