Casting of Top Chef 19: 15 chefs in the running for Top Chef: Houston

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“Top Chef” invited 15 chefs from across the country to compete in Houston, Texas for the grand prize of $250,000. This is the second time the show has been set in the Lone Star State; 10 years ago, “Top Chef: Texas” traveled across the state to film in locations such as San Antonio, Dallas and Austin, but not Houston. So who will win the 19th season of the long-running cooking competition? Scroll down to get to know each of the contestants releasing their knives and frying pans starting March 3.

Host Padma Lakshmi and judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons are back, and throughout the season they’ll be joined by All-Star “Top Chef” guest judges and mentors, including Tiffany Derry, Hung Huynh, Stephanie Izard, Melissa King, Kristen Kis, Kwame Onwuachi, Sam Talbot, Brooke Williamson and Claudette Zepedato name a few.

Also at the judges’ table will be local and national culinary icons, including Daniel Boulud, Wylie Dufresne, Carlotta Flores, Bricia Lopez,Eric Ripert,Marcus SamuelsonandAlexander Smalls. They’ll determine who puts the best (and worst) flavors on their plates each week. The season filmed last fall and is the second season filmed amid the COVID-19 pandemic following last year’s “Portland” episode, and according to this season’s trailer, a contestant reveals that he lost his sense of taste and smell – a significant handicap in a cooking competition, one would expect.

The season will include challenges where test chefs cook food for NASA astronauts, dishes celebrating Houston’s large Nigerian population, and meals at an Asian night market. What else do you expect from this competition taking place in the fourth most populous city in the United States?

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