Pack your knives and prepare to travel to Houston, because Bravo‘s Top Chef Season 19 debuts on Thursday, March 3 at 8/7c with a special episode that is twice the size of the previous season.
This season’s host, Padma Lakshmi, says that Houston is “one of the most diverse cities in the nation,” and these contestants are ready to mess with Houston, one dish at a time
Chef Padma Lakshmi will be joined by head judge Tom Colicchio and executive producer Gail Simmons, who will all return for Season 19 as 15 contestants put their culinary skills to the ultimate test in their quest to be named Top Chef.
Meet the Top Chef Season 19 contestants, below:
- Ashleigh Shanti – Asheville, NC
- Buddha Lo – Brooklyn, NY
- Damara 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
As part of the season, the chefs will apply their knowledge to classic regional dishes while immersed in the ethnic mix that characterizes the city’s culinary identity. Given that Houston is home to the nation’s largest Nigerian community, a Quickfire focusing on Nigerian cuisine will put the cooks to the ultimate test.
As part of the competition, they will have to serve Houstonians at an Asian Night Market that will be inspired by some of the city’s largest Asian populations in an elimination round. They will also be expected to put their unique touch on classics such as BBQ, biscuits, queso, and the iconic Tex-Mex original, the fajita, which was made popular by Houston in the first place.
The chefs will also be tasked with creating space-friendly foods for previous astronauts, and they will also accompany Tom on a fishing trip to the Gulf of Mexico that will be unforgettable.
The Padma puts the chefs through their paces by taking inspiration from the most difficult challenge on Top Chef France, in which they must produce two dishes that appear identical but taste entirely different.
In this season’s Restaurant Wars, Top Chef’s hallmark task returns with an open kitchen concept in which the chefs must prepare meals for a full dining room of customers while also catering to an intimate tasting table for the judges. Season 19 is one for the record books, with episodes ranging from paying homage to the state’s female trailblazers to throwing a block party fundraiser to help maintain Freedmen’s Village.
Nyesha Arrington, 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 will all make guest appearances each week,
Daniel Boulud, Wylie Dufresne, Carlotta Flores, Bricia Lopez, Eric Ripert, Marcus Samuelsson, and Alexander Smalls will all be featured this season, as will 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 Hunter Lewis, Editor-in-Chief of FOOD & WINE magazine, will be one of the judges for the final challenge on November 14.
Beyond being named as Top Chef, the winner will receive $250,000 from S.Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, as well as an appearance in the annual FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen and a feature article in the magazine FOOD & WINE. Along the way, in-show partners Chipotle, MasterCard, Talenti, Universal Pictures’ Jurassic Park: Dominion, and Vrbo will provide opportunities for chefs to win cash and prizes throughout the season.
Also returning on Thursday, March 10, is Bravo’s Emmy-winning digital companion series Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen, which premiered in 2015. Last Chance Kitchen, hosted by Tom Colicchio, returns for Season 11 as the evicted chefs go head-to-head in an attempt to cook their way back into the competition. Each week’s episode of Bravo’s Top Chef, presented by BMW of North America, will be accessible on BravoTV.com, On-Demand, or anywhere you watch Bravo’s Top Chef after each episode.
Even more Top Chef to enjoy is available every Thursday following Top Chef on Bravo when Peacock’s Top Chef Family Style will be repeated in its entirety. A total of 15 outstanding culinary prodigies compete with an adult member of their family in the series, which is presented by Meghan Trainor and judged by Marcus Samuelsson. The winners will be declared at the end of the season.