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Top Chef
Credit: Gianna M Bertoli/ Michael Priest Photography

One of the longest running culinary shows on television today is Bravo’s Emmy-award winning Top Chef, which finds itself in its fifteenth season in cold but beautiful area of Colorado.  All three of its judges (head judge Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Graham Elliot) and it’s lovely host (Padma Lakshmi) all stopped by the 92nd Street Y last night to discuss their excitement about the upcoming season and what we can expect from this new group of chefs.

The fifteenth season premieres on December 7th, right before the holidays kick in.  It follows 15 chefs from across the country as they battle it out amid the exhilarating landscapes and vibrant culinary scenes of Colorado. The panel will reveal the inside scoop on the upcoming season and what it takes to be America’s ‘Top Chef.’

Normally the show revolves around one city, however Gail revealed that they traveled through most of Colorado and the exciting experiences they had while doing so.  “All of Colorado was amazing.  We were in Denver for a month, and then Telluride, then Boulder, then Aspen, and it was just so stunning and majestic and rustic.  We all pretended we were cowboys at one point, and the food was epic and the mountains were insane.  We got to fly fish and horseback ride and so much more.  It was just amazing.”

Tom had this to say when it came to what to expect this season.   “A little snow.  A little weather.  It’s a great season, it’s a little different than most.  The chefs this season are the last of the molecular-gastronomy phase and the chefs are doing more comfort food and more back to basic cooking which is pretty cool to see.”

He revealed that Last Chance Kitchen is back and there will be something Olympic-related for the upcoming season.  He also joked that the chefs wouldn’t be skiing for their ingredients like they did in the final episodes of Top Chef: Dallas.

One of Tom, Padma and Gail’s favorite challenge this season revolves around the chefs going camping.  “It was crazy,” Gail exclaimed.  “We set up this camping challenge in the middle of May, and it snowed a foot and a half the night before while the chefs were sleeping in this state park.  And then, they had to cook in a foot and a half of snow with very little implements so that was definitely the most challenging challenge that they did.”

Tom, Padma and Gail pretty much were all in unison that their favorite season so far was the one they won their Emmy for- Season 6 in Las Vegas.  I personally couldn’t agree more.  “Lightning in a bottle,” as Gail said.  Looks like this season will be just as amazing!

For more information about Top Chef, please check out their official website.