Bravo has confirmed to us that there are two out lesbian/bi chefs among the 17 competitors on the sixth season of their popular cooking reality series, Top Chef: Las Vegas, premiering Wednesday, August 26th at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
First is Preeti Mistry, a 33-year-old Executive Chef for the Bon Appetit Management Company at Google just south of San Francisco.
Preeti’s official Top Chef bio reads:
Born in London and raised in the US, Preeti’s Indian culture, extensive international travel, classic French culinary training and access to the best local California ingredients inspire her cooking. She enjoys building intense flavors, and truly shines when working with sauces, soups and vinaigrettes. Preeti’s commitment to seasonality, and her relationship with small local farmers are at the core of her cuisine. If she were a food, she says, “I would be a green zebra tomato – extremely distinctive from all the others, a little hard on the outside, but pure love at the center.”
Next is Ashley Merriman, a 32-year-old chef at Branzino in Seattle, WA.
According to Ashley’s bio:
Hailing from Center Sandwich, New Hampshire, she attended the Institute of Culinary Education after graduating from Hamilton College in New York. She has spent the majority of her professional career in New York City working at Butter and Seattle at Tilth, and now Branzino. She always has good quality extra virgin olive oil, champagne vinegar, lemons and thyme on hand in her kitchen.
Padma Lakshmi is returning as the show’s host, and judges Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and Toby Young are back, as well. Among the many special guests this season are Nigella Lawson and Natalie Portman.
Although there has never been an out lesbian/bi winner of Top Chef, the series has featured several lesbian/bi contestants in previous seasons, including Jamie Lauren, Lisa Fernandes, and Jennifer Biesty.
Top Chef: Las Vegas premieres August 26. Visit Bravo’s official Top Chef website for more info.