The new season of ‘Top Chef’ will travel to Houston

The popular food competition series will see chefs from all over the country dive into the vast and diverse cuisine of Houston, Texas

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Top Chef fans, rejoice! The popular reality competition series is back and heading to Houston, Texas for a brand new season.

The series is returning to Bravo this March with host Padma Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons. By bringing the competition to Houston, this season promises to immerse the contestants in “the ethnic diversity that has come to define Houston’s culinary identity.”

With Houston being home to the largest Nigerian population in the country, the show will challenge the chefs with quickfire Nigerian cuisine challenges, as well as having to put their own spin on Houston staples, like “BBQ, biscuits, queso and the classic Tex-Mex original, the fajita.”

Top Chef
(Credit: YouTube screenshot)

The official description for the new season per the Bravo website reads: “Houston is home to infinite possibilities as the chefs create space-friendly dishes for former astronauts, and head out to the Gulf with Tom for an unforgettable fishing experience.  Taking inspiration from Top Chef France’s most difficult challenge, Padma tests the chefs to create two dishes that look identical but taste completely different. The competition’s signature challenge, Restaurant Wars, ups the ante with an open kitchen concept where the chefs must cook for a full dining room of guests, while also catering to an intimate tasting table for the judges. From paying tribute to the state’s female trailblazers to hosting a block party fundraiser to preserve Freedmen’s town, the culinary showdown from 15 to 1 ‘Top Chef,’ is one for the history books.  ”

Some exciting contestants that we have our eyes on include Damarr Brown, a chef at the Virtue restaurant in Chicago. Having fallen in love with cooking by spending time with his grandmother in the kitchen, he went on to formalize his skills at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Chicago. Virtue was even named one of America’s Best New Restaurants by Esquire in 2019.

Ashleigh Shanti of Virginia Beach, VA also seems to be a promising competitor in the new season. She is the creator of Good Hot Fish, a fish fry pop up in Asheville, North Carolina. Per her official cast description, her cuisine, “honors Black foodways while also paying homage to her coastal Virginia upbringing where she stripped collard greens before she could walk.”

Having earned a Bachelor’s in Marketing from Hampton University and studied Culinary Arts at Baltimore International College, Shanti has gone on to receive various awards including the 2019 Eater Young Gun.

We also have our sights on Nick Wallace of Jackson, MS. Founder and Chef of Nick Wallace Culinary, Nick Wallace Catering, Nissan Café by Nick Wallace, and more, Wallace has served as executive chef “for some of the country’s largest and most prominent museums and hotels.”

He also has a nonprofit organization, Creativity Kitchen, which “works with Jackson Public Schools to provide more flavorful and nutritious meals for students as well as educate them about healthy eating and the skills and value of farm-to-table practices.”

Season 19 of Top Chef will launch with a supersized premiere on  Thursday, March 3 from  8:00 – 9:15 pm ET/PT on Bravo. Check out the trailer below:

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