This season of Top Chef is one giant road trip. Instead of sticking to one city, as it has done in seasons past, both judges and cheftestants will travel up and down the California coast. It's an experience that the judges found invigorating after 13 seasons of quickfire challenges and eliminations. "We shot in the springtime when all of the incredible California ingredients were really at their peak," longtime judge Gail Simmons told The Daily Dish. "We were able to do so much every episode and it really changed things up for the chefs. It lets the chefs be so inspired by every place we went to and it really allowed us to get to know them in a different way as well."
Stopping in luscious locales like Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, and Oakland was a change host Padma Lakshmi welcomed with open arms. It even gave her a chance to have a little fun with her signature catchphrase. "There was a sense of, 'OK, we're all in this adventure together.' And we would pack up every week and go to the new city, and I think it kept the excitement really up because the chefs never knew when we were moving," Padma told The Daily Dish. "So at any given moment I could walk in the kitchen and go, 'Alright, pack your bags — not just your knives — all your bags; we're going here, we're going there.'" Check out more of their take on Season 13.
Below, the cheftestants open up about some of their fondest road trip memories.