‘Top Chef Masters’ premieres Wednesday


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Veteran chefs from around the country are ready to throw down for their charity of choice Wednesday for the ‘Top Chef Masters’ premiere on Bravo. Chefs Christopher Lee (Aureole; New York City), Hubert Keller (Fleur de Lys, San Francisco), Tim Love (The Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Fort Worth) and Michael Schlow (Radius Restaurant; Boston) will compete in the first episode, where the guest judges are sure to be tough cookies. The Girl Scouts will rate their pastry making-skills alongside house judges James Oseland (editor in chief of Saveur magazine), Gael Greene (author and former New York Times food critic) and Jay Rayner (food critic for the Observer).

The format of the challenges is similar to ‘Top Chef,’ but includes world-renowned, award-winning chefs instead of the ‘diamonds in the rough’ that the original show cultivates. The elimination process is slightly different too: For the first six episodes, sets of four chefs will compete. The winners of each week will then go on to compete in the final four episodes.

The competition is chock full of talent, and with a smokin’ host like Kelly Choi, things could easily heat up on set. When asking the first four chefs who intimidated them most from their competitors, Lee said “the Silver Fox,” a.k.a. Keller, had him shaking in his boots.

A few Angelenos will be showing up in future episodes, including Suzanne Tracht (Jar), Mark Peel (Campanile), Michael Cimarusti (Providence) and Ludo Lefebvre (Ludo Bites).

They’ll all be at Campanile’s viewing party Wednesday night, along with ‘Top Chef’ vets Stefan Richter, Fabio Viviani and Marcel Vigneron. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served — take it as your chance to be a judge of Peel before his appearance on Bravo.

Show airs on Bravo at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday; viewing party at Campanile sponsored by Martini & Rossi from 7:30 p.m. till midnight; 624 S. La Brea Ave. Los Angeles; (323) 938-1447;

-- Krista Simmons