Brian has one brother named Palmer, and the two boys were raised by their mother as a single parent.
In October of 2007, Brian was added to the list of Top Chef alumni who have a blog at the Bravo website. His main topic is seafood, but he discusses other subject as well. He also blogs on the weekly episode of Top Chef season four.
A seafood chef in his regular life, Brian was noted for his constant use of seafood in the Challenges on Top Chef, but he surprisingly failed to execute a trout dish in the last Quickfire Challenge in which he participated.
Brian was one of the four chefs to reach the finals of the third season of Top Chef in Aspen, but was cut before the last round of the competition, leaving him in fourth place. He was, however, asked to be a part of the Judges' panel tasting the ultimate Challenge's dishes made by the remaining three chefs.
Brian admits that he doesn't have much advice to give to chef's aspiring to be on Top Chef. He says he'd rather "give advice to aspiring chefs than aspiring reality-TV chefs."
Brian hopes to one day open a restaurant in Portland, Oregon, where much of his family lives. He says he will name the restaurant "Teta," after his grandmother.
During the Top Chef episode "Restaurant Wars", guest Andrea Strong commented that Brian needed to, "get thee some Right Guard." Several days after the episode aired, Brian received a year supply of the product.
Brian spent one year as a theater arts major at Santa Barbara City College before turning his attention to cooking.
Brian admits that, on Top Chef, you are often judged on your charisma instead of your cooking skills.
In June 2007, Brian appeared on the cover of the San Diego based magazine Street.
Brian is married to Chantelle Hartman, a freelance photographer. They were married in an outdoor ceremony near Lake Harriet in Minneapolis.
Brian says the chefs he admires most are Bernard Guisse, Alan Gerrard, and Marcus Samuelson.
Brian says his favorite simple summer recipe is cold beer, cold wine, and cold seafood.
Brian's grandmother was a friend of famed Chef James Beard and became interested in cooking after watching her in the kitchen.
Brian's motto is "Love, peace and happiness".
Brian: I don't back down. I go for it, put myself out there, and see how it turns out!
Brian: (on "Top Chef") We were seriously isolated from the world. We didn't do anything in Miami. I felt like one of those little kids in the first grade who is tied onto a rope to walk down the street.
Brian: (about being criticized on "Top Chef") I took the criticism as some information and used it as a learning life experience. It was 'a grain of salt thing' to pick on me; the drama of the show. The judges like to focus on the bad because the final part is always about who is getting kicked off.
Brian: My whole philosophy in cooking is to put the best product on the plate. When I go to the market, the best looking thing there is what I'm going to cook.
Brian: (on his least favorite fellow "Top Chef" contestant) I didn't like Micah - the one who dissed ketchup - from the get-go. Supposedly, she was from South Africa, but her accent was different every day. Later, we found out she was from Massachusetts.
Brian: (his advice for up and coming chefs) Just know it's a huge amount of hours, holidays and late nights. It's very demanding and I don't really know if I would recommend it to anyone.
Brian: (on cooking for famous chefs on "Top Chef") Daniel Boulud and Sirio Maccioni were both so passionate, so sweet and so nice. But some of them come in and are cutthroat, like Anthony Bourdain. He just wants to be an a--- so he can get more airtime. Viewers don't know all that they put us through.
Brian: (about getting on "Top Chef") I didn't audition for the show. They sent a scout to San Diego and talked to a lot of people. They were going to put me on Season 2 but decided I wasn't what they were looking for. They got Frank Terzoli [of Season 2] from San Diego instead. Then, they called me for Season 3. I did a few interviews, and they put me on.