I’m Loving the New Season of Top Chef

We’re nearing the end of the current season of Top Chef (watching on Peacock), and I’m absolutely loving the changes they made this season. With long-time lost Padma Lakshmi stepping down, it seems that the show took the host change as an opportunity to change up part of the long-standing structure.

Let’s start with the host. I’ve never known Top Chef as hosted by anyone other than Padma, and she typically did a great job. But Kristen brings such sincerity and joy to the experience while still offering her experience as a previous competitor and long-time chef. Sometimes she takes a bite of a dish and can’t help but to exclaim how good it is. And when she doesn’t like a dish, she’s able to explain why in a way that is insightful instead of snobby.

The first big rules change introduced this season was that the first challenge of each episode (the short “Quick-Fire Challenge”) gives winners an escalating amount of money–which is great because they have something to show for their time even if they don’t win the entire season–but not immunity. Immunity is only granted to the winner of the Elimination Challenge (for the next challenge), giving chefs an extra incentive to put forth their best effort in every challenge.

Sidenote: It would be interesting to try this in a Survivor challenge: If you win, you gain immunity for the tribal council after the current tribal. This might put a big target on you for winning, leading to some interesting dynamics.

Halfway through the season, the show introduced something new: Immunity was no longer available, and all judges joined the Quick-Fire Challenges. In the Elimination Challenge, if there are a few people whose dishes are equally poor, the judges will look to the Quick-Fire results as the tiebreaker. I really like this, as in past seasons there were almost always situations where someone cooked really well in Quick-Fires but then messed up something in the Elimination Challenge. The change makes Quick-Fires more meaningful.

There are also some little changes and refreshing moments of flexibility on the show and in Last Chance Kitchen that make this season feel like a breath of fresh air. I’m loving it, and I highly recommend it even if you’ve never watchedan episode of Top Chef.

Are you watching this season? What do you think about the changes? Do you have a favorite cooking or cooking competition show?

4 thoughts on “I’m Loving the New Season of Top Chef”

  1. I love Kristen! I think she is doing a great job. I love them bringing on the former players towel judge segments of the competition. I think it is inspiring for the contestants. As for Survivor, they have had several dynamic competitor over the years and I can see many of them working well as host. Boston Rob or Sandra? They’d be great.

    • I like that too! It’s always fun to see prior competitors. That’s an interesting idea about which previous Survivor host could someday replace Probst if he ever wanted to step down. Maybe Tyson or Rick Devins?

  2. We are loving this season too! Extra special since we live about 25 minutes from Milwaukee, and although I think this is a really nice group of chefs, we are cheering for Dan! A great Milwaukee chef that we did pick-up food from during the early days of Covid. Love seeing the WI influence & sights in the show 🙂

    • It’s awesome that this season is local to you! I like Dan too, and Michelle is from St. Louis, so I’m rooting for her too.


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