15 of the best aspiring and promising chefs from all around America are challenged with creating amazing culinary dishes. They are competing to try and receive the title of `Top Chef America'.
In Kentucky, 15 chefs are off to the races at Churchill Downs for the the ride of their lives; the chefs must make a dish that will appeal to a crowd of 200 at a Kentucky Derby party; Churchill Downs' own chef David Danielson serves as guest judge.
A pregnant Gail Simmons asks the chefs to feed her cravings; the chefs head to Makers Mark, the oldest United States distillery, to put their spin on a meal full of Kentucky classics, including burgoo, Benedictine, mutton, hoe cakes, and dumplings.
Richard Blais and Brooke Williamson present a Quickfire challenge; chef Eric Ripert sits down with the chefs to enjoy a traditional French Christmas dinner; Padma tells the chefs they're missing the final part of the tradition of Le Revillon de Noel.
The Restaurant Wars challenge comes early this year; first, the chefs duke it out in an amuse bouche-based Quickfire; with 12 chefs remaining, three restaurants battle for victory; Tom makes an announcement that leaves the chefs breathless.
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The Restaurant Wars causes drama and mayhem, while Tom announces a double elimination piling on even more pressure. Chefs Karen Akunowicz and Nina Compton join the restaurant crawl along with Nilou Motamed and guest judge Caroline Styne.
The chefs walk in on an epic battle of Last Chance Kitchen and are drafted into the fight; once Tom declares a winner, the chefs begin a challenge making dishes based on Prohibition Era cocktails; chef Ken Oringer joins for a Roaring Twenties party.
Actress Lena Waithe challenges the chefs to make a trademark Kentucky dish known as the Hot Brown; chef Nancy Silverton and butcher Dario Cecchini break down a whole cow for the chefs to utilize along with locally-sourced ingredients.
For an elimination challenge, the chefs are split into teams and tasked with throwing houseboat parties on Lake Cumberland; chef Emeril Lagasse joins Padma, Tom and Nilou, along with Below Deck captains Sandy and Lee, for some houseboat hysteria.
In Nashville, Tennessee, the chefs cook onstage at the Grand Ole Opry for singer Hunter Hayes. Inspired by a vibrant music memory, the chefs put their hearts on a plate for musician Caleb Followill, model Lily Aldridge and chef Jonathan Waxman.
"Top Chef" alum Ed Lee drops by for a Quickfire that's part trivia, part culinary creativity; coach John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats host a concession-stand cook-off in Rupp Arena; Food & Wine Editor-in-Chief Hunter Lewis joins the judges.
The chefs take a turn at fried chicken; chef Art Smith judges a secret herbs-and-spices blind taste test ahead of the Quickfire fry-off; after the finger-licking goodness, the chefs turn their attention to boxer Muhammad Ali.
Tom challenges the chefs to reap what they sowed and make a dish focused on their garden harvest. Then, for the last elimination challenge in Kentucky, the chefs head to a thoroughbred horse auction house, where they bid on luxury ingredients.
The final five chefs travel to the Chinese territory of Macau; Graham Elliot, who has a restaurant in Macau, introduces the chefs to a market full of fascinating ingredients and challenges; the chefs throw a party celebrating the Chinese New Year.
The final four chefs must create something delicious with the smelly durian fruit; the chefs receive a tutorial on the traditional cuisine of Macau; for the elimination challenge, the chefs must blend their own heritage with Chinese flavours.
It's the final showdown; the three remaining chefs must create the best four-course meal of their lives; Tom reveals in a twist that only two chefs will get the chance to serve their full menu; only one chef will emerge victorious.