"It's obviously heroes versus villains," modernist chef Richard Blais tells the similarly modernist chef Marcel Vigneron at the beginning of the Top Chef Duels trailer, while Kevin Gillespie explains that the South has a "proud tradition of dueling" and Art Smith yells. Disemboweled lobsters, julienned zucchini, and random severed hocks are par for the course, apparently, to match the trash-talking in Duels (née Top Chef Extreme), and there's even a dramatic heavy metal soundtrack. Curtis Stone hosts, with Gail Simmons, Wolfgang Puck, and Hugh Acheson judging the various high-adrenaline feats on the show, which premieres August 6. Get ready for a serene Shailene Woodley, who is a guest judge in the first season, and a big bunch of histrionic culinary professionals.
Here's the full press release:
BRAVO MEDIA EXPANDS EMMY AWARD-WINNING FRANCHISE WITH PREMIERE OF TOP CHEF DUELS ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6 AT 10 PM ET/PT
Special Guest Judges Include P!nk, Shailene Woodley, the Cast of FOXs Brooklyn Nine Nine, Scott Ian Rosenfeld and Stars From ABCs Greys Anatomy
Network Gives Eliminated Chefs the Chance at Redemption With Companion Digital Video Series The Knockout
NEW YORK - June 4, 2014 - Bravo Media turns up the heat in a new culinary competition series Top Chef Duels premiering Wednesday, August 6 at 10 PM ET/PT as the network brings back the best culinary talent ever seen on Top Chef and Top Chef Masters for a gastronomic battle royale of epic proportions. Hosted by celebrity chef Curtis Stone, the newest iteration of the Emmy Award-winning franchise pits eighteen of the biggest, boldest and most talked-about personalities from past seasons against one another in high-stakes cooking challenges designed to test their passion and imagination in the kitchen. In addition to his role as host, Curtis Stone will also anchor the judges table with Gail Simmons, while chefs Wolfgang Puck and Hugh Acheson along with other special guests will round out the judging panel throughout the series. For a sneak peek, go to: www.bravotv.com/top-chef-duels/season-1/videos/this-season-on-top-chef-duels
In each episode, two chefs will face-off in three rounds of head-to-head battles testing their skill, creativity and speed. Rivalries will be intensified as Top Chef Duels ups the ante and allows the competing chefs to each pick one mini-duel based on the others perceived weaknesses in the kitchen. The third and final challenge of each episode will decide who moves on to compete in the ultimate high-stakes season finale where 10 chefs will be confronted with split second decisions as they lay it all on the line in the greatest challenge of their careers. In the end, only one chef will earn bragging rights and win the $100,000 grand prize and a culinary adventure that will be featured in Food and Wine Magazine.
Top Chef Duels will showcase a wide range of guest judges from across film, TV, music and food to round out the panel each week. Special guests include actress Shailene Woodley and musicians P!nk, Scott Ian Rosenfeld, Gary Holt and Rob Zombie. Also featured this season are Andy Samberg along with the cast of FOXs Brooklyn Nine Nine including Stephanie Beatriz, Melissa Fumero, Chelsea Peretti and producer Dan Goor, as well as stars from ABCs Greys Anatomy such as James Pickens Jr., Sarah Drew, Camilla Luddington, Jerrika Hinton and Kevin McKidd. In addition, celebrity chef and restaurant owners joining the judges panel throughout the series are Daniel Boulud, Michelle Bernstein, Andrew Zimmern, Josiah Citrin, Paul Liebrandt, Homaro Cantu, Karen & Quinn Hatfield, Ben Pauker, Curtiss Calleo, Suzanne Goin, David Lentz and American food writer and magazine editor James Oseland.
In a continuation of the competition, Bravo will add to its award-winning slate of companion digital video series with The Knockout, which gives eliminated chefs a chance to claim a spot in the Top Chef Duels finale on-air. Hosted by Wolfgang Puck, each week the most recently eliminated chef from the series will compete against the incumbent Knockout champion. The winner of that battle moves on to face the next eliminated contestant, but in a twist on the format of Last Chance Kitchen, a chef only needs to win one battle to qualify for a place in The Knockout online finals. However, the more battles a chef wins, the better his/her chances of earning a spot back on the show. Only the ultimate winner of The Knockout will re-enter the Top Chef Duels Championship finale.
MEET THE DUELING PAIRS:
Episode 101: Richard Blais (Top Chef Chicago runner- up and Top Chef All-Stars winner) vs. Marcel Vigneron (Top Chef Season 2 runner up)
Episode 102: Shirley Chung (Top Chef New Orleans finalist) vs. Brooke Williamson (Top Chef Seattle runner up)
Episode 103: Mike Isabella (Top Chef All-Stars runner up) vs. Antonia Lofaso (Top Chef Chicago finalist)
Episode 104: CJ Jacobson (Top Chef Miami contestant) vs. Stefan Richter (Top Chef Season 5 runner up)
Episode 105: David Burke (Top Chef Masters Season 5) vs. Takashi Yagihashi (Top Chef Masters Season 4)
Episode 106: Tiffani Faison (Top Chef Season 1 runner up) vs. Dale Talde (Top Chef Chicago and Top Chef All-Star contestant)
Episode 107: Nyesha Arrington (Top Chef Texas contestant) vs. Jen Carroll (Top Chef Las Vegas finalist)
Episode 108: Stephanie Izard (Top Chef Chicago winner) vs. Kristen Kish (Top Chef Seattle winner)
Episode 109: Kevin Gillespie (Top Chef Las Vegas fan favorite) vs. Art Smith (Top Chef Masters Season 1)
Episode 110: Championship Finale