Top Chef DC contestants: Former Iron Chef challenger Kelly Liken

33-year-old Cheftestant on Top Chef DC Kelly Liken hails from Pittsburgh, but owns a restaurant in Vail, CO, called Restaurant Kelly Liken.

Like most of the contestants this season, Kelly is well established already. She graduated at the top of her class Culinary Institute of America, and serves “simple, exciting, seasonal American food” at her Colorado restaurant. She was one of Bon Apetit’s “Women Chefs: The Next Generation” in 2008 and was a James Beard Semi-Finalist in both 2009 and 2010  for Best Chef Southwest.

It’s been a busy reality year for Liken, as she recently competed on The Food Network’s Iron Chef, where she engaged in a Blue Cheese battle with Chef Garces.

In her video bio below Liken reveals that she’s always had a drive to cook. Although she majored in physics as an undergrad, she got professional cooking jobs throughout college.

Kelly Liken’s Twitter.

Kelly Kilen’s Facebook page.

Top Chef premieres tonight at 9 p.m. EST.