Taste the culinary power on the seventh season of the No. 1 food show on cable, Bravo’s Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series “Top Chef: Washington D.C.,” premiering Wednesday, June 16 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo. The 17 new chef’testants come face to face in the nation’s capitol for the ultimate power play that will determine just who has the chops to become Top Chef.
This season captures the varied tastes of Washington D.C. and features appearances by some of the town’s top names including Apollo Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, White House chef Sam Kass, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, Congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, CIA Director Leon Panetta and NBC White House Correspondent Savannah Guthrie. The challenges featured will be some of the most creative and inventive yet: the chefs take over the concession stands at the Nationals stadium, go inside the CIA’s closely guarded headquarters and literally receive out of this world direction on one challenge from a NASA astronaut orbiting Earth .
Once again returning to the kitchen, cookbook author, actress and host Padma Lakshmi presides over the judge’s table alongside head judge Tom Colicchio, recent James Beard Award-winner and chef/owner Craft Restaurants, and judge Gail Simmons of Food & Wine magazine. Joining the series as a regular guest judge is Eric Ripert, award-winning chef and owner of the acclaimed Le Bernardin restaurant in New York City, the 15th ranked best restaurant in the world.
The Emmy-nominated Magical Elves return to produce “Top Chef: Washington D.C.” Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz (“Top Chef Masters,” “Dance Your Ass Off”), Liz Cook and Casey Kriley serve as executive producers. Chaz Gray serves as co-executive producer.
The 17 “Top Chef: Washington D.C.” chef’testants will be whittled down week by week as they compete to outshine their competition. The winning chef will receive $125,000 furnished by Dial Nutriskin, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and will earn the title of “Top Chef.” The Washington Hilton served as the production location for “Top Chef: Washington D.C.”
Following are the 17 new “Top Chef: Washington D.C.” chef’testants:
– Alex Reznik, 33 – Hometown: Brooklyn, NY; Resides in Hollywood, CA
– Amanda Baumgarten, 27 – Hometown/Resides in: Los Angeles, CA
– Andrea Curto-Randazzo, 39 – Hometown: Vero Beach, FL/Resides in: Miami Beach, FL.
– Angelo Sosa, 34 – Hometown: Connecticut; Resides in New York, NY.
– Arnold Myint, 32 – Hometown/Resides in: Nashville, TN.
– Ed Cotton, 32 – Hometown: Boston, MA; Resides in New York, NY.
– Jacqueline Lombard, 33 – Hometown: Boston, MA/Resides in Brooklyn, NY.
– John Somerville, 42 – Hometown/Resides in: West Bloomfield, MI.
– Kelly Liken, 33 – Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA/Resides in: Vail, CO.
– Kenny Gilbert, 36 – Hometown: Cleveland, OH/Resides in: Telluride, CO
– Kevin Sbraga, 30 – Hometown/Resides in: Willingboro, NJ.
– Lynne Gigliotti, 51 – Hometown: Philadelphia, PA/Resides in Hyde Park, NY.
– Stephen Hopcraft, 40 – Hometown: Cleveland, OH.; Resides in Las Vegas, NV
– Tamesha Warren, 24 – Hometown: Barbados; Resides in Washington D.C.
– Tiffany Derry, 26 – Hometown: Beaumont, TX/Resides in: Dallas, TX
– Timothy Dean, 39 – Hometown: Washington D.C./Resides in Baltimore, MD
– Tracey Bloom, 33 – Hometown: Rochester, NY/Resides in Atlanta, GA
Bravo’s “Top Chef” offers a fascinating window into the competitive, pressure-filled environment of world-class cookery and the restaurant business at the highest level. The series features seventeen aspiring chefs who compete for their shot at culinary stardom and the chance to earn the prestigious title of “Top Chef.” Each episode holds two challenges for the chefs. The first is a quickfire test of their basic abilities and the second is a more involved elimination challenge designed to test the versatility and inventiveness of the chefs as they take on unique culinary trials such as working with unusual and exotic foods or catering for a range of demanding clients. The challenges not only test their skills in the kitchen, but also uncover if they have the customer service, management and teamwork abilities required of a Top Chef. The competing chefs live and breathe the high-pressure lifestyle that comes with being a master chef and each week someone is asked to “pack up their knives” and go home.
In conjunction with season seven, www.bravotv.com is launching a roster of culinary-themed games and the all-new Rate The Plate, which lets viewers assess dishes from the season. The site will also feature weekly, un-aired video footage from the Judges’ Table and weekly blogs posted by the judges and cheftestants. Fans can use the B-Hive Party Planner to invite friends to a private Top Chef viewing party at home, complete with invitations, game ideas, and menus supplied by Bravotv.com. Fans can also learn how to serve up each week’s winning dish with the weekly Top Recipe video hosted by season six winner Michael Voltaggio. The site will also feature a Talk Bubble viewing party during the season seven finale, where fans can post their instant reactions to the episode on Facebook and Twitter.
Chef” fans can also visit m.bravotv.com from their web-enabled phone for on-the-go access to content including blogs, photo galleries, photo diaries and videos. Fans who text CHEF to 27286 can join the Top Chef mobile fan club and receive behind-the-scenes dish and exclusive interactive content from the chef’testants, hosts and judges. A new season of the mobile video series “Slice & Dice Showdown” has the chefs grouped into two teams as they compete in foodie challenges and earn points culminating in the ultimate dessert bake-off. On iTunes fans that purchase the Season Pass will get a series of exclusive videos that takes them through the making of Top Chef from how challenges are brainstormed, tested and executed to an exclusive tour of the Top Chef kitchen.
“Top Chef” has delivered strong audiences season-to-season, debuting in March 2006 to critical acclaim and ratings success, returning with season two in October 2006 which averaged over two million total viewers, then season three which premiered on June 2007 finished out the season averaging over 2.5 million viewers. Season four which premiered in March 2008, averaged over three million viewers and seasons five and six were the series’ highest rated season ever, with season five averaging almost three million adults 18-49 and almost four million total viewers and season six continuing strong with 3.7 million total viewers and 2.6 million Adults 18-49. Top Chef is the #1 food show on cable among Adults 18-49.
Source: Nielsen Media Research, Live+7 Day data through 4/18/10 blended with Live+ Same Day data through 5/2/10, P18-49 & P2+(000). #1 Food Show: Top Chef 6 Premieres vs. Premiere airings of Food Network programs, P18-49 (000), subject to qualifications.