Top Chefs 2024


Knoxville chefs raise the bar in culinary excellence

Beginning with our first event in 2007, Top Chefs has been a way for Cityview to shine a light on some of the finest culinary talents in East Tennessee. I don’t think we had any idea just how big and beloved this event would become. We have certainly had some exciting moments throughout the years. Like setting off the fire alarm—not once, but twice—in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame where we held the event for years. Or losing power in the middle of the event at the Crescent Bend House. However, this year’s Top Chefs series—yes, it’s a series now—went off without a hitch.

Top Chefs is truly something I look forward to all year. Getting to indulge in culinary treats from so many of East Tennessee’s finest chefs is an unforgettable experience—and we were given the chance to have that experience eight times this year. At every restaurant, it was important to us to share the story of each chef and offer them space to share how the dishes they put on the table came to be. New challengers faced off against familiar faces, and the competition inspired everyone to reach for new heights. I’m sure I speak for all our guests when I say we left these chefs’ tables satisfied.

We had our fair share of memorable moments this year. Chef Jared Martin at Fire + Smoke surprised guests at the opening dinner with a mouth-watering amuse-bouche upon entry. Chef John Bryant’s menu was brought to life by the classically beautiful environment of the new Bistro by the Tracks in Bearden. Fire & Salt featured an impromptu St. Patrick’s Day costume contest, a perfect complement to Chef Alex Gass’s Irish-themed dinner. Bistro by the Tracks in Happy Holler rang with the sound of the Happy Birthday song as Chef Robert McDonald III placed a candle on his father’s dessert. Oliver Royale restaurant manager Janie Brackett took her first foray into public speaking alongside Chef Darin Hoagland; Nathan wagered her father that he could convince her, which resulted in a generous donation to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. At the Green Room, owner and chef Jesse Newmister stepped up when Chef Erin Parrish suffered an injury the night before and cooked alongside Chef Lucas Trombley. Chefs Chris Cummins and Noah Goodfriend brought out sou chef Brandon Ebeling to present us the unique experience of eating a gift with the box it came in. And Chef Deron Little’s molten chocolate cheesecake came to the tables of Seasons wreathed in blue flame. I’m glad I could share in these moments with so many of you, our guests. I hope they stick with you the way they have with me.

For everything you got to see at these dinners, though, there’s more going on behind the scenes. Months of work go into each dinner, both here at Cityview and in the restaurants. I want to applaud each chef and their staff for the exceptional amount of effort they put into making these dinners a success. I also want to thank Matt Schaefer and our friends at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital for being part of this event series again this year. Finally, I want to share my heartfelt gratitude with all of you who came out in support with your ticket purchases and donations. As much as this is about good food and dinner conversation, this is also about saving lives and supporting good work. We raised more than $20,000 this year for Children’s. And that is a number we can all be proud of.

Now, for the hardest part of Top Chefs—the winners. No matter how amazing each dinner was, someone had to rise to the top. Guests at each dinner rate each dish—and the experience—on a scale of 1 to 10. But this year, the popular results were so close that I had to call up our celebrity judges, who attended all eight dinners, and have them cast the final votes to break the deadlock on grand champion. Together, they and our guests chose Chef Deron Little of Seasons for Cityview’s Top Chefs 2024 Grand Champion. 

Congratulations to Chef Deron and to all the winners in this year’s categories. We hope to sit at your tables again next year!

The 2024 Winning Lineup


Deron Little, Seasons
2nd Place – Darin Hoagland, Oliver Royale
3rd Place – Alex Gass, Fire & Salt

1st Place – Darin Hoagland, Oliver Royale
2nd Place – Deron Little, Seasons
3rd Place – John Bryant, Bistro (Bearden)

1st Place – Deron Little, Seasons
2nd Place – Darin Hoagland, Oliver Royale
3rd Place – Alex Gass, Fire & Salt

1st Place – Alex Gass, Fire & Salt
2nd Place – Darin Hoagland, Oliver Royale
3rd Place – Deron Little, Seasons

1st Place (tied) – Deron Little, Seasons and Darin Hoagland, Oliver Royale
2nd Place – Alex Gass, Fire & Salt
3rd Place – Noah Goodfriend & Chris Cummins, Point B

2024 Top Chefs

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