A chef from Lublin is in the running for the title of World All-Star – and the accompanying $250,000 jackpot prize – after being selected to compete in the first-ever edition of Top Chef World All-Stars.
Bringing together contestants from 16 countries, Silvia Stahira, 32, faces stiff competition from her fellow professionals, all of whom have previously won or appeared as finalists in national or localized editions of the show.
Described as “cooking show royalty”, the Emmy-winning program will be set primarily in London before reaching the grand finale to be staged in Paris.
With the Top Chef brand considered a global phenomenon, the inaugural World All-Star Competition promises to be a ratings winner and the most celebrated season yet to be recorded.
Presented by host Padma Lakshmi and judged by legendary culinary figures Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio, All-Stars is now two episodes in after premiering on Bravo last week.
Making it through the first episode with relative ease, Stachyra earned praise for her “perfectly cooked vegetables” during the competition’s opening elimination stage, but faced a more challenging time in episode two.
Criticized for using vanilla salt in her rice, the Lubliner nevertheless avoided an early exit due to an “amazing” accompanying stew.
Despite missing out on the early favourites, Stachyra will now be looking to rally as the show heats up.
She certainly shouldn’t be counted just yet.
Although she originally graduated as a lawyer, Stahira abandoned her legal career to pursue her passion for cooking instead – much to her parents’ dismay.
After graduating from a culinary college in England, she began working as a chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill.
A qualified sailor, she has also worked as a chef on luxury yachts, using this chapter to explore the cuisines of nations such as Turkey, Italy, Spain and Japan.
Eventually, returning home, Stahira ran the kitchen at the extraordinary Hotel Alter in Lublin before appearing on season seven of Top Chef Polska.
Reviewed in 2018 and praised by national gastronomic treasures such as Poland’s first Michelin star Wojciech Amaro and the country’s most famous foodie Maciej Nowak, she became only the second woman to date to win the grand prize.
After learning that Stahira will be flying the flag for Poland at World All-Stars, Top Chef Polska host Ewa Wachowicz tweeted: “Extremely proud that the winner of the 7th edition of Top Chef Polska was selected for Top Chef World All-Stars from all those from Eastern Europe, thus confirming our jury’s selection!”
“Fingers are crossed,” Wachowicz added.
Subsequently becoming a mother and founding her own gastronomic company, Cook She, Stachyra uses her elevated profile to showcase her modified Asian French cuisine as a private chef, while acting as something of an ambassador for the cuisine and flavors of the Lublin region.
“I’m rediscovering regional cuisine and I love digging up old recipes, recreating flavors and going back to my childhood tastes,” she says.
Cooperating with tourism organizations and Polish embassies, she has since cooked specialties from Lublin at events in the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.
As for her TV experience, Stachyra remains ever grateful. “I have to be honest,” she says, “I look back on Top Chef Polska as one of the best adventures of my life.”
Now Lublin’s native hero will be looking for even better memories on an even bigger stage.