Before becoming a culinary sensation and nearly winning Top Chef: Portland, Dawn Burrell was competing at the highest level, representing America in the long jump at the 2000 Summer Olympics. After hanging up her spikes, the Philadelphia native and University of Houston graduate turned to the F+B industry. She worked under Michelin-starred British chef Tom Aikens and renowned Houston chef Monica Pope before landing a gig at Uchi Houston. From there she worked at Uchiko in Austin, Texas, and opened Kulture in Downtown Houston. In 2021 she placed as a finalist on Top Chef: Portland, joined Lucille’s Hospitality Group, and started plans to open her first restaurant, Late August. Burrell also competed on Top Chef: World All Stars. She serves on the board of the nonprofit I’ll Have What She’s Having, which supports health and healthcare for women in the F+B industry.