Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Top Chef Season 4

Virginia Sherwood/ BRAVO

So many knives, so few backs to stab.

Bravo has unveiled the 17 new chef-testants who will chop, fillet and mince their way through a season's worth of quickfire challenges when the fifth go-round of Top Chef: New York premieres Nov. 12.

While the season sees the return of some familiar faces and locales, including a return to the Big Apple after a season in Chicago, there will be a few requisite fresh ingredients thrown into this season's mix.

Joining host Padma Lakshmi and head judge Tom Colicchio is new taste arbiter Toby Young, a food critic and author of the bestselling and soon to be Simon Pegg-starring How To Lose Friends and Alienate People.

Also making pit stops at the judges' table and during challenges this season will be the always-impressive Martha Stewart, Dancing With the Stars' Rocco DiSpirito, the Foo Fighters, Natasha Richardson and a host of other world-class celebrity chefs.

And along with the increased talent comes an increase in expectations for the chefs.

"Being in New York this season, we've upped the ante—because this is our home turf—so the pressure's on for the chef's to impress us," Colicchio said.

As always, the contestants will vie for $100,000 seed money to help open their own restaurant, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the foodie publication's Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and, of course, the right to call themself Top Chef.

Until next season, anyway.

Here are this year's competitors:

  • Alex, 33; Hometown: New York
  • Ariane, 41; Hometown: Verona, N.J.
  • Carla, 44; Hometown: Nashville
  • Danny, 26; Hometown: New Hyde Park, N.Y.
  • Fabio, 30; Hometown: Florence, Italy
  • Gene, 33; Hometown: Whitmore Village, Hawaii
  • Hosea, 34; Hometown: Taos, N. M.
  • Jamie, 30; Hometown: New York
  • Jeff, 33; Hometown: Niceville, Fla.
  • Jill, 28; Hometown: Latrobe, Pa.
  • Lauren, 24; Hometown: Cincinnati
  • Leah, 27; Hometown: Scarsdale, N.Y.
  • Melissa, 28; Hometown: Maryland
  • Patrick, 21; Hometown: Quincy, Mass.
  • Radhika, 28; Hometown: Chicago
  • Richard, 27; Hometown: Long Island
  • Stefan, 35; Hometown: Tampere, Finland
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