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Top Chef Masters Season 3 Announced, Premieres April 6

Top Chef Season 3 Contestants.  Photo: Justin Stephens/Bravo
Top Chef Season 3 Contestants. Photo: Justin Stephens/Bravo

Bravo today announced the contestants and new judges of season three of Top Chef Masters, premiering April 6th. Celebrity appearances include Mad Men's Christina Hendricks, rock group Maroon 5, and "pop sensation" Kelis. Also, a format change: This season will follow the style of Top Chef regular edition and just have a series of eliminations.

Past winners include Marcus Samuelsson and Chicago chef Rick Bayless, and everyone from Anita Lo to Jonathan Waxman and David Burke has participated in past seasons.

The twelve contestants this season: Hugh Acheson (Athens, GA), Floyd Cardoz (NYC), John Currence (Oxford, MS), Traci Des Jardins (San Francisco), George Mendes (NYC), Mary Sue Milliken (Los Angeles), Naomi Pomeroy (Portland, OR), Suvir Saran (NYC), John Rivera Sedlar (Los Angeles), Alex Stratta (Las Vegas), Celina Tio (Kansas City, MO), and Sue Zemanick (New Orleans, LA).

As far as judges, Saveur editor-in chief James Oseland returns. We already knew that Kelly Choi was out (replaced by Aussie chef Curtis Stone) and that British critic Jay Rayner was "sacked", and also: apparently Gael Greene is out, replaced with food critic and author Ruth Reichl.

The Contestants

Hugh Acheson - Chef/ Partner: Five& Ten, The National, Gosford Wine – in Athens, GA and Empire State South, Atlanta, GA; Competing for Wholesome Wave Foundation

Floyd Cardoz – Former Executive Chef/Partner- of Tabla and soon-to-be Executive Chef/Partner of a new Danny Meyer restaurant; Competing for Young Scientist Cancer Research Fund

John Currence - City Grocery Restaurant Group, Oxford, MS Competing for No Kid Hungry

Traci Des Jardins - Chef/Co-owner of Jardinière, Mijita Cocina Mexicana and Public House and Manzanita, San Francisco, CA; Competing for La Cocina

George Mendes - Chef/Co-Owner of ALDEA, Manhattan, NY; Competing for Charity: Water

Mary Sue Milliken - Co-Chef/ Owner: Border Grill Restaurants and Truck, Los Angeles, CA; Competing for Share Our Strength

Naomi Pomeroy - Owner: Beast in Portland, OR; Competing for Seed Savers Exchange

Suvir Saran - Executive Chef: Dévi, New York, NY; Competing for Agricultural Stewardship Association

John Rivera Sedlar - Owner: Playa, Los Angeles, CA; Competing for American Diabetes Association

Alex Stratta - Executive Chef: Stratta, Las Vegas, NV; Competing for Faster Cures, part of the Milken Prostate Cancer Foundation

Celina Tio - Chef/Owner: JULIAN Restaurant, Kansas City, MO, Competing for Harvesters

Sue Zemanick - Executive Chef: Gautreau’s, New Orleans, LA; Competing for the Louisiana SPCA

Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, Pop/Rock Group Maroon 5 and Pop Star Kelis serve as Celebrity Guest Judges

James Oseland Returns as Series Judge Along With New Judge, Legendary Food Critic, Ruth Reichl

Series Premieres Wednesday, April 6 at 11pm ET/PT

NEW YORK – March 2, 2011 – Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” returns with a brand new format and 12 new award-winning chefs hungry to compete for the title of “Top Chef Master” and win $100,000 for their charity. This season, the masters will no longer be judged on a scale, but in elimination style challenges just as the tried and true format of the original “Top Chef.” In each episode, money will be at stake, with the winners of every quickfire challenge winning $5,000 and elimination challenges winning $10,000 for their designated charities. As previously announced, celebrity chef Curtis Stone will serve as the newly appointed host of the series along with returning judge and culinary expert, James Oseland, and new series judge, the legendary food critic and author, Ruth Reichl. The third season of “Top Chef Masters” premieres on Wednesday, April 6 at 11 p.m. ET/PT and will move to its regular time period on April 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

“Top Chef Masters” pits 12 world-renowned chefs against each other to see how well they fare in fierce culinary competition. Each week will whittle down the chefs until the finale where one winner is crowned “Top Chef Master” and receive the grand prize of $100,000 for the charity of their choice. With so much money at stake, the chefs are bringing more than their knives to the table; they’re bringing their egos and stirring up the drama. The chefs must face off in some of the most difficult challenges we’ve seen thus far – including the infamous restaurant wars – and they’re serving up food for some master entertainers and celebrity guest judges including: Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, pop/rock group Maroon 5 and pop sensation Kelis, among others.

· For Culinary Glory [Bravo]
· All Top Chef Masters Coverage on Eater [-E-]