Bravo’s seemingly never-ending cooking competition series returns for its fourteenth season in December — and this time around, Top Chef will have plenty of familiar faces besides Padma and Tom.
Last week Bravo revealed the new season, filmed in Charleston, would pit newbies against veteran contestants from previous seasons. Now, according to People, the returning “fan favorite” contestants are: NYC/Maine chef Sam Talbot from season 2; Napa-based chef Casey Thompson from season 3; Amanda Baumgarten of season 7 (who formerly worked for fellow Top Chef alum Brian Malarkey at Herringbone in La Jolla, California); LA chef and restaurateur Brooke Williamson, Hawaii chef Sheldon Simeon, and Dallas’s John Tesar, all from season 10; Las Vegas chef Shirley Chung (season 11), and Katsuji Tanabe of LA’s Mexikosher from season 12.
Pitting experienced Top Chef contestants against newbies frankly seems unfair, but Bravo will no doubt have numerous, ridiculous twists planned to stir up the reality TV drama. Perhaps Talbot, Tesar, and the others will literally have to cook with one arm tied behind their back.
The network unveiled the list of new contestants that will face off with the more experienced players last week. They are: Silvia Barban (Brooklyn, NY), Emily Hahn (Charleston, SC), Jamie Lynch (Charlotte, NC), Annie Pettry (Louisville, KY), Sylva Senat (Philadelphia, PA), BJ Smith (Portland, OR), Jim Smith (Montgomery, AL), and Gerald Sombright (Marco Island, FL).
Another new addition this season is Chicago chef and former MasterChef judge Graham Elliot, who’s joining Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons on the judging panel.
Top Chef: Charleston premieres December 1 on Bravo.