Top Chef returns this December, and for its 13th season Bravo's culinary reality show is hitting the road. According to People, the show will take contestants on a road trip up and down the California coast, from San Francisco to Palm Springs. Oakland, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Diego are also stops on what will be the show's first multi-city tour.
Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Richard Blais, and Emeril Lagasse will sit at the judges' table. Swimsuit model slash cookbook author Chrissy Teigen, MC Hammer, Hugh Acheson, Max Silvestri, Ludo Lefebvre, Dana Cowin, Michael Cimarusti, DC's José Andrés, John Besh, Oprah's former chef Art Smith, Javier Plascencia, Michael Voltaggio, Jacques LaMerde, Bill Chait, Jonathan Waxman, Martin Yan, Adam Fleischman (Umami Burger), Traci Des Jardins, Hubert Keller, and Antonia Lofaso also make appearances.
Challenges include cooking on a golf course, catering "a big fat gay wedding," and a "plating challenge inspired by @ChefJacquesLaMerde" where the losing and winning chefs will be determined by fans on Instagram. Check out the preview, below.
Here are Season 13's 17 cheftestants:
Karen Akunowicz, Boston
Angelina Bastidas, Miami
Carl Dooley, Boston
Garret Flemming, Washington, D.C.
Jeremy Ford, Miami
Renee Kelly, Shawnee Mission, KS
Phillip Frankland Lee, Los Angeles
Marjorie Meek-Bradley,Washington, D.C.
Kwame Onwuachi, Washington, D.C.
Amar Santana, Orange County, CA
Grayson Schmitz, New York City
Jason Stratton, Seattle
Frances Tariga-Weshnak, New York City
Isaac Toups, New Orleans
Wesley True, Atlanta
Giselle Wellman, Los Angeles
Chad White, San Diego, CA & Tijuana, Mexico
Note that New York City-based Grayson Schmitz competed on season 9 of the show a few years ago. DC-based Kwame Onwuachi has not yet opened his first solo restaurant after stints at Per Se and Eleven Madison Park. Seattle's Jason Stratton (frequently on the James Beard Foundation's list of semifinalists for Best Chef Northwest) recently left his restaurant group, leaving fans surprised at the move. According to People, two things contestants will cook with this season are Bugles (admittedly a good road trip snack) and Spam. Is Top Chef's first road trip-themed episode also its most heavily sponsored? We'll find out once it airs in a two-night premiere on December 2 and 3.