Why Did Graham Elliot & Nilou Motamed Leave ‘Top Chef’?

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During the Top Chef season 17 premiere, there were plenty of familiar faces to be seen because this season is all-stars. The returning chefs are 10 former finalists and five former frontrunners, including Eric Adjepong and Nini Nguyen from just last season and Lee Anne Wong from all the way back in season one.

But viewers may have noticed that the judging panel looked a little different from season 16. Tom Colicchio was still there as head judge and Gail Simmons returned after a season off, but where were Graham Elliot and Nilou Motamed?

Here’s what we know about their departures.

Graham Is Keeping Busy on Other Projects

In 2019, Elliot was busy opening a new restaurant in Santa Monica called Petite Harvest and also hosting ABC cooking competition show Family Food Fight alongside Ayesha Curry and Cat Cora.

He was also flying all over the country hosting events, from Open Outcry Brewing in Chicago to Louisville’s Bourbon & Beyond festival where he cooked with actress Tiffani Amber Thiessen, to filming his web series the MLB Grub Tour, where he crisscrossed the country going to major league baseball parks to explore the “restaurant quality food” they are beginning to offer. He is also major league baseball’s culinary correspondent.

Motamed Is Hosting a Bravo Digital Series

Making a Next-Level Charcuterie Board ft. Nilou MotamedFull recipe: usa.lkk.com/en/recipes/sweet-and-spicy-pimiento-cheese-spread For more delicious recipes visit: usa.lkk.com Connect with Lee Kum Kee: Facebook: facebook.com/LeeKumKeeUSA Instagram: instagram.com/leekumkeeusa Twitter: twitter.com/LeeKumKeeUSA Pinterest: pinterest.com/leekumkeeusa2019-08-29T17:56:14.000Z

While Motamed won’t be part of Top Chef season 17, she is still very much a part of the Bravo family. Throughout the season, she and Colicchio will be airing the “What Would Tom Do” video series on Bravotv.com, where they try to replicate and reimagine the dishes the chefs cooked on the show.

Motamed has also been keeping busy hosting a YouTube cooking series for Lee Kum Kee food company.

They Might Not Be Gone for Good

Top Chef: Tom and Graham Cook a Delicious Meal for the Top Two Chefs (Season 15, Episode 14) | BravoOur mouths are watering. ►► Subscribe for More: bravo.ly/Subscribe ►► Visit the Official Site: bravo.ly/Official ►► Watch Top Chef premiering December 6 at 9/8c on Bravo! FOLLOW TOP CHEF ON SOCIAL: Official Site: bravo.ly/TopChefOfficial Full Episodes & Clips: bravo.ly/TopChefVideos Facebook: bravo.ly/TopChefFacebook Watch Last Chance Kitchen on Bravo: bravo.ly/LastChanceKitchen ABOUT TOP CHEF: The Emmy Award®-winning cooking…2018-03-02T15:59:47.000Z

As regular Top Chef viewers know, the long-running cooking competition series has had many judging changes over the years. While Colicchio has been a part of every single season and Simmons only missed season 16 due to being on maternity leave, the other judging spots have been filled with everyone from Ted Allen and Anthony Bourdain, to Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck. So rotating judges in and out is nothing new and presumably, Elliot and Motamed could return if they were interested in judging future seasons.

There Are Plenty of Celebrities to Look Forward to in Season 17

Your First Look at “The Most Difficult Season of Top Chef” | Top Chef All-Stars: LA (S17) | BravoTop Chef All-Stars: LA features the fiercest group of competitors the show has ever seen! Returning are 15 finalists, front runners, and fan favorites from seasons past to finish what they started and battle it out for the coveted title. ►► Subscribe for More: bravo.ly/Subscribe ►► Visit the Official Site: bravo.ly/Official ►► Watch Top Chef…2020-02-14T16:00:12.000Z

Throughout season 17, the all-star chefs are going to cooking for Ali Wong, Randall Park, Kelly Clarkson, Jon Favreau, Roy Choi, Danny Trejo, and more. Plus, they’ll have to wow an impressive roster of culinary A-listers, including Nancy Silverton, Jeremy Tower, Marcus Samuelsson, Kelsey Barnard Clark, Carol & Niki Nakayama, and more.

The winning chef this year will receive the largest cash prize the show has ever awarded in $250,000, plus a feature in Food & Wine magazine and an appearance at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. But winning won’t be easy. Challenges this year include mastering Kaiseki for Michelin-winning chefs of N/Naka, creating a tribute for the Pulitzer Prize-winning and critically acclaimed food critic, the late Jonathan Gold, and honoring one of the most influential restaurants in the country, Michael’s in Santa Monica.

Top Chef season 17 airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

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