Tournament Of Champions Season 3: Release Date, Contestants, And More - What We Know So Far

Whatever Guy Fieri does, he tends to do in a big way. From his electrified-looking hairdo to the $80 million contract with Food Network he inked not long ago, from the size of his restaurant empire to the names of his TV shows, which include "Guy's Big Bite," "Guy's Big Project," and "Guy Off The Hook," we've pretty much come to expect Fieri to keep raising the bar. He's doing so once again with the upcoming season of "Tournament of Champions." 

"Tournament of Champions" has always started and ended with superlatives. The chefs who compete are only the most accomplished and famous celebrity chefs in the business. Fieri, who plays host, is the highest-paid cable television chef in the business. The show's "randomizer" specializes in only the most dramatic cooking challenges. And by airing throughout March, "Tournament of Champions" has, from the very first season in 2020, positioned itself as a foodie alternative to one of the biggest sporting events of the year, the Men's NCAA Tournament that takes place each March, aka March Madness.

For Season 3, Fieri wanted to go "even bigger," he's quoted as having said, via a discovery+ press release. "So we've upped the ante this year with even more talented chefs, more intense competition, and the biggest prize in the tournament's history." Here's everything we know so far about Season 3 of "Tournament of Champions," including everything that makes it "supersized," as discovery+ promises.

When is the release date for Tournament of Champions Season 3?

Alright, TOC fans. Are you ready for some Guy Fieri-style "March Madness"? Because "Tournament of Champions" is back for Season 3, with even more brackets, even longer episodes, and an even longer season — and it all gets started on Sunday, February 27 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, per a discovery+ press release. You can tune in via Food Network, or you can stream via discovery+.

If that sounds a little early in the calendar year for this series, that may be because Season 3 is the longest season of "Tournament of Champions" yet.  Specifically, it's twice as long as the two prior seasons, comprising eight episodes. Each episode is also twice as long as in years prior, and since episodes were one-hour-long in Seasons 1 and 2, you'll have two hours of high-stakes kitchen competition to groove on each week for eight weeks. Just to be clear, that's four times as much TOC you'll be getting this third season.

In addition, you may want to know about the one-hour 'before-the-competition" special that will be an opportunity to relive the road to TOC III. It premieres one hour earlier, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. 

Who are the TOC Season 3 contestants?

For each of the first two seasons of Guy Fieri's "Tournament of Champions," the games began with 16 brackets (which is sports speak for 16 competitors at the outset). The first round consisted of eight challenges; by the end of which four winners were whittled out. The second round resulted in two winners, and the final round revealed the champion (Brooke Williamson for Season 1 and Maneet Chauhan for Season 2). This season, as noted above, the ante is upped. Way upped. Instead of 16 competitors, there will be 32.

The chefs representing the East Coast, according to a discovery+ press release, are defending champ Chauhan, Eric Adjepong, Einat Admony, Karen Akunowicz, Kelsey Barnard Clark, Madison Cowan, Tobias Dorzon, Tiffani Faison, Darnell Ferguson, Amanda Freitag, Richard Hales, Christian Petroni, Michael Psilakis, Aarthi Sampath, Justin Sutherland, and Bryan Voltaggio. The chefs representing the West Coast are Carlos Anthony, Shirley Chung, Chris Cosentino, Tiffany Derry, Elizabeth Falkner, Phillip Frankland Lee, Timothy Hollingsworth, Antonia Lofaso, Crista Luedtke, Brian Malarkey, Aaron May, Joe Sasto, Jet Tila, Marcel Vigneron, Michael Voltaggio, and other defending champ, Williamson.

If you recognize some of the names from prior seasons, it's because a number are returning for another go-round, including Chauhan and Williamson. Now, you wouldn't expect all those big names to turn up if the stakes weren't supersized, right? You're about to find out exactly how supersized those stakes are.

They're all competing for a grand prize of $100,000!

Fans of the first two seasons of "Tournament of Champions" may recall that the grand prize was largely "bragging rights," although $1,000 cash was thrown in to sweeten the deal in each case, per Food Network. Well, all of that is now in the past. This hyper-elite competition among 32 of the most accomplished and famous chefs is at a whole new level. At the end of the season, one of these chefs will walk away with the grand prize of $100,000, according to the discovery+ press release

Within that context, it would only make sense that some of the hype surrounding Food Network and discovery+'s joint promotion of "Tournament of Champions" would veer into the realm of hyperbole. To wit, as the press release shares: "The skills and abilities of the best chefs from the East and West coasts will be pushed to the limit, as Guy spins the dreaded 5-wheeled randomizer that determines each cook-off: the protein, produce, equipment, cooking style, and time. The pressure is intense, and emotions are high as the elite competitors enter the competition not knowing who their opponents will be and what cooking challenges they will face. Ultimately, their fate is decided blind, by a panel of famous food icon judges."

Who else is going to be on TOC Season 3?

Fans of the first two seasons of "Tournament of Champions" will likely be neither surprised nor disappointed to learn that, once again, Fieri will be the master of ceremonies, and Simon Majumdar and Justin Warner will be on hand to provide the "color commentary," which is sports speak for Majunder and Warner's real-time play-by-play of "32 chefs, absolutely bonkers judges, and a randomizer with an appetite for destruction," as Warner described on Instagram

As for the judges, the discovery+ press release reveals them to be a "rotating panel that will include, among others, Scott Conant, Cat Cora, Dominique Crenn, Giada De Laurentiis, Traci Des Jardins, Rocco DiSpirito, Lorena Garcia, Alex Guarnaschelli, Mashaharu Morimoto, Eric Ripert, Nancy Silverton, Ming Tsai, and Jonathan Waxman." Some of those judges have been competitors in prior "Tournament of Champions" seasons. That includes Cat Cora, Rocco DiSpirito, and Alex Guarnaschelli. And if you're wondering why it might be good to be the son of Guy Fieri consider that Hunter is going to be backstage all season in the role of documentarian (i.e., interviewing the competitors backstage as they live the competition in real-time). 

There's also a social media partnership with Twitter

It's no secret that "Tournament of Champions" is very important programming for the Food Network and discovery+, unless, of course, it was supposed to be a secret that the Season 2 TOC finale attracted a whopping "11 million viewers," according to Courtney White, president of Food Network and Streaming Food Content, Discovery Inc. (via discovery+ press release). For context, this earned TOC Season 2 the honor of being the Food Network series with the biggest audience ever. "This new season goes even bigger," White promises.

How the ratings actually pan out remains to be seen, of course. But something the dynamic network/streaming duo has done in the past to hype "Tournament of Champions" and is doing again as Season 3 drops is launching a "digital-only competition where fans can fill out their own personalized brackets for a chance to win cash prizes," culminating in a weeklong Twitter event from March 20 through March 27 that will feature exclusive content.

In addition, fans are invited to "join the conversation on social media using #TournamentOfChampions for weekly, live twitter parties." And starting on February 27 (i.e., premiere night), fans can vote on each of the upcoming battles and "share custom hashtags to rally behind their favorite chef-competitors and keep up with the tournament in real-time conversations."