What to Expect From the New ‘Top Chef’

If only there were a Padma commentary track.Photo courtesy Bravo

We just screened the first episode of this seasons Top Chef, and again, we find the show compelling. And just the same as previous ones! Padma speaks slowly, Tom is bald and cocky, and Rocco DiSpirito and Tony Bourdain are back onboard. The location is a nonfactor the main contribution Chicago makes is a Pizzeria Uno product placement. But the contestants still fit into those archetypes we love to argue about with Adam Platt.

None of the New York contestants really stood out, but we hope that will change. This years Hung is obviously Ryan, a San Franciscobased chef of such surpassing smugness that we are already rooting against him. (Hes handsome, too, the pisher.) Theres a nice rivalry brewing between this seasons Marcel, a pointy-haired molecular gastronomist named Richard, and a very angry, more than somewhat spazzy Andrew, a New York cook who wont reveal where he actually works, if anywhere. We already have a soft spot for Stephanie, a Janeane Garafolo type whose nerves threatened to derail her in a pretty unchallenging deep-dish-pizza challenge. The ending of the first episode was sad, as was last years debut dismissal of poor Clay, who packed up his knives on day one. It always makes us misty, and Platt mocks us.

Related: Video: Top Chef Winner Hung Shows Off His Knife Skills
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