Bravo has just announced the 17 contestants for the upcoming fifth season of Top Chef, which takes place in New York City and premieres on November 12. Of course, Bravo hasn't released any last names, but the first names, ages and locations (and restaurants) are more than enough to get to know the new crop of reality stars.
As suspected, Absinthe's Jamie Lauren is on the show, but this time around, she's the only contestant from the Bay Area (was it the poor showing last season?). Looking through the rest of the roster, most have been already outed (between the three Eaters, we named about 11), and as usual, the 17 chefs hail from around the country—Vegas, Jersey, Ohio, etc.—but SoCal did score four locals this time around. And in other incredibly less exciting news, Bravo has replaced the traitor Ted Allen (he's on Food Network now) with food critic and author of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, Toby Young.
Hometown: New York City
Resides in: San Francisco
Position: Executive Chef, Absinthe Brasserie and Bar
Culinary Education: A.O.S. Culinary Arts, C.I.A.
Favorite Simple Recipes: For spring: Asparagus salad with charred onion vinaigrette, Burrata cheese, wild arugula and speck.
Bio: Jamie works as the Executive Chef at Absinthe, one of the busiest restaurants in San Francisco. Born in New York City and trained in classic French technique, she believes in cooking from within. Jamie loves to work with local and seasonal ingredients and focuses most of her menu around organic foods. She enjoys participating in local charitable events and using her talent to support important causes. Her favorite thing to eat is Indian food and she is obsessed with onions.
And the rest...
27 - Hometown: Long Island, N.Y.; Resides in San Diego, Calif.
Fun Fact: Richard’s motto in the kitchen is, “Keep it simple (stupid).”
41 - Hometown/Resides in: Verona, N.J.
Fun Fact: Loves the beach, her fam, and, of course, her four-star restaurant CulinAriane.
44 - Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.; Resides in Washington, D.C.
Fun Fact: When Carla's not busy running Alchemy Caterers, she loooves making pies.
26 – Hometown/ resides in: New Hyde Park, N.Y.
Fun Fact: Danny's fav summer recipe? Fresh calamari salad.
33 – Hometown: Whitmore Village, Hawaii; Resides in Las Vegas, Nev.
Fun Fact: Gene’s cooking philosophy has always been “think outside the box.”
34 - Hometown: Taos, N.M.; Resides in Boulder, Colo.
Fun Fact: Hosea’s not just a foodie - he’s brainy. He has his BS in Engineering Physics.
30 – Hometown: Niceville, Fla.; Resides in: Miami, Fla.
Fun Fact: Jeff started his culinary career at age 15, peeling shrimp and cleaning squid on Florida fishing boats.
28 - Hometown: Latrobe, Pa.; Resides in Baltimore, Md.
Fun Fact: Jill’s dream is to own a resort that serves great food and offers rides in her hot air balloon.
24 - Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio; currently stationed at Fort Stewart
Fun Fact: If Lauren were a food, she’d be a box of chocolates. Why? Because "you never know what you're going to get, but it's always going to be good!"
27 - Hometown: Scarsdale, N.Y.; Resides in New York, N.Y.
Fun Fact: Leah’s favorite dish is good ol’ homemade pasta.
28 – Hometown: Md.; Resides in Boulder, Colo.
Fun Fact: Melissa loves to travel, and likes cooking because it makes people happy.
21 - Hometown: Quincy, Mass.; Resides in Hyde Park, N.Y.
Fun Fact: Patrick, this season’s youngest contestant, likes to make his dishes into works of art.
28 - Hometown/Resides in: Chicago, Ill.
Fun Fact: Radhika’s cooking style is globally eclectic with a huuuuge spoonful of love.
· Top Chef Season Five [Bravo]
· The Great Top Chef Map: A Look at the Outed Cheftestants [~ESF~]
· All Top Chef Coverage [~ESF~]