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“Top Chef” Gets 'Shaken Up' with New Rules and Kristen Kish as Host — See the Trailer and Meet the Chefs (Exclusive)

'Top Chef' season 21, set in Wisconsin, premieres March 20 on Bravo

Top Chef is ready to take on the Midwest.

The long-running Bravo show returns on March 20 in Wisconsin and PEOPLE, EW and Food & Wine have a joint exclusive look at the trailer for season 21.

This marks Kristen Kish’s first season hosting Top Chef after Padma Lakshmi announced her departure last summer. Kish, who won season 10, knows a thing or two about battling it out against fellow cheftestants. In the trailer above, she opens the clip by exclaiming, “Top Chef is back!”

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Gail Simmons, Kristen Kish and Tom Colicchio

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Gail Simmons, Kristen Kish and Tom Colicchio

“We’ve gathered rising star chefs from across the country here to Wisconsin,” she says in the sneak peek.

The trailer shows the contestants competing in tough challenges, including one where they cook with something “Wisconsinites can’t live without” — cheese.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Kristen Kish on season 21 of Top Chef

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Kristen Kish on season 21 of Top Chef

Fellow judges Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio join Kish on the season 21 journey, which sees one major change. "There are a few new rules," says Kish.

"There will be no immunity given for a Quickfire win," adds Colicchio. (Quickfire Challenge winners were previously awarded a prize, an advantage or most valuable: immunity during the Elimination Challenge.) Now winners will only be safe from going home in the next episode if they win during the Elimination Challenge.

"I love when things get shaken up," says Kish.

Celebrity judges, including Carla Hall and Brittany Snow are featured in the trailer, along with Matty Matheson from The Bear

Related: Gail Simmons Is 'Sad' Padma Lakshmi Is Leaving 'Top Chef' but Excited for the 'Show-stopping' Finale (Exclusive)

At the end of the trailer, the stakes are raised as Kish counsels the contestants, who range from James Beard Award finalists to chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants. “You have got to start cooking to win," she says.

Colicchio also closes out the trailer with a cliffhanger. “This isn’t going to be easy,” he says. “At the end of this, there’s only one person left. You got to make sure it’s you.”

Meet the 15 chefs heating up the competition this season:

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Alisha Elenz

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Alisha Elenz

Alisha Elenz

The Chicago native is a two-time James Beard-nominated chef and the 2019 recipient of the Jean Banchet for Rising Chef of the Year. Specializing in Mediterranean cuisine, she helms her own private chef and events company.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Amanda Turner

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Amanda Turner

Amanda Turner

Turner, who’s from Texas, was named a James Beard semifinalist for Emerging Chef in 2022. She’s worked for many renowned chefs, including Top Chef season nine winner Paul Qui.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Charly Pierre

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Charly Pierre

Charly Pierre

This two-time James Beard nominee has been working as a chef since he was 15 years old, learning from his professional chef father. His Haitian-inspired restaurant, Fritai, in New Orelans, has gotten several awards, including including Zagat’s 30 Under 30 and Eater NOLA’s 2022 Restaurant of the Year.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Dan Jacobs

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Dan Jacobs

Dan Jacobs

Jacobs, who lives in Milwaukee, is no stranger to this season’s Wisconsin backdrop. He’s the head chef and co-owner of popular Milwaukee restaurants EsterEv and DanDan. Jacobs was diagnosed with Kennedy’s Disease, a genetic neuromuscular ailment that is often mistaken for ALS. The disease can make simple tasks like chopping up an onion difficult, so the pro chef is “proud to run two standout restaurants,” according to Bravo.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Danny Garcia

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Danny Garcia

Danny Garcia

This Brooklyn native has worked at many notable restaurants, including Thomas Keller’s the French Laundry. Since he grew up in a close Dominican and Puerto Rican family, Garcia says food has always been the center of gatherings for him.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> David Murphy

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

David Murphy

David Murphy

The Texas native studied at the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu. In 2022, he opened  Shuggie’s Trash Pie + Natural Wine, a San Francisco restaurant with a heavy focus on climate change solutions. It was on the best new restaurant lists by Esquire, Bon Appetit and the New York Times.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Kaleena Bliss

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Kaleena Bliss

Kaleena Bliss

Bliss started cooking when she was just 16 years old. Originally from Washington state, she was named a Puget Sound Business Journal 40 Under 40 honoree. Now, she lives in Chicago where she’s the executive chef at the Chicago Athletic Association hotel.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Kenny Nguyen

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Kenny Nguyen

Kenny Nguyen

A first generation American, Nguyen says he’s learned most of his cooking from his Vietnamese grandma. He’s looking to honor her by opening his own Vietnamese restaurant in Athens, Georgia, called Pretty Boy, the English translation for her nickname for him.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Kévin D'Andrea

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Kévin D'Andrea

Kévin D’Andrea

D’Andrea is no stranger to the cooking competition franchise. In 2015, he was a finalist on Top Chef France. He’s also cooked alongside Michelin star chef Alain Llorca at Hôtel Belles Rives in the French Riviera.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Laura Ozyilmaz

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Laura Ozyilmaz

Laura Ozyilmaz

Ozyilmaz was born and raised in Mexico, where she fell in love with cooking at a young age. She’s worked at restaurants Eleven Madison Park and Café Boulud in New York and Saison in San Francisco. Her accolades include being named a Rising Star by the San Francisco Chronicle. And in 2024, she was announced as a 2024 James Beard Best Chef Semifinalist for California.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Manny Barella

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Manny Barella

Manny Barella

Born and raised in Mexico, Barella once was on a different career path — to become an attorney. However, he left law school to enroll in a culinary program. His career change paid off: In 2022, he was named a James Beard semifinalist for the Emerging Chef category.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Michelle Wallace

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Michelle Wallace

Michelle Wallace

Wallace was studying healthcare administration at Texas Southern University when she fell in love with cooking for her friends. The passion then became lucrative when her cousin, a player for the Houston Texans NFL team, began paying her to cook for his teammates. After working for several renowned chefs, in 2021, she was nominated for CultureMap Houston’s Rising Star Chef.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Rasika Venkatesa

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Rasika Venkatesa

Rasika Venkatesa

Venkatesa was most inspired by watching her grandma cook while growing up in India. She’s worked at the French Laundry and she won StarChefs’ Rising Star Award in the San Francisco/Oakland area in 2022. Her passion is learning to reinvent Tamil cuisine by traveling across Tamil Nadu, India learning from local communities.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Savannah Miller

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Savannah Miller

Savannah Miller

Miller started a career in food service when she was only a teenager. Her passion took her from her native North Carolina to New England Culinary Institute and all the way back to Durham, N.C. where she helped chef Michael Lee open M Tempura in Durham as his chef de cuisine.

<p>Bravo/ Stephanie Diani </p> Valentine Howell Jr.

Bravo/ Stephanie Diani

Valentine Howell Jr.

Valentine Howell Jr.

Howell has over two decades of experience working in Boston’s most well-known restaurants, working under talented chefs like Lydia Shire. In 2023, he was a James Beard Award finalist for Best Chef in the Northeast. Being in front of the camera won’t be new for this Top Chef cheftesant: He’s appeared on shows, including A Moveable Feast on PBS.

Top Chef season 21 premieres March 20 on Bravo with supersized episodes airing every Wednesday night from 9 p.m. to 10:15 p.m.

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