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.
The cheftestants move to their stations. Hosea Rosenberg, 34, Executive Chef at Jax Restaurant, thinks this sounds "mundane" but he's looking forward to it because he's won a lot of cooking competitions. Hosea kind of looks like a cross between Drew from the first season of The Amazing Race and a bald Cameron Crowe. I realize you probably don't know what either of those people look like. Google image search, if you care. Tom calls time and the peeling begins. Fabio swears he's not going to go home over an apple. Tom jokes that they're going to be there for a long time. Richard says that he was doing well until he cut into his thumb and started bleeding all over his apples. But he kept going, even though there's blood all over his hand and all over the apples. Stefan is the first to call for a check, and the first to finish. He confesses that if he had lost, he would have hopped a plane back to Finland and never returned to America. Hee! That would have been kind of funny, if he lost and they showed him getting back on the ferry, then on a train, then at the airport, then arriving in Finland, then going to his house, and just sitting in a chair, peeling apples for eternity. The peeling continues, and Fabio finishes next, followed by Hosea, Ariane, Jeff, and a cheftestant who has not been introduced yet named Melissa. Padma reminds everyone that there are only three spots left and a cheftestant named Carla screams out "CHEEEEECK!" and holds her hands up in the air like she's being arrested. A little dramatic, that one. Carla Hall, 44, is a caterer and she wants to prove that caterers are just as good as chefs. Caterers all over the world sigh and shake their heads that THIS is their representative in the culinary TV world. Because she's weird, and I know this because after being cleared, she gallops over to the waiting area, highstepping like Adrian Peterson on Sunday afternoon. Jamie says that she was determined to get one of the safe spots, and she started peeling like a motherfucker. Well, she doesn't use those exact words, but you can tell that if she weren't on a basic cable show, she would. Richard finishes his bloody apples next (and I mean bloody in the sense of "they have blood on them") and Tom gingerly checks them over and says that he's safe. So now there's only one slot left! Jamie calls for a check and Tom says she's good so she moves on as well.