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The Daily Dish Food and Drinks

Here's Why the Upcoming Season of Bravo's Top Chef Is One of Tom Colicchio's All-Time Favorites

There's one guest the head judge can't wait for fans to see in Season 16.

By Laura Rosenfeld
Your First Look at Top Chef Kentucky!

In 15 seasons of Bravo's Top Chef, the judges have tasted some amazing dishes, visited some breathtaking locations, and rubbed elbows with a star-studded lineup of guest judges. But you ain't seen nothin' yet. 

Head judge Tom Colicchio told The Daily Dish last month that the upcoming Season 16 of Bravo's Top Chef, which premieres Thursday, December 6 at 9/8c, is one of his favorites in the history of the culinary competition. "I think the contestants were really strong cooks, and they didn’t seem to be hiding much. They were pretty much who they were," he shared on the red carpet for the show's PaleyFest NY event on October 18. "It was a lot of fun to watch them cook." 

Fellow judge Gail Simmons also teased that we're in for a treat with this season's Cheftestants. "The cast is just the right cast for this moment in history. It is incredibly diverse. It is an incredibly interesting, thoughtful group of chefs," Gail gushed to The Daily Dish on the red carpet of the Bravo's Top Chef event. "They are so talented. They are really amazing fighters, competitors, but they’re just really good, cool people that I wanted to hang out more with."

Next season of Bravo's Top Chef will be particularly memorable for its location in Kentucky, according to judge Graham Elliot. "Every season is different because of where we’re at. That’s the food, the culture, the people, and this one’s really amazing," he told The Daily Dish at the PaleyFest NY event. "I think [Kentucky is] a great blend of what’s going on right now in the country but also, you know, you have the outdoors, you’ve got the rolling hills, the horse culture, bourbon, and also the city of Louisville. It’s been great." 

Season 16 of Bravo's Top Chef will feature more A-list guest judges, including Laila Ali, Lena Waithe, Lily Aldridge, and Kings of Leon's Caleb Followill. But Tom and Graham both shared how welcoming the University of Kentucky head men's basketball coach John Calipari to Bravo's Top Chef was an unforgettable experience. "My younger brother is a basketball coach, and so that was pretty cool to go hang out with Coach Calipari and to actually hang in a locker room, which was a real trip, but that was a blast," Tom said. "Also going there [Rupp Arena], we kind of expected a couple thousand people to show up, maybe 2,000, and 5,000 people showed up, so it was pretty awesome." 

Is it December 6 yet? 

See everything you can expect from Season 16 of Bravo's Top Chef by checking out the trailer, above. Then catch up with some of Season 15's Cheftestants, below.

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