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Tucson’s Culinary Prestige on Display in Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 19 Finale

Tucson’s distinction as one of the premier culinary destinations in the United States will be further showcased in the soon-to-debut 19th season finale episodes of Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

During the final two episodes of Bravo’s “Top Chef” airing Thursday, May 26 and June 2, Tucson-based James Beard Award nominee chefs Maria Mazon of Boca Tacos y Tequila and Carlotta Flores of El Charro Café will take viewers on a culinary tour of Tucson, designated a UNESCO City of Gastronomy.

Mazon is a familiar face on the show, having competed on season 18 of “Top Chefin Portland. She was a frontrunner during her season, making it to the top five with her culinary innovations that won over several of the judges’ hearts and taste buds.

Flores is the culinary talent behind the Tucson institution El Charro Café, one of the locales featured in the episodes. Founded in 1922 by Flores’ great aunt Monica Flin, El Charro Café has grown from a single restaurant in to a culinary empire under Flores’ watchful eye. Her Tucson restaurants now include Pub 1922, Charro Steak and Del Rey, Charro Vida and The Monica, as well as Barrio Bread, a collaboration with fellow Tucson-based James Beard nominee Don Guerra.

Credited with shaping Tucson’s contemporary culinary scene, Janos Wilder, the recipient of the James Beard Awards Best Chef: Southwest in 2000, will also make an appearance in the finale episodes.

The ongoing efforts of Mazon, Flores, Wilder and countless others, are among the reasons why “Top Chef” chose to shoot in Tucson.

"When searching for a finale location, we often look for opportunities to showcase a city which is both a visually stunning destination and a culinary hidden gem,” said Magical Elves producer Diana Schmedeman. “Tucson was all that and more with its majestic mountains, lush deserts and fantastic resorts, all creating an epic environment for a spectacular season finale. Having been introduced to influential culinary figures and local growers who help shape Tucson’s scene, we knew we had found everything needed to help inspire our finalists for a memorable season finale.”

Tucson’s storied food history began some 4,000 years ago and spans the Mexico, Arizona border. Rich Mexican and Native American ingredients and recipes are among those celebrated in the southern Arizona enclave today.

“We are honored ‘Top Chef’ chose Tucson as the destination for the Season 19 finale and we’re excited to share our rich culinary story with millions of viewers across the country,” said Visit Tucson CEO Felipe Garcia.

Other familiar Tucson sites featured in the final two episodes include Pima County Historic Courthouse, Tanque Verde Ranch, JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort and Spa, and Mission Garden, a living agricultural museum located just minutes from downtown.

About “Top Chef” The Emmy and James Beard Award-Winning series “Top Chef” consistently ranks as the #1 most-watched food show on cable. The culinary competition features diverse and talented chefs from across the country vying for the coveted title bringing their unique skillsets, variety of cuisines and gamut of flavors. Hosted by Padma Lakshmi, the chefs are judged in a series of Quickfire and Elimination challenges by Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, along with a rotating panel of industry experts, world-renowned chefs and notable names from the food and wine industry. The show is produced by Emmy Award-winning production company Magical Elves.

About Magical Elves Magical Elves is a leading producer of award-winning, non-fiction content for domestic and international television markets. Known for hits like “Top Chef” (Bravo), “Nailed It!” (Netflix), “Cold Justice” (Oxygen), and “Brain Games On The Road” (National Geographic), Magical Elves is a veteran production company with a long track record of consistently delivering the highest quality programming. Magical Elves is a part of The Tinopolis Group’s portfolio of production companies. For more information, visit

About Visit Tucson Visit Tucson is the official destination marketing organization for the City of Tucson, Pima County, and Town of Oro Valley and partners with more than 500 business members throughout the community.

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