It's likely that only hardcore chef groupies will recognize all the names on the list—the most high-profile are probably Rick Bayless, John Besh, and Art Smith—but the list is solid nonetheless, if just a tiny bit NYC- and Bay Area-heavy.
Judges will be (above, from left) former New York magazine food critic Gael Greene, Saveur editor-in-chief James Oseland, and British food critic Jay Rayner.
And, according to a press release that we received earlier today, "guest stars" (I'm assuming they'll serve as guest judges) will include Morgan Spurlock and, inexplicably, Zooey Deschanel, Lost writers and producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindhof, and Neil Patrick Harris (I'm hoping his turn involves White Castle).
The show premieres at 10 p.m. June 10 (Wednesdays, as usual).
After the jump, the full list of cheftestants, along with other ways the new show differs from the original Top Chef.
How does Top Chef Masters differ from the original? As the Bravo website says, the Quickfire Challenge will be a twist on the usual test of basic skills. It's assumed these folks know what they're doing, so look for things along the lines of the vending-machine amuse bouche challenge in Season 2 of original TC.
Also: "...Each Quickfire Challenge will be judged by a blind taste test and a five-star system, similar to fine dining reviews."
As for the Elimination Challenge, it's pretty much same as it ever was:
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 it is 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 if the chef is to survive.
'Top Chef Masters' Contestants
- Rick Bayless: Frontera Grill, Chicago
- Wilo Benet: Pikayo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
- John Besh: Restaurant August, New Orleans
- Graham Elliot Bowles: Graham Elliot Restaurant, Chicago
- Michael Chiarello: Bottega Restaurant, Yountville, California
- Michael Cimarusti: Providence, Los Angeles
- Wylie Dufresne: WD-50, New York City
- Elizabeth Falkner: Orson, San Francisco
- Hubert Keller: Fleur de Lys, San Francisco
- Christopher Lee: Aureole, New York City
- Ludo Lefebvre: Ludo Bites, Los Angeles
- Anita Lo: Annisa, New York City
- Tim Love: Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Fort Worth, Texas
- Rick Moonen: Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
- Nils Noren: French Culinary Institute, New York City
- Lachlan McKinnon Patterson: Frasca Food & Wine, Boulder, Colorado
- Cindy Pawlcyn: Mustards Grill, Napa Valley, California
- Mark Peel: Campanile, Los Angeles
- Douglas Rodriguez: Alma de Cuba, Philadelphia
- Michael Schlow: Radius Restaurant, Boston
- Art Smith: Table Fifty-Two, Chicago
- Suzanne Tracht: Jar, Los Angeles
- Jonathan Waxman: Barbuto, New York City
- Roy Yamaguchi: Roy's Restaurants, San Diego