Top Chef is back and headed to New Orleans!
Returning to the judges table for Top Chef Season 11 are lead judge Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Hugh Acheson, and New Orlean’s own Emeril Lagasse, alongside host Padma Lakshmi. This season will up the ante against the backdrop of the gastronomically diverse city of New Orleans -- and the chefs will be tasked with serving up food for top entertainers, culinary stars and celebrity guest judges including: Jon Favreau, Lea Michelle, Anthony Mackie, Questlove, Leah Chase, Paul Prudhomme, Jacques Pepin, David Chang, John Besh, and Eddie Huang as well as local legends Kermit Ruffins and Dr. John.
Additionally, the series will be accompanied by two web series: Padma's Picks gives one of New Orleans’ most talented chefs the opportunity to cook their way on to the actual show. Host and Judge Padma Lakshmi visits some of The Big Easy’s most celebrated establishments to find 10 of the best and brightest chefs from New Orleans. These chefs will then battle head-to-head to make it to the finale of Padma’s Picks with the ultimate winner earning a coveted spot on this season’s cast. Watch Padma's Picks now!
The popular Last Chance Kitchen series also returns, featuring weekly webisodes in which two eliminated cheftestants face-off to compete for the ultimate prize -- redemption and a spot in the Top Chef finale. Watch Last Chance Kitchen now!
Watch Top Chef: New Orleans now!
Lakshmi is known internationally as an actress, food expert, model and award-winning writer. She established herself as a food expert early on in her career, having hosted two successful cooking shows and writing a best-selling cookbook.
Lakshmi established herself as a food expert early on in her career, having hosted two successful cooking shows and writing a best-selling cookbook Easy Exotic, for which she won the International Versailles Event for best cookbook by a first time writer. Lakshmi followed this success with the publication of her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet, released by Weinstein Books which is a larger endeavor filled with over 150 recipes from around the world and intriguing personal memoirs. She has also been a contributing editor to American Vogue, Gourmet, and British and American Harper's Bazaar.
Tom Colicchio returns as lead judge for Food Network's Top Chef and also serves as mentor to the competing chefs on the series, guiding them through their various challenges.
In July of 1994, Colicchio, along with partner Danny Meyer, opened Gramercy Tavern in Manhattan's Gramercy Park neighborhood. His cooking at Gramercy earned consistent recognition: After three nominations for James Beard’s Best Chef NY Award, he won it in 2000. One year later in March 2001, and one block south of Gramercy Tavern, Colicchio opened Craft. His first cookbook, Think Like a Chef, published by Clarkson-Potter, won a James Beard KitchenAid Cookbook Award in May 2001. This same year, Gramercy Tavern was awarded for Outstanding Service. In 2002, Craft was awarded the James Beard Best New Restaurant Award and Gramercy Tavern's sommelier won for Outstanding Wine Service. In October 2002, Colicchio received Bon Appétit and the Food Network's Award for Chef of the Year in their American Food and Entertaining Awards. After opening Craft and Craftbar in New York City, Colicchio opened Craftsteak at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in July 2002. In spring 2003, Wichcraft opened – a sandwich shop rooted in the same food and hospitality philosophies as Craft. Wichcraft now has six New York City locations, one in Las Vegas and one in San Francisco.
In January 2010, he opened Colicchio & Sons in New York. At Colicchio & Sons, he improvises with small-batch ingredients from the micro-producers and family farmers with whom he has forged decades-long relationships. The restaurant earned three stars from The New York Times. Later that year, Colicchio opened Riverpark in New York with chef and partner Sisha Ortuzar. Riverpark features views of the East River and an urban farm supplying produce to the restaurant.
Most recently, he has opened the restaurant at Topping Rose House, a new inn he will operate in Bridgehampton, New York. The full property will debut in early 2013.