Bravo to debut 'Top Chef: D.C.' on June 16, Eric Ripert new judge
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/13/2010
Bravo has revealed the identities of the 17 culinary contestants competing on Top Chef: Washington, D.C., which will premiere Wednesday, June 16 at 9PM ET/PT.
In addition, the network announced that Eric Ripert -- the chef and owner of New York City's Le Bernardin restaurant -- is replacing Toby Young on Top Chef's judging panel for the seventh season.
Young first appeared as a Top Chef judge during the show's Fall 2008 fifth season when he replaced former Queer Eye expert Ted Allen.
Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and host Padma Lakshmi will all reprise their roles on the judging panel for the seventh season.
The season will also include guest appearances by former Dancing with the Stars celebrity participant Buzz Aldrin, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, White House chef Sam Kass, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, CIA Director Leon Panetta and NBC White House Correspondent Savannah Guthrie.
Top Chef: Washington, D.C.'s contestants will be competing for a grand-prize package similar to the reality culinary competition's previous seasons: $125,000 in seed money to help open a restaurant; a feature in Food & Wine magazine; a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen; and the title of "Top Chef."