With the new season imminent, expectations are high for the Emmy winner going into season 8 with Top Chef All-Stars. What will we see? Other than lots of tantalizing food and over-the-top competitiveness, of course.

The Cheftestants
As the show’s name implies, this season’s cheftestants are stars. Each one previously competed on Top Chef, and each eventually lost. While only some were finalists, all of the all-star cheftestants were favorites at some point. Now they get another chance at Top Chef glory.

So it’s safe to say that they’ll be competitive.

The cast features fan favorites like Fabio Viviani (season 5) and Casey Thompson (season 3), as well as trouble magnets like season 1’s Tiffani Faison and season 2’s Marcel Vigneron. For a full listing of the Top Chef All-Stars cheftestants, click here.

The Challenges
With a group of skilled and Top Chef-experienced chefs, you just know that the challenges are going to be pretty spectacular. Fans will get to see their old favorites, the “Elimination” and “Quickfire” Challenges, but the show promises that those challenges will be totally new and on a higher level.

The first challenge, appearing in the premiere episode, may be the hardest of all.

Each of the cheftestants must redo the one dish that got them sent home from Top Chef. Not only do the chefs need to fix any cooking mistakes (good luck on the butterscotch scallops, Dale Talde), they will also have to face the demons of past failures. And the result has to be tasty!

The Judges
Top Chef All-Stars has a new judge! He’s fitting of the “all-star” name as well: Anthony Bourdain.

The globetrotting culinary star will join veteran hosts Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons in critiquing every plate that exits the kitchen. Bourdain is awfully good with words and even more awfully opinionated about food, so the commentary this season ought to be excellent!

There will be guest judges throughout the season as well. Most notably, look for a trio of favorites from Sesame Street — the Cookie Monster, Elmo and Telly — to show up as judges for a cookie-based Quickfire Challenge. It’s not like the Cookie Monster is likely to be a tough judge, but it should still be awesome.

Top Chef All-Stars premieres on December 1 and will air on Bravo each Wednesday at 10 PM (Eastern).

What do you think? Are you looking forward to this season of Top Chef? Will the “All-Stars” make it more or less exciting for you? Let us know!

(Image courtesy of Bravo)

Laurel Brown

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Laurel grew up in Mamaroneck, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI and Bellevue WA. She then went on to live in places like Boston, Tucson, Houston, Wales, Tanzania, Prince Edward Island and New York City before heading back to Seattle. Ever since early childhood, when she became addicted to The Muppet Show, Laurel has watched far too much TV. Current favorites include ChuckModern FamilySupernaturalMad Men and Community. Laurel received a BA in Astrophysics (yes, that is possible) from Colgate University and a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies and History of Science from Columbia University before she realized that television is much better than studying.