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‘Top Chef: World All-Stars’ Serves Its “Restaurant Wars” Menu Again to Celebrate 20 Seasons

TOP CHEF -- "Restaurant Wars Dinner Event" -- Pictured: at Craft LA on May 22, 2023 -- (Photo by: Nicole Weingart/Bravo)

After 20 seasons, Top Chef is as much a cooking staple as salt and pepper. In Top Chef: World All- Stars, the hit Bravo TV series brought together champions from across the globe to re-compete in new and familiar challenges. As the first main season filmed entirely internationally, Top Chef: World All-Stars acts as a testament to the show’s impact and success.

But it wouldn’t be a Top Chef season without its iconic “Restaurant Wars” episode. The chefs usually create a restaurant from scratch and help run the front of house aside from designing the menu. But in Season 20 the emphasis was all on the food as the contestants took over chef Clare Smyth’s London restaurant Core and crafted a new menu. 

The victorious team was Ali Ghzawi (Top Chef MENA), Amar Santana (Top Chef USA), Buddha Lo (Top Chef USA), and Sara Bradley (Top Chef USA) with their concept restaurant United Kitchen. United Kitchen introduced each chef’s spin on British classics, from an elevated Full English Breakfast to a Middle Eastern inspired take on a Cornish pasty. But the problem with watching food TV is it’s not enough to see good looking food. You want to experience it yourself.

To celebrate the momentous achievement of 20 seasons, Top Chef brought the food from the screen back to the table. In judge Tom Colicchio’s LA restaurant Craft the five course menu was served to food experts and amateurs alike. 

TOP CHEF — “Restaurant Wars Dinner Event” — Pictured: at Craft LA on May 22, 2023 — (Photo by: Nicole Weingart/Bravo)

Addressing the crowd Colicchio spoke on his continued love for the series, putting all the praise on the talented chefs. Colicchio added he originally thought the show would last 3 seasons. Today Top Chef is a global phenomenon and Season 20’s Top Chef: World All-Stars further proves the power the series has to spotlight true kitchen artists.

To experience a 5-course Top Chef meal is to be invited into a world you thought was hidden behind the screen. Seeing Padma Lakshimini, Gail Simmons, and Tom Colicchio judge the food is one thing. Their language can provide insight and transport the audience. But food is an art dominated by one sense and cannot fully be realized by all the others combined. 

Every dish served made me think about food in a new way. Buddha’s Full English Breakfast featured a tomato tea that I will be thinking about for the rest of my life; a combination fragrant and layered like an intricate perfume. Amar’s hot and cold ceviche is the first dish that broke through my dislike of raw seafood. Seeing the words cullen skink on a menu didn’t invoke the idea of complex flavor combinations but Sara managed to surprise me. Ali’s lamb was perfectly cooked with the right amount of flavor and fillingness (featuring more au jus this time). And Buddha finished the meal with a take on strawberries and cream that was both clever and delightfully simple.

“‘Restaurant Wars’ was everyone’s favorite episode,” said Colicchio at the start of the evening. It’s no wonder why: the concept pushes the contestants to take on a wide amount of duties and allows viewers to relish in the chaos and creativity. But Season 20’s “Restaurant Wars” highlights the talented cooking skills of its chefs more than any other. It’s a statement on everything Top Chef aims to promote: the ability for talented chefs to exhibit their skills and prove they’re ready for further success.

After experiencing the dishes from Top Chef first-hand, the show is even more magical than before. Hearing the chefs talk about their dishes with passion and humor seemed to double the flavor. 20 seasons in, Top Chef is still finding a way to serve the same ingredients in fresh and beautiful ways. Now the only problem is coping with going back to seeing the food from behind the screen (and trying to get my hands on that tomato tea again).

Top Chef: World All-Stars finale airs on May 25th on Bravo with all episodes streaming on Peacock.


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Written by Leila Jordan

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