I was a HUGE fan of this show first season, and the fact that the winner was someone I actually really liked (Harold) helped. And I was ecstatic when they announced that there would be a second season, and especially that they were replacing that robot of a host! I could tell even from the promos that the new host, Padma Lakshmi, was going to be a vast improvement. After watching the premiere, I'm not going to say I'm a fan yet, but she didn't bug me either, so that's a good sign.
The first episode was confusing, as most first episodes of competitive reality shows are, because there are just too many contestants. My premature picks to make it to the end are Betty, Ilan, and Sam, and Marcel is obviously this season's Stephen, but other than that I didn't really form too many opinions. One thing I did notice was that it seems like a ton of the chefs this year already own their own restaurants. Was it like this last season?
Tom Colicchio is as snobby as ever, but for some reason I kind of like it. His "I'm not your mentor" comment made me crack up because even if he tried to be, he would fail so horribly because no one else can be Tim Gunn. I've often wondered if they could use a mentor though. Tim Gunn has helped nudge many designers towards success whereas these chefs are often kind of just left floundering. On another note, I passed by one of Colicchio's restaurants in New York a couple of weeks ago (I think it was Craftbar?) and I really should try one of them sometime, even if it's just his lower-end sandwich shop.
I was super excited to see Harold as a guest judge, and it's kind of nice to see that he hasn't really changed at all since winning. He's still scruffy and doesn't stand up straight and is just not at all Hollywood. I hear that Anthony Bourdain is going to show up as a guest judge this year! I can't wait for that, it should be awesome.