Full Cast of Top Chef 2024: Contestants, Judges & Host In Season 21 (Photos)

By Nathan Johnson Posted:
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Top Chef is officially back with new episodes in 2024's Season 21, so fans need to get familiar with the judges and contestants who make up the huge cast.

Also known as Top Chef: Wisconsin, Season 21 of the show will see contestants battle it out in a series of different culinary challenges to be the last chef standing and win the grand prize.

Typically, the city or state where Top Chef seasons occur greatly influences the challenges the contestants (or "cheftestants," as the show calls them) must face. In Season 21, however, some new wrinkles will be thrown in, as contestants can't avoid elimination by winning Quickfire challenges like in previous installments.

Top Chef Season 21 premiered on Bravo on March 20.

Every Host, Judge, & Contestant in Top Chef Season 21


Kristen Kish

Kristen Kish in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @kristenlkish

Top Chef Season 10 winner Kristen Kish will return to the competition in Season 21, this time as the show's host instead of a contestant.

Kish operates her own restaurant in Austin, Texas called Arlo Gray, which offers French and Italian-inspired dishes and cocktails while also taking influence from the surrounding Texas area.

Kish is taking over hosting duties from Padma Lakshmi, who previously hosted the show for the past 19 seasons.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Kish admitted that Lakshmi offered her "complete support" as she took on the duties of hosting the show and that her new role was something that she had to "figure out on [her] own:"

"She didn’t really give me advice. I think that’s a really great compliment because she knows that I have to figure it out on my own. She can’t tell me how to do her job because she knew how to do her job in the way that worked for her. I have to do it in a way that it is me. What she did offer me was complete support — call, text, write, snail mail, whatever; if I need her, she will be available."

The Top Chef Season 10 winner has also appeared on other shows such as Netflix's Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend, truTV's Fast Foodies, and National Geographic's Restaurants at the End of the World.


Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @gailsimmonseats

No Top Chef season would be complete without Gail Simmons as a judge as she has been a part of the show for all 21 seasons.

In addition to impacting the culinary world, Simmons has also published multiple books and created her own production company, Bumble Pie Productions.

In the past, Simmons has worked in iconic top-shelf restaurants like Le Cirque 2000 and Vong. That, coupled with the fact that she has 21 seasons of experience on Top Chef, makes her more qualified than anyone to be judging aspiring professional chefs.

Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @tomcolicchio

American chef Tom Colicchio is also returning for Season 21. Like Gail Simmons, he has appeared on every installment of Top Chef.

Colicchio has been awarded five James Beard Foundation Awards (one of the most prestigious culinary awards in the world) over his illustrious career and co-founded the Gramercy Tavern in New York City.

Colicchio is also an executive producer of Top Chef and has appeared on other culinary-based shows such as Best New Restaurant and some of the Great Chefs shows.

Carla Hall

Carla Hall
Carla Hall

Instagram: @carlaphall

Carla Hall, who has appeared on the show multiple times in the past, will be one of the guest judges on Season 21 of Top Chef.

Hall first appeared as a contestant on Season 5, where she unfortunately came up just short and was the runner-up. However, she was brought back a few years later in Season 8 (sub-titled All-Stars) to get one more chance to win the competition.

Brittany Snow

Brittany Snow
Brittany Snow

Actress Brittany Snow is also set to appear as a guest judge on Season 21 of Top Chef

Snow has appeared in numerous major productions such as the Pitch Perfect franchise, X, and Hairspray.

Snow admitted in an interview with The Retaility that she is "obsessed with cooking shows" and even namedropped Top Chef as one of her go-to watches:

"I’m obsessed with cooking shows, which is bizarre. I’m obsessed with all things ‘Top Chef’ and ‘Master Chefs.’ I can cook a little bit, but I’m not good at it."

Matty Matheson

Matty Matheson in The Bear
The Bear

Instagram: @mattymatheson

42-year-old Canadian chef and actor Matty Matheson will be another guest judge on Season 21 of Top Chef.

Matheson has recently appeared in The Bear, where he plays the character Neil Fak. He is also a producer for the show and a culinary consultant so that the cast and crew can always get his expertise.

The chef and actor currently owns and operates two restaurants in Toronto, which are called Matty's Patty's Burger Club and Prime Seafood Palace.


Manuel "Manny" Barella

Manuel Barella in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @mannybarella

Manual Barella (who also goes by Manny) is the culinary director at Camp Pickle and Jaguar Bolera, both of which will soon open officially.

Manny originally went to law school to become an attorney but ultimately decided to leave to pursue a culinary program.

In 2022, Manny was named a James Beard Award semifinalist in the Emerging Chef category. He is also the President of the Hispanic Chefs Association in Colorado.

Kaleena Bliss

Kaleena Bliss in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @kaleenabliss

Originally from Seattle, Washington, Kaleena Bliss now resides in Chicago, Illinois where she is the Executive Chef at the Chicago Athletic Association hotel.

At the hotel, Kaleena also oversees a restaurant called Cindy's Rooftop.

Kaleena was named a Puget Sound Business Journal "40 Under 40" honoree in 2022.

Kévin D'Andrea

Kevin D'Andrea in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @kevindandrea

French chef Kévin D'Andrea isn't new to the Top Chef competition, as he was a finalist on Top Chef France in 2015.

