‘Top Chef Masters’ Changes Format, Plans ‘Mad Men’ Themed Episode

by | March 2, 2011 at 4:41 PM | Top Chef Masters

New Top Chef Masters host Curtis Stone (Bravo)

New Top Chef Masters host Curtis Stone (Bravo)

Changes will abound when “Top Chef Masters” returns for a third season on April 6. For one, each of the 12 award-winning master chefs will no longer be judged on a scale, but in elimination style challenges a la the original “Top Chef.” Secondly, big money is on the line. The winner of each quickfire will walk away with $5K for their charity of choice, and each elimination challenge winner will take home $10K.

A face lift is also in store, with celebrity chef Curtis Stone (he of “Celebrity Apprentice” fame) replacing Kelly Choi as host, along with new series judge, food critic Ruth Reichl. Former judge James Oseland will remain.

Be on the lookout for some familiar musicians and actors, too. Christina Hendricks is scheduled to drop by for a “Mad Men” themed episode (how to make a complete meal using only Scotch?), and pop stars Maroon 5 and Kelis will make appearances.

So who will be competing this season? See the new “Masters” below:

- Hugh Acheson – Chef/ Partner: Five& Ten, The National, Gosford Wine – in Athens, GA and Empire State South, Atlanta, GA; Competing for Wholesome Wave Foundation
- Floyd Cardoz – Former Executive Chef/Partner- of Tabla and soon-to-be Executive Chef/Partner of a new Danny Meyer restaurant; Competing for Young Scientist Cancer Research Fund
- John Currence – City Grocery Restaurant Group, Oxford, MS Competing for No Kid Hungry
- Traci Des Jardins – Chef/Co-owner of Jardinière, Mijita Cocina Mexicana and Public House and Manzanita, San Francisco, CA; Competing for La Cocina
- George Mendes – Chef/Co-Owner of ALDEA, Manhattan, NY; Competing for Charity: Water
- Mary Sue Milliken – Co-Chef/ Owner: Border Grill Restaurants and Truck, Los Angeles, CA; Competing for Share Our Strength
- Naomi Pomeroy – Owner: Beast in Portland, OR; Competing for Seed Savers Exchange
- Suvir Saran – Executive Chef: Dévi, New York, NY; Competing for Agricultural Stewardship Association
- John Rivera Sedlar – Owner: Playa, Los Angeles, CA; Competing for American Diabetes Association
- Alex Stratta – Executive Chef: Stratta, Las Vegas, NV; Competing for Faster Cures, part of the Milken Prostate Cancer Foundation
- Celina Tio – Chef/Owner: JULIAN Restaurant, Kansas City, MO, Competing for Harvesters
- Sue Zemanick – Executive Chef: Gautreau’s, New Orleans, LA; Competing for the Louisiana SPCA

Season 3 of “Top Chef Masters” premieres Wednesday, April 6 at 11/10c on Bravo and will move to its regular time period of 10/9c the following week.