Top Chef
Soiree in the Swamp

Episode Report Card
Carla Sparks: B- | 32 USERS: B+
YOU GRADE IT
Eat You Later, Alligator

Top Chef is back and this time it’s in New Orleans, so expect a lot of seasoning this season. I just know this season is going to be weird, because of a weird omen that happened outside of my TV-watching life. Today in the kitchen at work there were cutouts of the faces of Tom, Gail and Padma taped to the wall. I kept waiting for someone to acknowledge or interact with them but no one did. They were just there, reminding me of the premiere. If they are gone tomorrow, I’ll get a CAT scan.

Anyway, back to the Big Easy. The first chef we meet is Sara Johannes and she has a rockabilly style that will keep her memorable until we learn more about her personality. She meets two other chefs in the house, who I assume we’ll meet later. More chefs walk in and introduce themselves to Sara, who will soon be our heroine if we don’t meet another chef by name.

Just in time, we meet Jason Cichonski, who was voted Philly’s Sexiest Chef. There are lots of photos of him shirtless and he says lots of people think he’s a douchebag. If it quacks like a duck and styles its hair like a duck… I mean, I’m sure his food is delicious. But we will actually never know! Some other guy named Nicholas Elmi tells Jason that he is a better chef all the time and we only have his word to go on.

Janine Booth is also hot, and she will be notable for her hotness and Australian accent. Basically she is the Olivia Newton John of chefs. We also meet Benedetto Bartolotta who wants to be the next Top Gay Chef, or some combination of those three words. I presume we aren’t counting Top Chef: Just Desserts in that equation.

Shirley Chung grew up in Beijing, China but she isn’t a typical Chinese girl. She has been running restaurants that are not Chinese. The first chef from New Orleans walks in and it’s Justin Devillier. He has also been nominated for a James Beard Award, which I assume everyone has because those credentials are common on this show. I am not even sure what it means.

The chefs meet each other and learn where they’re from and what restaurant they work for. There is also talk of Michelin Star restaurants, which go right up there with James Beard in my nebulous knowledge of the chef world. I would guess it has nothing or little to do with tires. I don’t know, though, that guy from Chicago (Aaron Cuschieri) who was talking about it is kind of hard to understand. He says, "It’s crazy to see the level of competition you’re competing with." They’re chefs, not poets. Thank god!

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