Things are heating up in the kitchen as Top Chef races to Kentucky for season 16, express from the US in December.
This season, 15 new talented chefs from cities big and small across the U.S. will compete for the sought-after title amid the unique culinary scenes in Louisville, Lexington and Lake Cumberland, before heading abroad for an epic finale showdown in Macau, China.
The Emmy Award-winning series returns with host Padma Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio, Graham Elliot, Nilou Motamed and Gail Simmons. Padma and Tom continue to keep the chefs on their game with an exciting season full of curveballs, double eliminations and the earliest and first ever three team Restaurant Wars.
The cheftestants work to impress the judges and notable guests as they bet it all at Kentucky’s famous racetracks, Churchill Downs and Keeneland, cook for Laila Ali at the Muhammad Ali Center, and compete in a buzzer beater showdown for roaring fans at the University of Kentucky’s Rupp Arena with Hall of Famer, Coach Calipari.
At Maker’s Mark’s iconic bourbon distillery, the chefs celebrate two Kentucky mainstays as they are tasked with putting their spin on classic dishes including burgoo, Benedictine, hoe cakes and dumplings. In addition, the blindfold taste test is back as the chefs must identify a variety of herbs and spices for a KFC-inspired Quickfire.
Emmy-Award Winner Lena Waithe is on hand for a Quickfire challenge reimagining the Hot Brown and “Below Deck’s” Captain Lee Rosbach and Captain Sandy Yawn join the cheftestants for a house boat challenge in Lake Cumberland. Embarking on a road trip to Nashville, the chefs hit the Grand Ole Opry stage dishing up delectable delights to musicians Hunter Hayes and Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill, along with his wife, model Lily Aldridge. And for the first time ever, the chefs grow their own produce and must use their harvests in one of the final Kentucky challenges. The top five chefs then travel to Macau, China, to the heart of fusion-food, to battle it out for the title of “Top Chef.”
Throughout the season, the chefs will serve culinary stars including: Emeril Lagassé, Eric Ripert, Jonathan Waxman, Art Smith, Nancy Silverton, Richard Blais, Brooke Williamson, Nina Compton, Karen Akunowicz, Annie Pettry, Caroline Styne, Sean Brock, Tandy Wilson, Dario Cecchini, Ken Oringer and Abraham Conlon.
Also lending their expertise are acclaimed Kentucky chefs Ouita Michel, Ed Lee, Newman Miller, David Danielson and Kathy Cary.
This season Top Chef will once again feature the special web series Last Chance Kitchen, hosted by Tom Colicchio, which will be available on Arena’s website arenatv.com.au immediately following each episode.
Last Chance Kitchen is a companion web series featuring challenges in which the eliminated chefs compete for a chance to re-enter the main competition. The champion of the Last Chance Kitchen returns to compete in the Top Chef season finale.
1:35pm Friday December 7 on Arena with primetime replay at 8:30pm.