Here's a sneak peek at the season. Eagle-eyed locals will be able to spot landmarks such as NASA, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and Post Houston as well as local culinary celebrities.
Along with a premier date, Bravo also provided the complete roster of 15 contestants. The list includes one local, Evelyn Garcia, chef-owner of Thai-inspired concept Kin that sells prepared items, sauces, and more at a number of local farmers markets. Jo Chan, executive chef of Austin's Eberly restaurant, is the other Texas representative in the group.
Here's the complete lineup:
- Ashleigh Shanti – Asheville, NC
- Buddha Lo – Brooklyn, NY
- Damarr Brown – Chicago, IL
- Evelyn Garcia – Houston, TX
- Jackson Kalb – Los Angeles, CA
- Jae Jung – New York, NY
- Jo Chan – Austin, TX
- Leia Gaccione – Morristown, NJ
- Luke Kolpin – Seattle, WA
- Monique Feybesse– Vallejo, CA
- Nick Wallace – Jackson, MS
- Robert Hernandez – San Francisco, CA
- Sam Kang – Brooklyn, NY
- Sarah Welch – Detroit, MI
- Stephanie Miller – Bismarck, ND
Bravo has not identified how the contestants were selected. Season 18 ended on a sour note when its winner, chef Gabe Erales, was fired from his job at Austin's Comedor restaurant after complaints of sexual harassment.
Expect challenges that showcase Houston's diversity and culinary traditions. The contestants will compete in a Nigerian-inspired quickfire, put their spin on staples like biscuits and barbecue, and compete in an elimination challenge fashioned after an Asian Night Market.
In addition to being evaluated by head judge Tom Colicchio, host Padma Lakshmi, and Gail Simmons, the contestants will be judged by a number of Top Chef alumni, including Nyesha Arrington, Dawn Burrell, Kelsey Barnard Clark, Adrienne Cheatham, Tiffany Derry, Joe Flamm, Gregory Gourdet, Hung Huynh, Stephanie Izard, Melissa King, Kristen Kish, Ed Lee, Maria Mazon, Shota Nakajima, Nini Nguyen, Kwame Onwuachi, Sheldon Simeon, Brooke Williamson, and Claudette Zepeda.
A number of local chefs make appearances as well, including Ope Amosu (ChopNBlok), Aaron Bludorn (Bludorn), Irma Galvan (Irma's), Greg Gatlin (Gatlin's BBQ), Robert Del Grande (The Annie Cafe), Christine Ha (Xin Chao, The Blind Goat), Trong Nguyen (Crawfish & Noodles), Hugo Ortega (Hugo's, etc), Monica Pope, Chris Shepherd (Georgia James, etc.), Kiran Verma (Kiran's), and Chris Williams (Lucille's).
Long considered the most prestigious cooking competition show on TV, contestants have the opportunity to win $250,000 from S.Pellegrino, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, and an appearance at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, CO. The show remains popular, averaging over 3 million viewers for each episode and reaching over 9 million viewers across the season, according to a press release.
Top Chef filmed in Houston in September and October. Expect more details about the season to emerge as the premier date draws near.