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Bravo's 'Top Chef' to premiere after March 8 'Project Runway 2' finale

By Reality TV World staff, 01/13/2006 

Hoping to expose its new Top Chef reality series to as many Project Runway viewers as possible, Bravo has announced that decided to bump the premiere of the new reality cooking competition up a week and debut it immediately after the Wednesday, March 8 at 10PM ET/PT broadcast of Runway's second season finale.

Originally scheduled to premiere in Project Runway's Wednesdays at 10PM ET/PT time period the week after Runway's finale aired, Top Chef will now debut Wednesday, March 8 at 11PM ET/PT. After its premiere, Top Chef will resume its originally planned broadcast schedule and air Wednesdays at 10PM ET/PT beginning on March 15.

First announced this past summer and hosted by Katie Lee Joel, the 24-year-old trophy wife of 56-year-old music icon Billy Joel, Top Chef will be a Hell's Kitchen-like series in which twelve aspiring chefs will compete for "their shot at culinary stardom and the chance to earn the prestigious title of 'Top Chef.'"

A ten-episode series, Top Chef was shot on location in San Francisco and is executive produced by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz of Magical Elves, the 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.

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.

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