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.

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