Emily Shur / Bravo
An argument could be made that Top Chef was running low on new locations. The competitive cooking show started out in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Miami but more recently found itself in lovely, but less high-profile food destinations like Charleston, Colorado, and Kentucky. And so, for Season 20, Top Chef has decided to break new ground in two respects: basing the show outside of the U.S. and featuring all-stars from around the globe.
Somewhat similar to previous Top-Chef: All-Stars competitions (namely, Seasons 8 and 17), this latest season — Top Chef: World All-Stars — will feature 16 of contestants from previous seasons, this time focusing on winners and finalists. But fitting the "world" theme, these returning chefs will have appeared on one of the 29 different iterations of Top Chef aired around the globe. And further pulling the show out of the U.S., Season 20 will be filmed in London — the first time an entire season of the American version of the show has been shot outside the country.
"We've always wanted to do a season of Top Chef with winners, finalists and frontrunners, but to take that concept for the 20th season one step further with cheftestants from localized versions across the world has been a dream come true," Ryan Flynn, senior vice president of current production for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, stated. "And what better place to host World All-Stars than London, a global stomping ground and renowned food city, offering our cheftestants access to the UK's exceptional ingredients and international flavors."
The show suggests that London is a perfect place for an internationally-themed season since London is a "culinary melting pot" from "traditional pub food to modern Indian cuisines." The chefs will be cooking "with the best ingredients the UK has to offer from its sought-after seafood, high-quality meat and produce," and the judging of the results will also be international, with series regulars Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons being joined by "distinguished judges from the international versions, as well as esteemed global culinary experts."
"I'm pleased that Top Chef has chosen London for its first ever season outside of the US," Victoria Prentis, the U.K.'s food minister, said in the announcement. "We're rightly proud of our exceptional food and drink produced here in the UK. From Scottish salmon and Welsh lamb to Northern Irish beef and English sparkling wine, our food and drink is recognized at home and abroad for its great taste and high quality. As the UK's largest manufacturing sector, the passion, traditions and expertise of our food and drink industry make the UK a fantastic choice for the culinary competition series."
Top Chef: World All-Stars will begin filming this month and is slated to premiere some time next year. The previous three seasons have all debuted in the spring.