D.C.’s homegrown chef to compete on ‘Top Chef’

WASHINGTON — “Top Chef” is back for its 12th season on Oct. 15, and local fans might recognize a familiar face among the 16 competing chefs.

George Pagonis, 31, grew up spending a lot of time working in the kitchen at his dad’s family-owned diner in Alexandria, Virginia. At an early age, Pagonis knew he wanted to go to culinary school, but his father pushed him to toward college instead, telling his son the restaurant industry is a difficult one.

Pagonis attended the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and after graduating with a degree in finance, he began applying for jobs. But he quickly realized a traditional 9-to-5 career wasn’t for him.

“I bought a suit; I went on an interview — I was all cleaned up and I was just like,

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up