Top ChefSeason 11 heads down to the Big Easy to find the next master of American cuisine. The action kicks off October 2 at 10p ET/PT, with judges Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, Hugh Acheson and New Orleans' own Emeril Lagasse tasting dishes from the latest group of chefs.

By Food & Wine
Updated March 31, 2015

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Top Chef Season 11 Overview

"Top Chef: New Orleans," the eleventh season of the Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series, premieres Wednesday, October 2 at 10 pm ET.

Host Padma Lakshmi will be joined at the judges' table by lead judge Tom Colicchio, F&W's Gail Simmons, star chef Hugh Acheson andNew Orleans' own Emeril Lagasse.

This season challenges contestants with serving up incredible dishes to a slew of celebrity guest judges, including local New Orleans legends Kermit Ruffins and Dr. John and top entertainers like Lea Michele, Anthony Mackie, Questlove, Paul Prudhomme, Jacques Pepin, David Chang, John Besh, and Eddie Huang.

The winner will receive $125,000 furnished by Healthy Choice, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and the title of “Top Chef.”

For more Top Chef news and coverage, visit

Top Chef: New Orleans Episode Guide

The Top Chef: New Orleans Hopefuls

Bene Bartolotta
New York City

Ramon Bojorquez
San Diego, CA

Janine Booth
New York City

Shirley Chung
Fremont, CA

Jason Cichonski
Philadelphia, PA

Stephanie Cmar
Boston, MA

Nina Compton
Miami, FL

Aaron Cuschieri
Chicago, IL

Justin Devillier
New Orleans, LA

Nick Elmi
Philadelphia, PA

Carlos Gaytan
Chicago, IL

Brian Huskey
Los Angeles, CA

Sara Johannes
Minneapolis, MN

Louis Maldonado
Healdsburg, CA

Travis Masar
La Junta, CO

Carrie Mashaney
Carpenter, IA

Bret Pelaggi
Miami, FL

Michael Sichel
New Orleans, LA

Patricia Vega
New York City