Top Chef
Sin City Vice

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Welcome to Las Vegas! Where you can smoke everywhere! I haven't been there in probably five years, but I'm assuming that's still true. I especially enjoyed the smokers' cages in the airport. So sad. Anyway, welcome back to the famous original style Top Chef! And it's in Vegas this year! Let's meet our cheftestants.

Kevin Gillespie, 26, is a 2009 James Beard Award nominee and the executive chef and owner of Woodfire Grill in Atlanta. He got accepted to MIT but ditched a full scholarship to go to cooking school. Good for him. MIT is a bunch of weenies anyway. Smart weenies, who will probably make more money in a year than I'll make in a lifetime, but weenies nonetheless. I've been there, people. I know. Anyway, Kevin also looks like Yukon Cornelius from Rudolph or maybe young Kris Kringle in Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town.

Preeti Mistry, 32, is the executive chef at Bon Appetit Mgmt. Co. She is really excited to be there, and thinks that the Vegas setting will mean a lot of twists and turns. She kind of dresses like a dude, but then again, so do I, so I'm not going to judge, especially since that has zero impact on her cooking ability. Right? Kevin and Preeti go into the house, which looks amazing.

Ron Duprat, 40, is the executive chef at Latitudes Beach Café. He's got an accent, and I'm just going to cut to the chase and tell you that he's from Haiti. He explains that his philosophy is "keep it real, keep it simple, let's have fun." I think that was part of my wedding vows, actually. Ron enters the house and meets Kevin and Preeti.

Oh, dear. People are arriving by the carload now. How will I ever keep them all straight? Oh, because Bravo will introduce them one at a time. Eve Aronoff, 40, is the chef/owner of Eve in Ann Arbor, MI. I am predisposed to like her because I lived in Ann Arbor for a few years and I still have friends who live there who know Eve and are rooting for her. But we'll see. She's playing the yokel to the hilt, all impressed by mountains and palm trees.

Mattin Nobila, 29, is the chef/owner of Iluna Basque in San Francisco, but he's originally from France and has the accent to prove it. He's pretty young to own his own restaurant, no? He's wearing a neckerchief. A red one. He looks like the stereotypical French chef, although someone asks if he's from Barcelona.

Eli Kirshtein, 25, is an executive chef at Eno in Atlanta. It's weird that, due to all the experienced chefs this season, suddenly someone who doesn't already own a restaurant seems like a newbie. He jokes in his audition that he's a fat kid and he just loves to make fat kid food. I feel the same way sometimes. I might pretend to make something organic and healthy and filled with vegetables, but when it comes right down to it, give me a homemade mac and cheese any day. With bacon. Eli points out that there are a bunch of cheftestants from Atlanta this season, and it makes him feel a little more at home.

Ash Fulk, 29, is a sous chef at Trestle on Tenth. He's a little befuddled that he's the only chef from New York, which I find a nice change of pace. He jokes around with two of the chefs from Baltimore that he's been to Baltimore, but actually only through Baltimore, and they all laugh. Ash also reveals that he's one of the only cheftestants with a same-sex boyfriend. So there may be some single gays in the mix? I typically don't approve of cheftestant hookups (see: Leah and Hosea, ugh), but I'm willing to reserve judgment.

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