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Here Are the All-Star ‘Top Chef’ Contestants Returning to the Kitchen for Season 17

Fifteen familiar faces, frontrunners, and fan favorites join Padma, Tom, and Gail for the new season

Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons dressed up and leaning against a table overflowing with ingredients.
Top Chef Season 7 features an all-star cast and the familiar faces of Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons.
Photo: Smallz & Raskind/Bravo

The moon waxes and wanes, administrations come and go, brands rise and fall with the give and take of capital and public opinion — and somehow, throughout it all, Top Chef has remained, a true constant in a sea of ever-roiling change. The reality competition cooking show, which enters its 14th year of existence in 2020, is returning on March 19 with an all-star cast of familiar faces, Bravo revealed today in a new trailer filled with strong eye contact and power stances.

Facing off against each other in Season 17 will be 15 chefs, including finalists, frontrunners, and fan favorites, from seasons past:

  • Eric Adjepong (Season 16: Kentucky)
  • Karen Akunowicz (Season 13: California)
  • Jennifer Carroll (Season 6: Las Vegas, Season 8: All Stars, and Last Chance Kitchen Season 7)
  • Stephanie Cmar (Season 11: New Orleans)
  • Lisa Fernandes (Season 4: Chicago)
  • Kevin Gillespie (Season 6: Las Vegas)
  • Gregory Gourdet (Season 12: Boston)
  • Melissa King (Season 12: Boston)
  • Jamie Lynch (Season 14: Charleston)
  • Brian Malarkey (Season 3: Miami)
  • Nini Nguyen (Season 16: Kentucky)
  • Joe Sasto (Season 15: Colorado)
  • Angelo Sosa (Season 7: Washington D.C., and Season 8: All Stars)
  • Bryan Voltaggio (Season 6: Las Vegas)
  • Lee Anne Wong (Season 1: San Francisco, and Last Chance Kitchen Season 7)

The contestants will be joined, as usual, by host Padma Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio, and judge Gail Simmons (who was absent from Season 16 due to being on parental leave during the majority of filming). The season takes place in Los Angeles, also the site of the competition in the second season.

This will be the second time Top Chef has done a returning all-stars lineup, following Season 8 (won by Richard Blais) in 2010. For the last few seasons, People notes, a small number of former contestants have come back to compete against newcomers for the grand prize. The effect is one of an ever-expanding Top Chef universe, constantly refreshed by young blood while meeting fan demand for existing favorites. The seasons may change, but Top Chef, at least on this mortal plane, is forever.

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