What could be better than more Gail Simmons? The newly pregnant Top Chef judge is now the head judge of Top Chef: Masters, which premieres tonight (Wednesday, July 24) at 10 p.m. on Bravo.
One of the competing "Masters" is Top Chef: Las Vegas runner-up Bryan Voltaggio, but Gail told TV Guide she doesn't think that TV experience will give him an advantage. She said overall this is "a very relaxed season" and more casual and friendly than we sometimes see on Top Chef.
That said, tonight's premiere will be anything but relaxed; the chefs will have to skydive and cook right afterward. "The premiere was like a thrill-seeking reality show," Gail said. "The franchise has been around for a long time. These guys are so talented, and we wanted to do stuff with them that we couldn't necessarily do with our regular Top Chefs. The Masters are older, more established, they're competing for charity. So, this was a great way to start things off with a bang."
She teased some other challenges coming up this season. "We do this amazing episode with the entire cast of Days of Our Lives," Gail said. "It lent itself to so much silliness. It's one of my favorites. ... Mindy Kaling, Ali Larter, the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba come on. We take the chefs to a crazy Mexican wrestling match. It's all over the top and all in good fun, and it's all for making them think outside of the box."
And how about Top Chef: New Orleans, aka Season 11? Any updates there? "It's awesome," Gail said. "We have the finale to film. Our time in New Orleans is done. We were there for over five weeks and I didn't want to leave. We've gone to 20 different cities around the world to shoot and I can't remember the last time where the last night at the wrap party, none of us wanted to go home. We all wanted to go home to our lives and our families, but we were all looking for excuses to stay in New Orleans! And I could not think of a justification. The city is so soulful. It's like another country. We also had some amazing guest judges and the people of New Orleans were so generous with their time and location. I'd be walking down the street and someone would say, 'Thank you for coming to New Orleans.' It will be a really beautiful season."
Read Gail's full TV Guide Q&A for more. Will you be watching tonight?
Source: TV Guide