It’s official: Las Vegas will make its small screen Top Chef debut next month.
After much anticipation and speculation Bravo TV announced today that season six of the hit series will premiere at 9 p.m. on Aug. 26.
“Our newest season was the best yet," Top Chef’s top judge, well-known restaurateur Tom Colicchio, said.
"Las Vegas has become a culinary destination – some of the world's best chefs and restaurants are here – so it's only fitting,” he said.
The popular program was filmed in and around Las Vegas earlier this year and soon became the talk of the town’s culinary circles – and the city’s worst kept secret in TV.
Bravo refused to confirm or comment about the long-awaited Vegas version Top Chef until last month, after production had wrapped on the seventh series of the popular show. Meanwhile, cameras and crew members were seen throughout the city, shooting segments at various locations including M Resort, which served as the production location during filming, Springs Preserve and World Market Center.
The network released further details in a press release this morning.
“This season captures Sin City's high stakes and high rollers in addition to exploring what Vegas has to offer beyond the Strip,” Bravo boasted in the release.
The network said “some of the top names in food, movies and entertainment” will be featured throughout season six, including actress Natalie Portman and Rio headliners Penn & Teller.
Some of the biggest names in food will also take part, including Wolfgang Puck, Todd English, Daniel Boulud, Charlie Palmer, Paul Bartolotta and Hubert Keller (who made his Top Chef Masters debut during the spin-off series’ debut last month), among others.
"You'll be surprised by the quality of chef'testants we discovered this season,” Colicchio said. “They really raised the bar."
The sixth season of Top Chef will feature 17 competitors, including brothers Michael and Bryan Voltaggio, a first for the series.
Eli Kirshtein of Atlanta, Ga. is the youngest competitor at 25 years old while fellow Atlanta resident Hector Santiago is the oldest at 41 years old.
Unfortunately, none of the Top Chef: Las Vegas so-called “chef'testants” are from Las Vegas. The closest to a local competitor we have is the youngest of the brothers, 30-year-old Michael Voltaggio, who lives in Los Angeles, Calif. (The Voltaggios grew up an hour north of Washington, D.C., in Frederick, Md.)
The upcoming season of Top Chef will follow the same structure as previous seasons, with a short “quickfire” challenge at the beginning of each episode followed by a main elimination challenge.
“Each episode holds two challenges for the chefs,” stated this morning’s press release. “The first is a quickfire test of their basic abilities and the second is a more involved elimination challenge designed to test the versatility and inventiveness of the chefs as they take on unique culinary trials such as working with unusual and exotic foods or catering for a range of demanding clients.”
Bravo is also bringing a few new features to the Top Chef table this season, including a special “Top Recipe” Web series featuring season five contestant Fabio Viviani.
Each week, the former Top Chef: New York personality will demonstrate how to cook the winning dish in a segment exclusive to the Web.
Another “webisode” series, "Guest Judges: Strip'd,” will provide insights and a more personal perspective from the judges, while another will show the chefs out on the town in Las Vegas and give viewers a peek into the chefs' lives outside the kitchen.
Further technological enhancements will include a phone-based "Slice & Dice Showdown” hosted by one of the show’s judges, Toby Young. The mobile video series will see each of the Voltaggio brothers lead a team of their fellow Top Chef competitors through a foodie challenge in anticipation of the final, ultimate dessert bake-off.
The winner of Top Chef: Las Vegas will walk away with $100,000 thanks to show sponsor Glad, $100,000 in merchandise from Macy’s, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at Aspen’s annual Food & Wine Classic and the highly-coveted title of Top Chef.