We've got exclusive scoop on this season of Masters, from James Oseland's cardigans to Curtis' "Freshman 12."

on Apr 6, 2011 - The Dish

Step aside All-Stars. The Masters have arrived.

Tonight after the Top Chef All-Stars reunion Top Chef Masters returns with Curtis Stone escorting 12 accomplished chefs through a host of challenges. But before things got too heated, we chatted with Curtis, and judges James Oseland and Ruth Reichl about what the season had in store.

Obviously our first question was about wardrobe -- for James. The veteran judge has never met a cardigan he didn't like. So what do his wardrobe for this season entail?

"I am blushing. I mean, I feel a redness. I feel a heat," James said. "Actually, there are yet more cardigans. There are yet more bright, and hopefully (I say that with great optimism) fabulous cardigans."

James was overjoyed we noticed, (we did more than notice, we compiled his best looks from Top Chef Masters seasons past in a sweater-ific gallery). since he had leaned on the equally fashionable Ruth for approval.

"Ruth was probably witness to me like trying on at least eight different outfits before a particular episode," he admitted.

Now that we knew the wardrobe, we had to turn to the other surprises the season had in-store. We know there are bugs, babes (Christina Hendricks), and bands (Maroon 5), but what gave the judges pause through the course of the season?

"I tell you what surprised me the most was how really difficult these challenges were and how they threw themselves into them," Ruth mused. "I mean, this was really, really difficult, and they did it with grace and passion. You know, I kept thinking, 'They don't have to do this. In real life, they don't work this hard.' And they just completely went for it, and that, that really amazed me."

Ruth mentioned that the strain was enough to cause a few people to loose weight, though Curtis didn't have that problem.

"Well I sure didn't lose any weight," Curtis interjected. "I put on about five pounds over the course of the show."

"The Top Chef Masters 20," James chimed in. "You were lucky to get away with five."

And then the truth came out: "Yeah, I might have downgraded that, it might have been more like 12," Curtis said.

No surprise, we found Curtis to have a healthy appetite when he visited our offices. See for yourself in the video below.

Check out the show tonight at 11/10 c, and then see what folks are saying about the 'Masters' in our Tweet Tracker.