Derry was just off-screen for most of the show following her introduction. But, at least she did get the first intro.
The show opened with her -- in kicky shortpants -- crossing the street with a cast mate and headed into meet all her new frenemies.
She cited her IHOP experience and showed her Beaumont pride. And she had so much energy. "I think it would be awesome to be the first African-American to win this bad boy...in Barack Obama CITY!"
She was bubbly, friendly and down-to-earth, and therefore, I like to think the other contestants weren't expecting too much from her.
Because, according to the behavior of more featured chefs, the way to convey you're a real badass isn't by performing in the kitchen but by talking massive amounts of shit and playing one-up. "You worked for Jean-Louis ShaSha? Well, eat a dick because I worked for Pierre Marco HooHah! AND we ate breakfast together each morning after a shared slow poach in a lukewarm bath!" That sort of thing.
I think TDerry's got more class than that, and I like her for it. Course, she may just be as-of-yet unskilled in giving good talking head, but it was the first episode, so I'll give her the benefit.
So as predicted, the cheeps (chefs + peeps = cheeps) meet Padma and Tom and are given not only some grub and some sponsors' champagne, but also (gasp!) their first Quickfire Challenge right there mid-sip.
It was a mise en place challenge which required them all to actually prove "chef" wasn't just a title, and that they knew how to handle things like knives, potatoes, onions and chickens with cat-like swiftness. Kenny -- a cocky dude who will end up fighting equally cocky dude Angelo to the death before this is all through -- nailed the first round, peeling 10 potatoes before anyone had time to even get through "You say potato, I say potahto..."
Sidenote: I was a little concerned for the vaguely hot girl (no time for name learning now. There's still too many of them) who sliced open her hand during the first task. That being said, there was a lot of whistling and yelling going on. Also, I'm guessing some of these folks don't do all their own prep anymore.
Round two had them brunoise 10 cups of onions. The camera showed clips of everyone working, bitching, moaning and yelling "check!" when they wanted Tom to come check their work, but there was very little Tiffany. Kenny owned all their asses as Kenny seems wont to do, but she made it through to round three.
They had to break down a chicken into eight pieces. Carcasses were flying. The failures stood off to the side and dodged them as best they could. And in the end, it was all Kenny, all the time.
So four dudes, including the bespectacled Russian dude, the widower who likes to say "You joking me?", Angelo the scrubbed-clean cocky guy and Kenny the speedy cocky guy, made it to round four in which they had to make a dish using the mise en place challenge ingredients. Angelo nailed Kenny's ass to the wall and looks were exchanged. Angelo wants to be the first contestant to win every challenge while Kenny's all like, "Dude, this is the first freaking challenge, WTF, calm down."
And this does pertain to TDer, I promise. At least in the sense that the four chefs from the final round got to pick who they wanted to cook against in the Elimination Challenge. In each group there would be a top and a bottom (that's what she said) and from the bottoms, someone would be eliminated.
Angelo picked first and picked Tiffany. Asshole. Thinks she's friendly and can't cook. At least, that's what all the other picked-first chefs thought. The closer to being picked last, the better a chef you are considered to be, because the good guys were avoiding picking you. Or whatever.
They got their cocktail party assignment to cook a bite that represents where they're from. One trip to the store and the guy with the dreads was grabbing from the frozen section saying he's making a dessert to represent sweet Detroit. Not only is the strangest, most alternative-looking person usually the first to go (see: stretched earhole girl from Season 6), but he's was making a fucking dessert. Kiss of death. Also, it was a maple dessert. Gag.
And, as predicted, someone couldn't find what they were looking for.
In the kitchen, we saw Tiffany mostly in the background. She made chicken-fried tomatillos with shrimp and crawfish salad and a bacon sherry vinaigrette. Course, we only found this out because she told it to the judges (including most attractive new judge Eric Ripert) when they walked by. They took some samples and some from her teammates -- or opponents, rather; it got very confusing -- and went off to taste test. I wanted to put her food in my face. It looked hearty and colorful and damn, I love a tomatillo. But the judges tasted and talked about all the other three people -- including Dread Man's maple Napoleon -- but not a word about TD's.
She was neither in the top four nor the bottom four, so we didn't even get to see feedback at the judges' table. Lame. We did see her resisting her fellow cheftestants' instinct to drink and dick around in the stew room. Derry's not fooling around when it comes to her food.
Dread Man packed his knives and went...his longest 'lock and the scent of maple trailing behind him. Angelo won the challenge with a chili tapioca foamed/bacon frothed Arctic char. Yes, that's right. He foamed and frothed. This is going to be a long season.