[02/10/10 - 07:08 AM]
Bravo's "Top Chef Masters" Returns with a Whole New LineuP.and Some Familiar Faces Wednesday, April 7 at 11 Pm
Guest judges this season include Mekhi Phifer, Matt Groening, Hank Azaria, Andrew Zimmern, the cast of "Modern Family," Jason Lezak , Lynne Curtin, Alexis Bellino and Tamra Barney.

[via press release from Bravo]


22 World-Renowned Competing Chefs Revealed Along With Guest Stars Hank Azaria, Andrew Zimmern, Mekhi Phifer, Matt Groenig, Among Others

Lexus Returns As Top Sponsor For Season Two

NEW YORK - February 10, 2010 - 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.

"Following the success of season one, we were able to attract another stellar line up of Master chefs, including some true legends of American cuisine," said Jane Lipsitz, Executive Producer, Magical Elves. Added Dan Cutforth, Executive Producer, Magical Elves, "this season's chefs bring amazing stories, lots of drama and even more intense competition to the Top Chef kitchen."

Lexus returns as a fully integrated sponsor as the primary transportation vehicles for the competing Master Chefs as they make their way around Los Angeles for "Top Chef Masters" challenges. In addition to being the exclusive transportation partner to the chefs, Lexus will receive integrations across the series that will highlight key attributes of the Lexus RX 450 Hybrid. Lexus will provide $10,000 prizing to the charity of choice for the winner of each of the qualifying round episodes. As part of their on-air sponsorship, Lexus also will receive weekly tagged tune-in promos and in-show billboards.

To meet the cast of "Top Chef Masters," visit www.BravoTV.com.

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," 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. (Don't worry - his beard is coming along too). Other favorite video features will be back - including preview clips from upcoming episodes, bonus clips that never appear on-air, and exit interviews with the departing chefs. Plus, www.BravoTV.com will continue to be the ultimate destination for "Top Chef Masters" games, judge and contestant blogs, episode recaps, photo galleries from on-air and off, and all the recipes from this and the previous season in the Recipe Finder. For a sneak peek at "Top Chef Masters," go to: http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef-masters/videos/the-masters-are-back.

"Top Chef Masters" fans can visit m.bravotv.com from their web-enabled phone for exclusive content including trivia games, video and behind-the-scenes dish.

Source: Nielsen Media Research, Live +7 data through 8/19/09.

Bravo is a program service of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBC Universal one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Bravo has been an NBC Universal cable network since December 2002 and was the first television service dedicated to film and the performing arts when it launched in December 1980. For more information, visit www.BravoTV.com. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BravoPR.

  [february 2010]  


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