Las Vegas chefs sharpen their knives on Top Chef Masters
Tue, Jun 9, 2009 (10:56 p.m.)
When new Bravo series Top Chef Masters premieres on June 10 one of Las Vegas’ top master chefs will be among the familiar faces.
Keller will join Boston–based chef Michael Schlow of Radius, Christopher Lee of Aureole New York and Lone Star State restaurateur Tim Love on the episode.
“I think it’s like the Olympics;” explained Keller in contrast to the standard season of Top Chef. “We are competing on that level. And the viewer can say, ‘Oh my God, look at these guys and how they think.’ In certain situations our mind works a little different, and that’s what makes Top Chef Masters very exciting.”
Though Bravo and the network’s parent company, NBC, have been keeping details under close wraps, the first installment of the show is said to include a “quickfire” challenge of cooking dessert for a group of Girl Scouts followed by a main challenge of preparing a three-course meal for college students.
NBC announced the full Top Chef Masters line-up in April. The new program will premiere this week at 10 p.m.
Unlike Top Chef, the sixth season of which was filmed in Las Vegas in May, the Masters edition will consists of 10 episodes with the first six each featuring four different chefs who compete against each other in hopes of advancing to the next round.
The winning chefs from the first six episodes will be featured in the final four weeks of programming, with one chef being eliminated each week. Similar to regular Top Chef, each installment will feature a so-called “quickfire challenge” – but on Masters, the challenge will be decided by a blind taste test and a five-star rating system.
Each episode will also include a main challenge that involves unusual and exotic foods, extreme restrictions or some sort of other extenuating circumstances designed to test each chef’s culinary might.
The series will likely culminate on Aug. 12 with the crowning of the “Top Chef Master.” The winning chef will be awarded $100,000 for the charity of his or her choice.
In all, 24 of the nation’s culinary heavyweights will be battling for the enviable title and the hefty check. While Keller and Moonen are certainly the captains of Team Vegas, two additional chefs can claim connections, however loose, to Las Vegas. Roy’s restaurant owner Roy Yamaguchi and Ludo Lefebvre, who at the time of filming was the head chef at Lavo but has since left the Palazzo eatery and is in the process of opening a restaurant of his own in L.A., will also compete.
Bravo’s Web site has the program listed at Top Chef Masters Season One, possibly alluding to future seasons that could very well include additional Las Vegas chefs.
”Top Chef Masters” premieres on Bravo this Wednesday at 10 p.m.