As anyone who remembers the election of Rutherford B. Hayes can tell you, our nation's capitol has known fierce competitions, but nothing has prepared it for this: BRAVO's Top Chef D.C., the Emmy award-winning, No. 1 food show on cable, is back with 17 new chef'testants ready to face the discerning verdict of the judges panel including host Padma Lakshmi, head judge Tom Colicchio, Food & Wine's Gail Simmons, and new series regular judge Eric Ripert, owner of NYC's acclaimed Le Bernardin -- the 15th ranked best restaurant in the world despite not having Southwestern Egg Rolls, which let's face it, are kind of delicious. You can also eagerly anticipate special appearances by Apollo Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, White House chef Sam Kass, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, Congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, NBC White House Correspondent Savannah Guthrie, and CIA Director Leon Panetta -- or at least that's what CIA Director Leon Panetta would have you believe.
As for challenges, the chefs will take over the Nationals stadium concession stands, go inside the CIA's clandestine headquarters, and literally receive direction from a NASA astronaut orbiting Earth (presumably not "add water to the artificial orange drink powder"). Check out the video above for a taste, then tune-in to Bravo for the feast.