Now that Season 15 of Top Chef is over, we can solely focus our attention on getting super psyched about the upcoming season. We already know that Top Chef will be heading to Kentucky for Season 16, and we can't wait to see what kind of culinary awesomeness cities like Louisville, Lexington, and Lake Cumberland will have to offer.
Luckily, we didn't have to wait too long to get some intel on the Bluegrass State. The Daily Dish recently caught up with the Top Chef Season 15 winner and runner-up, respectively, Joe Flamm and Adrienne Cheatham, and they shared what fans can expect from next season (clip above).
Joe said he thought Kentucky was a great choice since it will highlight cuisine unlike anything we've seen on Top Chef before. "I think it's gonna be a really different, interesting backdrop. I think it'll have some of the parallels of the Charleston season [Season 14], which I thought was really, really fun and a great location for it," he explained. "I like that they didn't go so mainstream with it. I think that's what was really fun about our season, too. You know, Denver's a little bit more off the beaten path. It's not San Fran, it's not New York, it's not Chicago. It's a little bit more further out. So I think that's cool. I think it exposes a whole new group of people to these great culinary destinations."
Adrienne similarly said the food scene in Kentucky is "low-key and underrated but amazing." She's even hoping she gets the chance to take part in one of Kentucky's most famous exports. "I'm a huge bourbon drinker, so if I could be a guest on this one, like some possible bourbon tasting or bourbon tours, I'm all in," she told The Daily Dish of next season of Top Chef. "I am a bourbon girl, all the way."
But Kentucky isn't just about bourbon and barbecue, as Top Chef fans will soon find out next season. "I think the culinary scene in Kentucky, I think they're gonna be shocked. I think they're gonna be shocked how much is there. I think it's a lot of tradition, it's a lot of history," Joe said. "You have incredible chefs down there, like Ed Lee, who really made a huge effort to tie back into the roots of those places and of the cuisine of the people who started first settling in those mountains and such. And a lot of whiskey."
Based on geography alone, Joe and Adrienne said that the Cheftestants might have a little bit of an easier time in Kentucky than they did cooking in Colorado since they won't have to deal with extreme altitude. "If you're not in elevation, anything is easier. So God bless them, they will have no trouble breathing. They will be fine. They can actually drink some of that bourbon because it won't be in elevation," Adrienne shared. "But it will present its own set of challenges."
Because, remember, this is still Top Chef. "I think it's Top Chef, so it's never gonna be easier. There's never any point where they're like, 'Oh, we should probably pump the brakes on this,'" Joe said. "I think that the one thing about Colorado is the elements were aggressive. But you never know, God only knows what it's like to cook in the Kentucky [foothills], what the hell you have to deal with out there."
Adrienne advised next season's Cheftestants to remain confident in their cooking and not get distracted by what the competition brings. "Just cook. Don't get so into your head, like I was in the beginning [of Season 15]. I'm thinking too much about the food instead of just cooking the food. And overthinking and second-guessing will destroy you," she said. "You know your food, just put it out there. Don't worry about it. Don't think it's not tested enough. Just f---ing cook your food. And season it."
As for Joe, his advice to the Season 16 contestants is to remember to enjoy the ride. "I think my biggest piece of advice is to try to take the moments to enjoy the journey. It's such an incredible thing that you get to do. It's like if you don't take those moments to appreciate where you are, what you're doing, the people that are around you, then you're just doing it wrong," he shared. "If you're just going down for yourself, if you're not going at it for the experience of the whole thing, then you're missing the best parts."
Will we see any of the Season 15 Cheftestants' dream guest judges next season? Keep their hopes alive by checking out the video, below.