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Top Chef Premieres Tonight With Six Chicago Chefs

By Anthony Todd in Food on Nov 2, 2011 1:00PM

2011_11_2TopChefLogo.jpg For once, Chicago has come out on top in the food world - at least in this one tiny slice of reality television. Six Chicago chefs will compete on the newest season of Top Chef, premiering tonight on Bravo. That's more than any other city. Even better for Chicago, the chefs that will be competing are all not-quite-"celebrity" chefs.

While any good Chicago foodie knows about Heather Terhune's work at Sable (and if not, we've done our best to tell you) or Sarah Grueneberg's time at Spiaggia (feeding President Obama), they aren't media darlings like Izard, Bayless or Tentori. They're just amazing chefs who showcase the best Chicago has to offer.

In addition to Terhune and Grueneberg, two chefs from Moto (Chris Jones and Richie Farina) will hopefully help show the world that Chicago is America's leading city for progressive cuisine. Not that we're biased or anything. Beverly Kim, of Aria, is a true product of our town who graduated from Kendall and learned her craft at (where else) Charlie Trotter's. According to the Sun Times, Kim is even bringing in other Chicagoans as her pit crew - she took a class at The Butcher & Larder before filming to hone her butchering skills. Bringing up the rear is Chuy Valencia, of Chilam Bilam. His introduction video caused quite a stir, and his attempts to retract the crazy in Time Out Chicago didn't leave him looking so great. Here's hoping his cuisine outshines his outsized personality.

For Top Chef fans, this season is going to be a bit different. TV Guide laid out some of the new features - among them location, cast and a new competition. The show will jump around to Austin, Dallas and San Antonio, rather than staying in one spot. Emeril Lagasse will be joining the judging team and Anthony Bourdain won't be returning. The cast is extra big, because the first two episodes are a massive cull - almost 1/2 the cast will be cut. Here's hoping our Chicagoans survive! Even if they don't, this time around there is a special competition ("Last Chance Kitchen") online, where rejected contestants can compete for a chance to re-join the cast.

So much to watch! Good luck, Chicago Chefs. We'll be rooting for you.