“Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?” That’s what I want to ask Sam Talbot, former star of Bravo’s Top Chef and one of the sexiest chefs in New York.

Sure he’s aware that his physical reputation precedes him, but Talbot seems less than amused by the question, a nod to Ben Stiller’s numbskull supermodel Derek Zoolander. “It’s a fun little flattering deal,” he says, “but restaurant chefs and peers know the real me.”

Which is good, because every bio about the man happens to mention how he’ll “heat up the kitchen.” However, there’s more to Talbot than sexy sideburns, as he’ll show guests lucky enough to have tickets to Sunday’s gospel brunch.

The Charlotte, N.C., native studied at Johnson & Wales in Charleston and cut his teeth working under James Burns at J. Bistro in Mt. Pleasant for four years. From there he moved to New York City where he took executive chef positions at Punch, Black Duck, and Williamsburg Café. Keep in mind it was 2001 when he arrived in NYC, and he’s only 28 now.

The culinary kid knew he’d have to prove himself in the cutthroat community if he was gonna last, and he set to work studying every nuance and trend in cuisine. When Forbes named him one of the city’s up-and-coming chefs, it was clear he was on his way. Soon after that he landed the Top Chef gig.

Since, like Upstate native Tyler Florence, he’s got both the looks and the skills, I wondered if Talbot might consider becoming a television chef. “My true passion is in the kitchen, but I’m always open. I would do it if it involves cooking, but for now I’m happy being in the kitchen.”

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