Bravo announced today that Kristen Kish will take over as host of Top Chef, as the award-winning series begins its 21st season, which will film in Wisconsin. Kish—a former contestant on the show—will take over from Padma Lakshmi, who hosted the show for 19 of its 20 seasons. Her departure was announced in June, much to the dismay of her fans.
Kish takes the reins at Top Chef as host and judge after she competed and won the show’s 10th season in 2012, becoming the second woman to win the series, and the first woman of color and queer person to do so. She’s also hosted shows such as 36 Hours, Fast Foodies, Iron Chef, and Restaurants at the End of the World.
“Top Chef is where I started my journey—first as a competing chef, then a guest judge and now as host I have the honor of helping to continue to build this brand,” Kish said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to sit alongside Gail and Tom as we get to know new incredible chefs and see what they cook up. It feels like coming home.”
After attending culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, Kish jump-started her career as a chef in Boston cooking at Stir. Then following her Top Chef win, Kish coauthored her own cookbook, Kristen Kish Cooking: Recipes and Techniques: A Cookbook, in 2017, and the next year, opened her own restaurant, Arlo Grey in Austin, Texas. She’s known for her precisely executed cooking, which blends classics from American, Italian, and French cuisines, as well as her considered and magnetic presence on screen.
Kish will head to Madison and Milwaukee for the upcoming season. Its premiere date has yet to be set.