The first chef arrives in the Top Chef kitchen, and it's Wilo Benet from San Juan, Puerto Rico. He's been a chef for twenty-seven years, and he does NOT look old enough to be able to say that. Did he start working as a chef when he was a toddler? Colicchio tells us that he's Puerto Rico's first celebrity chef, and reminds us that Benet was a judge during the finals of season four, which took place in Puerto Rico. Wilo definitely feels the pressure being on the other side of things now.
The second chef to arrive is Cindy Pawlcyn from the Napa Valley. Oseland tells us that she's the queen of Napa Valley cooking, and that she does "very rarefied and extremely intelligent cooking." Does that mean everyone else does common and dumb cooking? I don't know what he means by that comment. It's one of those things that sounds smart but really doesn't mean anything. Anyway, Cindy's owned a restaurant for over twenty-five years, and she hopes she doesn't go brain dead during the competition.
The third chef to arrive is Ludovic "Ludo" Lefebvre, who is originally from France but currently owns a restaurant in Los Angeles. He's won many awards despite being fairly young, and has classical French training. Between his emo hair and his tats, I'm sure he's the Johnny Depp of the culinary world. Also, his accent is strong enough that they caption most of what he says.
The final chef is Rick Bayless, who you've surely heard of before even if you're not a foodie -- he is Chicago's best known chef of Mexican food. He's the one chef I had heard of even before Top Chef. I remember doing book signing events for him when I worked for a national bookstore chain.
Kelly Choi welcomes them all to the kitchen and asks if anyone has butterflies. Rick Bayless admits that he does, because it's not his home kitchen and he doesn't know where things are. Ludo looks confused. Bayless adds that he was a judge before, but competing is totally different. Kelly Choi puts her eyebrows way up to show that she's listening, since I'm not entirely convinced that she's human. I think she might be an alien. What better way for an alien to infiltrate our culture than to host a reality show? Come to think of it, that might explain Samantha Harris too. Hmm. Also, the Chenbot. I think I'm onto something here.
Quickfire. The chefs draw knives and must create a dish based around the color of their knives, which was a challenge from Season Two. Mikey won. Seems like there are a lot of references to even-numbered seasons. Wilo has anxiety bout a one-color dish, since he thinks it'll be tough to make it work. They'll be judged by a food stylist, a cookbook author, and a food photographer -- people who are really concerned about presentation and visual style. Cindy is nervous, because she feels like she's old and slow. Aw. She'll kick their asses. I hope.