About the Show
For season 16, Top Chef heads to the state of Kentucky as 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 and James Beard 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 re-imagining 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."
Immediately following Top Chef, Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen returns with elevated stakes and three familiar faces from seasons past. All bets are off when alums Carrie Baird and Brother Luck from Season 15, and Jim Smith from Season 14 are back for a chance at redemption and another shot at the coveted title. With more than one opportunity to get back into the competition, host Tom Colicchio continues to keep the chefs on their toes with fast-paced challenges to determine which chefs have what it takes to stay in the game.
Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen is all about redemption as the chefs have big hurdles to overcome to secure their spot in the competition. With their dreams of a "Top Chef" title on the line, the veteran chefs will not only compete against themselves, but each week will also have to toe to toe with the new cheftestants as they are eliminated from the main competition. Each week, eliminated chefs will have an opportunity to prove their worth and the chef with the worst dish will pack their knives for good; while the chefs with the winning dishes will get one step closer to making their way back in the competition.
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.