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New Top Chef Masters: New Dishes and Leftovers

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Bravo announced a premiere date (April 7) and the new contestants for season 2 of Top Chef Masters. Among the 22 contestants, will be several chefs getting do-overs after having appeared in season 1, including Wylie Dufresne, the molecular gastronomist whose molecules came unglued in a tough challenge, despite having come in as a well-known favorite.

Also unveiled were some of the guest judges, including Matt Groening and Hank Azaria of The Simpsons, and the cast of Modern Family. Excerpts from the release after the jump:

All ye food lovers, it’s time to celebrate! “Top Chef Masters,” returns for season two and once again the judges’ table will be turned, when the world-renowned chefs compete against each other in a series of weekly challenges. “Top Chef Masters” premieres on Wednesday, April 7 at 11 p.m. ET/PT and will move to its regular time period on April 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

“Top Chef Masters” pits 22 world-renowned chefs against each other, six of whom are returning chefs back to defend their glory, to see how well they fare in the tried and true format of “Top Chef.” In each episode, money will be at stake for the chefs, with the winners of quickfires and eliminations being awarded cash donations for their designated charities. The first four episodes will consist of a different group of chefs competing against each other to name one winner and the two chefs with the highest star total will move on to the next round. The final six weeks will whittle down the chefs until the finale where one winner is crowned Top Chef Master. The winning chef will receive $100,000 for the charity of their choice.

This season, “Top Chef Masters” will feature guest stars and judges Mekhi Phifer, “The Simpsons” creator Matt Groening and star Hank Azaria, Andrew Zimmern (Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern), the cast of Modern Family, US Olympic Swimmer Jason Lezak , Bravo’s “Real Housewives of OC” Lynne Curtin, Alexis Bellino and Tamra Barney among others.

Food journalist Kelly Choi returns as series’ host, alongside renowned restaurant critic Gael Greene, culinary expert James Oseland and food critic Jay Rayner who are back on the Critic’s Table. “Top Chef” series judge Gail Simmons will also serve as a judge this season. “Top Chef Masters,” was Bravo’s highest rated first season competition show, averaging 1.53 million adults 18-49 and 2.22 million total viewers. “Top Chef Masters” is produced by the Emmy-nominated Magical Elves. Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serve as executive producers. “Top Chef” head judge, renowned culinary figure and chef/owner Craft Restaurants Tom Colicchio serves as consulting producer.

[snip]

Following are the 22 “Top Chef Masters” competing chefs:

- Jody Adams – Rialto Restaurant, Cambridge, Mass.
– Govind Armstrong – 8 oz Burger Bar, Los Angeles, Calif.
– Graham Elliot Bowles – Graham Elliot Restaurant, Chicago, Ill.
– Jimmy Bradley – The Red Cat, New York, N.Y.
– David Burke – David Burke Townhouse, New York, N.Y.
– Wylie Dufresne – wd~50, New York, N.Y.
– Susan Feniger – Street, Los Angeles, Calif.
– Debbie Gold – The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.
– Carmen Gonzalez – Chef Consultant, New York, N.Y.
– Maria Hines – Tilth, Seattle, Wash.
– Susur Lee – Madeline’s, Toronto, Canada
– Ludo Lefebvre – Ludo Bites, Los Angeles, Calif.
– Tony Mantuano – Spiaggia, Chicago, Ill.
– Rick Moonen – Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, Nev.
– Mark Peel – Campanile, Los Angeles, Calif.
– Monica Pope – t’afla, Houston, Texas
– Thierry Rautureau – Rover’s, Seattle, Wash.
– Marcus Samuelsson – The Red Rooster, New York, N.Y.
– Ana Sortun – Oleana, Cambridge, Mass.
– Rick Tramonto – TRU, Chicago, Ill.
– Jerry Traunfeld – Poppy, Seattle, Wash.
– Jonathan Waxman – Barbuto, New York, N.Y.

Each episode of “Top Chef Masters” holds two challenges for the chefs. The first is a quickfire challenge which tests their basic abilities and will be judged by a blind taste test and a five-star system, similar to fine dining reviews. The second challenge – is a more involved elimination challenge – designed to test the versatility and invention of the chefs as they take on unique culinary trials such as working with unusual and exotic foods or catering for demanding clients. The food will be tasted and evaluated by the judges and a wide range of tasters for whom the challenge is aimed, whether patrons at a five-star restaurant or a room full of hungry kids – the food has to appeal to the diner as well as the critics for the chefs to survive.

For the second season of “Top Chef Masters,” http://www.BravoTV.com is serving up a new behind-the-scenes treat: unprecedented access to the Judges’ Table with extended footage of the judging process, only available online. Viewers also will learn how to make each week’s winning recipe step-by-step in the popular Top Recipe video series, which returns this season with a brand-new host: Atlanta chef and “Top Chef: Las Vegas” finalist Kevin Gillespie.

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