A love letter to Seattle and its food scene : That's how Padma Lakshmi describes Top Chef: Seattle, which premieres Wednesday night.

The celebrity host said in a phone interview this week that she was enamored with her introduction to the verdant and beautiful city, probably her favorite location in the nine seasons she's been with the show ( other than being in New York, which allowed me to sleep in my own bed. )

Twenty-one cheftestants (none from Seattle), along with Lakshmi and judges Hugh Acheson, Tom Colicchio, Wolfgang Puck, and Gail Simmons spent seven weeks filming over the summer, spotlighting city landmarks from Fare Start to the Bite of Seattle.

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