Eight new chefs face off against eight returning chefs in Charleston, S.C.; the new chefs enter the kitchen first to cook as many dishes as possible in one hour using a whole chicken; the veterans square off to re-imagine shrimp and grits.
The chefs join the judges for a traditional shrimp boil; the newcomers face off against the returning chefs to put a spin on a low-country family meal; after dining with chefs Carrie Morey and BJ Dennis, each team creates a family-style feast.
The chefs divide into teams to compete in a "mise en place" race. The foodies must also create a seven-course progressive meal featuring the humble radish in front of "Top Chef" superfans. The guest judges are Chris Cosentino and Richard Blais.
The chefs must create dishes using an odd mix of ingredients and tools found inside gift boxes. Later, they prepare a traditional Italian-American seafood-filled dinner, but they're forced to use a notoriously undesirable fish species. Appearing: editor Nilou Motamed and foodie Mike Lata.
The chefs are baffled to enter a dark, empty kitchen, with all signs pointing to a biscuit challenge. Later, they must work through the night to prepare a whole hog and three side dishes for 150 barbecue fans, including music star Darius Rucker. Appearing: foodie John Currence and barbecue master Rodney Scott.
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy enlists the chefs to create vegetarian versions of traditional comfort foods. Then, the chefs must prepare dishes that pay tribute to Edna Lewis, the matriarch of Southern cuisine. Appearing: Alexander Smalls; Art Smith; Hugh Acheson; Nathalie Dupree; and Mashama Bailey.
Ingredients and the element of the chefs' zodiac sign must correspond. Later, the food fighters divide into teams to throw a pirate-themed bash, during which they must race through Charleston in a treasure hunt to collect their ingredients. Appearing: Michael Cimarusti and Graham Elliot.
The iconic Restaurant Wars challenge features the chefs dividing into teams to design a restaurant and create a cohesive menu, but the heat is on when egos collide and tempers flare. Appearing: chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara.
A blindfolded taste experiment tests the chefs. Later, the chefs draw inspiration from their own childhood memories to create meals for a charity gala for the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital. Appearing: Michael Voltaggio and Graham Elliot.
The chefs are asked to prepare a decadent brunch for the famed Charleston Hat Ladies. However, it won't be a traditional southern brunch as they must create whimsical breakfast and lunch hybrid dishes inventive enough to impress the judges.
The final four chefs cook impromptu dishes while simultaneously instructing mystery partners on how to create the same dish; when the judges compare dishes, the chefs are shocked to discover their secret partners are their visiting family members.
In Guadalajara, Mexico, the three remaining chefs face off against the winner of "Last Chance Kitchen'. The chefs must create a dish using goat, then they are tasked to pair their own cocktail with a dish that incorporates the notes of a margarita.
The Yucatan Peninsula is the setting for a challenge to cook a dish showcasing the local habanero. Later, the chefs learn about traditional Maya cooking, then they create a dish using only ancient Maya ingredients and tools. Appearing: Jeremiah Tower; Roberto Munoz Zurita; Roberto Solis; and Guillermo Beristain.