However, by the end of the premiere, only 16 will get to put on the 'Top Chef' coat and compete as official cheftestants. The 16 official contestants will then compete across the state of Texas in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio.
"I'm so excited for everyone at home to get a glimpse of all the great and talented chefs," 'Top Chef' host Padma Lakshmi said in a statement. "This season is bigger and better than ever! Yum!"
Guest judges this season include Charlize Theron, Pee-wee Herman, Cat Cora, John Besh, Tim Love and Patti LaBelle. Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons will be joined by Emeril Lagasse and Hugh Acheson at the judging table.
This season, eliminated contestants will compete in a web series, 'Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen.' Hosted by Colicchio, the series will pit two eliminated contestants face-off for a chance to qualify to compete in the Season 9 finale.
The 29 contestants include:
Nyesha Arrington, 28, of Los Angeles, Calif.
Restaurant: Wilshire Restaurant
Lindsay Autry, 29, of West Palm Beach, Fla.
Restaurant: Omphoy Ocean Resort & Michelle Bernstein
Jonathan Baltazar, 36, of Long Beach, Calif.
Restaurant: Heights Cuisine
Ty-Lör Boring, 34, of Brooklyn, N.Y.
Molly Brandt, 30, of Hollywood, Fla.,
Restaurant: Allure of the Seas for Royal Caribbean.
Chaz Brown, 29, of New York, N.Y.
Restaurant: Fatty Crab.
Kimberly Calichio, 27, of New York, N.Y.
Restaurant: Fishtail by David Burke
Beverly Kim, 31, of Chicago, Ill.
Restaurant Aria Restaurant
Chris Crary, 29, of Los Angeles, Calif.,
Restaurant: Whist Restaurant in the Viceroy Hotel
Andrew Curren, 32, of Austin, Texas
Restaurant: 24 Diner
Berenice deAraujo, 33, of Miami, Fla.
Restaurant: Sra. Martinez
Janine Falvo, 37, of Atlanta, Ga.
Restaurant: Briza Restaurant
Richie Farina, 28, of Chicago, Ill.
Sarah Grueneberg, 29, of Chicago, Ill.
Chris Jones, 30, of Chicago, Ill.
Edward Lee, 38, of Louisville, Ky.
Restaurant: 610 Magnolia
Whitney Otawka, 30, of Cumberland Island, Ga.
Restaurant: Greyfield Inn
Simon Pantet, 30, of Seattle, Wash.
Restaurant: Twenty-Two Doors
Colin Patterson, 37, of Seattle, Wash.
Laurent Quenioux, 51, of Los Angeles, Calif.
Restaurant: Vertical Wine Bistro
Paul Qui, 30, of Austin, Texas
Restaurant: Uchiko Restaurant
Keith Rhodes, 39, of Wilmington, N.C.
Restaurant: Catch Restaurants
Grayson Schmitz, 27, of New York, N.Y.
Occupation: Exec. Chef
Tyler Stone, 22, of Sacramento, Calif.
Occupation: Personal Chef
Heather Terhune, 39, of Chicago, Ill.
Restaurant: Sable Kitchen and Bar
Chuy Valencia, 25, of Chicago, Ill.
Restaurant: Chilam Bilam
Nina Vicente, 29, of Seattle, Wash.
Restaurant: Spur Gastropub
Ashley Villaluz, 25, of Seattle, Wash.
Occupation: Sous Chef
Dakota Weiss, 35, of Los Angeles, Calif.,
Restaurant: 9:30 Restaurant and The Backyard