Plus, all the cheftestants competing for the top prize.

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt
October 18, 2018
Michael Hickey/Bravo

It seems like not too long ago we were crowning Joe Flamm of Chicago’s Spiaggia the winner of Top Chef, season 15. But here we are midway into October and the first trailer for Top Chef season 16 is already upon us. The upcoming season—which premieres Thursday, December 6 at 9pm ET on Bravo—takes most of the usual crew to Kentucky where 15 chefs will face off at local haunts with regional ingredients and vie for the title of Top Chef.

And yes, there will be a KFC-inspired challenge. Take a look at the teaser for season 16 of Top Chef below:

 

The cheftestants competing on the series this season are:

  • Eric Adjepong - Washington, DC 
  • Sara Bradley - Paducah, KY
  • Kelsey Barnard Clark - Dothan, AL
  • Edmund “Eddie” Konrad - Philadelphia, PA
  • Pablo Lamon - Miami Beach, FL
  • Natalie Maronski - Philadelphia, PA
  • Michelle Minori - San Francisco, CA
  • Nini Nguyen - Brooklyn, NY
  • Brandon Rosen - San Mateo, CA
  • Kevin Scharpf - Dubuque, IA
  • Caitlin Steininger - Cincinnati, OH
  • Justin Sutherland - St. Paul, MN
  • David Viana – Asbury Park, NJ
  • Adrienne Wright - Boston, MA
  • Brian Young – Boston, MA

Given the show’s location this season, all eyes will be on local favorite Sara Bradley as they were with Carrie Baird and Brother Luck in last year’s Colorado-based season. Check out all of the cheftestants' profiles over at Bravotv.com/top-chef.

As for judges, of course, Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi are back. Graham Elliot and Nilou Motamed will also be at the judges' table as Gail Simmons (who will make some appearances in the season) was out on maternity during most of the filming.

According to a statement from Bravo, a number of famous faces will be making appearances:

Throughout the season, the chefs will serve culinary stars including: 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.

Actress Lena Waithe, musicians Hunter Hayes and Caleb Followill, model Lily Aldridge, University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari, and former boxer Laila Ali will also show up.

The cheftestants will find themselves in a whole host of Kentucky (and adjacent) locations, from Maker’s Mark distillery and Keeneland and Churchill Downs racetracks, to Rupp Arena, the Muhammad Ali Center, a field trip to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, a houseboat on Lake Cumberland, and finally the top five will head to Macau, China for the finale episodes. Local dishes like Hot Browns, burgoo, Benedictine, hoe cakes, and dumplings will also make their way into challenges. And yes, this seasons Restaurant Wars will feature three restaurants, instead of the usual two.

The winner of Top Chef receives "$125,000 furnished by S.Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, a feature in Food & Wine magazine and an appearance at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, as well as a $50,000 prizing package from Williams Sonoma and a headlining slot on the Williams Sonoma Culinary Stage at BottleRock in Napa Valley."

We caught up with the Top Chef team on location in Louisville earlier this year. Here’s what Tom Colicchio and Padma Lakshmi had to say about their experiences eating Kentucky cuisine at the time. And with so much traveling required for the series, we also asked Padma how she makes her hotel room feel like home while she’s on the road. Hint: Home cooking and a lot of spices.

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