‘Top Chef’ is back with an all-new series! ‘Top Chef Duels’ brings the best chefs back to the kitchen to go head-to-head in a culinary battle. Host Curtis Stone and judge Gail Simmons caught up with HollywoodLife.com to tell all about the sizzling new season.
Curtis Stone and Gail Simmons have witnessed a lot of heat in the kitchen over the many courses of Top Chef‘s history, but Top Chef Duels puts “cheftestant” enemies against each other, and that can be a recipe for disaster (and reality television gold). “Do we need to call security. Is there going to be a fight?” Curtis teases. Sounds like a heaping portion of drama!
‘Top Chef Duels’ Premiere: Chefs Go Head-To-Head & Celebrities Join The Judges
The Top Chef franchise is serving up its latest spinoff, Top Chef Duels, which brings returning “cheftestants” head-to-head in dueling cooking battles.
Each episode pits two chefs against each other, as they cook for the win — in other words, each week will see one winner and one loser. Fan favorites and all-stars come back for more including Richard Blais, CJ Jacobson, David Burke, Tiffani Faison, Marcel Vigneron, Antonia Lofaso, Dale Talde and more.
Richard and Marcel go up against each other in the premiere episode (Aug. 6), and we can assure you, it’ll be a tough and feisty battle. HollywoodLife.com was lucky enough to try the delicious food presented by some of the chefs at the series’ premiere NYC tasting event on August 4, including Richard and Marcel’s lobster roll battle, which featured different versions of the east coast favorite sandwich. (And no, we won’t admit whose we liked better!)
Many celebrity guest judges join in this season, too. Shailene Woodley, Pink, Rob Zombie, Andy Samberg and the cast of Brooklyn Nine Nine and the Grey’s Anatomy cast will all sit in on the judges table.
“I like heavy metal music, alternative music. So to sit at a table with Rob Zombie and Ian Scott and those guys it was a bit of a thrill for me,” says Curtis, who hosts and anchors the judges’ table, alongside Gail Simmons, Wolfgang Puck and Hugh Acheson. “It was a pretty spectacular lineup of guests,” Gail tells HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVLEY. “I would have to say Pink was pretty rad. I just used the word rad, which I don’t use pretty often, but it’s freakin’ Pink!”
The Most Competitive ‘Top Chef’ Yet?
As you could imagine, emotions run high with seasoned dueling chefs on set.
“There is nowhere to hide. We’re watching every move,” says Gail, alluding to having just two chefs compete at a time. All eyes (and tastebuds) are on you. “We all know them so there is a lot more pressure and expectation and it’s just one on one.”
“It’s a really interesting concept because what we’ve done is taken all the good bits of Top Chef and stuck it into like a head-to-head battle that happens and it’s done so if you’re like me and have a bit of a limited attention span, you don’t have to watch every single episode to understand where you’re at,” Curtis explains. “There’s something that’s really interesting that happens when you say to someone, ‘In 30 minutes, one of you will be $10,000 richer.'”
And, of course, there are bragging rights, which may raise the bar even higher than money. “We’ve also given the power to the chefs and have them develop what the battle is all about,” Curtis tells HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY. “Some of them play nicely. Some of them play not so nice.”
Rivalries aside, Curtis can pronounce an overall winner: the food. He assures us it’s all delicious, but one special dish did stick out in his mind — rabbit. (This is one time we’re glad to be sitting in front of the TV screen, rather that at the judges’ tasting table.)
Top Chef Duels premieres Wednesday August 6 (10/9c) on Bravo!
HollywoodLifers, are you excited for Top Chef Duels? Let us know if you think this spinoff is a good idea — plus, what’s the craziest food you’ve ever tasted?!
– Elizabeth Wagmeister