Why The Competition Is Different On Season 20 Of Top Chef, According To Buddha Lo - Exclusive

Contains spoilers for "Top Chef" Season 20, Episode 4 — "Spurred Lines"

On Season 20, Episode 4 of "Top Chef," Season 19 winner Buddha Lo saved himself from a final elimination round with an apple tart and creme anglaise. His teammates, Tom Goetter (a "Top Chef Germany" Season 1 finalist) and Ali Ghzawi (the winner of "Top Chef Middle East & North Africa" Season 3), also escaped a final elimination round and the necessity to get creative with English peas. It was Brazilian contestant Luciana Berry (and "Top Chef Brazil" Season 2 champion) who packed her bags that day after the chef's scallop carpaccio with yakiniku sauce and pea velouté didn't do the green seed pods justice. 

In case the extremely English pub crawl in Episode 3 — or the Tottenham Hotspur football stadium setting in Episode 4 — didn't clue you in, yes, folks, the all-star season of the iconic cooking show packed up and flew to England.

A foreign country isn't the only thing that separates Season 20 from other seasons of "Top Chef." The competition is dramatically different this season, Buddha Lo exclusively told Mashed, because most of his fellow competitors were fresh winners of their countries' versions of "Top Chef." We'll let him explain why that's a big deal.

The Season 20 contestants are 'all extremely tough'

You've doubtless heard contestants talk about how arduous the odyssey of a culinary show is. Buddha Lo absolutely does not share their opinion. Getting to cook in the All-Star Kitchen? That was "like coming in[to] a warm cloud," Lo told Mashed. If you prefer a less abstract comparison, Lo also told us it was like the feeling of "when I haven't seen my wife for a long time, and then you finally see them at the airport."

In other words, the Season 19 champion enjoyed the repeat experience — like, immensely. His fellow "Top Chef" Season 20 all-star competitors, however, were fierce in ways Buddha Lo might not have predicted before landing in London. "All these people are very recent. One of the guys from the Middle East just won his season, and the guy from the Middle East before that won two seasons ago," Lo dished. "The guy from France was three years ago, and so on. Nicole from 'Canada: All-Stars' was the winner of 'All-Stars' very recently." 

A room full of current winners made for uniquely difficult challenges, or as Lo put it, "They're all very tough. I can't give too much away, but they're all extremely tough." The fact that Season 20's contestants were from all over the world made competitor research extra hard, too. Lo reflected, "[When they're] international, you don't know who's coming in. You don't know if they're stacking up."

Tune in and follow Buddha's journey. New episodes of "Top Chef: World All-Stars" air every Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo and are available to stream the next day on Peacock.