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"Top Chef 4" Contestants Announced

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jan 23, 2008 10:24PM

After months of spying and accounts of shooting around town, Bravo finally announced the contestants for the next season of "Top Chef" today (you can read the release here). While the lineup of chefs vying to impress Padma and company are largely from the coasts, three of the contestants have Chicago ties:

2008_01_izzard.jpgStephanie Izzard is best known around town as the former chef/owner of Scylla (replaced by the amazing Takashi) in Bucktown. Best known for her love of cooking seafood for the myriad textures and flavors that come out depending on the style of preparation, Izzard describes herself as a "risk-taker" who "follow(s) through" whatever she sets her mind on. As we mentioned in our Takashi review, if any of the rumors we've heard about Izzard's participation in "TC" are valid, she's going to acquit herself quite well on the show.

2008_01_bolon.jpgValerie Bolon is a Kendall College graduate currently working as a personal chef who's also spent some time working at Spring and Hot Chocolate. A Chicago native, Bolon is an avid traveler who likes to incorporate elements from her experiences around the world in her cooking. She likes to cook with a balance of elegance and simplicity and lists pork pot stickers as her favorite simple spring recipe.

2008_01_talde.jpgChicago native Dale Talde is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and currently works as sous chef at New York's Buddakan. Talde also is in the early running to have the smirk smacked off his face with a greasy, red-hot spatula. Talde helped open Vong's Thai Kitchen and has served tours of duty with Carrie Nahabedian at Naha and Spring's Shawn McClain. Talde focuses on Asian flavors - he "love(s) the balance that Asian cuisine offers" - and says his motto is “expect perfection, because if you fall short your left with greatness.” Seriously, where's that spatula when we need it?

Contestant bios are linked to the press release, so you can start developing unhealthy obsessions with your favorites well in advance of the March 12 premiere. 'Course, we're still hoping beyond hope the former Mrs. Rushdie hosts an episode with just some stilettos and a smile (need we spell it out that, unless you work in a gentleman's club, that last link isn't safe for work).