And they're back! This week we said hello to our good friends Tom and a gorgeously babylicious Padma, along with 17 shiny new contestants all ready to take the nation's capital by storm. We had Quickfire chopping and frozen puff pastry to chew on...and it was good. But what did the bloggers think?
David Dust says what we're all thinking: "Padma (whose rack is exquisite after giving birth) and Tom Colicchio walk onto the roof (a la Tim and Heidi) and greet the Cheftestants."
Jordan Baker haikus once again: "John and his weird hair / Did not last long in DC / Maple flows through trees"
Minx Eats on the Quickfire duel: "By the fourth round, we're left with Alpha Male, Timothy, Kevin, and Inigo. It seems close between Inigo and Alpha, but Inigo wins the challenge with his roasted wing and thigh with curried onion jam. Next he must defeat the Six-Fingered Man."
Cliffieland introduces the cheftestants, including SYTYCD fave, Arnold: "Arnold Myint, 32 — Resides in Nashville: The chef with a serious case of the FAB-u-lous!! The child of Southeast Asian parents, is a mix of Nashville, Thailand and Tommy Tune. In preparation for the show, made up an interpretive dance, got a facial and hired a personal stylist to help him pick out nifty scarves. ... Oh, how I wish I was making this up."
Diana Takes a Bite on Angelo: "And then there’s Angelo Sosa from New York. The golden boy with a Michelin star under his belt, and this season’s Michael Voltaggio. He’s kind of a big deal. Like huge. He’s been to Monte Carlo and eaten at Louis XV and is going to guillotine everybody’s heads off and leave blood all over the stage."
Washingtonian on the not-so-sad goodbye: "John Somerville is sent packing. He chokes up in his exit interview, spews some New Age jibber-jabber, and I’m left wondering what he wrote in his journal that night. 'Dear Diary, I never got to play hacky sack in the Stew Room.'"
Serious Eats with more on Arnold: "Um, chill out, Arnold. It's Top Chef, not Top Complexion. And by the way, Frosty called. He wants his scarf back."
Popwatch on what we should expect: "Last season in Vegas, TC was all about gambling and casinos, so naturally with this season set in the nation’s capital, we can expect plenty of flags and Yankee Doodle music."
Miami New Times on what's great about TC: "I have to say that after the excellent level of cooking that occurred on Top Chef Masters, which just ended last Wednesday, the skills of some of these cheftestants is woefully amateurish in comparison. But that is the beauty of Top Chef; seeing the spectacular mistakes (John, why oh why use puff pastry you've never worked with before?), the in-fighting, the trashtalking and the potential for romance (shomance, bromance or otherwise)."
Slashfood on Kenny: "The good-natured but self-proclaimed "alpha male" Kenny Gilbert seems, at this early stage at least, to be the perfect combination of brains and brawn. He iced the competition when slicing, dicing and chopping, and a coffee-rubbed trout was right up our alley (even if the decorative, caramelized flourish on top seemed a bit much)."
Hollywood.com loving the TC...and the TC: "Thank god the original Top Chef is back -- after a few plodding months of the hippie-communist love-fest that was Top Chef Masters, the return to some fine American capitalist competition is going to be invigorating. Invigorating like the sight of Tom’s bald head shining like the dome of the Capitol building in our nation’s monument-filled capital city, Washington D.C. "
Meal Ticket (Philly City Paper) on the very beginning: "The perma-stoic Tom C and the transcendently beautiful Padma — boasting some post-transcendently-beautiful-baby curves, I’ll holler! — herd the 17 new cheftestants onto some exposed roofdeck that looks like a great place to cultivate melanoma and task them with their debut challenge."
Best Week Ever also on Angelo: "Favorite #1. 'I want to win every challenge.' Not gonna happen, but Bravo’s already loving the cockiness. Are you perchance here to make friends?"
Food and More (AJC) on the departed: "John from Michigan, a middle aged white guy with Rapunzel-length dreadlocks who wears the permanent expression of a man with tempura-fried brain circuits. I’m guessing there was an unfortunate accident involving a toaster and spilled bong water. I love him."
Speakeasy (WSJ) summarizes the cheftestants: "The first few episodes of Top Chef are like speed-dating rounds, where we get flashes of personality from which to make passing judgments. Before the chefs emerge as real people, we see them as archetypes. New Yorker Angelo, for example, who casually drops his Jean-George Vongerichten and Alain Ducasse stints while meeting someone is the Bona Fide. Meet Kenny, the Swagger and Arnold, the Performer. Tiffany: The Hard Worker. Tracey: The Attitude. Lynne: The Conservative."
What'ere, Jane Eyre on the last man standing: "That leaves one odd man out, who's named Ed Cotton. He's miffed at being chosen last, and rattles off his impressive resume. Of course, he doesn't realize that being picked last would suggest the team-choosing chefs believe he's stronger rather than weaker, so he should probably leave "Critical Thinking" off of that CV."