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Bravo to debut 'Top Chef Masters' June 10, reveals competing chefs

By John Bracchitta, 04/07/2009 

Bravo has announced that Top Chef Masters, a spinoff of the network's top-rated Top Chef reality competition, will premiere Wednesday June 10 at 10PM ET/PT.

Top Chef Masters will initially pit 24 "world-renowned" chefs in a tournament-style format in which each of the show's first six episodes will feature four chefs competing against each other for one open spot.

Once the first six preliminary rounds have concluded, the show will then switch to a more typical elimination format, with the six winners -- who will all receive cash prizes for the charities of their choice for advancing -- then engaging in new challenges in which one chef will be eliminated each episode.  After four weeks, one chef will be crowned "Top Chef Master" and awarded $100,000 towards the charity of their choice.

Each episode of Top Chef Masters will follow the tried and true Top Chef formula with two challenges for the chefs to complete. The first challenge, the "quickfire challenge," will test the chef's basic cooking abilities. However, in a twist to the format, each quickfire challenge will be judged by a blind taste test and a graded with a five-star system, similar to fine dining reviews.

The second challenge will be an elimination challenge and test the chef's versatility and invention in the kitchen as they work with unusual and exotic foods for demanding clients. Following the judges' tasting of the chef's food, along with any other tasters involved in the challenge, the determination will be made which chefs survive and which go home.

Former model and food journalist/author Kelly Choi will serve as host for Top Chef Masters, with restaurant New York Magazine food critic Gael Greene; Saveur magazine editor-in-chief and culinary expert James Oseland; and British journalist and broadcaster Jay Rayner serving as the show's regular judges.

Top Chef Masters will also feature numerous special guest stars and judges, including  Neil Patrick Harris, Zooey Deschanel, Morgan Spurlock, Lost writers and executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof and Flipping Out's Jeff Lewis. Also, for the first time ever, all of Top Chef's previous winners will appear together on one episode. The series will also showcase "chef'testant" fan favorites as well as appearances by Top Chef judges Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons.

The 24 competing chefs who will be competing on Top Chef Masters, as well as their restaurants and locations, are:

- Rick Bayless from Frontera Grill in Chicago, IL

- Wilo Benet from Pikayo in San Juan, Puerto Rico

- John Besh from Restaurant August in New Orleans, LA

- Graham Elliot Bowles from Graham Elliot Restaurant in Chicago, IL

- Michael Chiarello from Bottega Restaurant in Yountville, CA

- Michael Cimarusti from Providence in Los Angeles, CA

- Wylie Dufresne from wd~50 in New York, NY

- Elizabeth Falkner from Orson in San Francisco, CA

- Hubert Keller from Fleur de Lys in San Francisco, CA

- Christopher Lee from Aureole in New York, NY

- Ludo Lefebvre from Ludo Bites in Los Angeles, CA

- Anita Lo from Annisa in New York, NY

- Tim Love from The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, TX

- Rick Moonen from Rick Moonen's RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, NV.

- Nils Noren from French Culinary Institute in New York, NY

- Lachlan McKinnon Patterson from Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder, CO

- Cindy Pawlcyn from Mustards Grill in Napa Valley, CA

- Mark Peel from Campanile in Los Angeles, CA

- Douglas Rodriguez from Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia, PA

- Michael Schlow from Radius Restaurant in Boston, MA

- Art Smith from Table Fifty-Two in Chicago, IL

- Suzanne Tracht from Jar in Los Angeles, CA

- Jonathan Waxman from Barbuto in New York, NY

- Roy Yamaguchi from Roy's Restaurants in San Diego, CA

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