“Top Chef” goes to Washington, but without a chefbian


The return of Top Chef in a week is a good news, bad news situation. The good news: The popular Bravo reality competition is back next Wednesday with 17 cheftestants ready to battle it out in Washington, D.C. under the watchful eye of host Padma Lakshmi. The bad news: There is no chefbian among the group.

I know, I know — no chefbian? That’s like a kitchen without salt. But Bravo representatives confirm that the only out contestant this season is Nashville chef Arnold Myint. That means for the first time in the show’s seven seasons there are no out lesbian or bisexual chefs. Past chefbians were Tiffani Faison (season 1), Josie Smith-Malave (season 2), Sandee Birdsong and Lia Bardeen (season 3), Jennifer Biesty, Zoi Antonitsas and Lisa Fernandes (season 4), Jamie Lauren (season 5), and Ashley Merriman and Preeti Mistry (season 6).

Well, we’ll always have mmm, Padma, mmm. Shooting began only two months after Padma gave birth to her daughter, Krishna. Motherhood agrees with her, no?

Also returning will be head judge Tom Colicchio, fresh off his win of the 2010 Outstanding Chef award from the James Beard Foundation, as well as judge Gail Simmons, of Food & Wine magazine. But this time the obnoxious Toby Young is out, replaced by acclaimed chef and past guest judge Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin restaurant in New York City. I think I speak for everyone when I say, oh thank God.

This season a host of Washington heavies will appear on the show including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, White House chef Sam Kass, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and CIA Director Leon Panetta. Here’s a quick preview, which tells us almost nothing except that Padma looks pretty when brushing the hair out of her eyes – naturally.


Because of the lack of chefbians (and my vacation), I won’t be recapping Top Chef this season. But you’re welcome to follow me at @dorothysnarker for the inevitable live tweets during each episode.

So, are you disappointed at the lack of chefbians? Will you still be cheering on the Team Rainbow of one? Top Chef premieres at 9 p.m. June on Bravo.

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