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The Daily Dish Top Chef

What's Tom Colicchio's Biggest Regret of Top Chef Season 13?

The longtime #TopChef judge dishes on what to expect as the show heads back to California.

By Jocelyn Vena
Top Chef California: West Coast Here We Come!

When it comes to Tom Colicchio's style, the Top Chef judge tends to rely on more classic silhouettes. But when he heard that MC Hammer was slated to make a cameo during the show's 13th season, well, he knew that he wanted to take a fashion risk and try to nab himself a pair of the rapper's classic parachute-style pants — even if he wasn't going to be on set with him. "MC Hammer [was] totally unexpected, but we were in Oakland, so it makes perfect sense when you're in Oakland. It was quickfire, so I didn't work with him. I can't find those pants! See that's the problem!" he joked to The Daily Dish. "I looked. I had wardrobe search high and low, but they couldn't find it." For the record, we think Tom could really pull the edgier look off.

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But it's not just the MC Hammer cameo that makes Season 13 particularly special. Tom noted that the newest cheftestants are bringing a lot of heat to the kitchen. "I think as a group, it's a really talented group, which I was happy to see. And there's a lot of diversity in the cooking. There's a lot of different styles that we're seeing, which is interesting as well," he said.

Also spicing up this season is the fact that the show will hit the road, making stops up and down the California coast. "It was challenging at times, but I think it was really great," Tom said of the new style. "I think it kept the chefs excited and you could feel it."

And while one of the biggest changes in the show's nearly decade-long history is the scale ("we have a much bigger crew"), Tom also shared that the cheftestants are more aware of how to act on camera. Well, only for so long. "They're definitely much more savvy. They've all watched the show, but the problem is you watch the show and it still does not prepare you for what happens once you're on the set — and we hear that constantly," he said. "You see that in the first challenge. They come in and they think [it's going to be] a little fun time and then all of a sudden they're right in it; and they're shocked."

Meet Season 13's Chefs

"And so I think that they think [they know,] but they're not prepared," he continued. "But I think a lot of them are on guard. They don't want to be that guy. They don't want to be that chef that's a complete jerk. So they're all a little bit guarded. But as soon as the competition starts people's personalities come out. And it's a competition. People want to win and they get upset when they're not doing well. And they get excited when they're doing well. They get halfway through, they're tired. It's a real mind game, so nothing really prepares you for it."

In the end, Tom thinks there are a few good reasons to tune in this season. "I think moving around is really cool. I think that I have to say collectively — and I always look at the season and say, 'There's four chefs that maybe can compete and really get to the end — [but] this particular group, they're pretty deep. From the very beginning, it was anyone's game. So it's really exciting. They compete [and] they compete hard. But they're a really supportive [group]. It's a fun group."

You can watch the Cheftestants squirm a little in the clip below. Top Chef airs Thursdays at 10/9c.

A Pop up Nightmare
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