CURTIS STONE, STEVE ELLS AND LORENA GARCIA JOIN BOBBY FLAY AS PANELISTS AND INVESTORS ON NBC'S NEW ALTERNATIVE SERIES 'AMERICA'S NEXT GREAT RESTAURANT'
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. - June 10, 2010 - Curtis Stone, internationally renowned chef (NBC's "The Biggest Loser," "Take Home Chef"), Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle, and Lorena Garcia, executive chef and restaurateur, join Bobby Flay ("Iron Chef America: The Series") as investors and judges on NBC's new alternative competition series "America's Next Great Restaurant" premiering next season.
The series from Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz of Magical Elves (Emmy Award-nominated producers of "Project Runway" and "Top Chef") features contestants vying for arguably the biggest prize in reality show history -- the opportunity to see their ideas turned into a new restaurant chain in three cities across America.
Thousands of potential restaurateurs submitted ideas, which were narrowed down to the select few candidates that will be featured on the series. Each week the judges/investors, Flay, Stone, Ells and Garcia, will put the chosen few through rigorous business and cooking challenges to discover which contestant's concept has the greatest potential for success. The stakes have never been higher as the investors put their own money on the line for the winning concept, turning one contestant's ultimate dream into a reality.
Stone is a master chef, best-selling author, TV host and entrepreneur. He recently was a contestant on NBC's "The Celebrity Apprentice" and can also be seen teaching contestants about healthy food choices on NBC's "The Biggest Loser." He is also a regular contributor on NBC's "TODAY" show. In the Fall of 2008, Stone launched his line of sleek and eco-friendly kitchen solutions at Williams-Sonoma. He is the first chef to have an eponymous product line sold at the prestigious retailer.
Ells opened the first Chipotle in Denver in 1993 and has changed the way the world thinks about and eats fast food. With a commitment to using ingredients from more sustainable sources - including naturally raised meat, organic and locally grown produce, and dairy products made with milk from cows that are not given synthetic hormones - Ells and Chipotle are leading a revolution to make great food affordable and accessible so everyone can eat better. Ells is a classically trained chef and has received considerable praise for his vision and leadership at Chipotle.
Garcia, one of the country's leading Latina chefs, made her dream to become a chef a reality by trading law papers for a cutting board and chef's knife. She has taken on the challenge of combating childhood obesity and developed "Big Chef, Little Chef" as a comprehensive program to help kids and their families take control of their eating habits and ultimately, their lives. More than simply promoting healthy eating, Garcia's program is a lifestyle modification plan that educates children of all ages and their families about the benefits of nutrition and of living a healthy, happy, and positive life. Later this year Garcia will be opening Lorena Garcia Cocina in the American Airlines terminal at Miami International Airport, and she is writing her first book.
Flay, star of "Iron Chef America: The Series" and "Throwdown with Bobby Flay," shows his culinary versatility in the multiple talents he brings to the field as a chef/restaurateur, award-winning cookbook author and television personality. Most importantly, he is a leading restaurateur.
"America's Next Great Restaurant" is a Magical Elves production. Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz (the Emmy Award-nominated producers of "Project Runway" and "Top Chef") are the executive producers.
Magical Elves is the production team behind some of the highest quality reality programming on television. Since their partnership began eight years ago, The Elves, Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz, have been nominated for eleven Primetime Emmys. Last year "Project Runway" and "Top Chef" were both nominated in the Outstanding Reality Competition category for the third year in succession. Magical Elves are the recipients of the first Peabody Award ever presented to a reality television program for Project Runway and they produced 4 of Entertainment Weekly's 20 Best Reality Shows of all time. Other notable credits include "Bands on the Run," "Project Greenlight," "Last Comic Standing" and "Kell on Earth" and the Elves have several shows in production and slated for premiere including "Top Chef 7," "Top Chef Masters," "Top Chef: Just Desserts" and "Work of Art" for Bravo, "Dance Your Ass Off" for Oxygen and "The Real L Word" for Showtime.