Today Bravo told the Washington Post the contestants for Top Chef Masters season five, premiering July 24th. There are two new additions to the usual routine of established chefs competing for the title of "Top Chef Master" and $100,000 to their charity of choice: "Battle of the Sous Chefs" will be an online competion hosted by chef Hugh Acheson in which sous chefs can win advantages for their bosses competing on Top Chef Masters. Additionally, Bryan Voltaggio will be competing as the first Master Cheftestapant to have competed on Top Chef. Voltaggio was spotted scurrying around a Whole Foods in Los Angeles back in January.
The chefs competing in season five are:
David Burke (David Burke Townhouse, NYC);
Douglas Keane (formerly of Cyrus, Healdsburg, CA);
Sue Zemanick (Gautreau's, New Orleans);
Richard Sandoval (Richard Sandoval Restaurants);
Bryan Voltaggio (Volt, Frederick, MD);
Franklin Becker (The Little Beet, NYC);
Lynn Crawford (Ruby Watchco, Toronto, Canada);
Odette Fada (formerly of San Domenico, NYC);
Neal Fraser (formerly of Grace, Los Angeles);
Jennifer Jasinski (Bistro Vendôme, Denver, CO);
Jenn Louis (Lincoln Restaurant, Portland, OR);
Herbert Wilson (Sushi Samba, Las Vegas); and
Sang Yoon (Father's Office, Los Angeles).
Previous rumormongering about Wilson turns out to be correct. Television person Curtis Stone is returning as the host, and Food & Wine's Gail Simmons will be "head critic." Below, the first episode of Battle of the Sous Chefs and the press release:
Video: Battle of the Sous Chefs
BRAVO MEDIA'S "TOP CHEF MASTERS" WHIPS UP A NEW SEASON ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 24 AT 10 PM ET/PT
New Transmedia Series "Battle Of The Sous Chefs" Directly Affects On-Air Competition
Chase Sapphire Preferred And Lexus Are Top Sponsors For Season Five
NEW YORK – June 5, 2013 – Bravo's "Top Chef Masters" returns for a fifth season with 13 new award-winning chefs ready to compete for bragging rights, the title of 'Top Chef Master' and $100,000 for their charity, premiering Wednesday, July 24 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. In a new twist this season, each Master will have his or her sous chef compete in an online competition, "Battle of the Sous Chefs," hosted by Hugh Acheson and presented by Lexus. The results of each online episode directly impacts the Masters, awarding them advantages, such as immunity (the winner of each battle earns the Top Chef Master immunity), and sometimes, disadvantages, depending on their sous chef's performance (the chefs who perform the worst always earn obstacles for their Top Chef Master). Every episode of "Battle of the Sous Chefs" leads up to the next episode of "Top Chef Masters," and explores the uniquely interdependent relationship between a Master chef and his or her sous chef. To see the first episode of "Battle of the Sous Chefs" in its entirety, go to: http://www.bravotv.com/battle
Celebrity chef Curtis Stone is back as series host alongside new head critic Gail Simmons, with returning judges James Oseland, Ruth Reichl and Francis Lam and new judge, food and dining editor Lesley Suter. The chefs face off in some of the most difficult and unique challenges seen thus far – and they're serving up food for some top entertainers and celebrity guest judges including: Mindy Kaling, Busy Philipps, Kathie Lee Gifford, Lindsay Price, the cast of Days Of our Lives, Ali Larter, the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba, LA Cult Favorites Lucha Va Voom among others.
To date, "Top Chef Masters" has given over 1 million dollars to charities with this season increasing that total to over 1.25 million dollars. The series pits 13 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 receives the grand prize of $100,000 for their charity.
To meet the cast of "Top Chef Masters," visit www.BravoTV.com. Photography and bios are available at www.nbcumv.com.
