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Top Chef 3 SPOILER: Finale Taping Right Now

For those who care, and we know you all do in some small way, we found out that the Top Chef finale is currently being Aspen! Read deep into this recap of a swanky party in the Hampton's to learn that Le Bernardin chef Eric Ripert is at least one guest judge, and he's in Aspen as we speak. Lightbulb! We went back to our interview with Craft owner and TC judge Tom Colicchio, who told us he'd be in LA until August 6, "until we shoot the finale of Top Chef." How did we miss that? So...

CONFIRMED: Colicchio, Ripert, and the entire Little Elves production crew are currently in Aspen taping the finale. To keep this kind of shenanigans at bay, the winner will not be announced until the live broadcast on Sept. 5. ****UPDATE: While the crew was/is in Aspen, add the air date to the "unconfirmed" pile. Thanks to someone linking our stories on a TC message board, we realize our date was incorrect. But that was according to the official TC schedule on Bravo, which had the last episode airing on Sept. 5 (it's since been updated). So we checked with the Bravo reps for offical word: "We have not yet announced the finale date for Bravo's Top Chef 3 Miami. We will certainly keep you posted though!" Hmmm yes. We don't doubt you will, but why is the finale date so top secret?

UNCONFIRMED: We don't know who's in the finale or even how many chefs there are this year. (Last year it was four, the year before it was three.) We don't know if our boy CJ is in that final four, but we have a gut feeling that he might be (call it Angeleno intuition). We also don't know where the brood is holed up, but we suspect the St. Regis or the Little Nell because both were highly profiled during the Food & Wine Aspen event in June. Aspen fans, get stalking.

UPDATE: We weren't the only ones to put two and two together. Both Snack and Amuse-Biatch figured it out too.
· Peggy Siegal is not a caterer [Gawker]
· Top Chef 2: Food & Win tries to unspoil itself [~ELA~]
· Tom Colicchio Talks Top Chef [~ELA~]