Richard Sweeney, 27, executive chef at Confidential, is excited to start the competition. As they all arrive at Governor's Island, Richard confesses that as a big old queen with a bunch of big old queen friends (his words, not mine), he can't wait to see what Padma is wearing. The best part is that they then cut to Padma and Tom, and Padma is wearing a very non-glamorous and kind of ugly outfit. It's a white tank top with a maroon sleeveless jacket over the top and then gray skinny jeans that kind of look like sweatpants, and her hair's in a ponytail. It seems quite warm out, so I'll definitely cut her some slack, but it was funny to hear Richard talk about how awesome Padma's outfits usually are, and then she was wearing what looked like exercise gear. The cheftestants arrive on a beautiful lawn, where there are a few long tables set up, so clearly some sort of competition will be happening shortly. Leah Cohen, 26, a Sous Chef at Centro Vinoteca, says that her mother's advice to her was just to avoid crying so she won't look "like a little bitch." Her mother sounds warm!
Padma welcomes the cheftestants and reminds them how tough it is to make it in New York City. Tom knows that cooking in New York is difficult from personal experience. So let's launch right into the Quickfire Challenge! Padma announces that one of them will be cut based on this challenge. Eugene can't believe that someone will be eliminated before they even get into the kitchen. Leah knows that one of the white coats has her name on it, and she won't be going home. Tom explains the first of three rounds: each chef will have to peel fifteen apples with a paring knife. Alex Euscebio, 33, an Executive Chef at Restaurant 15, is nervous because he hasn't used a paring knife in a long time. And I get that they want to test knife skills, but damn. That's a lot of peeling. And because of the way I was raised, I'm mostly concerned about how much produce they're wasting because I don't imagine after all the browning and bleeding (spoiler!) that anyone is actually going to eat the peeled apples. Tom explains that when they finish, he'll inspect their apples, and if too much flesh is gone or the apple looks bad, they'll have to fix it. Padma concludes that the first nine to finish will be safe and the remaining eight will move on to round two.