TV Alert: “Top Chef: Las Vegas” debuts tonight with two gay female cheftestants

Get ready to unpack your knives and stay for a while. Top Chef is back, baby. The sixth season of the popular reality cooking competition premieres tonight. This season, 17 chefs compete to see if luck will be a lady for them in Las Vegas. Please, TV gods, find a way for the producers to get show host Padma Lakshmi in a showgirl outfit.

As in past seasons, the show features two out lesbian/bi chefs among the 17 competitors. They are:

Preeti Mistry, a 33-year-old Executive Chef for the Bon Appetit Management Company at Google just south of San Francisco and Ashley Merriman, a 32-year-old chef at Branzino in Seattle.

Preeti Mistry (left) and Ashley Merriman

I’m glad to see they’re dutifully helping to fulfill the show’s faux hawk and tattoo quotas.

From their Bravo bio videos, Preeti started off in film before moving to London with her partner of 13 years and going to the Cordon Bleu; Ashley grew up on welfare and started cleaning dishes in the restaurant where her mother worked as a waitress. Also, her food might not be the best to try on a diet because she says she wants her customers to leave feeling like “they got beat in the face with a stick of butter.”

This season will feature an impressive array of guest judges from the worlds of food, film and fanciful illusion including Wolfgang Puck, Natalie Portman, Penn & Teller, Tyler Florence and Nigella Lawson. The thought of having Padma and Nigella side by side is almost too much to imagine.

Bravo posted a preview of tonight’s first Quickfire Challenge. And of yes, there will be blood.

Ruh-roh, looks like one of our chefbians had a problem opening up her clams. Rounding out this season’s Team Rainbow is 29-year-old New York chef Ash Fulk.

So, are you ready for Top Chef Sin City style? And considering how well past chefbians like Jamie Lauren, Lisa Fernandes and Jennifer Biesty have done in the past, what’s your prediction for this season’s batch?

Also, seriously Bravo. Showgirl outfit, think about it. Top Chef premieres at 9 p.m. tonight on Bravo. Check back here weekly for recaps of each new episode.

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