Celebrity judge Ted Allen recently previewed the new season of Top Chef - debuting tonight! - with TV Guide. Here are highlights from the interview.
Ted Allen: You're looking for cities that have enough personality to be a character in the show. Every city has its own culinary traditions. In this season's first episode, they have a challenge with one of Chicago's best-known foods. If you think about Miami [where last season was filmed], you think of hot babes in bikinis and white buildings and beautiful sand... and Cuban sandwiches. It gives the show a look. Chicago is a big, brawny, beautiful, gorgeous city. And it also has a lot of great food.
TVGuide.com: Chicago's a very sophisticated culinary town, too.
Allen: Oh yeah, from the old-timers like Charlie Trotter and Jean Joho to the new kids like Grant Achatz and Shawn McClain, it's a great food town. Lots of Chicago luminaries pop up on the show. This is why Gail and I alternate at the judges' table; they want to reserve a seat to bring in these great culinary luminaries, whether they're Chicago people or people you know from the national stage like Rocco [DiSpirito], Daniel Boulud, Eric Ripert. And of course the ever-bilious Tony Bourdain, who's been one of my favorite guest judges.
TVGuide.com: Any other ways the city plays a role in the challenges?
Allen: Besides the very first challenge, there's one that involves a venerable sports team, there are locations you're going to recognize and a lot of new stuff that most of America might not recognize.
Read the full interview with Allen now.