Top Chef has been a highlight in quarantine for a lot of people, as many have binge-watched the series over the last 12 months, perhaps helped by the fact that Season 17 aired right as the pandemic was rearing its ugly head and many of use were stuck at home. This week, Season 18 is also coming and this time the episodes filmed with new safety and social distancing rules in place. But if you as longtime judge Gail Simmons, that really wasn’t the most difficult thing... at least for the Bravo contestants.
To be clear, Top Chef Season 18 is going to look quite a bit different than previous seasons. Gail Simmons made it clear in a recent interview with The Daily Beast that those not actually filming were in “full PPE,” that rules were followed and that the series was able to film in its entirety without any cases of Covid-19 occurring on set. And yet, because of this safety stuff Top Chef Season 18 also only brought professional chefs on board to taste test and judge in order to keep the number of strangers on set way down. Per Simmons:
While I’m pumped for that drive-in challenge, it’s worth noting that Top Chef is always pretty high-stress anyway. The chefs are put through weird challenges, they have complicated Quickfire episode segments in which they have to ideate on the fly, and sometimes they are asked to cook for their other chef heroes. Now, it sounds as if there was a lot more of those latter moments in Season 18.
The stakes are higher too. The restaurant industry has been one of the fundamental sectors of our society that has been totally changed by the pandemic. People have had to rework their entire business models and ways of doing things during the pandemic. Many jobs were changed and lost and many restaurants closed. According to Gail Simmons, this directly impacted the stories people are telling on the show and the entire attitude of Season 18, as well as the motivations to win the competition.
It sounds very emotional and fans of the reality TV series won't have much longer to wait. Top Chef is back tonight on Bravo at 8 p.m. ET and will feature plenty of familiar faces. But if that’s not your cup of tea, you can see what else is on the way with our full TV premiere schedule.
Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.
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