'Top Chef' rolls into sunny San Diego this week; the episode airing this Thursday, January 14 at 10pm ET/PT was filmed in our fair city and includes a fish taco cook-off judged by Bracero's Javier Plascencia and a craft beer-related challenge filmed at Richard Blais' Juniper & Ivy. Blais tells Eater that he enjoyed touring California via this season's state-wide road trip but admits that the format was likely challenging for the contestants, who had to add on a whirlwind travel component to their already grueling production schedule.
Blais says that Eater knew 'Top Chef' was coming to San Diego before he did, and that he didn't have specific input on the content of the episode, but told us that it was "truly amazing" to have the crew in his Little Italy restaurant. Sharing the judges table with Blais and the other series regulars will be guest judge Emeril Lagasse and local beer experts Yuseff Cherney from Ballast Point Brewing Company and Steve Gonzalez from Stone Brewing Co.
This episode serves as a homecoming for Chad White, who was running restaurants in San Diego and Tijuana while competing on the show. (White doesn't live in San Diego anymore — he moved to Spokane just after the season premiere and reports that he's currently evaluating several potential restaurant locations there.) Before you tune in, watch an exclusive clip of White and his fellow competitors as they roll into town.