Following are the 13 "Top Chef Masters" competing chefs:
- FRANKLIN BECKER - Executive Chef: The Little Beet, New York, NY; Competing for Autism Speaks – Sous Chef: Vinson Petrillo
- DAVID BURKE - Executive Chef & Owner, David Burke Townhouse, Burke in the Box, David Burke Fishtail, David Burke Fromagerie, David Burke Prime, David Burke's Primehouse and David Burke's Kitchen, New York, NY; Competing for Table to Table – Sous Chef: Chris Shea
- LYNN CRAWFORD - Chef-Owner: Ruby Watchco and Ruby Eats, Toronto, Canada: Competing for Sunnybrook Foundation – Sous Chef: Lora Kirk
- ODETTE FADA -Executive Chef, San Domenico, New York, NY; Competing for Doctors Without Borders – Sous Chef: Benedetto Bartolotta
- NEAL FRASER - Owner, BLD, Fritzi Dog, The Strand House, Neal Fraser & Co. at Vibiana, Redbird at Vibiana, Los Angeles, CA; Competing for Alex's Lemonade Stand – Sous Chef: Jason Bowlin
- JENNIFER JASINSKI - Executive Chef and Owner, Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen, Denver, CO; Competing for Work Options for Women – Sous Chef: Jorel Pierce
- DOUGLAS KEANE – Former Chef of the 2 Michelin Starred Cyrus, Sonoma County, CA; Competing for Green Dog Rescue – Sous Chef: Drew Gassell
- JENN LOUIS - Executive Chef and Co-Owner: Lincoln and Sunshine Tavern, Portland, OR; Competing for City of Hope – Sous Chef: Cory Chunn
- RICHARD SANDOVAL - Chef-Owner Richard Sandoval Restaurants, Los Angeles, CA; Competing for C-Cap – Careers Through Culinary Arts Program – Sous Chef: Greg Howe
- BRYAN VOLTAGGIO - Executive Chef | Owner, VOLT, Lunchbox, Family Meal and RANGE, Frederick, MD; Competing for Share Our Strength – Sous Chef: Graeme Ritchie
- HERBERT WILSON - Executive Chef: Sushi Samba, Las Vegas, NV; Competing for American Heart Association – Sous Chef: Robert Silva
- SANG YOON - Executive chef and owner: Father's Office and Lukshon Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA; Competing for Worldwide Orphans Foundation – Sous Chef: Ted Hopson
- SUE ZEMANICK - Executive Chef: Gautreau's, New Orleans, NO; Competing for Gulf Restoration Network – Sous Chef: Nick Lama
The fourth season of "Top Chef Masters" averaged over 1 million adults 18-49 and over 1.6 million total viewers. The series is produced by the Emmy Award-winning Magical Elves with Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serving as executive producers.
Chase Sapphire Preferred®, a premier affluent rewards card designed with premium travel and dining rewards and benefits, joins as a full-series partner. Chase Sapphire Preferred will sponsor an on-air hometown tour vignette, hosted by celebrity chef Art Smith in his beloved city of Chicago, along with the digital video series "Re-mastered Recipes," –which follows Smith as he recreates favorite dishes from past seasons that viewers can make at home. Additionally, Chase Sapphire Preferred will sponsor an Interactive Map showcasing past Top Chef Master contestants restaurants throughout the country – users can search the map via location, chef, season and type of cuisine. To celebrate the Season Five Premiere, Bravo and Chase Sapphire Preferred will co-host a first-ever Top Chef Masters Premiere Tasting event in New York – which will offer attendees a chance to meet contestants and sample dishes prepared on episode one. More information will be announced when tickets go on-sale in June.
Lexus returns for the fifth straight season as a fully integrated sponsor and the exclusive in-program automotive partner for "Top Chef Masters" Season Five. The 2013 Lexus RX transports the cast around Los Angeles throughout production. The automaker will also sponsor each episodic Quickfire prize challenge. On the digital front, Lexus serves as a full-series partner and presenting sponsor for the new online challenge competition, "Battle of the Sous Chefs," which directly affects the on-air competition. Fans can participate in Live Voting to vote for who they think is the most deserving team each week to award their charity with a cash prize.