Top Chef cooks again

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Bravo has ordered a third season of cooking competition series Top Chef. Casting for the season three begins this month in US cities Dallas, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, and New York.

Top Chef follows 15 hopeful chefs who compete each week to win a state-of-the-art kitchen, an editorial feature in Food & Wine magazine, and $100,000.

Ratings for Top Chef are solid, if unspectacular. Season one scored an average of 786,000 weekly viewers, while season two has improved on that number to notch 1.22 million viewers. By comparison, fellow Bravo competition Project Runway scored an average 3.2 million weekly viewers, with the season three finale snagging 5.4 million viewers.

"The second season of Top Chef has outperformed even our highest expectations both in ratings and the quality of this nonfictional competitive drama," said Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick. "We look forward to discovering another group of culinary talents with the same passion for food and cooking with commanding personalities that make Top Chef a must see every Wednesday night."

In season one, the show was hosted by Katie Lee Joel, wife of pop musician Billy Joel. In season two, model and cookbook author Padma Lakshmi handles hosting duties. Lakshmi is married to Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie.

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