Earlier this month, we first learned that “Top Chef” season 14 is adopting a twist relatively similar to a “Fans vs. Favorites” from “Survivor,” where chefs new to the competition are facing off against people who have been there before. Personally, we don’t love the idea since it feels obviously slanted towards the returning players, and we would have rather waited until there were enough worthy competitors for an all-star season once again.
Yet, it’s happening, and we can tell you now the full roster of people taking part on the returning-player side:
Season 2 – Sam Talbot.
Season 3 / Season 8 – Casey Thompson.
Season 7 – Amanda Baumgarten.
Season 10 – Brooke Williamson, Sheldon Simeon, and John Tesar.
Season 11 – Shirley Chung.
Season 12 – Katsuji Tanabe.
As of right now, the biggest surprise is that we’re not getting anyone back from last season, which had some great contenders / personalities like an Isaac or a Kwame. Also, three people from season 10? We do get it give the three that they chose (Brooke is super-likable and Tesar has villain upside), but that’s almost half of the returning player cast. We’re also not crazy about having a three-time player in Casey when we could’ve had Nina from season 11 on board.
Now that we’ve said all that, it is super-nice to have Shirley back on the show, and Katsuji is incredibly entertaining even if he is a hot mess from time to time.
We weren’t a regular viewer back in season 2 so we cannot comment much on Sam; yet, it is nice to see that Bravo remembers that the show did exist before 2009 and they are giving some other chefs a chance to see how much they’ve grown over time.
This season, if you missed our previous report, is set in Charleston, and will premiere on December 1 at 10:00 p.m. Eastern time. We presume that as per usual, we’ll be watching and providing as much coverage as possible. (Photo: Bravo.)