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'Top Chef' will have a Milwaukee contestant for season set in Wisconsin

'Top Chef' hosts (from left) Gail Simmons, Kristen Kish and Tom Colicchio.
'Top Chef' hosts (from left) Gail Simmons, Kristen Kish and Tom Colicchio.

Top Chef season 21 is set to premiere March 20, and this time around, the spotlight is on Wisconsin. While there are a few changes this season, like Kristen Kish taking over for Padma Lakshmi as host, the show’s core remains solid.

The biggest change is that now contestants can win money in every Quickfire Challenge. This change was made possible thanks to the new brand sponsors, which include Holland America cruises, Miller High Life and the Wells Fargo Active Cash Credit Card.

Apart from new sponsors and the additional prize money is the focus on Wisconsin staples like cheese and Door County cherries. Not only was most of the season shot in Milwaukee and Madison, but it will also end with a high-seas finale on a cruise.

Milwaukee will be well-represented in another way, with Dan Jacobs, head chef and co-owner of EsterEv and DanDan, competing on the show. Jacobs is a six-time James Beard Best Chef – Midwest semifinalist and moved to Milwaukee with his wife in 2011, where he worked as a sous chef and executive chef at Roots before eventually opening his own restaurants.

Jacobs is also an advocate for Kennedy’s disease awareness and helps raise funds for research through events such as the Dim Sum + Give Some annual fundraising dinner. As the only Wisconsin-based contestant this season, he said he's honored to represent his region and his culinary community, and to inspire people with disabilities to pursue their passions, especially in the culinary world.

The other talented chefs competing on Top Chef Season 21 include:

  • Kaleena Bliss from Chicago
  • Kevin D’Andrea from Austin, Texas
  • Alisha Elenz from Chicago
  • Danny Garcia from New York
  • Valentine Howell Jr. from Boston
  • Manny Barella Lopez from Denver
  • Savannah Miller from Durham, North Carolina
  • David Murphy from San Francisco
  • Kenny Nguyen from Athens, Georgia
  • Laura Ozyilmaz from San Francisco
  • Charly Pierre from New Orleans
  • Amanda Turner from Austin, Texas
  • Rasika Venkatesa from San Francisco
  • Michelle Wallace from Houston

Top Chef season 21 will premiere March 20 on Bravo, with episodes available to stream on Peacock the day after they air.

Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee