Each Top Chef episode will feature two challenges for the aspiring chefs -- a "quirkfirst test" of their basic abilities and a more involved elimination challenge that will test their "versatility and invention" as they take on unique culinary trials. All of their food will be tasted and evaluated by Joel and the show's judges, however the dishes will also have to appeal the challenge's customers -- which will range from five star restaurant patrons to a room full of hungry kids.
At the end of each episode, one of the aspiring chefs will be asked to "pack up their knives" and head home. In addition to landing the title of "Top Chef," the winning contestant will also receive $100,000 in seed money to help encourage their culinary career, be featured in Food & Wine magazine, and appear at the Food & Wine Classic in June 2006.
The twelve aspiring chefs who will be competing on Top Chef are:
• Stephen Asprinio, a 24-year-old from Las Vegas, NV
• Andrea Beaman, a 37-year-old from New York, NY
• Harold Dieterle, a 28-year-old from New York, NY
• Tiffani Faison, a 28-year-old from Las Vegas, NV
• Brian Hill, a 36-year-old from Los Angeles, CA
• Candice Kumai, a 23-year-old from Pasadena, CA
• Kenneth Lee, a 31-year-old from Dublin, Ireland (currently living in Los Angeles)
• Dave Martin, a 40-year-old from Los Angeles, CA
• Miguel Morales, a 27-year-old from New York, NY
• Lisa Parks, a 45-year-old from Los Angeles
• Cynthia Sestito, a 54-year-old from East Hampton, NY
• Le Anne Wong, a 28-year-old from New York, NY