Yesterday, Bravo finally announced the contestants for Top Chef Masters season five, with Denver chef Jennifer Jasinski among the 13 contenders. She will be competing to win the $100,000 prize for local charity Work Options for Women.
Spoiler alert: if you don't want to know whether Jasinski advances into the competition, shield your eyes now. Back in February, a tipster informed Eater that the now-James Beard Award winning chef was spotted in LA on the set of the show. At that time, there were five chefs left in the game, Jasinski and New York chef David Burke included, so don't sweat the first few episodes being too nervous for our hometown chef.
In a new twist this season, each chef will have his or her sous chef compete in an online competition, "Battle of the Sous Chefs," hosted by Hugh Acheson. The results of each sous chef battle impacts the master chefs, awarding them advantages, such as immunity, and sometimes, disadvantages, depending on their sous chef's performance. Every episode of "Battle of the Sous Chefs" leads up to the next episode of "Top Chef Masters." The first episode of "Battle of the Sous Chefs" is now available at http://www.bravotv.com/battle. Spoiler alert #2. In that online episode, Jasinski's sous chef Jorel Pierce (who had a short stint in last year's Top Chef Seattle), is supposed to create a dish that he believes embodies the cooking style of Jasinski. He neither shines nor disappoints, not putting his chef at a disadvantage nor winning her immunity.
Among the contestants on the show are chefs Bryan Voltaggio (Volt, Frederick, MD), Sue Zemanick (Gautreau's, NOLA), Odette Fada (San Domenico, New York, NY), and Sang Yoon (Father's Office, LA). Television personality Curtis Stone is returning as the host, and Food & Wine's Gail Simmons will be "head critic." The judging panel will include returning judges James Oseland, Ruth Reichl, and Francis Lam and new judge, food and dining editor Lesley Suter.
Top Chef Masters premieres on Wednesday, July 24.