Top Chef Season 19 - Here's What We Can Tell Fans So Far

When "Top Chef" Season 18 premiered in April, fans and TV critics praised the series for its production quality amidst challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The series was filmed in Portland — a first for the show — and helped introduce viewers to the local food scene. 

At the time, head judge Tom Colicchio said he and the "Top Chef" team were "happy" to be in Portland. He also praised Portland as "a great food city," per Oregon Live. "Top Chef" producer Doneen Arquines noted that they had wanted to film in Portland for a few years but couldn't because of bad timing. Nevertheless, the series received praise from media outlets like the Los Angeles Times for its greater cultural diversity among the contestants and the types of cuisines that were showcased in the challenges.

The success of Season 18 was further cemented when the show's cast and crew were nominated for five Emmys in July, including a group nomination for Padma Lakshmi, Colicchio, and Gail Simmons as host (via Bravo). With a renewed interest in the show, it isn't surprising that viewers are asking for another season. So, when exactly will Season 19 premiere? We've got the deets for you below.

When will Top Chef Season 19 be released?

"Top Chef" fans will have to wait for a while for Season 19. In recent years, Bravo, the network which airs "Top Chef," has allowed more than a year to elapse between successive seasons. Season 16 premiered in December 2018, per Bravo, while the all-star Season 17, which featured returning chefs, aired in March 2020 (via Food & Wine). 

Of course, Season 18 premiered this year on April 1, according to The Wrap, but Bravo didn't announce the release date until two months before it was scheduled to air. Given the late notices, it is safe to assume that Bravo won't be teasing the return of "Top Chef" until early or mid-2022.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, especially the Delta variant, ravaging through the United States could also delay production for Season 19. Per Oregon Live, producers and crew successfully managed to create bubbles and adhere to CDC guidelines during filming for Season 18 but would most likely have to re-strategize with many states and cities reinstating masking and social distancing mandates.

Who will be on Top Chef Season 19?

While a release date for "Top Chef" Season 19 has not been revealed yet, fans of the show can expect its cohosts-slash-judges to be back. Unlike other cooking reality shows on television, "Top Chef" has stayed consistent with their personalities. Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons have been with the show since its inception, while Padma Lakshmi joined in Season 2 (via IndieWire). The trio have formed a formidable partnership on camera, and with their recent Emmy nomination for Outstanding Host, it looks like the judging roles will be theirs for as long as they choose to do it.

That said, guest judges always give an element of surprise on "Top Chef." In early seasons, the show brought in superstar chefs like Anthony Bourdain, but the rotating cast of "Top Chef" alumni as judges also proved to be popular among fans in Season 18 (via the Los Angeles Times). Fan favorite contestants could also make appearances on the show depending on the themes or challenges.

Casting decisions are still being made, but producers also need to figure out which city will host Season 19 of "Top Chef."

What city will host Top Chef Season 19?

Throughout its 18 Seasons, "Top Chef" has been all over the United States, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and more (via The Cinemaholic). Considering how many American food cities there are, it is quite an arduous task for producers to find a destination for the next season of "Top Chef." However, executive producer Doneen Arquines did reveal some of her dream destinations for future seasons.

"[For] the United States, like I said, we haven't been to Atlanta, we haven't been to the Philadelphia area," she told The Daily Dish in August 2020. "A lot of the Midwestern cities, you know, Minneapolis, Detroit. There's still a lot of untapped cities that we haven't been to that I think are all valid and interesting to explore."

Perhaps Season 19 will take place in one of the cities she's mentioned with COVID restrictions in place. In any case, fans will be eagerly waiting to find out what surprises are in store for Season 19 of "Top Chef."