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Meet the Contenders: Top Chef Season 5 Casting Call

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Yesterday, Astor Center packed in a slew of caterers, sous-chefs, stay-at-home-moms, PhD students and investment bankers anxiously awaiting their Top Chef audition at the show's open casting call. Chefs from notable restaurants including Daniel and La Grenouille went up against culinary students and beach resort line cooks for a chance to be the next Hung, Ilan, or Harold.

While they waited, potential contestants endured an endless loop of previous Top Chef episodes blaring at top volume, with Padma's grinning mug beaming down insistently. Most sat quietly, no knives in sight, just sidelong glances at the competition as they idly flipped through Bon Appetits and Gourmets provided by Bravo. Eater talked to a few of the hopefuls to find out just what drives someone to willingly strive for the opportunity to "pack your knives and go."

Reporting and photos by Erin Sikorsky and Adam Haas
· All Top Chef Coverage [~E~]

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