Padma will choose a Top Chef contestant

Top Chef‘s 11th season won’t debut until October, but a six-episode series online starting today will feature Padma selecting a New Orleans-based contestant for the New Orleans-set season.

Padma’s Picks, which is viewable only on BravoTV.com and on its completely awful video player, will follow Padma as five more well-known local chefs offer Padma two candidates, who will compete head-to-head. The final five will compete to be cast.

A preview doesn’t reveal much, but Bravo has been Emmy-nominated for Last Chance Kitchen, and the series also gives offers even more of an opportunity for product integration. As a bonus, that pesky Gail Simmons isn’t around to interfere in what Pamda wants.

The New Orleans season debuts Oct. 2; the state drew the show in part by spending money from the oil spill clean-up fund.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.