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Top Chef Chicago: Contestants, Debut Announced

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Brace, people. The full lineup for this season of Top Chef Chicago was announced this morning, and most notable: Only one Los Angeles contestant on the roster. Deets on Antonia Lofaso, from the Bravo press release:

AGE: 31
PROFESSION: Executive Chef, Foxtail, SBE Restaurant Group
CULINARY EDUCATION: French Culinary Institute
FAVORITE SIMPLE SPRING RECIPE: Baby beets with bouchon goat cheese and marcona almonds

Antonia worked for executive chef Lee Hefter at Spago restaurant for six years and is now Executive Chef at the popular L.A. restaurant Foxtail. A single mother living in Los Angeles with her 7-year-old daughter, Antonia comes from an Italian background and says fresh linguine with white truffle is her favorite thing to cook. She always has aged balsamic and extra virgin olive oil on hand, and root beer floats with her daughter are her favorite indulgence.

We love that Foxtail is "popular" already, and it hasn't even opened---it's one of the new SBE properties, Art Deco-ish design, set to debut around mid-Feb in the former Lobby Lounge spot on SMB. A show and a new restaurant all at once? No pressure, Antonia. Do expect us to check in with her often. For the other contestants, we can't tell if there's a foam-happy douchebag, a ragin Asian or a one-balled 6-8 funny man, but the chefs come from top restaurants, mostly New York and San Francisco, and only two from the host city Chicago. Another thing to expect: More and more bloggers jumping on the bandwagon to dissect each episode, gossip lines and drama. The more the merrier, we say. The season premiere airs Wednesday, March 12, 10pm ET/PT.

-Andrew, 30: Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, FL; Resides in N.Y.
-Antonia, 31: Hometown/Resides in: Los Angeles, CA
-Dale, 29: Hometown: Chicago, IL; Resides in N.Y.
-Erik, 38: Hometown: Chappaqua, NY; Resides in San Francisco, CA
-Jennifer, 35: Hometown: Brooklyn, NY; Resides in San Francisco, CA
-Lisa, 27: Hometown: Toronto, Canada; Resides in N.Y.
-Manuel, 33: Hometown: Laredo, TX; Resides in N.Y.
-Mark, 29: Hometown: Invercargill, New Zealand; Resides in N.Y.
-Nikki, 35: Hometown/Resides in: N.Y.
-Nimma, 26: Hometown: Peachtree City, GA; Resides in Atlanta, GA
-Richard, 35: Hometown: Uniondale, NY; Resides in Atlanta, GA
-Ryan, 28: Hometown: Los Banos, CA; Resides in San Francisco, CA
-Spike, 27: Hometown: Clearwater Beach, FL; Resides in Williamsburg, N.Y.
-Stephanie, 31: Hometown: Stamford, CT; Resides in Chicago, IL
-Valerie, 32: Hometown/Resides in: Chicago, IL
-Zoi, 30: Hometown: Seattle, WA; Resides in San Francisco, CA
· LET THE FLAMES BEGIN [NBC/Uni]
· Previous Top Chef coverage/obsession [~ELA~]
· Foxtail, Rendered [~ELA~]

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