102208truck.jpgSurely you're aware by now that the next season of reality cooking show Top Chef was filmed right here in New York. It premieres next month, and to crank up the enthusiasm, Bravo is displaying some serious marketing flair. This week Top Chef: The Tour, a 20-city barn burner featuring a customized 18-wheeler semi-truck, rolls into town, promising "the ultimate culinary experience" with cooking demonstrations and tastings hosted by former cheftestants.

The truck houses a state-of-the-art kitchen that can accommodate 38 guests, and, outside, a big screen broadcasting a live feed of the action. There will be three live "interactive" shows on Friday and Saturday, hosted by Season Four's Richard Blais and Andrew D'Ambrosi, at 10:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. After the third set Saturday, the grueling national tour will climax with an elaborately choreographed musical cooking rendition of Stonehenge, with an edible model of the prehistoric monument lowered from a crane. Kidding, but this is the last stop on the tour, so things could get wild.

Still not satisfied? Wondering how on earth you'll ever remember that a program called Best Chef or whatever is premiering next month? Don't worry; on Monday from 12 to 3 p.m. at Grand Central, head judge Tom Colicchio, host Padma Lakshmi, judge Gail Simmons, and cheftestants from Season Five will be corralled for the "Taste of the Five Boroughs" event at Vanderbilt Hall. A $30 donation to City Harvest gets you in for tastings from 22 New York restaurants, including Buddakan and Le Cirque. And the cheftestants will be "manning live demo stations" to answer questions on topics like knives and who was the most annoying chef on Season Five.

Photo of Top Chef truck courtesy ecolins.