Virginia Sherwood/Bravo
Stephan Lee
November 02, 2011 AT 10:30 PM EDT

Top Chef is back, and it’s cooking up a storm all throughout the Lone Star State! As one would expect, there’s a lot of mention of things being bigger in Texas — and it looks the competition is growing as well. As great as the All-Star season was last year, we’re excited to see new faces — a lot of new faces. The premiere tonight is a bit like a cattle slaughter: before the competition really begins, 29 cheftestants will have to fight it out over 16 spots in Top Chef’s manor-like San Antonio digs. Plus, later on, an entirely new bravotv.com web series — Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen — hosted by head judge Tom Colicchio, will pit eliminated contestants against each other for a chance to get back in the game. Think Redemption Island, Top Chef-style.

So all you foodies out there, fasten your bibs and put your eating pants on! All season long, you can check back on EW.com (starting tonight!) for an exclusive weekly blog from judge Gail Simmons, and of course, recaps!

Read more:

‘Top Chef’: Where Are They Now?

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