What Top Chef Was Really Like For Jackson Kalb After Losing His Taste

"Top Chef" contestants have to face a variety of different challenges when filming the show. These range from utilizing unfamiliar ingredients to dealing with criticism from judges. However, in the most recent season of the series, contestant Jackson Kalb lost his sense of taste and smell due to COVID-19. Kalb, who is the owner of the eateries Jame Enoteca and Ospi in Los Angeles, California, is a seasoned chef. According to PEOPLE, the chef studied at Cornell University's school of Hotel Administration and worked at restaurants including ​​Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas, Chicago's Alinea, Union Square Cafe in New York, and Hillstone Restaurant Group. On his Instagram, fans can see a bit of his work, such as delicious plates of pasta and dessert.

Nonetheless, losing his sense of taste and smell was something that was completely unplanned and could have hindered a contestant on the show, but Kalb was able to prepare himself in advance before going onto the set and into the kitchen.

Flavor tests helped Jackson Kalb

Jackson Kalb stated that his wife helped administer flavor tests prior to his trip to Houston, according to PEOPLE. Though he couldn't taste the food, the chef stated that he could feel his tongue tingle based on the amount of salt in the dish. However, he was still at a disadvantage during the actual competition.

Kalb admitted that he thought he would be eliminated during the first round of the competition, but he managed to prevail. One way that has helped him advance through the tournament is asking other competitors for their opinions on the smell and taste of his food. He does this by not including the fact that he couldn't do either himself and was able to make the proper adjustments using their feedback. The contestant stated that competing without either sense created a lot of stress. However, now that Kalb's sense of taste is back, Season 19 of "Top Chef" will be as cutthroat as ever.