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'Top Chef' twelfth-season chef'testants and premiere date revealed by Bravo

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/21/2014 

Bravo has revealed the identities of the 16 "chef'testants" who will be competing on Top Chef's twelfth season, which will premiere on Wednesday, October 15 at 10PM ET/PT.

Hosted once again by Padma Lakshmi, Top Chef's twelfth edition will take place in New England and feature chef'testants battling it out to prove their culinary skills. Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and Hugh Acheson will return as judges, while guest judges will include Boston-based chefs and celebrities.

For the first time ever, a former Top Chef winner will also make his debut and offer the chef'testants guidance by serving as a recurring judge. That person will be Richard Blais, who finished the fourth season as the runner-up and won Top Chef: All-Stars.

During the next season of Top Chef, the competitors will undergo challenges at iconic Boston locales such as Fenway Park, Plimoth Plantation, and The Bull and Finch Pub.

Top Chef's twelfth season will feature many firsts including a meal served on the field underneath the Green Monster, a challenge using only ingredients that would've been on hand at the first Thanksgiving meal, a food festival, a fan-appreciation challenge that will enable fans to dine inside the Top Chef kitchen, and a task highlighting Boston's police and fire departments.

"Sudden death quickfire challenges" will also occur at random throughout the season, putting every chef'testant on the spot. 

Guest judges will include actress Emmy Rossum, NFL football player Rob "Gronk" Gronkowski, MLB Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, actor George Wendt, Watch What Happens Live host Andy Cohen, and Boston-based chefs Todd English, Barbara Lynch, Jasper White, Ming Tsai, Jacques Pepin, Ken Oringer, and Jamie Bissonette.

The winner of Top Chef's twelfth season will receive $125,000, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, and the title of "Top Chef."

Bravo announced Top Chef's renewal in January.

Top Chef is produced by Magical Elves with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serving as executive producers.

Below is the list of 16 chef'testants who will be competing on Top Chef's twelfth season:

- Doug Adams, a 29-year-old from Portland, OR

- Stacy Cogswell, a 33-year-old from Boston, MA

- Joy Crump, a 46-year-old from Fredericksburg, VA

- Ron Eyester, a 40-year-old from Atlanta, GA

- Gregory Gourdet, a 39-year-old from Portland, OR

- Aaron Grissom, a 27-year-old from Los Angeles, CA

- Adam Harvey, a 29-year-old from New York, NY

- Melissa King, a 30-year-old from San Francisco, CA

- Rebecca LaMalfa, a 32-year-old from Chicago, IL

- Mei Lin, a 28-year-old from Los Angeles, CA

- George Pagonis, a 31-year-old Washington, D.C.

- Michael Patlazhan, a 31-year-old from Brooklyn, NY

- James Rigato, a 29-year-old from White Lake, MI

- Katsuji Tanabe, a 33-year-old from Los Angeles, CA

- Keriann Von Raesfeld, a 28-year-old from San Jose, CA

- Katie Weinner, a 35-year-old from Salt Lake City, UT

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