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Top Chef: Texas Contestants Revealed; Premieres Nov 2

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Clockwise, from top left: Dakota Weiss, Paul Qui, Nyesha Arrington, Edward Lee
Clockwise, from top left: Dakota Weiss, Paul Qui, Nyesha Arrington, Edward Lee

Bravo has announced the premiere date for their upcoming ninth season, also known as Top Chef: Texas: November 2. Unlike other years, though, the announcement was not accompanied by a list of cheftestapants-to-be; instead, Bravo announced 29 "hopefuls." The list will be narrowed down to 16 actual contestants who will then compete.

Anyway, as predicted on Eater, the list below includes LA chefs Nyesha Arrington and Dakota Weiss, Chicago's Heather Terhune, New York's Grayson Schmitz, Kentucky chef Edward Lee, and Austin chef Paul Qui.

Guests include Hugh Acheson, Emeril Lagasse, Charlize Theron, Pee-Wee Herman, Cat Cora, John Besh, Tim Love, Patti LaBelle, as well as the usual gang of Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, and Gail Simmons. And already the Texas puns are flying: says Colicchio, "Just like Texas, this will be our biggest season ever." Fantastic. Below, the full list of "hopefuls" and a press release:

· Nyesha Arrington, 28 – Los Angeles, Calif., Wilshire Restaurant.
· Lindsay Autry, 29 – West Palm Beach, Fla., Omphoy Ocean Resort &Michelle Bernstein
· Jonathan Baltazar, 36 – Long Beach, Calif., Heights Cuisine.
· Ty-Lör Boring, 34 – Brooklyn, N.Y., Spasso
· Molly Brandt, 30 – Hollywood, Fla., Allure of the Seas for Royal Caribbean
· Chaz Brown, 29 – New York, N.Y., Fatty Crab
· Kimberly Calichio, 27 – New York, N.Y., Fishtail by David Burke
· Beverly Kim, 31 – Chicago, Ill., Aria Restaurant
· Chris Crary, 29 – Los Angeles, Calif., Whist Restaurant in the Viceroy Hotel
· Andrew Curren, 32 – Austin, Texas , 24 Diner
· Berenice deAraujo, 33 – Miami, Fla., Sra. Martinez
· Janine Falvo, 37 – Atlanta, Ga., Briza Restaurant
· Richie Farina, 28 – Chicago, Ill., MOTO
· Sarah Grueneberg, 29 – Chicago, Ill., Spiaggia
· Chris Jones, 30 – Chicago, Ill., MOTO
· Edward Lee, 38 – Louisville, Ky., 610 Magnolia
· Whitney Otawka, 30 – Cumberland Island, Ga., Greyfield Inn
· Simon Pantet, 30 – Seattle, Wash., Twenty-Two Doors
· Colin Patterson, 37 – Seattle, Wash., Sutra
· Laurent Quenioux, 51 – Los Angeles, Calif., Vertical Wine Bistro
· Paul Qui, 30 – Austin, Texas, Uchiko Restaurant
· Keith Rhodes, 39 – Wilmington, N.C., Catch Restaurants
· Grayson Schmitz, 27 – New York, N.Y., Exec. Chef
· Tyler Stone, 22 – Sacramento, Calif., Personal Chef
· Heather Terhune, 39 – Chicago, Ill., Sable Kitchen and Bar
· Chuy Valencia, 25 – Chicago, Ill., Chilam Bilam
· Nina Vicente, 29 – Seattle, Wash., Spur Gastropub
· Ashley Villaluz, 25 – Seattle, Wash., Sous Chef
· Dakota Weiss, 35 – Los Angeles, Calif., 9:30 Restaurant and The Backyard


29 Chefs Take on Texas Along With Guest Judges And Stars Including Charlize Theron, Pee-wee Herman, Cat Cora, John Besh, Tim Love, Patti LaBelle With New Series Judges Emeril Lagasse And Hugh Acheson

NEW YORK – September 21, 2011 – It’s a whole new ballgame for the competing chefs on Bravo’s “Top Chef: Texas,” premiering Wednesday, November 2 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. For the first-time ever, season nine will boast a record 29 chefs - almost double the amount of chefs in season’s past – who will see if they have what it takes to become an official chef’testant and qualify to wear the Top Chef coat. Only 16 will go on to compete across the Lone Star State – in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. In what will prove to be the most challenging season yet, some of the biggest names in food, music and entertainment including Charlize Theron, Pee-wee Herman, Cat Cora, John Besh, Tim Love, Patti LaBelle will be featured this season on “Top Chef: Texas.” 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. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter at

Head judge Tom Colicchio says, “Just like Texas, this will be our biggest season ever.”

Adds Host Padma Lakshmi, "I'm so excited for everyone at home to get a glimpse of all the great and talented chefs. This season is bigger and better than ever! Yum!"

The “Top Chef: Texas” chef’testants will be skewered down week by week as they compete to out-flavor, out-cook and out-do their competition. The winning chef will receive $125,000 furnished by Healthy Choice, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and will earn the title of "Top Chef." The Emmy Award-winning Magical Elves return to produce "Top Chef: Texas." Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serve as executive producers. To check out exclusive casting videos for all 29 hopefuls, go to:

· All Top Chef: Texas Coverage on Eater [-E-]