Although we haven't yet met all the cheftestants, we jump into the scenes of them mingling, eating, and drinking at Versace's old haunt. I glimpse a bottle of Moët and think how lucky they are not to be subjected to the Korbel. Lia Bardeen, twenty-seven, is the executive sous chef at Jean-Georges. Awesome. I only got to eat there once but it was fabulous. Jean-Georges was doing foams back then, which was about six years ago, and I thought that was the end of them. As we left, we saw an overly made up Dylan McDermott eating in the café -- AOL Time-Warner scored us a dining room reservations -- with his agent and wearing a weird purple turtleneck. Sara points out that the cheftestants all appear to be chefs, sous chefs, or business owners. Yeah, there aren't any home cooks this year. Next, we meet CJ. The BFG, who stands head and shoulders over nearly everyone else. The cancer survivor, who is in complete remission. I sort of like how he says, "I came down with cancer," like it was nothing more traumatic than the odd cold or flu bug. He ends his intro with, "I have one false testicle and I am ready to cook." Tasty. Actually, I had no idea there was such a thing as false testicles but now I know better. More than that, I now know that there are false testicles out there for CATS! Yes, it's true. In order to boost your cat's self-esteem, you can grace their furry bottoms with Neuticles. They can run you between $73 and $329 a pair. Of course, you can buy them singly but it looks like there's a saving if you buy two. They come in all sizes, too, from large to petite. Now, how is that going to help your pet's self-esteem? Going around knowing that he's got "petite" or "XXsmall" falsies? We live in a strange, strange world, my friends.
This is about the time when Colicchio and Padma walk in and beckon them over. Padma introduces herself and then turns the floor over to Colicchio, who says, "Welcome to Top Chef season three. You know, as much as I would like to help you and jump in, I'm not your mentor, I'm the head judge of the show." He totally says, "I'm not your mentor" in an "I'm not your mother" tone. "My job is to check out what you're doing in the kitchen and report back to the other judges." So, spying and tattling, which, in these parts, we like to call the Sniff 'n' Sneer. Padma is glad to see they've been enjoying themselves because the party's over, and it's Quickfire time. The cheftestants blanch audibly. Padma would like them to create a character-defining amuse bouche using the hors d'oeuvres they've all be gnawing on just moments before. They have ten minutes.