Top Chef Family Style keeps its culinary standard with a dash of fun, interview

TOP CHEF FAMILY STYLE -- "Welcome to the Family" Episode 101 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jewel Robinson, Kwami Onwuachi, Marcus Samuelsson, Meghan Trainor -- (Photo by: Patrick Wymore/Peacock)
TOP CHEF FAMILY STYLE -- "Welcome to the Family" Episode 101 -- Pictured: (l-r) Jewel Robinson, Kwami Onwuachi, Marcus Samuelsson, Meghan Trainor -- (Photo by: Patrick Wymore/Peacock) /

As Marcus Samuelsson and Meghan Trainor guide the chef-testants in Top Chef Family Style, these pairs of chefs are ready for the ultimate cooking competition. While the Top Chef food television show has set the standard for culinary competitions, this newest iteration of the brand maintains its high standards, and that concept is integral to its success.

Recently, Top Chef has expanded its programming beyond its award winning iconic brand. With the new Top Chef Family Style, the introduction of family duos shows that age is just a number in the culinary world. Culinary creativity comes from a desire to push boundaries, explore flavor and execute amazing dishes.

Recently, FoodSided spoke with Tracy Tong, Magical Elves’ executive producer for Top Chef Family Style, and Claire Kosloff, Showrunner for Top Chef Family Style. During the conversation, the pair graciously shared the importance of not just celebrating the talent of these chefs but also to keep the integrity that has made Top Chef such a successful franchise.

Culinary competitions sometimes bring younger chefs into the kitchen. When asked about the new format, Tong and Kosloff commented that they had a specific goal in mind. While adding younger chefs with a family member might add some levity to the seriousness of the moment, the reality is that Top Chef wanted to find a way to “showcase the tremendous talent of the younger chefs yet still maintain that Top Chef standard.”

The pair shared that it was important that these younger chefs were shown “the respect of treating them like adults.” These chefs had proven themselves and didn’t deserve to be treated in a condescending way. The premise for these younger chef-testants was, “you want to be in the Top Chef kitchen, here you go and here’s the challenge that comes with it.”

While there are some lighthearted moments throughout the season, many of the favorite Top Chef challenges are incorporated into Top Chef Family Style. From Restaurant Wars to the mise en place challenge, nothing was off the table.

When designing the challenge, it was shared that the goal was to have “really big fun” and create “challenges that would be exciting to watch on television.” Still, the goal was not to “limit them in any way.” The production team wanted “to see great food and not restrict their creativity.” To put it simply, “nothing was off limits.”

That included the always popular mise en place challenge. While every safety precaution was put into place, the team didn’t set any limits. These family duos were getting the full Top Chef experience.

That ideology is one of the reasons why Top Chef Family Style is entertainment for the whole family. The “heart of Top Chef” is maintained through this newest version. That “outstanding culinary competition” never waivers.

Granted, this version is on a different network (Peacock), has a slightly different audience and has fun elements, it still falls “under that Top Chef umbrella.” Top Chef Family Style has aspects for both the Top Chef super fan as well as the families who are looking for that culinary competition that they can all watch together.

In some ways, these families competing in this food television show are examples of how Top Chef is beloved with a wide variety of viewers. From the foodie looking to satisfy that craving for the elevated food experience to the all-ages aspect of entertainment, over 18 seasons the brand continues to serve up delicious programs.

As viewers watch each episode and see the favorite Top Chef judges and chefs appear, it is a reminder that food connects people in ways that nothing else can. From a way to communicate without words to transporting people to another region to just telling a family story, that plate can be more compelling that turning the pages on a beloved book. While many people might drool over the enticing visual, the flavor is what lingers in the mind long after the image fades.

While one family duo will eventually hear, you are Top Chef, the reality is that Top Chef Family Style can spur excitement beyond the minutes watching the show. Even if the home cooks might not know how to reduce the perfect sauce or cannot pronounce the word sous vide, the reality is that sharing family moments in and around the kitchen can and do have a profound effect long after the meal is served.

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Top Chef Family Style airs on Peacock. New episodes are available to be streamed each Thursday.

Have you ever tried to create a Top Chef culinary challenge at home? Does the food television show inspire you to be more culinary creative?