Fifteen of the competition's fiercest challengers return to face-off in the toughest season yet! A mise-en-place challenge set at the historic Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles kicks off the intense battle, where the Chefs immediately size each other up to see how everyone has progressed since last competing. Then, the first elimination challenge takes the Chefs to the beach to cook a seafood meal -- however, their only heat source will be fire. No electricity, no special appliances. Back to basics. It's going to be a true slug-match to see who has the skills and who has the drive to take the one thing that has eluded them all... the title of Top Chef! Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons return as judges and joining them as the first guest judge of the season is legendary Chef, Jeremiah Tower. Marcus Samuelsson, Nancy Silverton, Michael Cimarusti, Josiah Citrin, Suzanne Goin, Caroline Styne share the table for the high-powered, high-stress beach-side meal.
This week the chefs honor the late, great Pulitzer-Prize winning food critic Jonathan Gold. Using Gold's last guide list, the chefs fan out all over Los Angeles to sample the unique taquerias, food trucks, mom-and-pop cafes, upscale eateries and ethnic cuisine only found in the City of Angels. Drawing inspiration from this one-in-a-lifetime culinary odyssey, the chefs create dishes to serve 200 of Jonathan Gold's friends, family, and restaurateurs that he loved at the iconic Union Station. Noted food writer and personal friend of Jonathan Gold, Ruth Reichl serves as guest judge alongside Padma, Tom and Gail.
Comedic superstars Ali Wong and Randall Park swing by the Top Chef kitchen for a Quickfire Challenge tasking the chefs to make the wackiest fried rice they can. Then, the chefs head to the famed Getty Museum to seek inspiration from one of four historical art movements to create a masterpiece on their plate. Guest Judge Ludo Lefebvre joins Tom, Padma and Gail, as well as guest diners Chefs Ray Garcia, Sara Hymanson, Sarah Kramer and Craig Thornton.
Kelly Clarkson drops into the Top Chef kitchen for a Quickfire based on her new movie, Trolls: World Tour, where the chefs are tasked with combining colorful ingredients from six different musical 'lands' to make one delicious dish. For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs are split into two teams to create a cohesive, progressive vegetarian meal for Padma, Tom, Gail and James Beard nominated guest judge Jeremy Fox. The catch is they won't know what ingredients they'll be working with until the morning of the challenge when they shop exclusively at the Santa Monica Farmers Market.
It's Restaurant Wars and this season Padma takes all the limitations off the table as the chefs can make as much food as they want and shop wherever they choose. The two winning chefs from last week's concept challenge are given 48 hours to pick their teams and make the restaurants they pitched come to life.
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