Bravo has announced the lineup for Top Chef Masters' fifth season, and L.A. has a few horses in the race. Sang Yoon, of Father's Office and Lukshon, and Neal Fraser of the Strand House and Fritzi Dog, will be part of the 13-chef cast competing for money for a charity of their choice. Yoon will compete for Worldwide Orphans Foundation and Fraser will compete for Alex's Lemonade Stand. Richard Sandoval, who owns a ton of restaurants nationally and is based in L.A., also will be competing, trying to win the prize money for C-Cap -- Careers Through Culinary Arts Program.
Other L.A. reasons to watch: This season was filmed in L.A., and features Los Angeles magazine dining editor Lesley Suter as a judge, alongside Francis Lam, James Oseland, Ruth Reichl and Gail Simmons.
Yoon and Fraser will have some tough competition, with some highly respected chefs participating in this season. Among them are New York's David Burke;
Douglas Keane, former chef of Cyrus in Sonoma; and Bryan Voltaggio, who famously lost season 6 of the regular Top Chef to his younger brother, our own Michael Voltaggio. Bryan Voltaggio is the first chef to compete on both Top Chef and Top Chef Masters.
Bravo has added an extra element to this season, with a competition between the chef's sous chefs that will air online only and is hosted by Hugh Acheson. The sous chefs' triumphs and defeats will gain their chefs advantages or disadvantages on the regular show.
Both Fraser and Yoon are exceedingly busy these days. Yoon is in the process of opening a bakery project at Helms Bakery with Sherry Yard, while Fraser is working on opening a new restaurant with Bill Chait at Vibiana called Redbird, which they're billing as the follow-up to his much loved but now-closed Grace.
Let's just say we're much more excited about this season of Top Chef Masters than we are about that other Bravo show that has to do with food and L.A.
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