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Bravo Announces Top Chef: All-Stars Cast, Launch Date

Last night, during Bravo's Top Chef reunion special, the cabler finally took the wraps off of one of television's worst-kept secrets: that next season of Top Chef would be an all-stars edition that would bring back 18 former contestants to battle it out for another chance at the title.

Top Chef All-Stars will launch December 1st at 10 pm ET/PT and will feature the return of Anthony Bourdain as well, as he segues from guest judge to full-on regular judge. (He'll rotate with Food & Wine's Gail Simmons.)

As for the contestants, they are some of the ones you would most expect would be in the running: Elia Aboumrad; Stephen Asprinio; Richard Blais; Jennifer Carroll; Tiffany Derry; Tiffani Faison; Carla Hall; Mike Isabella; Jamie Lauren; Dale Levitski; Antonia Lofaso; Spike Mendelsohn; Angelo Sosa; Dale Talde; Casey Thompson; Marcel Vigneron; Fabio Viviani; and Tre Wilcox.

Personally, I'm thrilled to see Jennifer Carroll and Richard Blais return to the kitchen. I can't wait to see the inevitable showdown between Richard, Angelo, and Marcel. It has all of the makings of a true molecular gastonomy battle royale, no?

The full press release from Bravo can be found below.

LET THE ULTIMATE FOOD FIGHT BEGIN – BRAVO’S ‘TOP CHEF ALL-STARS’ WILL PREMIERE DECEMBER 1st AT 10 PM ET/PT

Anthony Bourdain Joins As Series Judge And Carla Hall, Spike Mendelsohn, Marcel Vigneron, Fabio Viviani And More Past Chef’testants Return For A Shot At Redemption

NEW YORK – September 23, 2010 – They’re back and they’re ready for redemption – Bravo's "Top Chef" congregates a dream team of 18 past chef’testants who nearly won the title to return to see if they have what it takes for the premiere of “Top Chef All-Stars,” on Wednesday, December 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The 2010 Primetime Emmy Award-winning "Top Chef" returns to New York City for season eight with host Padma Lakshmi and head judge chef Tom Colicchio, alongside judges Gail Simmons and new this season, best-selling author and chef, Anthony Bourdain. The powerhouse of chef’testants going head-to-head include Carla Hall (season five finalist), Spike Mendelsohn (season four, top five), Fabio Viviani (voted fan fav, season five) and Marcel Vigneron (season two finalist), just to mention a few (full list below). For more information, visit WWW.BRAVOTV.COM. Follow us on Twitter at HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/BRAVOPR.

"With seven seasons of ‘Top Chef’ under our belt, the timing feels right for an All-Stars edition,” said Colicchio. “It has all the elements to be our best season yet. Getting Tony Bourdain to serve as a judge throughout the season was the icing on the cake."

"Top Chef" offers a fascinating window into the competitive, pressure-filled environment of world-class cookery and the restaurant business at the highest level. The series features aspiring chefs who compete for their shot at culinary stardom and the chance to earn the prestigious title of "Top Chef." To check out Andy Cohen’s cast announcement from the “Top Chef D.C. Reunion Special, go to: HTTP://WWW.BRAVOTV.COM/TOP-CHEF/SEASON-7/VIDEOS/TOP-CHEF-ALL-STARS-ANNOUNCEMENT

Following are the 18 "Top Chef All-Stars" chef'testants:

- Elia Aboumrad; Season two, final four

- Stephen Asprinio; Season one, top five

- Richard Blais; Season four finalist

- Jennifer Carroll; Season six, final four

- Tiffany Derry; Season seven, top five

- Tiffani Faison; Season one finalist

- Carla Hall; Season five finalist

- Mike Isabella; Season six, top seven

- Jamie Lauren; Season five, top seven

- Dale Levitski; Season three finalist

- Antonia Lofaso; Season four, final four

- Spike Mendelsohn; Season four, top five

- Angelo Sosa; Season seven finalist

- Dale Talde; Season four, top six

- Casey Thompson; Season three finalist and fan favorite

- Marcel Vigneron; Season two finalist

- Fabio Viviani; Season five final four and fan favorite

- Tre Wilcox; Season three, top eight

"Top Chef All-Stars" is produced by the Emmy Award-winning Magical Elves. Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serve as executive producers.

Bravo is a program service of NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Bravo has been an NBC Universal cable network since December 2002 and was the first television service dedicated to film and the performing arts when it launched in December 1980. For more information, visit WWW.BRAVOTV.COM. Follow us on Twitter at HTTPS://TWITTER.COM/BRAVOPR.

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