“Top Chef” fans take note. The show’s upcoming season, set in Texas, will premiere on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 10 p.m. on Bravo TV. And because everything is bigger in Texas, this season begins with a record 29 chef’testants, two of whom are Georgians.
Janine Falvo of Briza Restaurant will join the likes of Richard Blais, Kevin Gillespie and Hector Santiago in representing Atlanta on the show. In her casting video, Falvo says, “No one will ever work as hard as I do in any kitchen I’m in.” Falvo also describes her style as “molocular” — a blend of molecular gastronomy and the use of local ingredients. Like Blais, she professes a fondness for liquid nitrogen.
Georgia will also be represented by Whitney Otawka, chef at Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island. In her casting video, Whitney admits that she is a “hidden gem” because “no one even knows where Cumberland Island is most of the time.” Whitney has worked with Hugh Acheson at 5 &10 and at both Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch. She was named one of the “Atlanta chefs to watch in 2011” by Besha Rodell of Creative Loafing.
This season, we’ll also be seeing a lot more of our own Hugh Acheson as he joins Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and fellow new addition Emeril Lagasse at the judges’ table. Guest judges will include Charlize Theron, Pee-wee Herman, Patti LaBelle, Tim Love, John Besh and Cat Cora.
One new twist to expect this season: the “Last Chance Kitchen.” Much like “Survivor’s” Redemption Island, two eliminated contestants will compete head-to-head for a chance to rejoin the competition.
We wish our two Georgia chef’testants the best as they compete for bragging rights and the $125,000 prize.
–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog
– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team.