How ‘Top Chef’ Adapted for a New Season Despite a Pandemic, Wildfires and Portland Unrest

“We felt very strongly that it needed to deliver on the fan expectations of what a season of ‘Top Chef’ looks like,” Bravo’s Matt Reichman tells TheWrap

Production on the Season 17 finale of “Top Chef” had just wrapped up in Italy last year when the looming threat of a COVID-19 pandemic became a reality. Facing a massive production shutdown, Bravo, which normally starts working on the next season of the high-end food competition series well in advance, had to figure out if Season 18 would be possible any time soon, where in the world would they shoot it and the biggest question of all … how would they pull it off?

By May, Bravo and “Top Chef” production company Magical Elves had come up with the answers to the when, where and how, with host Padma Lakshmi and judges Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons on board to head to Portland, Oregon, for a pandemic-produced season that premieres Thursday.

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Jennifer Maas

Jennifer Maas

TV Reporter • jennifer.maas@thewrap.com • @jmaas421