The biggest-ever Top Chef class of cheftestants includes four Seattle representatives, or a full 14 percent of the cast.
The forthcoming season of Top Chef features 29 chefs, including Simon Pantet of 22 Lounge; Colin Patterson of Sutra; Nina Vicente of Spur Gastropub; and Ashley Villaluz, identified in this morning's release as an unaffiliated sous chef. Bravo TV is mum on whether the aspiring chefs will be dismissed at a faster rate or whether the season will include additional episodes.
"You're going to have to watch and see," spokesperson Tory Burch says.
Top Chef: Texas, set to premiere on Nov. 2, boasts nearly double the usual number of cheftestants--which means viewers can expect plenty of "everything's bigger in Texas" talk.
Burch stresses the show's producers don't strive for regional diversity, which is why 19 of the chefs hail from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, or Seattle. The Windy City led the pack with six entrants.
"We choose the best of the best," Burch says. "It doesn't have anything to do with geography or what we heard were hot cities."
There are a few outliers in a group dominated by Northern urbanites: Keith Rhodes helms a kitchen in Wilmington, N.C; Whitney Otawka chefs on Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia; and the estimable Edward Lee works in Louisville, Ky. But the powerhouse cities mostly squeezed out smaller towns--and a few vibrant food scenes.
The list of cheftestants doesn't include any chefs from San Francisco (unless you count Sacramento) or Portland.
"There have been disappointed readers in many cities," Burch says.
Pantet, Patterson, and Vicente were not immediately available for comment.