The Top Chef host will search for a New Orleans chef to compete in Season 11.

Aug 12, 2013 - The Dish

Top Chef is coming to New Orleans for Season 11—but there's one key ingredient missing before games can get underway: a local chef!

Before the season premiere on October 2 at 10/9c, host Padma Lakshmi will go searching for one Big Easy chef to represent the hometown in the competition. Titled Padma's Picks, the Bravotv.com exclusive web series will premiere August 14 on this very website. It will feature six episodes, all of which will be released at once, and showcase the very best in New Orleans' restaurants, the culture, and its chefs.

To help guide the competition, Padma will consult with the city's greatest culinary masters to select five competitors, only one of which will make it to the main event. But there's one big difference between this competition and Top Chef proper: Padma will choose who advances without the consult of a judges' panel. Check out a preview of the action below.