Bravo reveals 'Top Chef: New York' cast, series to debut November 12
By John Bracchitta, 10/01/2008
Bravo has revealed the identities of the 17 culinary up-and-comers who will compete on Top Chef: New York, which will premiere with a special 90-minute broadcast on Wednesday, November 12 at 10PM ET/PT.
Top Chef: New York's contestants -- or "chef'testants" as the network terms them -- will be competing for a grand-prize package similar to the show's previous seasons: $100,000 in seed money to help open a restaurant, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, and a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.
"Being in New York this season, we've upped the ante -- because this is our home turf -- so the pressure's on for the chefs to impress us," said Top Chef lead judge and restaurateur Tom Colicchio.
Rounding out the judging panel with Colicchio will be Padma Lakshmi (returning for her fourth season of hosting duties), Food & Wine magazine editor Gail Simmons, and new judge Toby Young.
Young, a best-selling British author and food critic, will replace Ted Allen, the former Queer Eye expert who had served as a judge on Top Chef's last two seasons. Allen wasn't able to participate due to the show's time commitments, according to a Bravo spokesperson. He began serving as the host of Food Detectives, a new Mythbusters-like Food Network series that attempts to debunk food myths, earlier this summer.
In addition, Top Chef: New York will also feature guest appearances by several culinary and mainstream stars including Martha Stewart, The Foo Fighters, Jean-Georges, Eric Ripert, Rocco DiSpirito, Wylie Dufresne, Jean-Christophe Novelli and Natasha Richardson.
The 17 new Top Chef: New York contestants -- whose ages range from 21 to 44 -- are:
- Alex, a 33-year-old executive chef from New York, NY who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
- Ariane, a 41-year-old chef and restaurant owner from Verona, NJ.
- Carla, a 44-year-old chef and catering business owner from Nashville, TN who currently resides in Washington, D.C.
- Danny, a 26-year-old executive chef from New Hyde Park, NY.
- Fabio, a 30-year-old restaurant owner from Florence, Italy who currently resides in Moorpark, CA.
- Gene, a 33-year-old executive sushi chef and chef consultant from Whitmore Village, HI who currently resides in Las Vegas, NV.
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- Hosea, a 26-year-old executive chef and restaurant owner from Taos, NM who currently resides in Boulder, CO.
- Jamie, a 30-year-old executive chef from New York, NY. who currently resides in San Francisco, CA.
- Jeff, a 30-year-old chef du cuisine from Niceville, FL who currently resides in Miami, FL.
- Jill, a 28-year-old executive chef from Latrobe, PA who currently resides in Baltimore, MD.
- Lauren, a 24-year-old chef tournant from Cincinnati, OH who is currently stationed at Fort Stewart in Georgia.
- Leah, a 27-year-old sous chef from Scarsdale, NY who currently resides in New York, NY.
- Melissa, a 28-year-old sous chef from Maryland who currently resides in Boulder, CO.
- Patrick, a 21-year-old culinary student from Quincy, MA who currently resides in Hyde Park, NY.
- Radhika, a 28-year-old executive chef from Chicago, IL.
- Richard, a 27-year-old executive sous chef from Long Island, NY who currently resides in San Diego, CA.
- Stefan, a 35-year-old chef from Tampere, Finland who currently resides in Santa Monica, CA.