Jennifer Biesty (San Francisco, 35, Coco500), first runner-up in the Fauxhawk-off, also expresses pleasure at being in Chicago and standing in the hallowed halls of Pizzeria Uno, which, great as the place may be, just sounds funny since all I know of Pizzeria Uno are the far-flung outposts that put it on par with Round Table. Erik Hopfinger (San Francisco, 38, Circa) looks like he could kill easily with his thumb but probably wouldn't, says he has high standards, and curses like a sailor.
Red-bearded Andrew D'Ambrosi (New York, 30, Sous Chef, Le Cirque) one-ups Erik on the fuck-o-meter, as in "when I make food, it's like fuckin' part of me, it's like molten fuckin' lava pouring out for you," as his audition tape shows him finishing a cool-looking but slightly gimmicky tattooed carpaccio. Ah, the low-key one.
Stephanie Izard (Chicago, 31, Chef/Restaurateur) thinks her attitude in the kitchen is a strength -- "it's very positive and fun -- the thing is, if the chef's in a good mood and is treating everybody with respect, then everybody in the kitchen's going to have a good mood and is gonna produce things better." That does go against the dominant theory that instilling fear and shame in employees gets the best results. Stephanie's weakness? She gets nervous. Plus, she's got a terrible fake wave and an unfortunate habit of wearing a Yoda doll on her back.
While it's too early to judge the group, beyond the fact that they all seem capable of forced civility, Richard's sussed out his rival de coiffure. Before he can deactivate her mousse, however, Zoi and Jennifer have an announcement to make. "We know each other in San Francisco, and we're a couple." Yes, proving its ongoing commitment to their gays, Bravo's brought real-life lesbian love to Top Chef. Oh, surprise, titter (sorry), "wow," cut to the Muslim girl looking stiff. Zoi and Jennifer have been together for three-and-a-half years and are a bit shocked to find themselves in this situation but pleased that the word is "out." And it is, with an obligatory round of "out" jokes, after which Spike (Evangelos) Mendehlson (New York, 27, Sous Chef, Mai House) sums it up nicely when he says, "No big deal, they can go home together." Funnily enough, the name Spike, in my experience, generally refers to one thing -- lesbians from San Francisco. From what I can tell, Spike is not a lesbian, but he is pretty cute.