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Top Chef University Gets You 'Top Chef Certified' for Just $200

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Not content to make buckets on money off of the rabidly popular reality show Top Chef, its spinoffs Top Chef Masters and Top Chef Just Desserts, and all kinds of merchandizing deals, the big wigs behind the TC juggernaut have a new idea: Top Chef University. Yes, now you too, home viewer, can cook like a Top Cheffer by taking a $200 online culinary course to become 'Top Chef Certified.' Two reasons why this is genius: 1) Because learning to cook is always best done over the internet and 2) Because there isn't enough free cooking material both online and on TV for free.

According to the release (in full below), "students" can sign up for one course a month for $25 a month or gain access to the entire 12 course (60 hours) curriculum all at once for $200. Instructors of course include previous Top Chef stars like Marcel Vigneron, Richard Blais, and Stephanie Izzard. For those wondering the obvious question, yes there is an video demo! Watch it here.

NEW YORK - May 17, 2010 - For fans of the No.1 food show on cable, May 19, 2010 will be a day to celebrate with the launch of Top Chef University (www.topchefuniversity.com), the web's most comprehensive, user-friendly culinary academy. Based on the Emmy-nominated Bravo series of the same name and featuring content from some of the show's most popular "chef'testants," Top Chef University offers over 200 in-depth lessons across 12 courses in an unmatched curriculum that encompasses everything from "Kitchen Basics and Technique" to "Entertaining, Molecular and Advanced Culinary Skills". With over 60 hours of material, insatiable fans will finally have a destination that will fulfill their culinary aspirations. Users can purchase one course per month for $24.95 and for a total of $199.95, students can gain immediate access to the entire curriculum for a year.

Culinary Director Anthony Hoy Fong and "Top Chef's" own resident judge Gail Simmons, also of Food & Wine Magazine, created an innovative and comprehensive curriculum, covering everything from basic knife skills and preparation, to correct cooking techniques and insight into advanced culinary trends"

Top Chef University, perfect for everyone from experienced foodies to the home cook, is a fraction of the cost of traditional culinary school and provides access to virtual courses 24/7. Along the way, students will be tested on their culinary acumen receiving report cards that track their progress towards their "Top Chef" certification. Interactive features of this ultimate learning experience include webinars with some of the chefs as well as forums where members can post questions to be answered by accomplished and hand-picked experts in the culinary field.

"We're pleased to extend the Top Chef brand into an experiential product that is accessible, user-friendly, and educational," said Jennifer Turner, Vice President, Licensing and Strategic Partnerships, Bravo Media and Oxygen Media. "Top Chef University gives fans the opportunity to learn from their favorite chef'testants as well as for people who don't currently watch the show, but want to have comprehensive cooking instruction. We want to create innovative brand extensions that resonate with fans as well as a broader audience that loves food, and Top Chef University is a great example."

Commenting on the new site, creator Jeff Goldenberg of Post Oak Productions, said: "Top Chef is one of television's most popular franchises and we are delighted to be extending this property to the web with what we believe to be the ultimate destination for culinary education. We have developed the site with like-minded, food lovers in mind and believe our top-notch curriculum and instructors will be a real asset to those fans who want to learn from the best in the business."

Anthony Hoy Fong, the site's culinary advisor, added: "This coursework is designed for anyone and everyone who has ever dreamed of expanding their culinary knowledge and it is a thrill to have been part of the creative process from the ground up."

Courses available from Top Chef University are:

* Basics and Techniques

* Stocks, Soups, Sauces, Raw

* Cooking Techniques I: Sauté, Boil, Grill

* Cooking Techniques II: Roast, Braise, Fry, Confit

* Vegetables, Eggs, Dairy, Cheese

* Poultry/Pig

* Beef/Lamb/Offal

* Fish, Seafood

* Pasta Grains, Bread

* Desserts

* Global Cuisine

* Entertaining, Molecular, Advanced Technique

The instructors include some of "Top Chef's" fan favorites and finalists:

* Ariane Duarte, "Top Chef: New York"

* Brian Malarkey, "Top Chef: Miami"

* Carla Hall, Finalist, "Top Chef: New York"

* Chris ‘CJ’ Jacobson, "Top Chef: Miami"

* Dale Levitski, Finalist, "Top Chef: Miami"

* Kevin Gillespie, Finalist and Fan Favorite, "Top Chef: Las Vegas"

* Marcel Vigneron, Finalist, "Top Chef: Los Angeles”

* Nikki Cascone, "Top Chef: Chicago"

* Richard Blais, Finalist, "Top Chef: Chicago"

* Spike Mendelsohn, "Top Chef: Chicago"

* Stephanie Izard, Winner and Fan Favorite, "Top Chef: Chicago"

· All Top Chef Coverage [Eater National]

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