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‘Top Chef’ star loses taste and smell after contracting COVID

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‘Top Chef: Houston’ contestant Jackson Kalb has revealed he lost his taste after contracting COVID-19.

The 31-year-old Los Angeles-based restaurateur contracted the contagious virus last August, just two weeks before flying to Houston to appear on the reality show.

“It was totally mild — I just felt like I had a cold — except all my smell and taste was gone,” Kalb told the Los Angeles Times in an interview on Friday.

The panicked cook tried a “wild list of things” in order to regain his sense of taste before filming the series.

“I did acupuncture. I took all the supplements and vitamins A through E,” Kalb said, saying nothing helped.

‘Top Chef: Houston’ contestant Jackson Kalb has revealed he lost his taste after contracting COVID-19. He is pictured competing in the program, which was filmed last year in Texas.

“Four or five days before I have to leave [for filming]I started getting these weird sensations on my tongue – this tingling or burning with salts, as well as acids like champagne vinegar or lemon juice, but there was no noticeable difference to me,” he continued.

Kalb was still able to go on the show after testing negative for the virus before filming. However, his sense of taste had not returned, leaving him at a competitive disadvantage.

Despite the downside, the chef still shined on the show, even winning several challenges before finally being eliminated on Thursday night’s episode.

When asked how he manages to cook his meals without knowing if it tastes good, Kalb said, “Honestly, it was a lot of instinct, and a lot of it was a roll of the dice.”

Despite the downside, the leader has always shone on the show, even winning multiple challenges. He was eliminated on Thursday night’s episode of the show.
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Kalb said “about 75%” of his taste returned two months after he finished the series.

Now, eight months later, the chef says he ‘thinks’ his taste is 100% back, although he’s ‘not sure’.

Loss of taste and smell is an extremely common symptom of COVID-19, with 23andMe researchers finding that 68% of all patients experienced a loss of senses.

The percentage was determined by the company after analyzing data from nearly 70,000 people in the US and UK who have contracted COVID.

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