Anthony Bourdain and Tom Colicchio Talk Top Chef All-Stars

anthony-bourdain tom-colicchio

After six seasons, many of you have started to ask if Top Chef has lost its mojo. Well it looks like the folks at Bravo have heard you and they are really pulling out all the stops for season eight, which starts Wednesday, December 1. Not only will it be an all-star season of the best chefs who didn’t quite take home the title in past seasons, but none other than Mr. Anthony Bourdain will be sitting at judges’ table every episode for the first time this year. We caught up with Tony and head judge Tom Colicchio to find out how this season will be different.

The all-star cast is a pretty impressive lineup. Did you get everyone you wanted? Anyone say no?
Colicchio: We’re not involved in casting, but I think they got a very good lineup together. Bryan Voltaggio would have been great, but I’m sure he’s busy with his restaurant.
Bourdain: There are a lot of surprises — people who are surprisingly strong, and people who you thought would be strong but fell early. Just as a Top Chef fanboy, I really enjoyed it.

Bloggers are betting on Richard Blais as the odds-on favorite. Fair bet?
Colicchio: Sure, Richard got to the finale last time and he probably should have won, but Stephanie stood up and took it. Although on the downside, he’s been doing burgers for the last couple years. He will have to get back into the fine dining game.

Why move the show back to New York again?
Bourdain: Uh — it’s New York. It’s our town. There was a real attempt to get New York right this time. There are a lot of unique challenges that really capture the City. I think New Yorkers will be very happy.

Has Top Chef changed the way people eat?
Colicchio: I think it has to the extent that people walk into a restaurant now and demand an amuse bouche. In some ways it has raised the game.
Bourdain: It makes people actually care about what the chef thinks. They’re more aware of the chef and they want to know what the chef thinks they should eat.

You both have young kids now — what are they eating?
Colicchio: Mine’s on an organic-only diet.
Bourdain: My wife’s Italian so we’re basically raising an Italian child. She has her little lunchbox with homemade spaghetti in it.

Which Top Chef All-Star would you most like to have a beer with?
Colicchio: Hmm….Tony?
Bourdain: I think, as most people do, that Fabio is very lovable. He’s charming, he’s Italian, you can’t help liking him.

For gender neutrality, we’ll ask the same question people ask Gail and Padma every season — how do you taste every one of these dishes and not gain 100 pounds?
Bourdain: I have no idea. I’ve been in a gym once in my life. My wife bought me a membership but I decided there is nothing attractive about lying on the floor and trying not to vomit. I basically google Keith Richards every day. I figure if he’s still alive, there’s hope for me.

What will you be eating for Thanksgiving?
Bourdain: Turkey. I’m not a communist.

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