Hearts across America have barely started to beat regularly again after last week's amazing finale of Top Chef Masters (congrats, Marcus Samuellson!) and now comes Season 7 of Top Chef. The time-tested Bravo standby will premiere this week, take place in our nation's capital, and, once again, feature 17 chef-testants competing for the title of "Top Chef."
What? Washington, D.C.? Will this location add life to the series or be as boring as Face the Nation reruns? For that answer, let's take a look at some of the special guests on the show.
Apollo Astronaut Buzz Aldrin - Cool. Astronauts are cool.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi - Boring.
Assistant White House Chef Sam Kass - Could be interesting.
MSNBC host Joe Scarborough - No.
Congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois - Who?
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia - Huh?
CIA Director Leon Panetta - Probably not.
NBC White House Correspondent Savannah Guthrie - Doubt it.
Not looking good. Maybe adding Eric Ripert, award-winning chef and owner of the acclaimed Le Bernardin restaurant in New York City, to the judging table will spice things up a bit.
Here's the week's schedule so you won't miss a thing. For cable channels, check your local listings.
Monday (June 14)
Early Show: Chef Mario Batali and author Women Food and God, Geneen Roth. 7 a.m., Channel 5, CBS
FoodCrafters: "Sweet." Sweet confections are examined. Included: Two brothers make Persian ice cream; two moms make homemade jam. 7 p.m., The Cooking Channel
Unique Eats: "Desserts." Included: a pie shop in Brooklyn that sells individual slices; an ice-cream truck for artisanal ice cream. 7:30 p.m., The Cooking Channel
Cake Boss: "Tournament of Knights & A Tasty Tiramisu." A cake is made for a king at Medieval Times. Later, Buddy is challenged to a joust when he delivers the confection. Also: a classic tiramisu cake is made. "Hieroglyphics, Hearse, & Happy Parents." A cake shaped like a pink hearse is created, along with an Egyptian-theme sweet-16 cake. 9 and 9:30 p.m., TLC
The Best Thing I Ever Ate: "Regional Favorites." Regional dishes are discussed, including Maine lobster, Philly cheesesteaks and New Orleans po-boys. 9 p.m., Food Network
(Series Premiere!) Food Buddha. "Buddha Big in the Big Easy." Chef Rodelio Aglibot visits three restaurants in New Orleans and samples every item on their menus in the series Premiere. Later, he returns to his own kitchen and creates a new dish inspired by his experience. "Eating San Francisco." Eateries in San Francisco are explored with local foodie and "Top Chef" alum Ryan Scott. 10 and 10:30 p.m., TLC
Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern: "Baja Mexico." Andrew explores unique food traditions on Mexico's Baja Peninsula, from street carts to high-end cuisine. Cities visited include Tijuana, Ensenada, and La Paz. 10 p.m., Travel Channel
Tuesday (June 15)
Hell's Kitchen: The teams serve lunch to USC's Marching Band and Song Girls, and a red-team member gets burned at dinner service before one chef is asked to leave. Another goes home after a second challenge (using ingredients based on rolls of dice) and dinner service. 7 p.m., Channel 10, FOX
Cupcake Wars: "SeaWorld Birthday Bash." The bakers must used seaweed and sea salt when creating cupcakes for an event at SeaWorld. 9 p.m., Food Network
Chopped: "Turbot Powered." The chefs must incorporate a bitter ingredient in their appetizers; turbot in the entrees; and English muffins in their desserts. 10 p.m., Food Network
Wednesday (June 16)
Throwdown With Bobby Flay: "Quiche." A quiche bake-off against Rodney Henry, owner of Baltimore's Dangerously Delicious Pies. 9 p.m., Food Network
(Season 3 Opener!) Man v. Food: "San Diego." Season 3 opens at the Broken Yolk Café in San Diego, where the hosts attempts a 12-egg omelet smothered in cheese and chili with two biscuits and a huge pile of home fries on the side. "Boulder." The "Wing King Challenge" at the West End Tavern in Boulder requires the host to consume 50 wings in 30 minutes or less. 9 and 9:30 p.m., Travel Channel
(Season 7 Premiere!) Top Chef: Washington, D.C.: "House of Chef-presentatives." The premiere of Season 7 is served up, with 17 new culinary artisans infiltrating the nation's capital. In their first elimination challenge, they must prepare food fare that best represents themselves and their home region. Chef Eric Ripert is a new series judge. 9 p.m., Bravo
Dinner: Impossible: "Judgment Day." Chef Irvine helps celebrate the 2,000th episode of Divorce Court by separating some tired food marriages, like fish and chips, and rematching them into exciting new pairs. Judge Lynn Toler helps rate the dishes. 10 p.m., Food Network
Thursday (June 17)
Good Eats: "Little Big Lunch: Eggs Benedict." Alton Brown makes eggs Benedict. 8:30 p.m., Food Network
Friday (June 18)
Chefs vs. City: "Seattle." Chefs Carrie Mashaney and Jason Stratton are the challengers in a culinary race across Seattle. 10 p.m., Food Network
Saturday (June 19)
Mexican Made Easy: "Spin on American Classics." Mexican-inspired meat loaf, served with poblano potato salad and Baja-style lemondae. 9:30 a.m., Food Network
Paula's Best Dishes: "Take It Easy." One the menu: seared mahi mahi with basil butter, crab dip; grilled pineapple sundaes with a cream-cheese shortcake topping. 11:30 a.m., Food Network
5 Ingredient Fix: "Taco Night." Chipotle-lime chicken tacos, served with grilled-corn slaw, layered shrimp salad, and cucumber-watermelon margaritas. 12:30 p.m., Food Network
Barefoot Contessa: "International Pasta." International pasta dishes are prepared, including Italian baked pasta and Asian pasta salad. 1:30 p.m., Food Network
Unwrapped: "Ice Cream Dreams." The making of Ben & Jerry's ice cream; Signature Brands sprinkles; and Blue Bunny chocolate ice-cream cones. 10 p.m., Food Network
Sunday (June 20)
Grill It! With Bobby Flay: "We Be Lamb-in'." Bobby Flay prepares curry-crusted leg of lamb with a pomegranate raita and saffron-basmati-rice salad, while a viewer grills Middle Eastern-style leg of lamb and grilled stuffed zucchini. 10:30 a.m., Food Network
Foodography: "Noodles." A history of noodles. Included: their origins in China, Greece, and Italy. Included: a visit to Brooklyn's D. Maldari & Sons pasta company. 6 p.m., The Cooking Channel
Drink Up: "White Wine." White wines are sampled at Terroir Tribeca in New York City. Also: wine-and-food pairings; recipes; glass selection. 7:30 p.m., The Cooking Channel
Next Food Network Star: "Grammy Award Celebration." The contestants must create dishes inspired by classic film genres. Then, they are paired up in teams of two to cater a Grammy Awards after-party for Grammy-winning songstress Colbie Caillat. 9 p.m., Food Network
Iron Chef America: "Flay vs. Thiam." A culinary battle between Brooklyn-based chef Pierre Thiam and Iron Chef Bobby Flay. 10 p.m., Food Network
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