The 21st season of Top Chef is just around the corner, and two Chicago chefs will be battling for the coveted namesake title.
Premiering on Wednesday, March 20, Bravo's celebrated cooking competition heads to Wisconsin this season. Judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons will be joined by chef and season 10 winner Kristen Kish, who replaces longtime host Padma Lakshmi.
The new season features a collection of 15 rising talents from across the country. Representing Chicago will be chefs Kaleena Bliss and Alisha Elenz. Bliss has more than 18 years of experience working in renowned restaurants in the Pacific Northwest, and moved to Chicago last year to become the executive chef of the Chicago Athletic Association and Cindy’s Rooftop. Elenz is a two-time James Beard nominee and Jean Banchet Award winner, and currently runs her own private chef and events company.
The cheftestants will travel around the Badger State this upcoming season, visiting cities like Milwaukee and Madison. The challenges will showcase local traditions and ingredients, from a cheese festival and a Door County fish boil to a supper club. Top Chef will also pay homage to Wisconsin native and famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright with a special challenge, and bring in Matty Matheson (The Bear) as a guest judge for a challenge involving chaos cuisine.
The finale will take place in the Caribbean and include a stop in Curaçao. The winning chef will receive a $250,000 grand prize, a feature in Food & Wine and a spot at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.
In addition to the competing Chicago chefs, a host of local culinary stars will make appearances on the show throughout the season. Curtis Duffy, Carrie Nahabedian, Art Smith, Erick Williams, Joe Flamm and Stephanie Izard will all return to judge or lend their guidance and expertise.
Top Chef kicks off its 21st season at 8pm on March 20. Each episode this season will be longer than usual—one hour and 15 minutes. Episodes will be available for streaming the following day on Peacock.