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December 06, 2018

There are three locals on 'Top Chef' Season 16 – and one wins Episode 1

Two from Philly and one from Jersey

Food & Drink TV Shows
chef cooking Austin Ban/Austin Ban on Unsplash

On Thursday night, the premiere of "Top Chef" season 16 aired on Bravo. This season they're in Kentucky, with Padma Lakshmi back as the show's host, and Tom Colicchio and Graham Elliot at the judges' table.

The competition starts with 15 chefs, but we already know who you should root for – three hometown heroes.

Edmund "Eddie" Konrad hails from Laurel, which "Top Chef" winner Nick Elmi owns. Natalie Maronski worked under Jose Garces for 10 years, most notably at Volvér. And David Viana, the New Jersey chef, owns Heirloom Kitchen.

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Konrad, Maronski and Viana all got a lot of screen time and sound bites on their background, which bodes well for them lasting a while.

Konrad (who looks a little like Elmi, so maybe he has a good chance of winning, too?), told us, "Nick said, 'Make sure your food tastes good and have fun most of all.' We'll see how that goes."

It was accompanied by a photo of the two of them, and yes, it was cute.

Maronski talked about growing up with a mom who cooked a lot of Vietnamese food. She explained how she hasn't worked in 10 months (at time of filming) and my heart went out to her. We know Philly loves an underdog.

Viana, who was nominated for a James Beard Award, got the most screen time. His best sound bite was, "Making a Plan B dish on 'Top Chef' first elimination round. I'm going to make the best soup of my life."

Spoiler alert: he did.

The episode starts with the chefs walking into Churchill Downs. They introduce themselves, and I immediately swear I will stop watching if my three favorites don't make it to the finale.

I really wanted to sort these teams into Hogwarts houses but alas, five teams.

Green team (Slytherin) ends up winning the Quickfire Challenge.

For the first Elimination Challenge, the teams then have to compete amongst themselves at a Derby party for 200 guests.

First they shop, then they're allowed to go to the "Top Chef" house. It's a mansion but I'll let chef Justin Sutherland sum it up with, "The bathrooms are nuts. We're going to be well-bathed and clean-butted the entire time."

Let's fast forward to a summary of the party:

Red group – Someone made a tomato cobbler, which sounds weird (Is it southern? Please comment) and apparently it didn't go well.

Yellow group – New Jersey chef kills it. 

White group  – Both Konrad and Maronski do amazing.

Green group – Features the only Kentucky local.

And the winner is...*drum roll please* Maronski, while tomato cobbler woman goes home. As for next week, make sure to buy some Maker's Mark.

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