Hope you were ready because this episode starts right away since there's no "Previously On" to fill time. After multiple shots of Washington monuments (including, but not limited to, the actual Washington Monument), we move on to a flurry of cheftestants telling us why they wanted to be on the show. It's all mostly about proving something to someone, and they don't tell us anyone's names yet, so it doesn't have much impact. I really think seventeen cheftestants is too many to start out with. Twelve would be good. It's enough for a decent length season (and they could even split the finale into two parts if they want) and yet it's a reasonable number of people to keep in your head from week to week. But no one asked me. Then there's a preview of the season featuring a refusal to let someone use a foam gun (I think?) and someone yelling in the Stew Room. New judge: Eric Ripert. New challenges: Featuring NASA and Nancy Pelosi. New sponsors: Dial Nutriskin. And then Padma actually says with a straight face, "Hail to the Chef!" Wah wah.
So let's begin meeting the cheftestants! First up is Tiffany, from Texas. She started working at IHOP in high school, and she decided to always work harder than her co-workers and see what happened, and now she's an executive chef. She whoops that she wants to be the first African-American to win in "Barack Obama city." I already like her. She seems fun, but she's also a hard worker. Let's hope she can cook.
Next chef is Stephen from Ohio. He has a wife and thirteen-month-old twins at home. Speaking as the mother of four-month-old twins, if my husband left me to go live the life in DC while I stayed home, I might throttle him. I hope she has family nearby. Anyway, he thinks being on the show will change his life, and maybe he's right.
Tracey was voted one of the top 25 chefs in Atlanta. I was kind of skeptical of that honor, because was it like an online poll? But I looked it up, and it was done by a food critic, and the chef listed just above her was Richard Blais, so it's legit. She reminds me of Sookie from Gilmore Girls. Hopefully she doesn't burn herself quite as often.
Kenny claims that he scrambled his first egg when he was three years old. He's also apparently from parts unknown, weight unknown, as they don't tell us any information other than that he's confident in his abilities.
Quick break from the cavalcade of cheftestants to plug DC and all of the great chefs that live there, for those who were wondering why they were setting the season in DC this year. Look, I know nothing about the culinary world. I know there are great chefs in NYC and that's about it. You don't have to sell me on DC.