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More cooking comes to Bravo with new series 'Top Chef Masters'

April 24, 2009 | 11:11 am

KellyChoi The TV press was still recovering from former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's joint appearance with the likes of Sanjaya Malakar in the hotel ballroom today when it came time to welcome the producers, judge and host of Bravo's new series "Top Chef Masters," a spinoff of the popular "Top Chef."

Chef Hubert Keller also was here. Is it OK for us to say that listening to him is a pleasure? First, because he's got a dreamy French accent, and second, because he really knows what he's talking about, even when it's something simple like comfort food.

Too bad we can't say the same for the unfortunate member of the media who stood up and asked the producers, while pointing to host Kelly Choi (pictured) as an example, why their food competition shows don't hire a host who "looks like someone who enjoys food."

Choi, of course, took exception to the question and replied: "A person who enjoys food doesn’t equal being big. Enjoying food, if anything, there’s no correlation between looking a certain way and loving food. I’m a food lover through and through."

Judge James Oseland vouched for her: "This woman can chow down! She's got one of those super-accelerated metabolisms."

The cooking competition spinoff — this one featuring "world-renowned chefs" — will premiere June 10 at 10 p.m. and has recruited a star-studded lineup of guest judges. Expert chefs will cook under difficult conditions, such as doing dinner for 60 in a college dorm room.

The guest judges include Neil Patrick Harris, Zooey Deschanel, Morgan Spurlock, "Lost" writers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, "Flipping Out's" Jeff Lewis and all of the previous "Top Chef" winners. Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons will also appear.

— Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo credit: Bravo