We are so relieved and happy that the final 16 were FINALLY picked so we can now get on with the real Top Chef episodes. There were entirely too many chefs competing in the first two premiere episodes and we’re eager for the actual season to begin!

Last night’s episode seemed to lack in talent compared to last week, as Group 3 competed for a final spot. In the first half of the episode, the chefs chose an ingredient then had hidden individual timers to determine the amount of time each would have to prepare their dishes (20, 40, or 60 minutes). We thought the individual timers were a hard task for some, but added a nice, surprising touch. Our hearts did go out to Chaz for not even getting his risotto on the plate. Hasn’t he ever watched Top Chef? Risotto has “elimination” written all over it. We were very pleased as Chicago brought it again with Beverly Kim Clark of Aria, who added some excitement with her Korean-style octopus and an almost immediate ticket into the Top Chef house.

The second half got more interesting when the bubble chefs were told to prepare the best dish of their lives in 45 minutes, using any ingredients in the kitchen. Edward Lee sliced his hand in the middle of cooking, but powered through and finished his dish. (Take notes Jamie). We also saw his true colors when he mentioned killing the other 5 people in the stew room in order to get one of the sought after chef coats. You know he is going to be a fighter this season. Top Chef then decided the hectic premiere episodes weren’t enough, and unveiled another twist – a weekly webisode competition. Quite frankly, we are not interested. We don’t think it’s fair to have someone compete for a spot in the finale when they haven’t participated in any of the other challenges.

On a side note, what was that flowery tablecloth Padma was wearing?

Annie Block & Stephanie Reay