The New, Competitive Twists Arriving With Top Chef Season 21

Bravo's hit cooking show, "Top Chef," is returning for a new season, with season 21 debuting on Wednesday, March 20, 2024. In addition to heading to Wisconsin for a new dairy-packed season, the show also features a new host — Kristen Kish, the winner of season 10, was announced as the new host of the show alongside Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, after long-time host Padma Lakshmi announced her official exit in 2023 after 17 years at the helm.

But that's not it as far as changes are concerned for this brand new season, as there are some new competitive twists and length and format changes that the 15 cheftestants, despite the many accolades among them, will have to contend with. In short, not only are the episodes now nearly double in length, but cheftestants will have to change how they play the game, as they will no longer be able to win immunity from a Quickfire Challenge, with immunity reserved solely for the winner of the Elimination Challenges.

What these changes mean for the show and competition

As fans of the show are aware, each episode kicks off with the Quickfire Challenge. In the past, the award for the winning chef of the Quickfire Challenge has been either a cash prize and/or immunity. Now, the winner will only get a cash prize, not immunity. However, chefs are still incentivized to perform their best and to try to win every Quickfire Challenge, as Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons will be joining Kristen Kish for the Quickfire Challenges in the second half of the season, and each chef's performance during the Quickfire Challenges will be considered as a factor during elimination decisions. Winners of the Elimination Challenge will win immunity and be safe in the next episode.

The announced changes have received mixed reviews from fans online. Some fans are concerned that this format change may stifle creativity on the part of the cheftestants when it comes to the Quickfire Challenges, while other fans welcomed the change as it would force the cheftestants to focus more on cooking and to bring their best every single challenge. It's also not clear what changes the extra episode length — from 42 minutes to 75 minutes — will translate to, and whether there are additional surprises in store that will keep things new and exciting for cheftestants and viewers alike. To find out, tune in to watch the new season!