The ninth season of Bravo's culinary competition show, Top Chef, premieres next Wednesday, November 2, in Texas. This time around the producers have recruited the largest cast of hopefuls ever to compete on the show — 29 chefs from across the country have been granted the opportunity to cook for Top Chef glory, but only 16 of them will make it past episode two.
That being said, there are plenty of chefs in the group that boast talent and accomplishments worth considering. For one, the geographical spread ranges from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Cumberland Island, Ga., but the bulk of the contestants hail from the country's major food cities. Four competitors are from New York City restaurants, including Chaz Brown of Fatty Crab, and Kimberly Calichio of Fishtail by David Burke. The same number of contestants are from Seattle, including Colin Patterson of Sutra.
When it comes to awards and accolades, the competition this season is looking pretty fierce. Take for example Edward Lee, the chef-owner of 610 Magnolia in Louisville, Ky. Lee has been nominated three times for the Best Chef: Southeast award from the James Beard Foundation, plus he became the co-proprietor of 610 Magnolia when he was just 31 years old.
The contestants will face challenges in locations throughout the Lone Star State in an attempt to impress an illustrious panel of judges including Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and the newly hired Emeril Lagasse and Hugh Acheson.
Take a look through the rest of the contestants worth watching in this season of Top Chef.