The Top Chef Season 18 Contestants Feature a Major First for the Competition

Get your first look at the new batch of cheftestants before Top Chef Season 18 officially premieres.

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Bravo's Top Chef is back with a supersized Season 18 premiere on Thursday, April 1 at 8/7c. A new batch of 15 contestants will compete for the coveted title of Top Chef for the first time ever in Portland, Oregon. However, Season 18's exciting, new location isn't the only thing that'll be unique about this season.

You can get a taste of the Top Chef Season 18 premiere right now in the above first look exclusive to Bravo Insider. In it, you'll get to meet the new cheftestants, all of whom "represent an incredible diversity of cooking styles and cuisines," as host Padma Lakshmi describes the talented group as she prepares to kick off their first Quickfire Challenge of the season.

As Padma welcomes the chefs to the new Top Chef kitchen, she notes, "Standing amongst you is an incredible selection of executive chefs, chef owners," as well as something else about this group of contestants that has happened "for the first time" in Top Chef history.

Top Chef alum and Portland local Gregory Gourdet also gives the cheftestants a warm welcome as he gets ready to kick off the competition as Season 18's first guest judge. "Chefs, welcome to Top Chef. Portland is an amazing city filled with iconic indigenous ingredients and a strong sense of community," he shares. "We're also front and center in our nation's current fight for racial equality, and I'm so glad you're here, so welcome."

But before the chefs officially start cooking, we get to know a little bit more about them in the above preview, from their impressive accolades, including who has been nominated for a James Beard Award, to who used to work for Tom Colicchio, to who competed as an Olympian before jumping into the culinary world. We'll also hear the heartbreaking way the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacted one chef during this devastating time for the entire restaurant industry.

Still, these chefs seem more motivated than ever to triumph on Top Chef, with Padma pointing out, "I think we have some really stiff competition here in the kitchen."

"This season is gonna be an exciting one," Padma declares. "Here we go!"

Want more Top Chef? Catch up on the Bravo app.

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