Why Top Chef Is So Different Now, According To Dawn Burrell

As a TV show, "Top Chef" is one of those names that has managed to remain popular among its viewers for several years. According to Mental Floss, the show has been on air since 2006 and is still a favorite among many cooking enthusiasts. It's way more complex than it looks, by the way. 

Judges spend a lot of time trying to finalize an elimination and some conversations have gone for as long as eight hours. "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi once said, "If we can't make a decision, the producers will sit us there. It's like detention." Wow.

Also, the show has evolved quite a bit over the last few years. As per Thrillist, chef Dawn Burrell, who competed on season 18, believes that the "Top Chef" team is really close-knit. That said, when it comes to the last several months, the cooking competition series has undergone some significant changes related to the pandemic. And, during an interview, Burrell was transparent about the alterations.

Top Chef has seen major changes

While speaking to Thrillist in June 2021, Dawn Burrell, who appeared on the Portland-based installment in early 2021, said she felt the "Top Chef" team was kind and respectful towards each other, which she finds crucial, and noted that the compassion came "from a very authentic place." The chef also believes it was especially important to focus on humanity and express kindness towards one another amid the pandemic, which was very difficult for the restaurant industry. She said, "We all lived through the pandemic, there were so many restaurateurs trying to figure out their own respective businesses while on the show. There's no need to be mistreated just because we're in a competition. We're all in the same boat."

Also, the show is trying to be more diverse than before, something that is essential considering that the culinary industry has chefs from all walks of life. Burrell said, "The culture and the landscape of this industry is changing at a rapid pace. It includes more than just white, male chefs and it's time we embrace that to the fullest," she shared. "This is actually truth-telling, this season is reflecting what we really look like." So inspiring.