At first I thought Bravo was pulling out a cop-out mini-special with Rocco DiSpirito to boost their summer numbers. But upon digging deeper I discovered that "Top Chef Masters" is not only a full season of my favorite culinary show, but they've got some serious talent. Michael Chiarello? Wylie Dufresne? Hubert Keller? In fact, they gathered twenty accomplished chefs from around the country to compete.
They've got a new host, Kelly Choi (I might miss Padme) and new judges: Gael Green of New York Magazine, Jay Rayner of Britain's The Observer and James Oseland, editor of Saveur. I suspect that Gail Simmons was out of her league? Other notable chefs include Elizabeth Falkner, Art Smith (Oprah's Chef), Rick Bayless and a bunch of other James Beard winners. There's heavy representation from the Bay Area.
Check it out tonight 7pm pacific on DirecTV and Dish or 10pm pacific on cable, 10pm eastern on Bravo.