10/24/2011 at 02:35 PM EDT
It's said that everything is bigger in Texas – and the upcoming season of Bravo's Top Chef
set in the Lone Star State is no exception. It's also way tougher, too.
The 29 chefs chosen for the ninth season
were stunned to learn upon arriving in San Antonio that they'd first have to pass a cooking challenge before even earning a spot as a contestant. (Watch a clip above.)
"This season's raising the level of intensity pretty fast," said contestant Chaz Brown, after hearing that the original pool will be whittled down to 16.
Competitor Molly Brandt had a more blunt take.
"This is really f----- up," she says in the clip. "I don't want to have to be cooking for that spot."
And one potential competitor has already established that he's not there to make friends.
"I know I'm good," says Tyler Stone. "A lot of people, they mistake my confidence for arrogance, but that's just 'cause they don't like the fact that I'm as good as I am and half their age."
Top Chef: Texas
premieres Nov. 2.