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How to watch Top Chef 2021 online: Season 18 premiere date, Portland contestants, judges and trailer

Top Chef season 18 judges
(Image credit: Bravo)
Top Chef: Portland start time, channel

Top Chef season 18 premieres today (Thursday, April 1), starting at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.

Unpack your knives because it's time to watch Top Chef 2021 online, even if you don't have cable. Top Chef season 18 takes place in Portland, Oregon for the first time in the show's history. A new batch of cheftestants will slice, dice, fry, roast and sous vide their hearts out, all for the top prize of $250,000.

While Top Chef 2021 will still feature culinary masterpieces, season 18 will be somewhat different due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The show instituted new health and safety protocols when filming last fall. All of the contestants, crew members and judges quarantined in a bubble. That means this season features Top Chef alumni as guest judges, rather than the usual group of local restauranteurs and  celebrities.

Other changes include curbside pickup at Whole Foods (instead of the frantic in-store shopping spree), no large dinners or tasting events and an expanded judges' table to allow for social distancing. And Restaurant Wars gets a new spin, as the teams execute a micro-restaurant concept with a seven-course tasting menu.

But mostly, Top Chef remains mostly the same. The chefs will face new challenges, like a celebration of Portland's Pan-African cuisine, feeding hundreds of frontline workers, a surf and turf meal honoring the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and crabbing on the Oregon Coast. The show will also take the chefs to some of the state's famous food destinations, such as the Tillamook Cramery.

Here's everything you need to know about how to watch Top Chef 2021 online.

How to watch Top Chef 2021 online anywhere, with a VPN

Just because Bravo isn't available everywhere doesn't mean you can't watch Top Chef 2021 if you're away from home. Watching the new season along with the rest of the internet can be pretty easy with the right VPN (virtual private network). You can stream the show from wherever you go.

We've evaluated many VPN services, and our top pick is ExpressVPN. It meets the VPN needs of the vast majority of users, offering outstanding compatibility with most devices and impressive connection speeds. It's also affordable at $12.95 per month. (Signing up for longer periods of six months or a year reduces the cost even more.)

Our favorite VPN service, ExpressVPN, really shines thanks to its safety, speed and simplicity-to-use. It's also compatible with loads of devices - from iOS and Android to Roku, Apple TV and PlayStations. You'll even get an extra 3 months free if you sign up for a year, or there's a 30-day money-back guarantee if you just want to give it a try.
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How to watch Top Chef 2021 in the US

Food fans can watch the Top Chef season 18 premiere on Thursday, April 1 at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo if they have a cable package. Anyone with a cable login can also watch it on demand or online at BravoTV.com.

If you've already cut the cord, you can watch Top Chef on several live TV streaming services, including Sling TV, Fubo TV, Hulu With Live TV, Fubo TV and AT&T TV.

Of these options, we recommend Sling and FuboTV, two of the best streaming services on the market.

Right now, Sling TV is offering $10 off your first month. The Sling Blue package includes Bravo in the channel lineup, as well as other popular networks like AMC, CNN, HGTV, Food Network and TNT. Plus, you get 50 hours of Cloud DVR to record all your favorite shows.View Deal

Fubo.TV is a great alternative to a cable package. With the Family Plan ($65 per month), you get over 90 channels, including local broadcast networks NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox as well as top cable brands like Bravo, E!, HGTV, Syfy and Paramount Network. View Deal

How to watch Top Chef 2021 in Canada

Canadians can dig into the Top Chef 2021 premiere on Food Network Canada, just a couple hours later than the American airing at 10 p.m. ET.

How to watch Top Chef 2021 in the UK

Good news, Brits — Top Chef 2021 episodes should be available on Hayu the day after they air in the U.S. 

Hayu is a streaming service that costs £4.99 per month (after a one-month free trial). 

Top Chef 2021 trailer

The Top Chef season 18 trailer provides a glimpse at the diverse lineup of chefs competing this season, as well as the tough challenges that lay ahead. Head judge Tom Colicchio thinks this might be the franchise's best cast yet.

Top Chef: Portland cast and judges

The judges for Top Chef season 18 are Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and host Padma Lakshmi. They will be joined by a rotating panel of Top Chef alumni, including Richard Blais, Kristen Kish, Gregory Gourdet, Brooke Williamson, Nina Compton, Dale Talde and Kwame Onwuachi.

Culinary luminaries and notable figures will still appear this season, either on video or in person, including José Andrés, Massimo Bottura, Alice Waters and Portlandia stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.

There are 15 contestants competing on Top Chef: Portland. They are:

Brittanny Anderson
Hometown: Richmond, VA
Current city of residence: Richmond, VA
Occupation/Profession: Chef and Co-Owner of Metzger Bar and Butchery, Brenner Pass, and Black Lodge, Richmond, VA. Leni, Washington, D.C

Avishar Barua
Hometown: Columbus, OH
Current city of residence: Columbus, OH
Occupation/Profession: Executive Chef & GM, Service Bar

Dawn Burrell
Hometown:  Philadelphia, PA
Current city of residence: Houston, TX
Occupation/Profession: Partner/Executive Chef, Lucille’s Hospitality Group

Gabe Erales
Hometown: El Paso, TX
Current city of residence: Austin, TX
Occupation/Profession: Chef 

Nelson German
Hometown:  New York City
Current city of residence: Oakland, CA
Occupation/Profession: Executive Chef/Owner, alaMar Kitchen and Sobre Mesa Afro-Latino cocktail lounge

Byron Gomez
Hometown: Central Islip, Long Island
Current city of residence: Aspen, CO
Occupation/Profession: Executive Chef at 7908

Sasha Grumman
Hometown: Newport Beach, CA
Current city of residence: Houston, TX
Occupation/Profession: Executive Chef

Roscoe Hall
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Current city of residence: Birmingham, Alabama
Occupation/Profession: Chef/Artist/Father

Sara Hauman
Hometown: Vista, CA
Current city of residence: Portland, OR
Occupation/Profession: Head Chef, Soter Vineyards

Kiki Louya
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Current city of residence: Detroit, MI
Occupation/Profession: Chef / Consultant

Maria Mazon
Hometown: Born in Tucson, AZ, Raised in Navojoa, Sonora
Current city of residence: Tucson, AZ
Occupation/Profession: Executive Chef/Owner, BOCA Tacos y Tequila

Shota Nakajima
Hometown: Tokyo, Japan & Seattle, WA
Current city of residence: Seattle, WA
Occupation/Profession: Chef/Owner, Taku

Gabriel Pascuzzi
Hometown: Portland, OR
Current city of residence: Portland, OR
Occupation/Profession: Chef/Owner, Mama Bird, Stacked Sandwich Shop, and Feel Good

Jamie Tran
Hometown: Stockton, CA
Current city of residence: Las Vegas, NV
Occupation/Profession: Chef/Owner, The Black Sheep

Chris Viaud
Hometown: Randolph MA
Current city of residence: Milford, NH
Occupation/Profession: Chef/Owner of Greenleaf and Culture

Kelly Woo

Kelly covers streaming media for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.