The host and judge of the cooking competition has two American cities on her list.

By Bridget Hallinan
February 01, 2019
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

We’re only part of the way through Top Chef season 16 in Kentucky—if you missed last night’s episode, you can check out our recap here—but Padma Lakshmi already has ideas for future seasons. The Top Chef host and judge recently went on Live with Kelly and Ryan and was asked about the show’s methodology for picking filming locations, reports Bravo’s The Feast. Lakshmi noted that the decision isn’t hers to make, and multiple factors go into the choice; however, she has some top contenders in mind.

“Our show has luckily been on so long, so we've been to most cities, and so I would love to go, I don't know, to Philadelphia—or Atlanta is where I really want to go,” Lakshmi told Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest in a clip. Elaborating on Atlanta, she said, “it’s got this interesting mix of cultures, and also Edna Lewis spent time there, and I love Atlanta.”   

The Atlanta pick certainly excited Seacrest, who told Lakshmi he was from Atlanta and would give her restaurant recommendations; Ripa chimed in to say Philadelphia was great as well. But how likely are we to see one of these cities on upcoming Top Chef seasons? In a previous statement about Top Chef’s decision to film the current season in Kentucky, Shari Levine, Bravo Media’s executive vice president of current production, had said the team is “always looking for rising culinary destinations.” We also had the chance to speak with Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio about the news when it was announced—both felt the location was long overdue.

"I don’t think Kentucky has yet had the acknowledgment or Renaissance that, say, Charleston has had or Atlanta or Nashville. But I think it’s on the cusp of that," Lakshmi told mkgalleryamp; Wine this past May—so Atlanta was already on the brain. Colicchio also added that it’s important to highlight cities beyond New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, because “everyone knows that there’s great food there.” 

In that vein, Philadelphia and Atlanta might fit the bill. Both cities have a restaurant on our list of the most anticipated restaurant openings of 2019—Pancake Social by Anne Quatrano (1995 F&W Best New Chef) in Atlanta, and a new project coming up by Michael Solomonov (of Zahav) in Philadelphia for this year. We’ve also got a guide to Atlanta from former Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson, and a dessert guide to Philly from JBF winner Camille Cogswell (also of Zahav)—is it all foreshadowing? We’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, keep following along with our Top Chef coverage—you can find it all here.

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