Another Top Chef edition will join the show's bevy of international franchises next month: The first season of Top Chef México premieres February 18 on NBC's Spanish-language network NBC Universo.
The show pulls its judges from the cream of the Mexican restaurant crop: Guillermo González Beristain is a noted restaurateur who started Restaurant Pangea in Monterrey, bringing contemporary food together with a wine shop and catering business. Aquiles Chávez, known for his Houston restaurant La Fishería, studied at the Colegio Superior de Gastronomía before opening his first restaurant in Villahermosa and later becoming a television chef.
Juantxo Sánchez is an award-winning chef from the Basque country who brings to Top Chef Mexico years of culinary experience and gastronomy knowledge. Martha Ortíz rounds out the judging panel with her own list of accomplishments: She owns two notable restaurants in Mexico, Águila y Sol and Dulce Patria.
Over the course of six weeks and thirteen episodes, judges will test the culinary prowess of 16 of Mexico's most talented chefs in a fierce Mexico City-based competition. Expect the sort of culinary challenges and quickfires made famous by the Bravo original. (How do you say "pack your knives and go" in Spanish, anyway?)
The show's host will be actress Ana Claudia Talancón, who has appeared alongside Javier Bardem and in films like Fast Food Nation and Alone — certainly a worthy stand-in for Padma. And frankly, Tom Colicchio's soul patch just can't compete with that glorious mustache on Aquiles Chávez.
Top Chef already has more than a dozen licensed spinoffs in other countries, including Canada, Romania, Poland, and Indonesia. Watch a trailer for Top Chef México, below: