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Top Chef: New Orleans – Ep 1 – I Am The Swamp Queen

Season 11! And only one week after Masters ended. So…more food writing from me. Yay! In this case, we have the usual madness of a first episode of Top Chef. Too many new faces running around, super excited about being on the show and then BLAM! Overwhelmed by the reality of the challenge and the big hitters they have to cook for.

My lady Padma is back and with a pretty flower in her hair to kick things off. You know the drill – Food & Wine Magazine. Aspen. $125,000. Title of Top Chef. Go.

We meet several new chefs early on – the rest get sprinkled in as the show goes on:
Sara – She’s pretty cute in an unorthodox kind of way, with a big ole head wrap around her head. She’s another Wolfgang Puck disciple.

Jason – He and his pink pants are proud to lay claim to being Philadelphia’s sexiest chef. And to posing with no shirt on. Sigh. He says, not me, he says that he gives a d-bag kind of first impression. Yep. Pink pants, folks.

Nick – Pink pants’ buddy from Philly.

Jamie Booth – Oh my. A hot blonde Australian who can cook. At last, we straight guys have our answer to Curtis Stone. And lesbians. We can share her, ladies.

Bene – He is looking to be the first Top Gay Chef. Are we sure he’d be first? He was Odette’s sous on the recent season of Top Chef Masters. And wasn’t around for very long.

Shirley Chang – She has cooked for a lot of big names – Mario Batalli, Jose Andres, Thomas Keller. And she can’t stop talking. And is also cute. Nice crop of good looking chefs this season, guys, really.

Justin – He is a local chef. He and Michael won the online competition that Padma hosted to join the show.

Aaron – we don’t get much from him except his stubble. And that he’s nervous about fellow Chicago chef Carlos who just won the Michelin Star.

Stephanie Cmar – She failed in the play-in rounds to get on the Seattle season. She’s back and has things to prove to Emeril who cut her in Seattle.

Lots of good last names for me to use for nicknames. Thanks for that.

No Quickfire to start the season, but Tom tosses them all Mardi Gras beads. No one takes off their shirt. Sad for that. To a point. At least Pink kept his on for once. The beads contain instructions on what protein they’ll be using – gator, frog or turtle. Welcome to the Bayou! The two online winners get immunity for some reason.