There are many reasons to compete on a reality TV show: fame, exposure, the chance to brag about your sister, Ariana Grande. But most people do it for the prize, as it can take them from a struggling nobody to a successful professional in their chosen industry. The winner of The Taste receives $100,000 and, of course, the title of the best chef in the competition.
All of the past The Taste winners have turned the cash prize into an opportunity to make their culinary dreams come true. In the food and restaurant industry, there is a significant startup cost to opening a new restaurant or mounting all the research necessary for a cookbook. So the money comes in handy.
There have only been two seasons of The Taste so far, but both winners have been making their marks on the food scene. Season 1's winner, Khristianne Uy or "Chef K," which she goes by on her Facebook fan page. Uy got her start as a private chef, and she was working for Charlie Sheen at the time she got on The Taste and continued to work for him even after she won — I guess he's not as bad of a boss as I would have assumed.
Uy also appeared as a millionaire on The Millionaire Matchmaker, where she was Patti Stanger's first lesbian client to be featured on the show. So she's made history on two different reality TV shows. And while her official date didn't work out on the show, she actually met another woman in the green room just after the mixer named Brittany Wiener. The two hit it off just after the show wrapped, and they actually ended up getting engaged this summer. Chef K officially has the best luck on reality shows ever.
Last year's The Taste winner, food stylist Louise Leonard, has used the platform she gained from winning the show to become something of a jack-of-all trades. She just wrapped up teaching a food styling course in November, and cooks up some amazing looking (no surprise there) dishes on her website. She's also available to cater private parties or offer private cooking lessons — hire her, people!
Whoever wins The Taste Season 3, you know that they're going to make their mark on the culinary world — and that $100,000 prize is going to be a big help.
Image: Eric McCandless/ABC