For its seventh season, "Top Chef" goes to Washington, D.C., and uses popular political tropes as inspiration for the competition's challenges. These challenges include making bipartisan sandwiches, creating toothpick meals and meals on-the-go, coming up with a spread for a Capitol Hill interns' picnic, and cooking dishes featuring foreign and exotic ingredients. Once again, 17 chefs fight for the top prize of $125,000 and the Fan Favorite Award, which comes with an additional $10,000. The season finale takes place in Singapore, the first time "Top Chef" flies to a location abroad. Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio return to their seats at the judges table, while Eric Ripert replaces Toby Young as the third judge. Padma Lakshmi also comes back to host the show. The season finale features previous "Top Chef" winners assisting the final three contestants.