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Wednesday evening's Top Chef Season 12 Episode 1 introduced us to 16 talented aspiring chefs, who promptly got their hands dirty in the first challenge of the fall.

Dirty in a delicious way, of course. Not an unsanitary one.

For some, Top Chef Season 12 Episode 1 was simply the beginning of an epic journey. For one, it was a journey ending after it had barely even begun.

Such is life in the world of reality TV competitive cooking.

Richard Blais, who fans may recall as the Top Chef Season 8 All-Stars winner, is on board the judging panel this year along with Tom, Padma and Gail.

At stake? The Sudden Death Quickfire Challenge!!

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The Top Chef: New Orleans finale pitted two contrasting finalists against each other.

There was Nicholas, a man known for his temper; and Nina, a relaxed island woman from St. Lucia.

Who would come out on top in the end? Who would impress a panel that included guest judges Chef Morimoto and Chef Paul Bartolotta?

After selecting from a pool of eliminated contestants to help them come up with a four-course meal, and after enjoying a surprise dinner with family members, Nicholas and Nina got down to business.

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Gail Simmons will now be cooking for three.

The Top Chef star welcomed her first child into the world on December 29, People confirms.

According to a rep for the reality star judge, Simmons and husband Jeremy Abrams are now parents to a girl named Dahlia Rae.

Gail Simmons Close Up

Dahlia weighed 7 lbs., 3 oz.,” the rep tells the magazine. “Mother, father and baby are doing wonderfully.”

Simmons and Abrams chose not to find out the child's gender and said in October that her first pregnancy has been "amazing," filling her with "lots of energy."

We send our best wishes to the expanded family and we encourage readers to watch Top Chef online in order to show support for Simmons.

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Top Chef Season 11 Episode 12 took us to New Orleans last night as the show returned from hiatus, and the claws came out. Or at least the crawfish.

The stakes were high and the competition was spicy down in Louisiana.

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs were asked to come up with a dish for the local Seafood Festival, one that had to include two kinds of seafood.

Did raw prevail over cooked? Who survived and who got the chop?

We won't spoil it for you here, but all will be revealed soon enough, food lovers. Click the photo below to watch Top Chef online from start to finish:

by Hilton Hater at . Comments

This was nacho average episode of Top Chef Masters.

First, Jennifer actually returned to the competition after overcoming Sue in a unique Battle of the Sous Chef.

Second, former Heroes actress Ali Larter stopped by the kitchen for the Quickfire Challenge, causing a distraction for David and tasking the contestants to come up with their own take on the universally beloved nachos.

Ali Larter on Top Chef Masters

For the Elimination Challenge, meanwhile, the teams were forced to whip up a hot and cold seafood dish, shopping for the non-fish ingredients without even know what the protein would end up being.

Whose crudo style was his downfall? It's a good question. And it's answered in this Top Chef Masters review from our friends at Food Fanatic.

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Top Chef Masters was all about comedies and kids this week.

And a couple very special guests.

First, there was Mindy Kaling, making this the funniest episode of the season. Second, there was the entire cast of Yo Gabba Gabba, making it also the most colorful.

Mindy Kaling on Top Chef Masters

As any fan of The Mindy Project knows, Kaling is a huge fan of romantic comedies, leading her to task the contestants with making a dish one could use on a date.

The folks from Yo Gabba Gabba, meanwhile, came up with an even scarier assignment: these creatures danced into the kitchen and revealed that the chefs would be whipping something up for the harshest, most honor critics of them all: children!

YIKES! Who was up for the challenge? Was surprise awaited contestants toward the end of the episode? Visit Food Fanatic now for a detailed Top Chef Masters review!

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The eight remaining contestants on Top Chef Masters got busy this week... Busy Philipps, that is!

Yes, the Cougar Town actress stopped by this Bravo reality competition and tasked the two teams with coming up with a Los Angeles-themed restaurant.

Busy Philipps on Top Chef Masters

The Blue side called theirs "72 and Sunny," featuring the diversity of the local food scene there; while the Red squad went with "Artisan" and focused on recreating some classic dishes.

Which side came out on top? How did a Strip Loin play a key role in the restaurant wars? And how can brownies ever be too sweet?!?

All of these questions and many more are answered in this detailed Top Chef Masters review by our friends at Food Fanatic. Check it out now - and watch Cougar Town this fall!

It's hilarious.

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Talk about an engaging episode of Top Chef Masters!

Both competition and love was in the air, as Lindsay Price surprised fiancee Curtis Stone with an engagement party, one for which the remaining contestants had to cook.

We'll allow the mixing of business with pleasure in this entertaining case.

Top Chef Masters Photo

Based around the installment's Elimination Challenge, the chefs were split into three teams and had to plan a menu around Curtis and Lindsay's tastes, which mostly revolved around chocolate and Korean barbecue.

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Top Chef judge and Top Chef: Just Desserts host Gail Simmons is pregnant with her first child with husband Jeremy Abrams, she confirmed Tuesday.

Gail Simmons Picture

Simmons, also special projects director at Food & Wine magazine, tied the knot with Abrams five years ago in a farmers' market-themed wedding.

Her first child will join a growing Top Chef family including:

  • Tom Colicchio's three sons
  • Padma Lakshmi's daughter, Krishna
  • Curtis Stone's son, Hudson, with Lindsay Price.

Hope she has some child-friendly recipes in her repertoire, because she'll need them in a few months' time. Congratulations to Gail and Jeremy!

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Top Chef is off to New Orleans.

After spending time in cities such as New York, Seattle and Los Angeles, Bravo announced this week that the cooking competition will head to The Big Easy for Season 11.

Top Chef Photograph

"Bravo Media's Top Chef, in partnership with the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation and the Louisiana Office of Tourism, are pleased to announce that the new season of the Emmy and James Beard Award-winning show will take place in New Orleans," the network said in a statement Friday. "The vibrant food scene of New Orleans will be a welcome addition in the 11th season of the series."

It's safe to assume some hot and spicy Cajun recipes are on the way.

Bravo has not announced a premiere date yet Top Chef Season 11.

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