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Katie Lee Joel to host Bravo's upcoming 'Top Chef' reality series

By Reality TV World staff, 11/10/2005 

Bravo has announced that Katie Lee Joel, the 24-year-old new trophy wife of 56-year-old music icon Billy Joel, will serve as the host of its new upcoming Top Chef reality series.

First announced this past summer, Top Chef will be a Hell's Kitchen-like series (but apparently without the credibility that celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay brought to the table) in which twelve aspiring chefs will compete for "their shot at culinary stardom and the chance to earn the prestigious title of 'Top Chef.'"

Scheduled to premiere next year, Top Chef began filming in San Francisco on October 24 and is expected to air as a ten-episode one-hour series. The show is being executive produced by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz of Magical Elves, that same team that produces Project Runway and Project Greenlight series and is also working on NBC's upcoming The Amazing Race-like Treasure Hunters series.

"Bravo is eager to discover exciting new talent in the culinary world, just as we did in fashion with Project Runway, in film with Project Greenlight, and comedy writing in Situation: Comedy," Bravo executive Frances Berwick gushed in the network's announcement release. "We're delighted to have Katie Lee Joel as host. Her passion for excellent cuisine pushes our contestants to the top of their game."

According to Bravo, Katie's "lifelong passion for good food" began when her grandmother taught her how to cook when she was growing up in West Virginia (the network didn't disclose whether a then 8-year-old Katie and her grandmother listened to her future husband's "We Didn't Start The Fire" hit as they baked cookies in 1989.)

Other examples of Katie's "broad and diversified" qualifications cited by Bravo include the facts that she's taken "a wide range" of culinary classes, spent a semester abroad in Florence, worked in several restaurants, helped open a Hamptons restaurant, and teamed with a friend to start a culinary website. Katie also graduated from the Miami University of Ohio with a degree in English and Journalism. Katie married the piano man on October 2, 2004 -- a "qualification" that went unmentioned by Bravo. Alexa Ray, Billy's 19-year-old daughter from his second marriage to Christie Brinkley, served as maid of honor.

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