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.
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.
Padma 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.Read More
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.
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