As they say, go big or go home, and the new season of “Top Chef” is going real big, Texas-style.
Bravo announced Wednesday the premiere date for Season 9, dubbed “Top Chef: Texas,” which will kick off on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 10/9c on Bravo.
Filming in three Lone Star cities, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, the new season will also feature double the cheftestants in the premiere, as 29 chefs compete for 16 spots in the kitchen.
Bravo also teased some of the celebrity guest judges that will appear this season, including Charlize Theron, Pee-Wee Herman, Cat Cora and Patti LaBelle.
And, as previously announced, two new faces will be at judges’ table this season – celeb chef Emeril Lagasse and critically acclaimed chef Hugh Acheson – will join Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons in determining who should pack their knives and GO.
In one final new element, “Top Chef” will also launch a new web series in which eliminated contestants get a second chance at the “Top Chef” title with an opportunity to return and compete on the season finale.
Head judge Tom Colicchio says in a statement, “Just like Texas, this will be our biggest season ever.”
Host Padma Lakshmi added, “I’m so excited for everyone at home to get a glimpse of all the great and talented chefs. This season is bigger and better than ever! Yum!”
Meet the 29 “Top Chef: Texas” Hopefuls:
~ Nyesha Arrington, 28 – Los Angeles, Calif., Wilshire Restaurant
~ Lindsay Autry, 29 – West Palm Beach, Fla., Omphoy Ocean Resort & Michelle Bernstein
~ Jonathan Baltazar, 36 – Long Beach, Calif., Heights Cuisine
~ Ty-Lör Boring, 34 – Brooklyn, N.Y., Spasso
~ Molly Brandt, 30 – Hollywood, Fla., Allure of the Seas for Royal Caribbean
~ Chaz Brown, 29 – New York, N.Y., Fatty Crab
~ Kimberly Calichio, 27 – New York, N.Y., Fishtail by David Burke
~ Beverly Kim, 31 – Chicago, Ill., Aria Restaurant
~ Chris Crary, 29 – Los Angeles, Calif., Whist Restaurant in the Viceroy Hotel
~ Andrew Curren, 32 – Austin, Texas , 24 Diner
~ Berenice deAraujo, 33 – Miami, Fla., Sra. Martinez
~ Janine Falvo, 37 – Atlanta, Ga., Briza Restaurant
~ Richie Farina, 28 – Chicago, Ill., MOTO
~ Sarah Grueneberg, 29 – Chicago, Ill., Spiaggia
~ Chris Jones, 30 – Chicago, Ill., MOTO
~ Edward Lee, 38 – Louisville, Ky., 610 Magnolia
~ Whitney Otawka, 30 – Cumberland Island, Ga., Greyfield Inn
~ Simon Pantet, 30 – Seattle, Wash., Twenty-Two Doors
~ Colin Patterson, 37 – Seattle, Wash., Sutra
~ Laurent Quenioux, 51 – Los Angeles, Calif., Vertical Wine Bistro
~ Paul Qui, 30 – Austin, Texas, Uchiko Restaurant
~ Keith Rhodes, 39 – Wilmington, N.C., Catch Restaurants
~ Grayson Schmitz, 27 – New York, N.Y., Exec. Chef
~ Tyler Stone, 22 – Sacramento, Calif., Personal Chef
~ Heather Terhune, 39 – Chicago, Ill., Sable Kitchen and Bar
~ Chuy Valencia, 25 – Chicago, Ill., Chilam Bilam
~ Nina Vicente, 29 – Seattle, Wash., Spur Gastropub
~ Ashley Villaluz, 25 – Seattle, Wash., Sous Chef
~ Dakota Weiss , 35 – Los Angeles, Calif., 9:30 Restaurant and The Backyard