Top Chef
Sin City Vice

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My Vice Is Watching Reality Television

Jesse Sandlin, 30, is the executive chef at Abacrombie Fine Foods in Baltimore. She's heavily tatted and pierced. I remember when I worked in a bookstore, and a guy in the café had like every facial piercing possible and he had to take them all out before every shift and put them on a piece of Scotch tape, which I always found gross and yet fascinating. But it makes me less likely to want to eat her food, even though it's not like she cooks it with her face. I just don't trust her judgment. Anyway, she doesn't have formal chef training, and she thinks it's actually an asset because those who do often come out of culinary school with big ideas but not a lot of practical experience. This is true; look at the first two people eliminated last season. They were both recent culinary school grads.

Jennifer Zavala, 31, is the executive chef at El Camino Real. She, Eve, and Jesse are sharing a room and Jesse jokes that she'd hate to unpack everything only to have to repack it all if she's the first to go. Jennifer decides that she isn't going to unpack at all, but doesn't seem to have a firm reason why. I have a firm reason why: her daddy didn't love her and now she craves attention. How else can you explain her giant stretched earlobes? At first, I thought she had really big hoop earrings on, but then I saw that her earlobes were stretched around the hollow gauges and I was totally grossed out. That is one body modification I just don't understand at all. Especially when you add in the fact that she has a neck tattoo of a heart, and then another on her chest that says SCARRED. Come on. I'm all for expressing yourself, but didn't most of us get over that need to prove how we are special snowflakes somewhere around the age of 19? You know Jennifer is a big fan of Hole, because she's pretty on the inside. Anyway, she has a kid who is adorable. I would be one hundred percent surprised if she grew up with both parents around, and I'd bet dollars to donuts that her dad split when she was like thirteen. I listen to Loveline. I know these things.

Jennifer Carroll, 34, is the chef de cuisine at 10 Arts by Eric Ripert in Philadelphia. As she's explaining to Mattin what she does, another guy (who's offscreen so I have no clue who it is) asks if she's the pastry chef there, and she's like, "Nope, regular chef." Sexist! I wish I knew who asked that question. Jennifer tells us that she can be "a bitch in the kitchen" and she's made boys cry. I kind of dig that about her, if she's not just posturing. If she's got the goods to back it up, she might be an early favorite.

Bryan Voltaggio, 32, is another 2009 James Beard Award nominee and also the chef/owner of Volt in Baltimore. He explains that he's constantly trying to learn new things and move forward so that he can improve himself. He seems very earnest.

And guess who's also a cheftestant? Bryan's brother Michael. They have a funny meeting where they pretend not to know one another and Preeti's all, "Whoa, what's going on?" Michael says that he flew in last night and stayed at their mother's house and had dinner without him. Let me guess, Michael is the younger brother. I could tell that in two seconds; he acts like he's got something to prove. Michael Voltaggio, 30, is a 2006 Michelin Star recipient. He explains that he got into cooking because Bryan did, but they're not exactly close since they live on opposite coasts. Michael feels that (and this will shock you) he is more of a risk-taker than his brother.

Michael Isabella, 34, is a 2009 "Rising Culinary Star" nominee. He knows Michael Voltaggio because they opened a restaurant together. I kind of already hate those two. I hate Mike I.'s hair. A bunch of them stand outside by the pool, and it cracks me up that Eve has already taken her shoes and socks off, because I would totally do that too. People who live in year-round warm climates don't understand what it's like for us Northerners to go someplace warm. We start acting the fool. Anyway, the cheftestants get their chef's jackets on and pile into the cars.

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Top Chef

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