well done cooking competition series “Excellent chefreturns Thursday, March 3 — and this time it was filmed in Houston. The episodes will air at 7 p.m. Central Time and will showcase the town of Bayou in all its culinary glory.
the Emmys and James Beard Award-The winning series, produced by Magical Elves, returns for its 19th season with the host Padma Lakshmian Indian-American author, activist, model and chef, chief justice Tom Colicchioleader and owner of Artisanal hospitality and Gail Simmons, Canadian food writer and cookbook author. As the show’s description proclaims, “Expect the unexpected as 15 talented chefs from across the country compete for the coveted title bringing their unique skills, variety of cuisines, and range of flavors.”
The trailer spotlights “cheftestants” at iconic Houston-area locations, such as Nasa, Discovery Green, Asian night markethistorical The city of freedmenthe Houston Farmers Market, 8th Wonder Brewery, the University of Houston TDECU Stadiumthe “Houston is inspired” mural and skyline of the city, the rough waters of the surroundings Galveston Island and recently opened food hall POST Houston – which sets the stage, or should we say the stairway, for Season 19’s central challenge, Restaurant Wars.
Filming took place from September to December. When the series airs, viewers in other cities who wonder what the Houston hype is all about will get answers. The fourth largest city in the country is renowned for its diversity, which is why some of the cuisines highlighted this season include Nigerian, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Tex-Mex, Middle Eastern, Creole, Cajun , the Mexican and, of course, the Texan barbecue.
Only one of the show’s contestants is from Houston: Evelyn Garcia of Kin-HTX and formerly of Decatur Bar now closed & Ephemeral factory. Born and raised in Houston and a former Food Network “Chopped” winner, Garcia taught at Lennox Hill Neighborhood House in New York from 2018, and eventually returned to Houston. Garcia has also worked as a food stylist for the cooking channel, Food Network and Martha Stewart alive. The only other Texan is Joe Chanchief executive at Eberlya new American restaurant in the South Lamar neighborhood of Austin.
Although not in competition, several other Houston chiefs are making appearances this season, including:
- Aaron Bludorn, Bludorn
- Chris Williams, At Lucille’s
- Christine Ha, The blind goat and Xin Chao, and winner of another series of competitions, Masterchef)
- Greg Gatlin, Gatlin’s BBQ
- Hugo Ortega, H Town Restaurant Group, former James Beard Award winner)
- Irma Galvan of from Irma
- Kiran Verma, by Kiran
- Monica Pope, Sparrow Cooking Workshopformer James Beard semi-finalist chef)
- Op Amosu, ChòpnBlọk
- Robert DelGrande, The Annie Cafe and Bar
- Trong Nguyen, Crayfish & Noodles, former semi-finalist chef James Beard)
The rest of the candidates come from across the country:
- Ashleigh Shanti, Good hot fishAsheville (James Beard Rising Star Chef finalist)
- Buddha Lo, Husobrooklyn
- Damar Brown, Virtue Restaurant & BarChicago
- Jackson Kalb, Ospi and James EnotecaLos Angeles
- Jae Jung, KJUNNew York City
- Leia Gaccione, South & PineMorrisville
- Luke Kolpin, formerly of CanlisSeattle
- Monique Feybesse, Feybesse tartletsVallejo
- Nick Wallace, Cafe Nissanjackson
- Robert Hernandez, formerly of OctaviaSan Francisco
- Sam Kang, formerly from Momufuku Ko, teach nowbrooklyn
- Sarah Welch, Bone marrowDetroit
- Stephanie Miller, butter hornbismark
The contestant who cooks their way to the top will receive $250,000, a feature of Food & Wine magazine and an appearance at the annual meeting Classic Food & Wine in Aspen. Winning the show could be a game-changer in terms of reputation and brand expansion for these determined chefs.
With all that talent on board, you’d think it must be hard to critique culinary creations, but not for the veteran “Top Chef” judges. Last fall, I had the opportunity to ask the judges Tom Collichio and Gail Simmons about their experiences filming along the Gulf Coast region. Known for his stern attitude and honest opinions, Colichio was candid when he said he had never been to the southern part of the Lone Star State before, only to North Texas where his brother resides. currently.
“I’m coming to Houston [and every other host city] no expectations, but I relied on Gail to guide me. She is known for methodically researching our destinations, often asking friends and family across the country where to go,” said Colichio.
“I’m so impressed with everything there is to offer here in Houston, and I’m surprised I didn’t come here sooner,” said Simmons with enthusiasm. Asked about restaurant suggestions she received from family and friends, she said it was an endless list because the city has something for everyone.
While the judges were transplants from Houston for a few months, they weren’t without some talented tour guides. Simmons and Colichio turned to another Houston chef, the Midwest-raised, James Beard Award-winning Houston chef. Chris Berger of Belly hospitality — for culinary advice. Shepherd is also making appearances in the upcoming season of “Top Chef,” as is Beaumont’s Tiffany DerrySeason 7 “Top Chef” Fan Favorite Winner, “Top Chef” Guest Judge and Founder of Tiffany Derry Concepts. Esquire Magazine recently named Derry’s Root Chicken Shake in Plano, Texas, as a die best new restaurants in america.
“Top Chef: Houston” won’t be the only “Top Chef” series airing on Thursday nights. “Top Chef Family Style”, which aired last year only on the peacock streaming network via paid subscriptions, will air on Bravo. That’s not all; “Top Chef: last chance cuisine”, will also be streamed on demand and online.