On the weak link: "I think Jacqueline Lombard will get voted off first."
On the strong links: "My top three: Angelo Sosa, Tamesha Warren, and Ed Cotton—his favorite recipe [fresh farm-egg ravioli with a silky English-pea puree, spring-onion fondue, and crispy pancetta] melted my heart."
Who you should root for: "You got to have hope for Tamesha Warren, who's from DC! WOO HOO!"
Memories of the first day of filming: "The first day was cool, meeting all the chefs, getting to know people, identifying who you'll take down, who you'll 'buddy' up to . . . keep your enemies close. No, just kidding! It's all about having fun and going with the flow."
How to do well: "I think you'll get further on the show the more relaxed you are and the more you focus on the food and not the drama—even though drama's a little fun every once in awhile!"
Memories of the first day of filming: "It was nerve-racking, adrenaline-rushing, and intense all at once."
How long it takes to get over the nerves: "The nerves go away after the show is over."
What contestants need to go far on Top Chef: "Experience to think quickly and execute on a high level."
Famous last words: "I wish I could go back and do—okay, maybe say—a few things differently."
On first-day thoughts: "I was excited. The build up to the competition makes your mind race. Being very familar with past seasons, i thought, 'What will the challenges be? Who will be the guest judges? Oh, and will my brother make the flight?' "
What contestants need to go far on Top Chef: "Stay focused on thier cuisine, don't let outside influences or other contestants persuade you into second-guessing a dish. Remember it's a competition. Stay true to your repetoire and you'll do well. Stay clear of the drama. Some are there for camera time!"
How long it takes to get over the nerves: "Not long for me. I'm a seasoned chef. It depends how far in your career you are and how comfortable you are under pressure. I live it daily, I own a restaurant."
>>For more Top Chef DC coverage, click here.
Follow the Best Bites Bloggers on Twitter at twitter.com/bestbitesblog