There’s nothing more satisfying to an average cook than watching the chefs on Top Chef make amazing meals while living vicariously through them from home. I have no unrealistic expectations that I’ll ever get to that level myself, but that’s why I watch the new batch of chefs come in season after season. So, who are the new chefs on Top Chef Season 16? This season is based in Kentucky but, like all of the seasons before it, the competing chefs come from all over the country.
The "cheftestants" this season come from a variety of different backgrounds. There’s Sara Bradley, who owns and operates a restaurant in Kentucky, and then Pablo Lamon, who was born in Argentina and began cooking at a young age, both among the 15 new contestants this season. The returning chefs are Carrie Baird, Brother Luck, and Jim Smith, who viewers might remember from Top Chef: Colorado and Top Chef: Charleston. But a lot of the focus will likely be on the fresh meat this time around. No pun intended.
Judging by the trailer, there will be high stakes and dramatic music-fueled competitions, but that’s the kind of intensity fans expect from Top Chef, and hopefully these cheftestants are up for the challenge.
Eric is a a personal chef, caterer, and public health and nutrition professional who owns and operates his pop-up eatery, Pinch & Plate.
As the only Kentucky native this season, Sara is the chef and owner of bourbon bar and restaurant Freight House.
Kelsey Barnard Clark
Kelsey catered her first wedding at 15 and now owns the Alabama restaurant and catering company, KBC.
Edmund "Eddie" Konrad
Eddie is the chef de cuisine at former Top Chef winner Nicholas Elmi’s restaurant, Laurel, in South Philadelphia.
He formerly worked with Top Chef Season 13 winner Jeremy Ford and is now the chef de cuisine of 27 Restaurant & Bar in Miami Beach.
Natalie is another Philadelphia-based chef who runs her own restaurant, Underground Concepts.
Michelle is a San Francisco chef who was named the 2017 Rising Star Chef in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Instead of being another traditional restaurateur, Nini is the culinary director at Cook Space, a teaching kitchen, in Brooklyn, New York.
Brandon is an executive private chef in the Silicon Valley, where he works with different cuisines of varying cultural backgrounds.
As the chef and owner of Brazen Open Kitchen & Bar in Illinois, Kevin was also once named one of Full Service Restaurant Magazine’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars.
Caitlin opened CWC, the Restaurant, in Cincinnati, Ohio in 2017, where it was once on the Best New Restaurant List in Cincinnati Magazine.
Justin is a graduate from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and is the executive chef at Handsome Hog in Minnesota.
David is the executive chef and partner of Heirloom Kitchen in New Jersey and was nominated in 2018 for a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic.
As the executive chef at Boston Urban Hospitality, Adrienne was also part of the winning team in Boston’s Culinary Fight Club in 2017.
Brian has previously competed on Beat Bobby Flay and is now the chef de cuisine at Cultivar in Boston.
I don’t know which of these ambitious chefs is going to make it far and who’s going to be nixed early in the season, but I just want to root for all of them at this point. It's hard not to want them all to walk away with something, but for now, you can meet them all when Top Chef Season 16 premieres on Bravo Dec. 6 at 9 p.m. ET.
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