Padma Lakshmi has been replaced by “Top Chef” winner Kristen Kish on Season 21 of Wisconsin
LOS ANGELES, July 12 (IANS) Top Chef winner Christine Keshe has been named the new host of the cooking-based reality show, following the exit of longtime staple Padma Lakshmi following the conclusion of Season 20 of the recently concluded World all-stars show.
Kish, who won Season 10 and has served as guest judges several times since then, will begin hosting duties with the upcoming Season 21, which Bravo revealed will be set in Wisconsin, Variety reports.
Head of jury Tom Colicchio and judge Gil Simmons will return for Season 21.
Lakshmi announced her decision to step away from “Top Chef” just before the season 20 finale, which saw Buddha-Lo win the title of All-Star in the International Season Special held in honor of the show’s 20th anniversary.
Having hosted the show for 19 seasons, Lakshmi said she now needs to “make space” for her Hulu series “Taste the Nation,” her books, and “other creative activities.”
“Top Chef is where my journey began—first as a competition chef, then as a guest judge, and now as a host—I’m honored to help continue to build this brand,” Kish said.
“It’s a pleasure to sit next to Jill and Tom as we get to know amazing new chefs and see what they cook. It feels like coming home.”
Born in South Korea, Kish was adopted into a family in Kentwood, Michigan. She attended Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, and after culinary school, she spent 10 years cooking in upscale Boston restaurants. In 2013, Kish won Season 10 of Top Chef, and co-hosted the Travel Channel’s 36 Hours. She currently co-stars on “Fast Foodies,” is a co-host on “Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend,” and host and producer on “Restaurants at the End of the World.”
“Kristin Keshe represents everything that makes Top Chef so incredibly special,” said Ryan Flynn, Senior Vice President of Current Production at NBCUniversal Television and Streaming.
“She’s a celebrity chef and her experience as a chef, winner and judge, combined with her culinary curiosity, makes Kristen the perfect host for the next chapter of ‘Top Chef’ as we encounter a new area of the country we haven’t explored.”
Casey Creeley and Joe Sharon, Co-CEOs of Magical Elves, added: “Kristen is a beloved part of the Top Chef family, and we are thrilled to have her join the competition and bring her unique, fresh, and international perspective on the culinary world to the competition. As well as her true passion for food. We look forward to Season 21 and know that The new chefs will inspire the Burgundy culinary scene in Milwaukee and Madison known for blending tradition with innovation and using farm-fresh ingredients.”
Season 21 “Top Chef” will explore the “unique and vibrant culinary scenes” in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin. “With a backdrop of scenic landscapes, acres of farmland, miles of beaches and vibrant urban communities, chefs will explore the fresh flavors and local bounty of this growing culinary destination.”
“We are honored to be able to welcome Top Chef to the state of Wisconsin this coming season,” said Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.
“We are proud to be known here for our rich food culture, talented chefs, and exceptional local ingredients. I know our diverse culinary traditions will help inspire participants, captivate viewers, and showcase all the wonderful things Wisconsin has to offer.”
“Top Chef” is produced by Magical Elves with Casey Kriley, Jo Sharon, Doneen Arquines, Hillary Olsen, and Tracy Tong serving as executive producers. Colicchio and Simmons also executive produce.