Time to start rooting for the home team, as Top Chef's new season features some contestants with a Hudson Valley connection. The Culinary Institue of American in Hyde Park has announced that five of this year's contestants are local alumni.

This season of Top Chef takes place in Boston and one of the new judges is also a CIA graduate. Richard Blais from the class of '98 is the first winner to return to the show as a judge. He's joined by other world-class judges including celebrity chef, Todd English, who graduated from the CIA in 1982.

Chef Richard Blais - Class of '98 (Getty Images/Jason Bahr)

During the season premiere it was graduate against graduate. Class of '07 alum, George Pagonis battled  chef Gregory Gourdet from the class of 2000 in the season's first quickfire elimination round.  Gourdet thrilled the judges with his seafood trio, sending Pagonis packing his knives for home.

The Culinary Institute published a list of this year's Top Chef hopefuls, and we've shared them below along with their Twitter links so you can cheer them on while tuning in:

Gregory Gourdet ’00 Twitter: @GG30000
Adam Harvey ’07 Twiiter: @chefyaboyrdee
Melissa King ’07 Twitter: @ChefMelissaKing Instagram: @mel_the_butcher
Rebecca LaMalfa ’05 Twitter: @ChefLamalfa
George Pagonis ’07 Twitter: @georgepagonisdc