Surprise: Bravo has confirmed that Season 9 of Top Chef will, in fact, be in Texas. (They chose not to confirm whether host Padma Lakshmi will wear a cowboy hat at some point during the season, although that almost certainly will happen.) Chefs Emeril Lagasse and Hugh Acheson will be joining the usual gang as judges.
Also: San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin are all confirmed as shooting locations. It looks as though Houston has been snubbed. Contestants will be announced at a later date (we have some photos and intel on that). Here's the press release:
BRAVO’S TOP CHEF TAKES ON TEXAS
"Top Chef: Texas" Set For Season Nine With New Series Judges Emeril Lagasse And Hugh Acheson
NEW YORK – August 9, 2011 – Go big or go home – that’s the motto for season nine of the Emmy and James Beard Award-winning No.1 food show on cable, "Top Chef," as it heads to the state that does everything bigger – Texas. Possibly the worst kept locale secret in this moment’s culinary universe, the new season of “Top Chef” will heartily embrace the Lone Star State’s adage that all things are bigger as, in a series first, the production will head to three cities within the season – Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. Season nine will also showcase many surprising twists and turns and never-before-seen challenges and events. Returning to the judges table is host Padma Lakshmi and head judge, chef Tom Colicchio, alongside judges Gail Simmons and new this season, famed chef and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse and critically acclaimed chef Hugh Acheson. “Top Chef: Texas” will air later this fall.