The White Swans

Best of the Best

Francis Lam: What's on the Menu?

Curtis Stone's Lemon Creams with Poached Cherries

Bryan Voltaggio: "I Thought I Won. I Know I Won."

Jennifer Jasinski Was a "Great Miracle"

Lesley Suter's 'Ratatouille' Moment

What it Takes to Be Top Chef Master

The Finale Countdown

Doug and Sang: Bad Romance?

Sang is Back!

David Burke Has Titanium Balls

See Ya, Suckers!

Why Jennifer Jasinski Didn't Go Home

James Oseland's Teacher Tribute

Gail: "I Still Can't Believe Sang was Eliminated"

The Strangest Episode of 'Top Chef Masters' Yet?

Lesley Suter: On Tongue, Flautadillas, and Birthday Cake

What Has Curtis Stone "Spewing"?

A Series of Unfortunate Culinary Events Leaves Blood on the Mat

Gail: "We Couldn't Excuse Neal"

Lesley Suter: Hey, Chefs, Why So Raw?

Pull it Together, Sang!

Francis Lam: I liked Sang's Fish

Curtis Stone in Nacho Libre

Gail Simmons: "Neil Went for Our Bellies"

The Evolution of Sue Zemanick

Curtis Stone: Throwing Curveballs

Ruth Reichl: "I'd Rather Be Training a Nation of Food Warriors"

When Plex Met Toodee

'Top Chef Masters' ' Toughest Critics Yet

Gail Simmons: No "Chef" in Lynn's Dish

Restaurant Wars: 'Getting' Busy

Francis: A New Kind of Locavorism

What Being a Chef Really Means

Ruth Reichl's Perfect Los Angeles Restaurant

Restaurant Wars' Controlled Chaos

Franklin Just Did Too Much

Curtis and Lindsay: A Perfect Pairing

Curtis Stone: This Episode Sends Hearts Racing

Franklin, Can You Hear Me?

The White Swans

The chefs are surprised by Restaurant Wars in the Masters season premiere.

Hello my little boxes of corned beef and marshmallows! I mean, seriously, how vile did that sound? We'll get to that in a moment, though. It's Top Chef Masters season! We have a new format, 12 new chefs, and a dreamy new host. I hope you guys could feel the difference between this season's premiere and the tournament-style format of previous seasons. I think the change has made a huge difference. Our new host is Curtis Stone. Don't get me wrong -- I heart Kelly Choi. She was an absolute joy to work with. Curtis is as well. I first met him a little over a month ago, but he came into the office yesterday to shoot this little video with us.

I really can't think of another phrase to use to describe him besides "dreamboat." He's handsome and as nice as you could ever want him to be, so I hope you're all excited to watch him this season. I sure am!! And, um, James Oseland, one of my favorite people, is back with freaking Ruth Reichl. This lineup is kind of huge.
Now, let's get into the episode. For the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs had to go head-to-head and create dishes from items in boxes. Suvir Saran cracked me up with his comment about the Quickfire, and about his looks. I have a feeling he'll have some awesome quotes as the season progresses (I honestly don't know, but that's the impression I get!) All the combinations were fairly odd, and I got a good chuckle out of one of the chefs saying he hated Marmite. The conspiracy theorist in me thought, "Did you tell the producers that?!" Anyway, a bunch of chefs didn't plate their dishes, which probably served as a wakeup call for everyone! The other chefs did the best they could, with Traci Des Jardins taking the win with her two salads.

Then, Curtis drops the bomb that the first challenge is Restaurant Wars. Uh, what?! This challenge is always dubbed the most anticipated, yet feared challenge of hte entire season, so to start the season with it seems, well, insane. And since all of these chefs either run their own kitchens or own their own restaurants, there are a lot of egos to manage. I have to say I was fairly impressed with how respectful everyone was. It truly shows their level of professionalism, something we don't always see on Top Chef proper. Hugh made a comment that he was a "white swan." I'm starting to think they all are.

Although they probably had the best front-of-house experience, Mosaic, led by Traci, ended up on the bottom, but many of the dishes were well-received. George Mendes', particularly, caught my eye. And, as my faithful readers know, I don't love salmon. But, I would eat George's. It looked gorgeous! Did we mention that George just won a Best New Chef Award? Mazel to George! He has also already won my Cute Chef Award for this season. Who's with me?! I also want to eat Floyd's oat risotto. While judges actually preferred Mosaic, the diners preferred Leela, which I think is fairly interesting. Since it was up to the diners, Leela won.

Leela got off to a bad start with a long wait for the judges at the maitre d' stand, seating all the diners at once, which was a little odd for a restaurant with that many tables, but the food won the day in the end with their American cuisine. Alex's fricasee won as well.It seemed to be a toss-up between Mary Sue's chocolate cupcake and Hugh Acheson's scallop for the loss. In the end, Hugh Acheson went home, and he understood why. He went out with grace and some of the greatest eyebrows that have ever graced the Top Chef kitchen, so he's still #winning. As James expressed, I too would have liked to see him cook more.

From the looks of the season preview, all of our chefs won't remain "white swans," which should make for an interesting season! Tell me: What did you think of the season premiere? Who are you rooting for? And where have you been eating?!

Until next week, Have a Nosh!

P.S. Does John Rivera Sedlar look like a cross between Tony Montuano and Season 2's Otto Borsich, or am I losing my mind? Either way, hope he doesn't work with lychees ;)

P.P.S. Christina Hendricks! Maroon 5!! Sami!!! Alison Sweeney!!!