Top Chef Masters wraps up its summer run tonight — more on that later — but for now, whet your appetite for the new season of Top Chef with the first clip from the 11th season of the show, set this time around in the Big Easy.

“I think this season we are trying to change it up,” host Padma Lakshmi teases to EW. “We’re making it more casual, trying to make it a little more personal. Kind of loosening up a little — and what better city to loosen up and let your hair down a little in than New Orleans?”

In the exclusive clip below, Top Chef Masters host Curtis Stone is on board the Swamp Queen, alongside Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Emeril Lagasse as the new group of chefs from around the country face their first challenge of the season.

Look out in the coming weeks not just for the chefs picked from around the country, but also for some local chefs from New Orleans, thanks to web series Padma’s Picks, which premiered earlier this summer. Of how they chose from the many up and coming chefs in the Crescent City to feature, Lakshmi says: “We just kind of looked for who other chefs that we respect and know about — who they admire, who they are looking at. It’s not always the person who gets the most press, it’s the one who gets the most attention from their peers, from their mentors.”

You can watch all six episodes of Padma’s Picks online at Bravo TV to get ready for the new season, which premieres on Oct. 2.

Episode Recaps

Top Chef
Tom, Padma, and Gail tell the cheftestants to pack their knives and go.
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