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Cichonski & Elmi Survive the Top Chef Premiere

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Jason Cichonski and Nick Elmi are on Top Chef 11
Jason Cichonski and Nick Elmi are on Top Chef 11
Photo: Shola Olunloyo/Star Chefs

The big news of the day, of course, is that Top Chef Season 11, starring Philly studs Jason Cichonski and Nicholas Elmi, premiered last night with both of them surviving the first episode. As was expected, the Top Chef producers focused on Jason's good looks, with Cichonski himself giving a shoutout to the title he won on this very site as Eater Philly's Hottest Chef.

There were plenty of beefcake pics of Cichonski, sans shirt of course. But he did his best to diffuse the situation by being self-deprecating and self-aware, announcing that he knows he gives off a "douchey" vibe. He got a crapload of screentime, which means one of two things: he's a true contender for the title (the editors need to have characters in their season-long drama), or he's the villain. Judging by the "this season on Top Chef" mega-montage during the closing credits, we're going with the latter.

Nicholas Elmi was in the background much more than Cichonski, but he had a few barbs for his fellow Philly chef in his talking head interviews, discussing how much better he is as a chef than Cichonski. And he was serious. It was probably the highlight of the episode. For the rest of the elimination, Elmi stayed pretty quiet. But judging by that same mega-montage, Elmi will most-definitely be a focal point moving forward.

In the end, neither chef was forced to stand trial at Judge's Table and moved on to the next elimination challenge without incident. But we'll have to wait until next week to see how our cheffy Philadelphians do.

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