Season 16 of the Bravo hit show top chef Premiere at 21.00 tonight with a cast of 15 chefs from across the country. This season has a Kentucky theme, so hot brown cooking is likely, and do not be surprised if Bourbon also faces some challenges.
Padma Lakshmi is as always host of the show, and Tom Colicchio and Graham Elliot are back at the judge's table. Regular judge Gail Simmons will be in a few episodes despite having resigned for maternity leave during part of the filming of this earlier season Food and wine Editor-in-chief Nilou Motamed will fill her place. Top chef: Kentucky will also feature guest chef appearances by head chef Eric Ripert, frontman of Kings of Leon, Caleb Followill, boxer Laila Ali and actor / director Lena Waithe.
Here's everything you need to know about the chefs participating in contests this time:
Sara Bradley (Paducah, Kentucky): Bradley is the cook / owner of Freight House, a farm-to-table destination in her hometown of Paducah, Kentucky. After graduating from Johnson & Wales, Bradley worked in renowned kitchens of renowned chefs John Fraser and Paul Kahan in New York City and Chicago before returning home to open a restaurant serving modern Southern cuisine.
Eric Adjepong (Washington, D.C.): Adjepong does not work in a restaurant kitchen, but runs a catering and staffing company called Pinch & Plate. The first-generation Ghanaian, who grew up in New York City, previously helped with the opening of D.C.'s Kith / Kin (operated by top chef alum Kwame Onwuachi), and now he is using his business to introduce Beltway diners to West African cuisine.
Kelsey Barnard Clark (Dothan), Alabama): In the small town of Dothan, Alabama, the so-called "peanut capital of the world," Kelsey Barnard Clark serves the southern food that is clothed in her life in the big city. Clark graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and gained work experience in New York City with Gavin Kaysen (Cafe Boulud) and John Frazer (Dovetail), before returning to her hometown in 2008 to open KBC.
Edmund "Eddie" Konrad (Philadelphia): One of two Philadelphia-based chefs starting this season Eddie Konrad may have a leg up top chef Competition thanks to some advice from his employer – he works as a sous boss under Season 11 winner Nicholas Elmi at French-American star Laurel. Konrad, who specializes in French and Italian cuisine, received a culinary diploma from Johnson & Wales. His curriculum vitae also includes displays in renowned kitchens such as Del Posto in New York City and Le Bec Fin by Philly
Pablo Lamon (Miami Beach): Lamon, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, brings global experience to this season top chefafter working in the award-winning Hyatt Hotel Palacio Duhau in his hometown before cooking on luxury cruise ships for wealthy ocean lovers. Lamon has worked under star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Top Chef: Season 13 Winner Jeremy Ford in Miami, and he is now chef at Restaurant & Bar 27, where his food is inspired by the Mediterranean, Latin America and Europe.
Natalie Maronsky (Philadelphia): Maronski is one of two candidates from Philadelphia this season. She takes a break from her day job when she founds an experiential restaurant called Underground Concepts in a "national historic and iconic Philadelphia landmark". Maronski's military family has often changed her childhood address – she grew up in Indonesia, Malaysia, Hawaii, and Virginia – and her high school CV is 10 years with celebrity chef José Garces, where they cooked various kitchens in various restaurants.
Michelle Minori (San Francisco): Minori works in Barzotto, a fast-paced pasta bar in San Francisco serving Italian-influenced California cuisine. Minori, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu's cooking school in San Francisco, previously worked in the Michelin-starred restaurants in the Bay Area, Aqua, Acquerello and La Folie. The chef also ran the kitchen at Flour + Water in San Francisco and overseen the pasta and bread operations at Faith & Flower in Los Angeles.
Nini Nguyen (Brooklyn, New York City): Nini Nguyen is originally from New Orleans and is the culinary director of the Brooklyn Education Center Cook Space. Before going to school, Nguyen worked at the confectionery in Sucre and Coquette, New Orleans and at the famous Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan. "I like to refine my heritage – I'm Vietnamese and French educated and Vietnamese food has a lot of French influence," Nguyen said recently amny,
Brandon Rosen (San Mateo, California): Rosen started in the food world at his family's chocolate factory in Detroit. After graduation, he moved to New York City to work in Alain Ducasse's Essex House and Eleven Madison Park, before moving to Yountville, California, to join the French laundry team. Later, Rosen helped his colleague Corey Lee open Benu in San Francisco and then took up a position as chef at Richard Reddington's Redd in Yountville. After five years at Redd, Rosen now works as a private chef in Silicon Valley.
Kevin Scharpf (Dubuque, Iowa)Midwestern chef Kevin Scharpf has cut his teeth in the kitchen of Daniel in New York City, Elizabeth in Chicago, and Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis before landing in his home state, where he now owns the three-year-old farm -to-table restaurant operates Braze Open Kitchen & Bar. Scharpf recently told the Des Moines Register that it's "great to have the opportunity to represent Iowa and the growing culinary scene here."
Caitlin Steininger (Cincinnati, Ohio)Steininger is currently running a restaurant called Cooking with Caitlin with her sister Kelly Trush in Wyoming, Ohio. The sisters are also planning to open a new smoked meat restaurant called Station + Family BBQ. Steininger watched top chef since her first season, when she was just a culinary student. "I did not want to apply until I thought I could win it," she said Cincinnati Inquirer, "The restaurant really makes me feel like I could do it."
Justin Sutherland (St. Paul, Minnesota): Sutherland is the head chef of Handsome Hog's Nose-to-Tail restaurant in St. Paul and the Pearl and Thief seafood restaurant in nearby Stillwater. Earlier this year, Sutherland won an episode of Iron ChefHe recently took over the culinary activities of the Madison Restaurant Group, which includes the Twin Cities hotspots Eagle Street Grill, Fitzgeralds, Public Kitchen and Bar, OxCart Alehouse and Gray Duck.
David Viana (Old Bridge, New Jersey): The Parolian officer, who was chef David Viana, spent some time in the kitchens of Eleven Madison Park and Manhattan's Centro Vinoteca before returning to New Jersey to open the Heirloom Kitchen tasting restaurant. "I grew up in this industry and have always worked hard, but observed Bravo top chef For the last twelve years, it has really been a motivation and inspiration to push myself further – to be the best chef I can be, "Viana said recently Asbury Park Press, "So being on the show really is a dream come true."
Adrienne Wright (Boston)As a young chef, Connecticut's Adrienne Wright worked in kitchens in the northeastern United States before landing on Michael Schlow's Radius in Boston. After working as a sous chef in this restaurant for almost three years, he moved to Chris Coomb's Deuxave restaurant in 2011. She has since been part of the Coomb restaurant group and now serves the kitchens in Deuxave, Dbar and two locations in Boston Chops.
Brian Young (Boston)Before Brian Young became Chef at Cultivar in Boston, he worked at the nearby Harvest and Citizen Public House & Oyster Bar hotspots. Although Young and his companion top chef Competitor Adrienne Wright, both working in Boston, had not met before the shoot. "We have respect for each other, because although we did not know each other, we were familiar with what the other is doing in the community of restaurants and in our work," Young said recently Boston Magazine, "So it was nice to have someone I can identify with and cook with the one I knew I could trust."
• TV cover for all food [E]