Gail Simmons hosts Top Chef Amateurs, premiering July 1 on Bravo

By Vanessa Etienne
May 20, 2021 02:00 PM
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After 18 seasons, Top Chef is coming out with a new show just for its superfans: Top Chef Amateurs.

The Bravo series will take 24 home cooks and longtime viewers from a variety of backgrounds — including a former CIA agent, a dental hygienist-turned-food-blogger, and an architect — and test their skills in the Top Chef kitchen.

Gail Simmons, who landed her role as a judge on Top Chef in 2006, will host the competition spinoff. Ahead of the July 1 premiere, PEOPLE has an exclusive first look at the Top Chef Amateurs trailer.

Each episode will feature two amateur chefs competing head-to-head in some of the most iconic Top Chef challenges from the mis-en-place race to the blind taste test. The trailer also gives a quick glimpse of the cooks trying to master Top Chef's most dreaded dish: risotto.

"I'll watch Top Chef and think, 'Man, I could do that," says contestant Kolby Chandler.

Top Chef Amateurs
Credit: David Moir/Bravo

As amateurs, the show will bring in a few Top Chef All-Stars to help out in the kitchen, who will also rotate in as guest judges alongside Simmons. Making an appearance is Eric Adjepong, Richard Blais, Jennifer Carroll, Shirley Chung, Stephanie Cmar, Tiffany Derry, Joe Flamm, Gregory Gourdet, Melissa King, Kwame Onwuachi, Dale Talde and Isaac Toups.   

Each episode's winner will receive $5,000, courtesy of the show's sponsor, Wells Fargo.

"It was a thrill to host a show that brought home cooks into the spotlight after such an isolating year," Simmons tells PEOPLE. "Top Chef Amateurs combines all the frantic fun and delicious food of the original series, with the joy and excitement of making super fans' wishes come true. I felt a little like a real life fairy godmother!"

Top Chef Season 18
Top Chef Season 18
| Credit: David Moir/Bravo

The current season of the original Top Chef, which was filmed in a bubble in Portland, Ore., recently sent home Avishar Barua and welcomed back Jamie Tran after a grueling battle on Last Chance Kitchen.

Top Chef Amateurs premieres on Thursday, July 1 at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo with two back-to-back episodes, immediately following the season finale of Top Chef in Portland.