Top Chef premieres its 12th season in Boston and returning to the judges' table for the new season in New England are head judge Tom Colicchio, judges Gail Simmons, Hugh Acheson and host Padma Lakshmi.
For the first time ever, a Top Chef winner is joining the judging panel. Richard Blais will make his debut as a recurring judge offering the chef'testants guidance from a chef and a former competitor's point of view.
This season features some of the franchise's hungriest chefs battling it out against the backdrop of Bean Town's flourishing culinary scene. The chefs will go knife-to-knife at iconic Boston locales including Fenway Park, Plimoth Plantation and The Bull and Finch Pub, which served as the inspiration for Cheers and where exterior shots for the show were filmed.
Mirroring Boston's own rich history, Season 12 is full of firsts, including the first meal ever served on the field underneath the Green Monster, a challenge using only ingredients that would have been on hand at the first Thanksgiving meal, the first Top Chef food festival and the first fan appreciation challenge where fans of the show were invited to dine inside the Top Chef kitchen.
The show will also feature a challenge highlighting Boston's finest from the police and fire departments.
The stakes are higher than ever as Top Chef introduces sudden death Quickfire challenges that occur without warning throughout the season and a fiery judges table that puts every chef on the spot.
The chefs will be tasked with serving up food for top entertainers, culinary stars and celebrity guest judges including: actress Emmy Rossum, Rob Gronk Gronkowski of the New England Patriots, MLB Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, actor George Wendt (Norm from Cheers), Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen, Todd English, Barbara Lynch, Jasper White, Ming Tsai, Jacques Pépin, Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonette.
The chef'testants will bring out their knives as they battle it out for $125,000 furnished by Healthy Choice, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and the title of Top Chef.
Season 12 Chefs
Doug Adams, 29 - Portland, Oregon
Stacy Cogswell, 33 - Boston, Massachusetts
Joy Crump, 46 - Fredericksburg, Virginia
Ron Eyester, 40 - Atlanta, Georgia
Gregory Gourdet, 39 - Portland, Oregon
Aaron Grissom, 27 - Los Angeles, California
Adam Harvey, 29 - New York, New York
Melissa King, 30 - San Francisco, California
Rebecca LaMalfa, 32 - Chicago, Illinois
Mei Lin, 28 - Los Angeles, California
George Pagonis, 31 - Washington, D.C.
Michael Patlazhan, 31 - Brooklyn, New York
James Rigato, 29 - White Lake, Michigan
Katsuji Tanabe, 33 - Los Angeles, California
Keriann Von Raesfeld, 28 - San Jose, California
Katie Weinner, 35 - Salt Lake City, Utah
Top Chef is produced by Magical Elves. Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serve as executive producers.