Instagram: @kristenlkish
Instagram: @kristenlkish

Openly gay Top Chef winner Kristen Kish is set to return to the series as its new host. 

Back in June, model and author Padma Lakshmi announced that she would be stepping away from the competition series after hosting it for 17 years. 

“After much soul searching, I have made the difficult decision to leave Top Chef. Having completed a glorious 20th season as host and executive producer, I am extremely proud to have been part of building such a successful show,” she wrote on Instagram. 

“I feel it’s time to move on and make space for Taste the Nation, my books and other creative pursuits.” 

Over the last few weeks, fans have been eager to find out who would be replacing the Love, Loss, and What We Ate author.

Fortunately on 11 July, the wait finally came to an end when Kish was announced as Top Chef’s new host. 

“Hey, everyone, it’s Kristen Kish. I am so thrilled to be coming back to Top Chef as your new host,” the beloved chef said in an Instagram video. 

“Season 10 was a long time ago when I competed back then, and I’ve since come back to guest judge, and to be coming back in this way is new and exciting. 

“It’s also familiar and somewhat feels like a homecoming and a full-circle moment for me.”


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Towards the end of her statement, Kish expressed her excitement to meet the new batch of chefs and reunite with her friends that have on and off camera roles. 

“I’m at a loss of words still, a little bit, but I promise I’ll find those come season 21 as we’re all introduced to an incredible new bunch of chefs all vying for the title of Top Chef,” she added. 

After the exciting news was announced, fans flocked to Kish’s comment section to deliver congratulatory messages. 

One person wrote: “Congratulations. Truly one of the most talented chefs of all seasons! Said it then and still think it now! Congratulations.”

Another fan commented: “Well deserved and an OUTSTANDING selection to succeed Padma. So excited for the entire series!” 

The show’s producing partner Magical Elves and its co-CEOs, Casey Kriley and Jo Sharon, also expressed their excitement over Kish’s new role.

“Kristen is a beloved part of the Top Chef family, and we’re thrilled to have her join and bring to the competition her unique, fresh and global culinary perspective as well as her true passion for food,” they said in a statement, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Lastly, Lakshmi gave her official blessing to Kish in a heartfelt message on Twitter, writing: “I’m so proud of you @KristenLKish and am over the moon that you’ll be taking over for me!!! I’ll be rooting for you and our whole crew next season.” 

Top Chef season 21 is set to explore the “energetic and unique culinary scenes in Milwaukee and Madison.