Vanessa Lachey and Curtis Stone are the new host and head chef, respectively, for Top Chef Junior, which will kick off the new Universal Kids channel this fall. The announcement comes only a few weeks after NBCUniversal announced that its preschool channel Sprout would be rebranding as Universal Kids, which intends to target two- to 11-year-olds.
The network’s September launch will be followed by Top Chef Junior’s premiere a month later. Produced by Magical Elves, the prodco behind Bravo’s Top Chef, the series features 12 chefs between the ages of nine and 14 competing against each other.
The 14 x 60-minute episodes will include Quickfires, team challenges and eliminations just like the popular adult version. There will also be special celebrity guest judge appearance, and the young chefs will compete in iconic Top Chef challenges like Restaurant Wars.
Vanessa Lachey has hosted shows like Total Request Live, Top of the Pops and Entertainment Tonight. She has also appeared as a guest star on Hawaii Five O, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother and more.
Curtis Stone, meanwhile, is an internationally renowned chef, restaurateur, TV host and author. He has two US restaurants, Maude and Gwen, both in California. Stone is no stranger to hosting, either. He co-hosted Around the World in 80 Plates for Bravo in 2012 and Top Chef Masters.