OK -- onto the new season. I literally got chills when Padma appeared on the screen to premiere the new season. For some reason, this season is seeming more like Season 1 to me than the last two. The last two seasons, I called the winner from the get-go (OK -- I totally called Harold too), but the personalities were really distinct, i.e. the chefs were drama queens. It seems like for the most part this season, the chefs are, well, nice, and it's throwing me off my game. I have an instant connection to Richard because he's a Uniondale native, which is right next to my hometown, and frankly I dig the molecular gastronomy (Yes -- I was a Marcel fan.) If you haven't seen Homaro Cantu's appearance on Iron Chef America, you're missing out.
Anyway, the chefs meet, and Zoi and Jennifer drop the bomb that they're a couple. Everyone kinda gets over it, and the chefs are quickly thrown into their first Quickfire Challenge (shocker!). The chefs had to create a deep-dish pizza -- essentially the perfect "Welcome to Chicago" challenge. Some of those pizzas were looking pretty gnarly, and Padma and Guest Judge Rocco DiSpirito seemed to express the same sentiment. But, let's go back a sec: What would you do if Rocco DiSpirito appeared at your door? Oh man -- I'd die. I can honestly say that he is not only nice and serious about his food, but he's even better-looking in real life than he is on TV. OK -- so I have some blogger crushes. And Rocco's one of them.