Bravo's Top Chef kicks off its 11th season in a very special place: New Orleans.

We chatted with the stars of the series, Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons who couldn't say enough about the city they filmed in. Tom exposed that the crew went out nearly every night to explore the city. "I'm a music fan so it was great to get out and listen to music," he explains.

Gail fell in love with the city as well, noting, "I can't think of a better city to do a season of Top Chef in. I can't believe it took us this long to do! The food is so incredible, the people, the music, the scenery, the history, the culture--there was just so much to see and do we could have done 20 more episodes there."

Padma also enjoyed shooting in New Orleans this season and shares her explorations in the web series, Padma's Picks. Compared to seasons in the past and due to the incredible setting, Padma explains, "I just had more fun."

Check out the slideshow above to learn how long it takes Padma to lose the Top Chef weight, Gail's advice for future cheftestants and why Tom refuses to hire any chefs from the show.

Catch Top Chef on Wednesdays at 10pm ET/PT.

Want to see Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons at New York City Wine & Food Festival? Learn more here and here.

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Tags: Secrets of a Chef

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