“Top Chef,” a popular television series on the Bravo network, began airing its 16th season on Dec. 6, with Kentucky serving as the backdrop for the show.
The program features 15 up-and-coming chefs from across the nation, competing for the sought-after title of Top Chef. The competition was filmed earlier this year in locations across Louisville, Lexington and the Lake Cumberland area before heading for the finale in Macau, China.
Among the featured locations are Churchill Downs and Keeneland, the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, and Lexington’s Rupp Arena.
Views will see the contestants at Maker’s Mark’s iconic bourbon distillery, where they are tasked with putting their individual spin on classic Bluegrass dishes such as burgoo, Benedictine, hoe cakes and dumplings. In addition, the series’ blindfold taste test has the chefs working to identify a variety of herbs and spices for a KFC-inspired Quickfire challenge while another challenge has them reimagining the classic Kentucky Hot Brown.
This season is the first in which the chefs had to grow their own produce and use their harvests in one of the final Kentucky challenges.
Culinary stars featured in the upcoming season include Emeril Lagassé, Eric Ripert, Jonathan Waxman, Art Smith, Nancy Silverton, Richard Blais, Brooke Williamson, Nina Compton, Karen Akunowicz, Annie Pettry, Caroline Styne, Sean Brock, Tandy Wilson, Dario Cecchini, Ken Oringer and Abraham Conlon. Also lending their expertise are acclaimed Kentucky chefs Ouita Michel, Ed Lee, Newman Miller, David Danielson and Kathy Cary.
Louisville-based GE Appliances is a season-long partner of the show and has outfitted the “Top Chef” kitchen and cast house with its Monogram appliances.