The Philadelphia is heavily represented in the upcoming season of Gordon Ramsay's "Hell's Kitchen," which premieres at 9 p.m. Jan. 15 on Fox. Of 18 new chefs, three are from Philly and three others are from Upper Darby, Atlantic City and Lancaster, respectively.

At stake - and likely at steak, too - is a head chef post at BLT Steak at Bally's Las Vegas.

Contestants will face challenges such as a (rubber) duck hunting competition, preparing dishes for 100 high school students, a catered wedding reception for "Hell's Kitchen" sous chef Andi Van Willigan, and the fan-favorite blind taste test challenge.

The area contenders:

Chad Gelso, 25, Dannie Harrison, 30, and Joe Ricci, 31, all of Philadelphia; Meese Davis, 25, of Upper Darby; Manda Palomino, 30, of Atlantic City; and Alan Parker, 42, of Lancaster.

They won't just be cooking for Gordon, of course. Celebrity diners this season will include TV personality Kris Jenner, rapper Lil Jon, musician/producer Steve Aoki, rapper/actor The Game, musician Flo Rida, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, comedian Bill Engvall, burlesque entertainer Dita Von Teese, actor Omar Miller ("Ballers"), actor Sean Carrigan ("The Young and the Restless"), and Olympian swimmers Jessica Hardy and Dominik Meichtry.

More on Philly Phood

Philly.com's Michael Klein reports that Inquirer restaurant critic Craig LaBan's wife, Elizabeth, is just weeks away from releasing her novel, called . . . wait for it . . . The Restaurant Critic's Wife (Lake Union Publishing).

Her tale follows a young woman adjusting to motherhood, life in a new city, and living with the fact-crazed, anonymity-obsessed restaurant critic for the Philadelphia Record. It's really fiction, insists Elizabeth LaBan, whose protagonist, Lila, meets government reporter-turned-restaurant writer Sam Soto in New Orleans. They move to Philadelphia, a path the LaBans took in 1998.

"I've been working on this for years," she said. "The kids were young. They're teenagers now."

Friends, including author Jennifer Weiner, helped polish the story.

Elizabeth LaBan, now working on two other books (one in her usual young-adult category), has a few author events scheduled so far. For the launch, she will sit for a Q&A with Weiner at the Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 12. LaBan also will appear at 7 p.m. Jan. 14 at the Upper Dublin Public Library (805 Loch Alsh Ave., Fort Washington).

A miss for Universe

Miss Universe ratings are down from last year.

Or as host Steve Harvey might say: Up from last year.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Fox's telecast had 6.2 million viewers and a 1.7 rating among adults 18 to 49 Sunday. That's down 15 percent in the demo and 18 percent in viewers from last year.

One difference is that last year's program aired on NBC in January. Another is that Donald Trump is no longer involved with the Miss Universe Organization after splitting with fellow co-owner NBC this year in the wake of launching his bid for president.

The telecast was awkwardly capped by Harvey initially crowning the wrong winner, with the tiara going to runner-up Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, instead of the actual winner, Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. Harvey apologized "wholeheartedly" for the flub.

Sonny weather

ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee and her husband, Ben Aaron, welcomed their first child, a healthy baby boy named Adrian Benjamin Colonomos, on Saturday at 11:05 a.m. Adrian weighed 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and was 20.5 inches long.

- Daily News wire services and TV critic Ellen Gray contributedto this report.

Howard Gensler has the day off.