It's a whole new ballgame for the competing chefs on Bravo's "Top Chef: Texas," premiering Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. For the first-time ever, season nine will boast a record 29 chefs - almost double the amount of chefs in season's past - who will see if they have what it takes to become an official chef'testant and qualify to wear the "Top Chef" coat.
Only 16 will go on to compete across the Lone Star State - in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. In what will prove to be the most challenging season yet, some of the biggest names in food, music and entertainment including Charlize Theron, Pee-wee Herman, Cat Cora, John Besh, Tim Love and Patti LaBelle will be featured this season on "Top Chef: Texas." Returning to the judges' table is host Padma Lakshmi and head judge, chef Tom Colicchio, alongside judges Gail Simmons and new this season, famed chef and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse and critically acclaimed chef Hugh Acheson.
Colicchio says, "Just like Texas, this will be our biggest season ever."
Adds host Lakshmi, "I'm so excited for everyone at home to get a glimpse of all the great and talented chefs. This season is bigger and better than ever! Yum!"
The "Top Chef: Texas" chef'testants will be skewered down week by week as they compete to out-flavor, out-cook and out-do their competition. The winning chef will receive $125,000 furnished by Healthy Choice, 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 Emmy Award-winning Magical Elves return to produce "Top Chef: Texas." Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serve as executive producers.
To check out exclusive casting videos for all 29 hopefuls, go to: http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/season-9/videos/casting-videos.
Following are the 29 "Top Chef: Texas" hopefuls:
New this season, eliminated chef'testants will have a second chance at the "Top Chef" title through a "Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen" webisode series, hosted by "Top Chef" lead judge and culinary mastermind Colicchio. Each week, two eliminated chef'testants face-off to compete for the ultimate prize -- a chance to return to the show and compete to qualify for the on-air finale. Fans can follow the "Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen" challenges and vote in each week's Tweet Battle on www.BravoTV.com, as well as join in the social conversation on the Tweet Tracker. This exciting new series can be seen on BravoTV.com, m.BravoTV.com, on BravoNow iPhone, iPad and Android apps, as well as Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, VOD, Zune, Playstation and wireless carriers.