Curtis Stone is kicking off his fifth season as the host of "Top Chef Masters" on July 24, and he dished to Yahoo! TV that things on the hit show will be soaring to new heights, with tons of surprises coming up.
This season the show, which filmed in Los Angeles, added big-name chefs like returning "Masters" competitor David Burke, Jennifer Jasinski, and former "Top Chef" star Bryan Voltaggio to the cast. In addition, producers mixed in several A-list celeb guest judges, including stars Kathie Lee Gifford, Busy Phillips, and Mindy Kaling. But one guest judge definitely took the 37-year-old celeb chef by surprise: His wife, Lindsay Price.
Prior to the pair's June 8 nuptials, the "Hawaii Five-0" actress conspired with "Top Chef Masters" producers to plan a surprise engagement party for her hubby-to-be and served as a guest judge for that episode.
According to Stone, he was completely in the dark about his future wife's appearance on set.
"She decided to throw this surprise party and invited a bunch of our friends. Of course I was sitting in the greenroom, and I am like a detective; I tried to figure everything out," he dished. "I was incredibly amazed that she was able to throw this surprise for me. It was a lot of fun, though."
He continued, "That episode just blew me away because she is the last person to put herself in the spotlight. She is a very private person for that sort of thing."
Of course Stone claimed that his wife was his favorite guest judge all season, but he added that it was particularly interesting to see her dissect each chef's food.
Watch a preview of the new season of "Top Chef Masters":
"Linds has obviously experienced amazing food. She has been to great restaurants and she has a really interesting palate, but I never sit down with her and analyze food. For us it is just fun to eat great food," Stone said. "It was interesting, her sharing her opinion with everybody else there, because she is so knowledgeable about food."
His wife's surprise appearance wasn't the only thing hot in the kitchen. Stone says that adding the first ever "Top Chef" contestant, Bryan Voltaggio, to the "Masters" mix supplied plenty of fireworks.
"It’s really interesting, because we have guys like David Burke, who is a returning chef, and some of the younger guys like Bryan Voltaggio, who was on 'Top Chef.' They go at such different paces, but they still both get the job done," he explained. "That is something that comes with the level of knowledge and confidence."
As if Bravo's producers didn't get enough drama out of pitting young hotshot chefs against older, established cooks, they also asked the contestants to jump out of a plane.
"In the very first episode, we take the chefs skydiving. It’s so funny because they are frightened, and these big top chefs all stand there at the start of the season with their arms folded and their chests puffed out. Then we told them they had to get in a plane and jump out. All but one did it," Stone said. "It was also pretty interesting watching them have such fear come over them."
Stone, who declined the skydiving expedition, said the toughest part of the show is surviving under the pressure to churn out great dishes every day. "You get to see these chefs have real triumphs, cook incredible food, and show off, but you also see people, even though you know how incredibly talented they are, that don't have the best day, and unfortunately each episode someone goes home."
Before the show kicks off this summer, the Aussie native will start his hosting duties early at a Season 5 Premiere Tasting Party, co-hosted by Chase Sapphire Preferred and Bravo on July 16, in New York City. The event, which will showcase dishes from five contestants, will raise money for the City Harvest of New York City.
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