The pressure is on when Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludovic Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey put 29 professional chefs and home cooks through their first grueling round of blind taste tests -- in which just a single spoonful will decide whether or not they make it past the audition phase and into the competition.
The mentors work with teams of four cooks to create comfort food dishes; two contestants are eliminated.
Two have been sent home, and 14 competitors remain. In the team challenge, each team is given five unique ingredients from which to create the most delicious dish for mentors/judges Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludovic Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey. One contestant will be granted immunity for the "daring pairings" individual round of the competition, when the contestants must prepare a dish that pairs best with a selection of decadent wines to please the judges' palates in a blind taste test.
Tensions in the kitchen build as Nigella's team is down to two and 12 remain in the competition. With what would seemingly be a simple challenge -- to create the perfect sandwich -- things become heated among judges/mentors Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludovic Lefebvre and Brian Malarkey and their teams. Chefs Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbon act as guest judges. One contestant will win immunity and two will be eliminated.
In the toughest and most exotic challenge yet, no part of the animal is off limits and nothing goes to waste. Nine contestants clearly reach out of their culinary comfort zones, three are sent home and six move on to the semifinals.
The battle to make it to the finals begins as seven semi-finalists must seduce the taste buds of mentors Bourdain, Lawson, Lefebvre and Malarkey with their most sumptuous spoonfuls yet. Mentored by guest chef Ingrid McMillan, the seduction team challenge winner is awarded a kitchen full of top-of-the-line gourmet cookware. With no immunity as a safety net, there is a divisive battle between the judges; three talented cooks are sent home and four move on the finals.
A champion is crowned in the Season 1 finale.