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Season 21, Episode 1 Recap

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Season 21, Episode 1 Recap

The Kristen Kish Era of Top Chef is Here! Tom & Kevin break down a strong season premiere with a new look.
It’s all happening. (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

For the first time since the W. Bush Administration, Padma Lakshmi is not driving the welcome wagon when Top Chef introduces the new field of cheftestants in a season premiere. Kristen Kish is at the helm, and the early reviews are strong. She might not project the authority Padma brought after 19 seasons as host, but she does have bring something unique: A Top Chef title. It’s a distinction that comes through from the opening moments of the episode.

This is an “inverted” episode of Top Chef that dives right into the Elimination Challenge, and effectively saves the QuickFile for the end, disguised as a cook-off with elimination on the line. Tom and Kevin approve. They also like the “divisional” structure of the elimination challenge, with the field of 15 chefs divided into three 5-chef mini-competitions — even if preparing soup is a high-floor, low-ceiling challenge, whereas stuffed pasta is a beast.

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Pack Your Knives
Pack Your Knives | Premium
Kevin Arnovitz and Tom Haberstroh bring their die-hard fanaticism of the hit TV show Top Chef and combine it with their NBA analytical instincts to draft “fantasy” teams, interview contestants and talk about America’s food and restaurant trends. Follow along weekly as the top cooking competition meets top-shelf analysis.