Alongside owning a restaurant named Foliepop's (where he is also a chef), D'Andrea has cooked with Alain Llorca (a Michelin Star chef) at Hôtel Belles Rives in the French Riviera.

D'Andrea has also worked alongside and learned from other legendary chefs such as Alain Ducasse and Yannick Alléno.

Alisha Elenz

Alisha Elenz in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @alishaelenz

Private Chef Alisha Elenz is from Chicago, Illinois, where she runs Whisk the Night Away, her company.

Elenz has been a two-time James Beard Award nominee and was the 2019 recipient of the Jean Banchet for Rising Chef of the Year.

Danny Garcia

Danny Garcia in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @dannygarcia

Danny Garcia is an executive chef leading Saga Hospitality Group's new restaurant when it opens later in 2024.

He has held titles of Sous Chef and Executive Sous Chef at different restaurants throughout his career and even lived in Hong Kong briefly in 2021 to work as Chef de Cuisine at the prestigious Belon restaurant.

Danny won first prize at the Mentor Young Chef competition in 2016, so with his experience in cooking contests, he will be a tough opponent for the rest of the contestants.

Valentine Howell Jr.

Valentine Howell Jr. in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @_valentino_86

Valentine Howell Jr. is yet another contestant on Season 21 of Top Chef.

Like some competitors, Howell Jr. was a James Beard Award finalist, this time in the Best Chef in the Northeast category.

Howell has also appeared on TV shows such as PBS' A Moveable Feast.

Daniel "Dan" Jacobs

Daniel Jacobs in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @djbistro

Season 21 contestant Daniel Jacobs (also known as Dan) is a chef and co-owner of two restaurants. One, named EsterEv, has a menu inspired by different cuisines and cultures worldwide. The other, DanDan (named after Dan and his business partner, Dan Van Rite), has a Chinese-American feel.

Dan and his business partner are six-time James Beard Award Semi-Finalists for Best Chef Midwest, and Jacobs is also notably a board member of the Independent Restaurant Coalition.

Savannah Miller

Savannah Miller in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @savvysavv

Savannah Miller is the Chef de Cuisine at the M Tempura restaurant in Durham, North Carolina.

Miller attended the New England Culinary Institute and is now an expert in New England cuisine. She is also trying to specialize in and learn more about the Korean and Japanese sides of culinary.

David Murphy

David Murphy in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @doublefastdave

David Murphy studied culinary at Le Cordon Bleu, one of the most prestigious and well-known institutions in the world.

He is now located in San Francisco, California, where he is the chef and co-owner of a restaurant called Shuggie's Trash Pie + Natural Wine.

Kenny Nguyen

Kenny Nguyen in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @kungphukenny

Kenny Nguyen is another contestant on Season 21 of Top Chef. Like many of the other competitors, he owns his own restaurant.

Nguyen is an executive chef at a restaurant named Expat, which is located in Athens, Georgia.

However, he is opening his own restaurant, Pretty Boy, in late 2024, where he will be the head chef.

Laura Ozyilmaz

Laura Ozyilmaz in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @lauraozyilmaz

Originally from Mexico but now living in San Francisco, Laura Ozyilmaz is yet another restaurant owner also in Season 21 of Top Chef.

The San Francisco Chronicle named Ozyilmaz a Rising Star, and she was recently announced to be a 2024 James Beard Semifinalist for Best Chef California.

Charly Pierre

Charly Pierre in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @charlyjpierre

Contestant Charly Pierre is bringing his talents as a head chef to Season 21 of Top Chef.

Pierre's father worked as a professional chef, so Pierre has been exposed to the culinary world his entire life.

Despite working as a head chef at the Fritai restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana, Pierre also owns the establishment, which is Haitian-inspired and was named Eater NOLA's 2022 Restaurant of the Year.

Amanda Turner

Amanda Turner in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @alavda

Season 21 will serve as Amanda Turner's first appearance on Top Chef, but she has worked for Paul Qui, the Season 9 winner.

Turner resides in Austin, Texas, where she is the Chef de Cuisine at Olamaie, a restaurant.

It is also worth noting that Amanda worked for four months in Japan at establishments called DEN and Ryugin.

Rasika Venkatesa

Rasika Venkatesa in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @chefrasikav

Rasika Venkatesa was born and grew up in India, but the Chef de Cuisine now lives in New York.

Venkatesa has experience working at French Laundry, a three-star Michelin restaurant.

StarChefs awarded her the Rising Star Award for the San Francisco/Oakland area in 2022.

Michelle Wallace

Michelle Wallace in Top Chef Season 21

Instagram: @betweentheslices

Michelle Wallace is the chef, owner, and pitmaster at B'tween Sandwich Co. in Houston, Texas, but she has an interesting notch on her belt that none of the other contestants have - she has cooked for an NFL football team.

Yes, Michelle was paid by the Houston Texans to be their chef. Her cousin, who played for the team, introduced her to them. After she began to cook for them, she became interested in attending culinary school.

Michelle now owns her own restaurant, B'tween Sandwich Co., and was nominated for CultureMap Houston's Rising Star Chef in 2021.

New episodes of Top Chef Season 21 are released every Wednesday on Bravo at 8 p.m. ET.

- About The Author: Nathan Johnson
Nathan is a writer at The Direct where he covers Star Wars, the MCU, and DC news. He joined The Direct in April 2021 and currently writes news and feature articles about all three brands mentioned above, but his main specialty is his knowledge about anything and everything Star Wars.