"Top Chef" Returns to Los Angeles for Season 13

Bravo's Emmy and James Beard Award-winning Top Chef returns to Los Angeles to spotlight the city’s acclaimed dining scene and take a road trip to visit key culinary destinations throughout California. The Season 13 premiere is airing on Wednesday, Dec. 2 and Thursday, Dec. 3 at 10 p.m. EST/PST on Bravo.

The cheftestants' skills will be tested at famous locations and agricultural regions throughout the Golden State, from Southern California to the Bay Area. With Los Angeles as the anchor, Top Chef will make stops in Greater Palm Springs, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Oakland and San Francisco. Part 1 of the season premiere featured an Elimination Challenge at the iconic Hollywood Sign, while in part 2 the competitors will create pop-up restaurants across L.A.

"Chefs in California continue to push boundaries when it comes to creating new culinary experiences," said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California. "This latest season of Top Chef will combine California Cuisine with our state's awe-inspiring landscapes, iconic attractions and world-famous faces showcasing the diversity of California's food offerings and the pride our state's residents take in enjoying fresh, sustainable and flavorful fare."

Los Angeles chefs have made a strong impact on Top Chef, including Season 2 champion Ilan Hall (Ramen Hood), Season 6 champion Michael Voltaggio (Ink) and last season's winner, Mei Lin, who is a Sous Chef at Ink. Other L.A.-based cheftestants include Betty Fraser (Grub), Antonia Lofaso (Scopa Italian Roots) and Fabio Viviani (Firenze Osteria, Cafe Firenze). Two chefs from Los Angeles are among this year’s competitors: Phillip Frankland Lee and Giselle Wellman.

Phillip Frankland Lee at Scratch|Bar & Kitchen
Phillip Frankland Lee | Photo by Bradley Tuck, courtesy of Scratch|Bar & Kitchen

In 2014, Phillip Frankland Lee and his wife Margarita opened their plant-based restaurant, The Gadarene Swine in Studio City. Earlier this year, Lee closed the original Scratch Bar in order to bring the concept to the San Fernando Valley, where he grew up. Scratch|Bar & Kitchen opened in Encino on Dec. 1, featuring an eclectic selection of locally-sourced meat and fish, vegetables and starches, with desserts by Pastry Chef Margarita Lee. Even before it opened, Scratch|Bar & Kitchen gained notoriety when it was announced that the restaurant will not have waiters - instead, the chefs will interact directly with guests.

Giselle Wellman is the epitome of multicultural Los Angeles; the self-described “Mexican Jew” studied at Le Cordon Bleu Academie d’Art Culinaire in Mexico City and honed her skills in the world-class kitchens of Jean Georges, Thomas Keller and Mario Batali. At 26, Wellman became the youngest female Executive Chef in L.A. when she took the reins at Petrossian West Hollywood. Wellman is now Executive Chef at the new boutique hotel Mama Shelter, which has quickly become one of the top dining destinations in Hollywood.