Top Chef returns soon for a new season 15.  The leaders testify

Top Chef returns soon for a new season 15. The leaders testify

To celebrate its 15th anniversary, the Top Chef culinary competition is being renewed. New jurors, reinvented brigades, revisited or original tests, top-notch French and international guest chefs, hidden brigade, gargantuan banquet, extraordinary places and working conditions… Enough to confuse the candidates and the viewers. A season to discover from March 13 on M6.

It must be recognized, in France, Top chef entered the history of television broadcasts. Expected every season, she has helped restore the nobility of the profession of chef, sparking vocations while highlighting certain difficulties behind the stove, such as finding one’s culinary identity. But it must also be admitted that, despite annual adjustments or new features, the mechanics of the program purred at times. For others, the frantic race could be tiring. Also, the changes announced on the occasion of this anniversary arouse curiosity.

“It tastes like Top chef, but everything is new. We broke everything for the 15th anniversary of the show. »

Stéphane Rotenberg

Two new jurors

The long list of Season 15 changes begins with the arrival of two new chefs on the jury. Dominique Crenn, first woman with three Michelin macarons in the United States for her restaurant Atelier Crenn in San Francisco and recently established in Paris with the Golden Poppy; and Stéphanie Le Quellec, winner of season 2 of Top chef in 2011 and currently two Michelin stars for his Parisian restaurant La Scène, also at the head of a catering/pastry service and a marine restaurant, Vive, opened in the capital. For the latter, joining the jury “is a way of closing my story with Top chef », this program which “changed my life. Having been in the candidate’s seat and today in that of a juror brought back memories. I saw myself again. I suffered for them. Also, I coached them with this in mind. »

With these two women, diversity is invited to the jury table. Their strong personalities could well spice up the game and show other approaches to gastronomy. Dominique Crenn “does not like this word competition. Cooking is not a sport. It’s a matter of sharing and transmission. In this competition, I want to help everyone be better. We must be a bridge and a support for the future generation. By joining Top chef France, much more serious than its entertaining American version in which I participated, it is the youth of gastronomy that I came to seek.”

“13 years ago, I would never have thought of finding myself here, on the jury. Top chef was a career accelerator for me. But then I had to climb the stairs step by step. The invitation to join the jury came at the right time in my life. »

Stéphanie Le Quellec

A redistribution of brigades

Direction, for this season, Seine-et-Marne, at the Château de Ferrières-en-Brie (in 2017, an event took place there). There, the candidates discover the new composition of the jury, but also that brigades, which go from three to two.

A gray one, bringing together Philippe Etchebest, Paul Pairet and Glenn Viel. An orange, bringing together Dominique Crenn, Hélène Darroze and Stéphanie Le Quellec. Three leaders for a team offer more complementarity in interactions and comments. It’s another way of supporting competitors. As for the men’s team, guide them to ask for “a few small adjustments between us” believes Paul Pairet. “But it was, I believe, beneficial to them. » As for the chefs, Hélène Darroze noted a harmony: “When we had to choose a candidate, we settled on the same one. »

New or revised tests

Among the announcements and extracts discovered during the presentation of this new version of Top chef, one test stands out: “trompe-palace” (which replaces trompe l’oeil). The first images suggest great creativity from the competitors to create the taste illusion.

Also to be continued: cooking on a train! And not just any one: the Venice-Simplon Orient-Express, entertained by Jean Imbert. Minimal space in front of the stoves, unpredictable movements of the wagon, customer requirements… The ordeal promises to be tough. Just like the banquet bringing together 50 former candidates of the program or the “double who can beat?” » pitting the candidates of the gray brigade against Dominique Crenn and Stéphanie Le Quellec (who, for the occasion, “found the same anxieties, the same magic and energy within oneself”), those of the orange team against Glenn Viel and Paul Pairet. It seems that the leaders had to face some disappointments…

A great pleasure of the competition is also back: the black box, installed under the dome of the Grandes écuries de Chantilly, with a dish imagined by chef and MOF Guy Krenzer!

As for the final, Philippe Etchebest considers it “very high level”. Paul Pairet considers that it is “one of the best finals of Top chef. With, for once, quite clear unanimity.”

“Stratospheric” chefs

This qualifier comes from the mouth of a candidate. And it must be said that there is something to be left speechless in front of the audience of chefs: Daniel Humm, Anne-Sophie Pic, Jeffrey Cagnes, Christopher Haye, Clare Smyth, Yoann Conte, Guy Savoy, Eric Fréchon… But also, for the first time, César and Léo Troisgros, fourth generation of cooks. Their presence is a source of pride for Stéphane Rotenberg. Until then, the legendary Roanne family had never set foot on the set. Their father, Michel Troisgros, had declined the invitation and criticized the broadcast of Tea or coffee in 2017.

A surprise guest

This year mystery brigade makes its return with an unexpected leader at its helm. Even though he had already been invited, Pierre Gagnaire had not assumed the role of juror over time. “We enter into the intimacy of the candidates once we become a juror. 15 years ago I was skeptical about Top chef. But it’s very honest, very well done. » To taste the dishes, he surrounded himself with François-Régis Gaudry.

After ten seasons, I still want to show the candidates that you have to be yourself in the kitchen.

Hélène Darroze

If Hélène Darroze had smelled a surprise and guessed the identity of the chef, although carefully hidden by the production teams and the host – terrified by the untimely cigarette breaks of Paul Pairet who could have come face to face with his colleague -, the six Jurors acknowledged their emotion at his arrival. For Stéphanie Le Quellec, “it seemed almost incredible that he was there”. Pierre Gagnaire, for his part, had decided to fight it out: “If I came, it’s not to collect the crumbs. We are all competitors at heart. »

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