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Celebrity Chef Mike Isabella Competes for CARE on Bravo’s Top Chef Duels


Washington D.C.-based celebrity chef Mike Isabella, who traveled with the poverty-fighting organization CARE this year, will appear in Bravo network’s Top Chef Duels on Wednesday, August 20 at 10pm ET/PT, competing against Chef Antoina Lofaso, a Top Chef Chicago finalist.

However, Isabella, owner of restaurants Graffiato, G and Kapnos, and his fellow chefs aren’t just competing in the kitchen. Independent of who wins or loses in the episode, viewers will have one week to vote online at for the chef they believe most deserves to win. If Isabella receives the most votes, the Top Chef All-Stars runner-up could earn $5,000 for CARE, which he selected as his charity of choice. The winner will be announced on on Wednesday, August 27.

Earlier this year, Isabella travelled to Peru with several other renowned chefs to explore solutions to global hunger. He saw up close CARE’s work helping small farmers find reliable markets for native potatoes and quinoa while learning about the causes of malnutrition and hunger in the remote Andean highlands. Click here to see photos from Isabella’s trip

More than 842 million people around the world do not have enough food to eat, while another 2 billion suffer from malnutrition. 

CARE works to lower those tragically high numbers by helping communities find their own solutions. In Peru, Isabella saw how CARE helped native potato farmers form a budding alliance with restaurateurs in Lima. After receiving seeds and agricultural training from CARE, farmers banded together to provide a stable supply of native potatoes to the country’s finest restaurants. As a result, incomes have soared for the farmers and malnutrition has declined in the area. The cooperative model continues to flourish today even though CARE is no longer present.

Isabella says he was most struck by a group of inspirational women he met in a small village in Peru, who have helped reduce malnutrition by raising guinea pigs that provide a stable source of protein and income for their families. Isabella saw how, in some ways, these women were very much like him: entrepreneurs trying to create viable businesses in the community using local foods.  Isabella even learned to cook the traditional guinea pig dish – called cuy -- from the women. Click here for a glimpse of Isabella’s memorable cooking class. 

“I selected CARE as my charity because I’ve been so impressed with the lasting impact the organization has on people, even after the programs are officially ‘over,’” Isabella said. “CARE is unique in that they focus on empowering the women and farmers in the community so that they can continue to teach others what they have learned. The farmers and families I met can stand on their own.”

In each episode of Top Chef Duels, two former Top Chef and Top Chef Masters competitors face off head-to-head against each other in high-stakes cooking challenges designed to test their passion and imagination in the kitchen. In each episode, two chefs will battle it out in three challenges that will test their skill, creativity and speed.  The winner will advance to the finals where 10 chefs will be confronted with split second decisions as they lay it all on the line in the greatest challenge of their careers.  The winner of Top Chef Duels will win a $100,000 cash prize and a “culinary adventure” that will be showcased in Food & Wine Magazine.


Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year CARE worked in 87 countries and reached more than 97 million people around the world. To learn more, visit


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