I have to admit that it was kind of crazy becoming a judge. I'm going in there on the other side of things. It's amazing to watch the new contestants, because the whole time I'm thinking, "This is going to be one of the craziest times of their lives, and these contestants have absolutely no idea what they've gotten themselves into." I don't have any early favorites yet. And it's still interesting to watch them get into things.
Last year there were twelve, and this year there are fifteen. The contestants are a pretty diverse mix of people, I don't know if it actually gets more diverse than what they've got. There are professional chefs, there are culinary instructors, caterers, people in the food world. And it's really a wide range. I really found myself putting myself more in their shoes. I actually thought that their first elimination challenge was so much more difficult than our elimination challenge. They had a mystery box! We had been pretty much able to shop for -- we got to shop for our signature dish. With all the time to go out to shop, and purchase stuff and cook. It wasn't like we were thrown in without a clue. I think that the amount of time that they were given was definitely a little...excessive. Almost crazy.