Top Chef aired its season 5 premiere last night, and believe it or not, this is the first time Padma & Co. have filmed an entire season in New York City. Right now there are too many cheftestants at the starting line, so it's a little difficult for any to stand apart when the first half of the episode merely showed (spoiler alert!) them chopping apples. But there are two emerging factions: Team Rainbow (the LGBT folks) and the Euros (Italian guy, Finland guy).
The main ingredient throughout was, of course, the Big Apple, and it was nice to see the chefs hit up Grand Central, the Staten Island Ferry, Governors Island and of course their residence, 20 Bayard, which is located at the front lines of gentrification in Williamsburg. And the elimination challenge brought them to "various neighborhoods around the city to ultimately craft dishes influenced by the ethnic flavors of their chosen districts": Ozone Park (Latin), Little Italy, Chinatown, Brighton Beach (Russian), Astoria (Greek), LIC (Middle Eastern), Little India and Jamaica.
Two other factoids: there's one New Yorker, Leah, who managed to stick it out so far (though noted that if she got kicked off in her hometown so early, she would have been embarrassed). And four-star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten was the special guest judge, whose soft, French-accent English was subtitled! Hungry for more? Read last season cheftestant Spike's live blog.