From an early age, Adrienne Cheatham was always comfortable in restaurants; she’d help her mom, a manager at a local Chicago establishment, by washing dishes, bussing tables and running food. After studying business and journalism at Florida A&M University, she worked the line at a fish-focused restaurant in Orlando.
Adrienne then spent time in pastry at a resort in the Florida panhandle before moving to NYC to attend ICE. After graduating, she worked her way up the line to executive sous chef at Le Bernardin throughout eight years there. She also tested recipes for Executive Chef Eric Ripert's TV show and cookbook, and helped open his Aldo Sohm Wine Bar and private dining venue, Prive. Adrienne left to assist Chef Marcus Samuelsson in opening Streetbird (which received a Michelin Bib Gourmand) and his restaurant in Bermuda, before being promoted to executive chef of Red Rooster in Harlem. With Marcus' support, she recently took time off to travel to such destinations as Napa, Geneva, Buenos Aires, Uruguay and New Orleans — and plan her next career move.
When Adrienne saw ICE was looking for part-time instructors, she knew the position would offer "flexibility while still being surrounded by food, motivated people and inspiration... and [she]’d be helping young chefs hit the ground running.” When not teaching, she's a freelance restaurant consultant, taking on fascinating challenges like developing new products for Schwan's popular frozen food lines, and creating healthy, nutritious school lunches.
In 2017, Adrienne left ICE to compete on "Top Chef" season 15, in which she was the runner up. Adrienne hosts a pop-up series called SundayBest, which showcases her dishes each month, while raising money to open a new Harlem restaurant. She attributes her achievements to grit, a strong work ethic, a failure-is-not-an-option attitude, and always making the choice to be in good spirits.