For the first time ever, Top Chef is shooting an entire season abroad. For its 20th season, the prime cooking competition is being brought to London to film its complete series in the British capital. Top Chef has journeyed around the world before, but never has it filmed all the episodes in its season in a different country. The change is significant for two reasons: first, it gives Top Chef an explicitly greater international focus for its challenges; and two, the NBCUniversal property up until now has been distinctly American and will film legally detached from its own nation.
The implications and requirements of working outside your own home country are many, and the show is obviously filming on location with the blessing of the UK Parliament. But it has been a long time since the golden age of cooking shows. And their market in America has somewhat faltered while fanbases and cultural relevance are still slightly stronger in Britain. It is the home of Gordon Ramsay, after all. Now Top Chef may be venturing beyond its own borders to try to take him down in his own kitchen, so to speak.
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The season is set to premiere in 2023, but the show will begin filming quite soon. Here’s what to know!
Top Chef: World All-Stars Cheftestants & Judges
As some may know, the Emmys are not far away. Top Chef was recently nominated for five Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Competition Program, Outstanding Host, Casting, Directing, and Picture Editing. The show is a long-time staple of cooking competitions and existed at the start of the huge cooking craze that swept the nation when many of these shows came out. It’s been running since March 8th, 2006. Naturally, the show has seen its ups and downs and has had many contestants along the way, but now it seems some of their best will be getting a second chance.
The 20th season of Top Chef will be a “World All-Stars” edition, bringing together contestants from around the globe. Competitors will include not just previous attendees of the series but winners and finalists from several Top Chef international iterations as well. Sixteen of the most decorated chefs that have competed in their individual nations’ versions of the series will be brought together to face each other in this incredible season.
Per Deadline, Ryan Flynn, Senior Vice President, Current Production, NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, said in a statement:
“We’ve always wanted to do a season of Top Chef with winners, finalists, and frontrunners, but to take that concept for the 20th season one step further with cheftestants from localized versions across the world has been a dream come true, […] And what better place to host World All-Stars than London, a global stomping ground and renowned food city, offering our cheftestants access to the UK’s exceptional ingredients and international flavors.”
The series host, Padma Lakshmi, will return for this “All-Star” season. She will be joined by head judge Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons. And the show will continually host guest judges from the international editions of Top Chef as well, with experts on specific countries’ cuisine stepping in to add their specialist knowledge on a uniquely themed challenge.
Filming in London
Filming the show in London is no small feat. The city was specifically chosen because of its unique intersection of culture and style. It is described as:
“A culinary melting pot, London’s cuisine has been influenced by countries all over the world. From traditional pub food to modern Indian cuisines, the chefs will be cooking with the best ingredients the UK has to offer from its sought-after seafood, high-quality meat and produce. The stakes will be bigger than ever as the cheftestants cook their way through globally inspired quickfire and elimination challenges. Throughout the competition, Padma, Tom and Gail will be joined by distinguished judges from the international versions, as well as esteemed global culinary experts.”
And the UK is as happy to have the crew there. Per Variety, the UK food minister said,
“I’m pleased that Top Chef has chosen London for its first-ever season outside the US. We’re rightly proud of our exceptional food and drink produced here in the UK. From Scottish salmon and Welsh lamb to Northern Irish beef and English sparkling wine, our food and drink are recognized at home and abroad for its great taste and high quality. As the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, the passion, traditions, and expertise of our food and drink industry make the UK a fantastic choice for the culinary competition series.”
Cooking shows have traditionally done better in the UK than they do in America, and for a more extended period of time. All the Gordon Ramsay jokes that we were making back in 2005 are still getting made over in Britain. And the Great British Baking Show successfully revived a whole new interest in cooking shows. Top Chef is sure to reap the benefits of continued interest in its TV genre and the added bonus of bringing the show to the fans’ front door.
Though a date has not been announced, the new season is expected to premiere on Bravo in spring 2023.