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Troy native to star on Top Chef

A Troy native will be battling it out with 15 other chefs for the title of “Top Chef” and the chance for a $125,000 prize on Bravo’s cook-off show “Top Chef.”

Jim Smith and his parents moved to Troy when he was in the fifth grade. He stayed in Troy until he graduated from Charles Henderson High School.

He then left for college in Birmingham, went to culinary school in Charlotte, and eventually wound up in Montgomery as the executive chef for the state of Alabama.

Although Smith has moved around plenty over the years, he said he considers Troy to be his hometown.

“Whenever anybody asks, I tell them that Troy is my hometown,” Smith said. “I graduated from high school there, my parents still live there and I end up there for most holidays. My first job at a restaurant was at Sonic in Troy and I’ve worked at restaurants ever since.”

Smith still enjoys going to Troy football games where his father is one of the band directors for the Sound of the South.

Smith was one of eight chefs selected from 30,000 applicants to compete on the show. The show features a total of 16 chefs (eight newcomers and eight veterans) that face off in various culinary challenges, hoping to avoid elimination and proceed to the next round.

“When you get invited to be on a show like that, it’s incredible,” Smith said. “Being selected is an honor, but winning would mean everything. Not only are you competing for the money, but the title of ‘Top Chef’ is a life-changer.”

The filming of the show has already been completed and the first episode aired last night on Bravo. Future episodes will be Thursdays at 9 p.m. CST.

Smith said that it is a challenge to keep a tight lip about the result of the competition.

“It’s definitely a challenge not to give anything away,” Smith said. “I have great new friends though as a result of the show, so I know the people to call if I’m feeling antsy that have the same information I do.”

To cheer Smith on, residents can tune in to Bravo next Thursday at 9 p.m. CST.