Bright knives, big city. On Top Chef: New York, the fifth season of the show, 17 new cheftestants take on the Big Apple and compete for their shot at culinary stardom.
Cookbook author, actress and host Padma Lakshmi once again returns to the judges' table, alongside head judge Tom Colicchio, renowned culinary figure and chef/owner of Craft Restaurants, and judge Gail Simmons of Food & Wine magazine.
This season introduces new judge Toby Young, food critic and best-selling author of the book How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, which was the basis for an upcoming film.
In what will prove to be the most challenging season yet, some of the biggest names in food, music and entertainment, including Martha Stewart, Foo Fighters, Jean-Georges, Eric Ripert, Rocco DiSpirito, Wylie Dufresne, Jean-Christophe Novelli and Natasha Richardson will be featured.
Top Chef offers a fascinating window into the competitive, pressure-filled environment of world-class cookery and the restaurant business at the highest level.
Each episode holds two challenges for the chefs. 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.
The challenges not only test their skills in the kitchen, but also reveal whether they have the customer service, management and teamwork abilities required of a Top Chef.
The competing chefs live and breathe the high-pressure lifestyle that comes with being a master chef, and each week someone is asked to pack their knives and go home.
Season 5 Chefs
(See below for links to bios)
Alex Eusebio, 33, from New York, New York
Ariane Duarte, 41, from Verona, New Jersey
Carla Hall, 44, from Nashville, Tennessee
Danny Gagnon, 26, from New Hyde Park, New York
Fabio Viviani, 30, from Florence, Italy
Gene Villiatora, 33, from Whitmore Village, Hawaii
Hosea Rosenberg, 26, from Taos, New Mexico
Jamie Lauren, 30, from New York, New York
Jeff McInnis, 30, from Niceville, Florida
Jill Snyder, 28, from Latrobe, Pennsylvania
Lauren Hope, 24, from Cincinnati, Ohio
Leah Cohen, 27, from Scarsdale, New York
Melissa Harrison, 28, from Maryland
Patrick Dunlea, 21, from Quincy, Maryland
Radhika Desai, 28, from Chicago, Illinois
Richard Sweeney, 27, from Long Island, New York
Stefan Richter, 35, from Tampere, Finland