Top Chef, the smash-hit culinary competition that airs on Bravo, returns for a 14th season on Thursday, December 1, at 11:15 p.m. ET. The network has announced details for the new season, which takes place in Charleston, including the format: rookies vs. veterans.
Eight new faces will compete on the show — or, have competed; it filmed earlier this year — and, sadly, no Atlanta names are on the list (though, Jamie Lynch is a partner in Midtown's 5Church). The class consists of:
- Silvia Barban, Brooklyn
- Emily Hahn, Charleston
- Jamie Lynch, Charlotte
- Annie Pettry, Louisville
- Sylva Senat, Philadelphia
- Gerald Sombright, Marco Island, Fla.
- BJ Smith, Portland, Ore.
- Jim Smith, Montgomery, Ala.
But, this city may yet have a rooting interest before all is said and done. Bravo is bringing back eight more competitors from seasons past, and there are local representatives — Kevin Gillespie, Eli Kirshtein, Ron Eyester, to name a few — who could be among the returning roster.
The winner will claim $125,000 in prize money, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, and a showcase at the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen
With a distinct Southern theme, a few locally known names will show up as guest judges: Sean Brock, who is a partner in Ponce City Market's Minero, Empire State South's Hugh Acheson, and Atlanta expat and Top Chef lifer Richard Blais.
"Always upping the ante, one landmark challenge calls for the contestants to cook for a room full of culinary greats in hopes of landing the highly lauded prize of serving their winning dish at the coveted James Beard House in New York City," reads an announcement from Bravo. "From a shrimp and grits cook off to a biscuit blowout, the chefs dive deep into the roots of Lowcountry cuisine to prove to the judges, the world, and themselves that they have what it takes to conquer their competition."
As for the mysterious returning chefs, all of whom came up short in their respective seasons, Bravo will offer clues via Top Chef's Facebook and Instagram accounts over the next week. The network advises paying attention to the #TopChef hashtag for "exclusive hints about who will be returning to the kitchen."
Updated to clarify Jamie Lynch's role at 5Church.
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