Bravo’s Top Chef, will call Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city, home for season 19, launching with a supersized premiere on Thursday, March 3 from 8:00 – 9:15 pm ET/PT. The Emmy and James Beard Award-Winning series, produced by Magical Elves, returns with host Padma Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons. Expect the unexpected as 15 talented chefs from across the country vie for the coveted title bringing their unique skillsets, variety of cuisines and gamut of flavors. For a sneak peek, click HERE.
In the all-new season, the chefs will put their expert take on iconic regional dishes, while also being immersed in the ethnic diversity that has come to define Houston’s culinary identity. With the city being home to the largest Nigerian population in the country, the chefs will be put to the test for a quickfire spotlighting Nigerian cuisine and an elimination challenge tasking them to feed Houstonians at an Asian Night Market that draws inspiration from some of the cities’ largest Asian communities. The chefs must also mess with Houston, Texas by putting their own spin on beloved staples including BBQ, biscuits, queso and the classic Tex-Mex original, the fajita, which was popularized in the city.
Houston is home to infinite possibilities as the chefs create space-friendly dishes for former astronauts, and head out to the Gulf with Tom for an unforgettable fishing experience. Taking inspiration from Top Chef France‘s most difficult challenge, Padma tests the chefs to create two dishes that look identical but taste completely different. The competition’s signature challenge, Restaurant Wars, ups the ante with an open kitchen concept where the chefs must cook for a full dining room of guests, while also catering to an intimate tasting table for the judges. From paying tribute to the state’s female trailblazers to hosting a block party fundraiser to preserve Freedmen’s town, the culinary showdown from 15 to 1 Top Chef, is one for the history books.
The New Cheftestants
- Ashleigh Shanti – Asheville, NC
- Buddha Lo – Brooklyn, NY
- Damarr Brown – Chicago, IL
- Evelyn Garcia – Houston, TX
- Jackson Kalb – Los Angeles, CA
- Jae Jung – New York, NY
- Jo Chan – Austin, TX
- Leia Gaccione – Morristown, NJ
- Luke Kolpin – Seattle, WA
- Monique Feybesse– Vallejo, CA
- Nick Wallace – Jackson, MS
- Robert Hernandez – San Francisco, CA
- Sam Kang – Brooklyn, NY
- Sarah Welch – Detroit, MI
- Stephanie Miller – Bismarck, ND
Each week, Top Chef winners, finalists and favorites return to lend their guidance and expertise including Nyesha Arrington, Dawn Burrell, Kelsey Barnard Clark, Adrienne Cheatham, Tiffany Derry, Joe Flamm, Gregory Gourdet, Hung Huynh, Stephanie Izard, Melissa King, Kristen Kish, Ed Lee, Maria Mazon, Shota Nakajima, Nini Nguyen, Kwame Onwuachi, Sheldon Simeon, Brooke Williamson, and Claudette Zepeda.
The chefs must also impress world-renowned chefs Daniel Boulud, Wylie Dufresne, Carlotta Flores, Bricia Lopez, Eric Ripert, Marcus Samuelsson, and Alexander Smalls, while also serving up dishes for acclaimed Houstonian chefs Ope Amosu, Aaron Bludorn, Irma Galvan, Greg Gatlin, Robert Del Grande, Christine Ha, Trong Nguyen, Hugo Ortega, Monica Pope, Chris Shepherd, Kiran Verma and Chris Williams. Hunter Lewis, Editor-in-Chief of FOOD & WINE joins the judges for the final challenge.
The winning chef will earn the coveted title of Top Chef, $250,000 furnished by S.Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, a feature in FOOD & WINE magazine and an appearance at the annual FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen.