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'Top Chef Masters' returns, chefs Mary Sue Milliken and John Rivera Sedlar among the competitors

March 2, 2011 |  9:37 am

Bravo's "Top Chef Masters" is back April 6 -- and everything has changed.

There's will be a brand new format, a new host (celebrity chef Curtis Stone) and a new judge (former Gourmet magazine editor Ruth Reichl). Among the 12 chefs who will be competing are hometown favorites Mary Sue Milliken, chef-owner of the Border Grill restaurants and food truck, and John Rivera Sedlar, owner of Playa, along with Celina Tio, chef-owner of Julian in Kansas City, Mo., who is fresh from a run on "The Next Iron Chef."

The remaining competitors are Traci Des Jardins, chef co-owner of Jardinière, Mijita Cocina Mexicana and Public House and Manzanita in San Francisco; George Mendes, chef-co-owner of ALDEA in Manhattan; Naomi Pomeroy, owner of Beast in Portland, Ore.; Suvir Saran, executive chef at Dévi in New York; Alex Stratta, executive chef of Stratta in Las Vegas; Sue Zemanick, executive chef of  Gautreau’s in New Orleans; Hugh Acheson, chef/partner at Five & Ten, The National and Gosford Wine in Athens, Ga.; Floyd Cardoz, executive chef/partner of a new Danny Meyer restaurant; and John Currence of City Grocery Restaurant Group in Oxford, Miss.

All the chefs will compete for the title of "Top Chef Master" and the chance to win $100,000 for their charity. But the format has changed.

"This season, the masters will no longer be judged on a scale, but in elimination style challenges just as the tried and true format of the original 'Top Chef,' " says the announcement.

Returning to the series is judge James Oseland, who will be joined by Reichl. Other celebrities who will be dropping by as guest judges include "Mad Men's" Christina Hendricks, the group Maroon 5 and singer Kelis.

What do you think about the changes? Are you sad/glad/mad to see Choi go? And any predictions as to which chef will come out on top?

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: "Top Chef Masters" Season 3 chefs Mary Sue Milliken, from left, Alex Stratta, Naomi Pomeroy, George Mendes, Suvir Saran, Traci Des Jardins, host Curtis Stone, Sue Zemanick, Hugh Acheson, Floyd Cardoz, Celina Tio, John Currence and John Rivera Sedlar. Credit: Justin