Prepare your knives and stay tuned: Kristen Kish has been appointed as the new host of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” taking over from the long-standing host Padma Lakshmi after the recently concluded “world all-stars” Season 20.
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Kish, who emerged as the winner of Season 10 and has made several appearances as a guest judge, will commence her hosting role in the upcoming Season 21, set in Wisconsin, as revealed by Bravo.
Head judge Tom Colicchio and judge Gail Simmons are both set to return for Season 21.
Lakshmi made her decision to step away from “Top Chef” just prior to the Season 20 finale, where Buddha Lo clinched the title of world all-star in the special international season commemorating the show’s 20th anniversary. After hosting the show for 19 seasons, Lakshmi expressed her need to “create space” for her Hulu series “Taste the Nation,” her literary works, and “other creative endeavors.”
“‘Top Chef’ is where my journey began – starting as a competitor, then transitioning to a guest judge, and now taking on the role of host. It’s an honor to contribute to the growth of this iconic brand,” Kristen Kish expressed. “I’m elated to join Gail and Tom as we welcome a new generation of extraordinary chefs and witness their culinary creations. It truly feels like returning home.”
Born in South Korea, Kish was adopted into a family in Kentwood, Michigan. She pursued her culinary education at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago and, following culinary school, dedicated a decade to honing her skills in upscale Boston restaurants. In 2013, Kish secured victory in Season 10 of “Top Chef.” Subsequently, she co-hosted Travel Channel’s “36 Hours” and currently features as a co-star on “Fast Foodies,” co-host of “Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend,” and serves as the host and producer of “Restaurants at the End of the World.”
“Kristen Kish embodies everything that makes ‘Top Chef’ exceptionally special,” remarked Ryan Flynn, Senior Vice President of Current Production at NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “As an acclaimed chef with a diverse background in the competition as a cheftestant, winner, and judge, Kristen is the ideal host for the next exciting chapter of ‘Top Chef’ as we venture into a new region of the country we haven’t explored.”
Casey Kriley and Jo Sharon, co-CEOs of Magical Elves, added their enthusiasm, saying, “Kristen is an integral part of the ‘Top Chef’ family, and we are genuinely excited to welcome her on board. She brings a fresh and global culinary perspective, along with a profound passion for food, to the competition. We eagerly anticipate Season 21 and are confident that our incoming chefs will draw inspiration from the vibrant culinary scene in Milwaukee and Madison, renowned for its fusion of tradition and innovation, and its use of locally sourced ingredients.”
According to Bravo, Season 21 of “Top Chef” will embark on a culinary journey to explore the dynamic and distinctive food scenes of Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin. Set against a backdrop of picturesque landscapes, vast farmland, extensive shorelines, and lively urban communities, the cheftestants will delve into the region’s fresh flavors and the abundance of locally sourced ingredients, solidifying its status as an emerging culinary hub.
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers expressed his pride in hosting “Top Chef,” stating, “We are delighted to extend a warm welcome to ‘Top Chef’ for its upcoming season in Wisconsin. Our state is renowned for its rich food culture, talented chefs, and exceptional local ingredients. I am confident that our diverse culinary traditions will serve as inspiration for the participants, captivate viewers, and showcase all the wonderful aspects that Wisconsin has to offer.”
“Top Chef” is produced by Magical Elves, with executive producers including Casey Kriley, Jo Sharon, Doneen Arquines, Hillary Olsen, and Tracy Tong. Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons also serve as executive producers.