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[01/23/08 - 09:58 AM]
Let the Flames Begin - Bravo's "Top Chef: Chicago" Premieres Wednesday, March 12 at 10 PM ET/PT
Originally set for March 19, the new season will now launch one week earlier on March 12.

[via press release from Bravo]

LET THE FLAMES BEGIN - BRAVO'S "TOP CHEF: CHICAGO" PREMIERES WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12 AT 10 PM ET/PT

16 Hot New Chefs Take To The Kitchen Along With Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons And Ted Allen

NEW YORK � January 23, 2008 � Let the flames begin. Bravo's highly anticipated fourth season of the Emmy-Award nominated No. 1 food show on cable returns with "Top Chef: Chicago," premiering Wednesday, March 12 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT. Get ready to sharpen your knives as the newest crop of 16 rising chefs from across the country take on the windy city. Returning to the kitchen, cookbook author, actress and host Padma Lakshmi presides over the judge's table alongside head judge Tom Colicchio, renowned culinary figure and chef/ owner, Craft Restaurants, judge Gail Simmons, of Food & Wine Magazine and judge Ted Allen, food and wine ambassador for Robert Mondavi Private selection wines. In what will prove to be the most exciting season yet, some of the biggest and most respected chefs will guest star on "Top Chef: Chicago."

To meet the cast of Season Four, visit www.BravoTV.com.

"This season the chefs bring a diverse wealth of talent and skill to the table that we've not seen before," said Colicchio. "The title 'Top Chef' has proven to be an amazing opportunity for these chefs to make a name for themselves in the competitive culinary world."

The 16 "Top Chef: Chicago" 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 $100,000 in seed money to help open a restaurant, furnished by the makers of the Glad family of products, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, a gourmet dream vacation in the French Alps and will earn the title of "Top Chef."

Following are the 16 new "Top Chef: Chicago" chef'testants (Bios enclosed):

-Andrew, 30 - Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL; Resides in N.Y.

-Antonia, 31 - Hometown/Resides in: Los Angeles, CA

-Dale, 29 - Hometown: Chicago, IL; Resides in N.Y.

-Erik, 38 - Hometown: Chappaqua, NY; Resides in San Francisco, CA

-Jennifer, 35 - Hometown: Brooklyn, NY; Resides in San Francisco, CA

-Lisa, 27 � Hometown: Toronto, Canada; Resides in N.Y.

-Manuel, 33 - Hometown: Laredo, TX; Resides in N.Y.

-Mark, 29 - Hometown: Invercargill, New Zealand; Resides in N.Y.

-Nikki, 35 - Hometown/Resides in: N.Y.

-Nimma, 26 - Hometown: Peachtree City, GA; Resides in Atlanta, GA

-Richard, 35 - Hometown: Uniondale, NY; Resides in Atlanta, GA

-Ryan, 28 - Hometown: Los Banos, CA; Resides in San Francisco, CA

-Spike, 27 � Hometown: Clearwater Beach, FL; Resides in Williamsburg, N.Y.

-Stephanie, 31 - Hometown: Stamford, CT; Resides in Chicago, IL

-Valerie, 32 - Hometown/Resides in: Chicago, IL

-Zoi, 30, - Hometown: Seattle, WA; Resides in San Francisco, CA

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 sixteen 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.

www.BravoTV.com will continue to be the home for a robust food and drink destination dedicated to "Top Chef" fans and foodies. Fans will feast on contestant profiles featuring bios, video interviews, questionnaires, photo galleries and recipes from the show. The site will also bring back blogs from the show's judges as well as culinary legend Anthony Bourdain. Visitors can also "Rate The Plate" and vote for the dish they think deserves top honors each week, play "Memory Match" and test their skills or try the "Chopping Block" where viewers decide who should get the chop and what chef is on top each week. "Top Chef" season one star Lee Anne Wong returns with weekly online exclusive cooking webisodes entitled "The Wong Way To Cook," teaching viewers how to make each week's winning recipe at home.

"Chef" fans can also visit wap.bravotv.com from their web-enabled phone for exclusive contestant and judge Q&A's, photo diaries, foodie favorites, video tips, wallpapers and ringtones. Viewers can also play the new mobile game "Top Chef Challenge," designed and developed by leading mobile publisher LimeLife, Inc. The game is set behind-the-scenes of a Tom Colicchio fictional restaurant. Players customize their character and enter the game's virtual kitchen as an entry-level dishwasher and can advance to "Top Chef," gain 5-star status and fame along the way with commentary and advice from show host, Padma Lakshmi. Fans can text CHEF to 27286 to join the Top Chef mobile fan club and receive behind-the-scenes dish and exclusive interactive content from the chef'testants, hosts and judges.

"Top Chef" debuted in March 2006 to critical acclaim and ratings success, returning with season two in October 2006 which averaged over 2 million total viewers, ranking as the top food series on cable and most recently with season three which premiered June 2007 and finished out the season averaging over 2.5 million viewers and securing the title of No. 1 food show on cable.

Source: Nielsen Media Research, Live+7 data through 12/30/07, Top Chef vs. Premiere airings of Food Network programs, P2+ (000), subject to qualifications.

Magical Elves returns to produce "Top Chef: Chicago." Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, who also produce the Emmy-Award nominated "Project Runway" for Bravo, return as executive producers. Shauna Minoprio also serves as executive producer.





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· PROJECT RUNWAY (LIFETIME)
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