'Top Chef' Season 16 cast and premiere date announced by Bravo
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/22/2018
Top Chef is racing to Kentucky with 15 new "cheftestants" when Season 16 premieres in early December.
Bravo has revealed the identities of the 15 people who will be competing on the upcoming edition of Top Chefwhen it debuts Thursday, December 6 at 9PM ET/PT.
Host Padma Lakshmi and head judge Tom Colicchio will be reprising their roles on the show as well as regular judges Gail Simmons and Graham Elliot. Nilou Motamed, the editor of Time Inc.'s Food & Wine magazine, will also help to determine next season's winner.
The cheftestants will compete for the coveted title of "Top Chef" in the unique culinary scenes of Louisville, Lexington and Lake Cumberland, before heading abroad for the finale set in Macau, China.
The new season of Top Chef will feature the first ever three-team "Restaurant Wars" as well as the cheftestants working to impress the judges and notable guests at Kentucky's famous racetracks, Churchill Downs and Keeneland.
The cheftestants will cook for boxer Laila Ali at the Muhammad Ali Center, compete in a showdown at the University of Kentucky's Rupp Arena with Coach Calipari, put their own spin on classic dishes at an iconic bourbon distillery; and participate in a blindfold taste-test of herbs and spices for a KFC-inspired "Quickfire."
Another "Quickfire" challenge will be executed on a house boat and feature actress Lena Waithe and Below Deck stars Captain Lee Rosbach and Captain Sandy Yawn.
The cheftestants will also go on a road trip to Nashville, TN, where they'll stop at the Grand Ole Opry and serve food to a couple of famous musicians -- Hunter Hayes and Kings of Leon's Caleb Followill, along with his wife, model Lily Aldridge.
And for the first time in show history, the cheftestants will grow their own produce and eventually use their harvests in one of the final Kentucky challenges.
Throughout the season, the chefs will serve up food for celebrity guest judges Emeril Lagasse, 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.
Acclaimed Kentucky chefs Ouita Michel, Ed Lee, Newman Miller, David Danielson and Kathy Cary will also make appearances on Season 16 of Top Chef.
The winner of Top Chef will receive $125,000, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, an appearance at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, a $50,000 prize package from Williams Sonoma, and a headlining slot on the Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage at BottleRock in Napa Valley.
Top Chef is produced by Magical Elves with Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz, Casey Kriley, Doneen Arquines, and Tara Siener serving as executive producers.
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Below is the list of 15 "cheftestants" who will be competing on Season 16 of Top Chef: