'Top Chef: Seattle' Premiere Recap: Season 10 Opener Whets Appetite for More
'Top Chef: Seattle' Premiere Recap: Season 10 Opener Whets Appetite for More
Cassie L. Damewood
Cassie L. Damewood
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
One of the best things about Top Chef has always been expediency. No long-winded bios, just, "These are the competitors, this is what they did, these ones made the cut (haha) and the rest got axed." The season 10 opener stuck to those guidelines and the deadwood was quickly identified and discarded.

Judge Tom Collicchio went first and ran his crew through basic kitchen tasks like filleting and portioning fish, stuffing and shaping tortellini, breaking down a duck and cutting up a chicken. Every contender screwed up at least one part of their assigned task. 

  • There was bone in Anthony's duck breast ... and he used a paring knife for the job.
  • John and Micah mangled salmon and black bass.
  • Lizzie made perfect tortellini.
  • Jorel started filleting the chicken instead of cutting it up, making him seem unable to follow simple instructions.
But Tom let them stay so he could torture them as a group.

Amiable Emeril Lagasse was up next. All he asked of his charges was to make him some soup.

Josh, Stephanie and Kristen concocted typical frou-frou soups all perfectly pureed with exotic embellishments such as roasted corn, coconut and thrice-poached lemon peel. Tina took the hearty route with a chorizo/seafood blend and Jeffrey went with a watermelon/tomato gazpacho. Emeril was sure the gazpacho wouldn't have time to chill but he was so impressed when it was cold and delicious, he immediately sent Jeffrey off to Seattle. Alas, Stephanie and Tina quickly got the boot but Kristen and Josh got Top Chef aprons.

A little juicy gossip was the best part of this competition. Kristen and Stephanie revealed they worked together, lived in the same apartment building (not apartment) and had matching tattoos of spoons on their forearms. They were both quick to point out they were definitely not lesbians ... and apparently Stephanie is also not a chef.

Next we were back with Tom in the kitchen of his restaurant where his (professional) chefs were cooking dinner for real restaurant patrons. Oooo. The atmosphere was tense but the service was completed without any "Kitchen Nightmares" moments. John aced the fish station and got his Seattle papers. Jorel and Anthony had to pack their knives and Lizzie and Michael were moved forward, albeit with a hint of trepidation in Tom's telltale baby blues.

Always endearing and engaging, Wolfgang Puck told his charges a story about making perfect omelets before assigning them the seemingly simple task that got him his start at the tender, cocky age of 18. 

Carla, Eliza, Chrissy, Tyler, Daniel and Kuniko showed little creativity with their omelet ingredients: asparagus, steak, lobster, bacon, potatoes, and every kind of mushroom imaginable. Wolfgang was his typically wishy-washy self and sent all but Daniel to Seattle with the quip that Dan's rather disheveled omelet would have tasted a lot better if he'd eaten it in the dark. 

Newcomer judge Hugh Acheson gave his contenders 45 minutes to wow him with salad. Again, no one hit the greens out of the park. Sheldon made an Hawaiian/Thai combo. Bart, who admitted when questioned by Hugh that he had been knighted several times, created a showy lobster/bacon salad. Brooke's perfectly deep fried kale and tale of single motherhood nearly brought Hugh to tears, after which he gave her an apron and a ticket to Seattle. After deeming Gina's grilled zucchini overdone, she was sent on her way and then Hugh just kind of said, "What the hell? The rest of you can go to Seattle too!" and off went Sheldon, Bart and Danyele.

Like the ideal appetizer, this premiere left me wanting more. More screw-ups, more victories, more stories of struggle and woe, more outbursts depicting inflated egos ... and definitely more dirt on Kristen and Stephanie.

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(Image courtesy of Bravo)