01:17 PM EDT 04/13/2013
Originally posted 06/05/2012 01:30PM
Monday's premiere episode kicked off another dynamic season of MasterChef! Fellow judges Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and I are psyched to be back in the MasterChef kitchen. Seasons 1 and 2 set the bar high, and each year's contestants seem to inspire more and more homecooks to come out for the castings.
Once again we searched through thousands of hopefuls from all over the country, bringing the top 100 to Los Angeles for a chance to really show us what they've got. This year brings a new and more intense energy than before – it was truly thrilling to be standing amongst the group that will be whittled down from thousands to only 100.
On our first day of auditions we see the emergence of two themes: there was plenty of pure talent, but plenty of gimmicks as well – and not a lot in between.
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