What This Season's Top Chef Contestants All Have In Common

"Top Chef" is back for Season 19 and the cast is chock full of some of the most talented chefs from across the country. The new season of the hit Bravo show was filmed in Houston, Texas. Here, the chefs were immersed in local culinary culture, which draws from the area's large Nigerian population, rich Asian history, and, of course, Tex-Mex influences (via Bravo). The 15 chefs are faced with unique challenges as they compete for the honor of Top Chef — but there's something extra unique and wholesome about this season that has nothing to do with the competitions the contestants engage in. As it turns out, all of the contestants grew up watching "Top Chef" and aspired to be on the show. "Top Chef" judge Tom Colicchio spoke with The Daily Beast about this fact, something he called "interesting" and said can be really seen throughout the entire season.

"Top Chef" contestants have been watching the show since childhood

"Top Chef" judge Tom Colicchio reflected on the fact that the show started filming 16 years ago, and has therefore inspired a whole generation of aspiring chefs. "A lot of these chefs in their late twenties have been watching us for 18 seasons and it's kind of neat," Colicchio told The Daily Beast. "It feels like the combination of the contestants and the show itself, that we've matured. And it's become a real rite of passage for the chefs to come on the show."

Watching "Top Chef" for years has contestants pumped up for their appearances. A trailer for the season opens with voiceovers from various chefs. One states, "'Top Chef' has been a dream, and I'm about to take over," while another chimes in, "I feel like I belong here. I'm ready." Contestant Jo Chan spoke with Out Smart Magazine, remembering setting her sights on landing a spot on the show at an early age. "When I was growing up and wanting to become a chef, 'Top Chef' was at the height of its popularity," Chan told the magazine. "I remember watching early seasons and setting the benchmark of being chosen to compete as a goal."