Full disclosure: I'm an Angeleno, so this season was always going to bring me joy. Especially right now, when LA is under Safer at Home guidelines, and it's hard to envision the future of the restaurant scene.
Kevin Gillespie is probably my favorite cheftestant, ever, so I was thrilled to see him back for this All Stars season! Las Vegas is still the high-water mark for me, as far as the skill level of the chefs goes, though I was always disappointed by the outcome of that one, since I found Michael Voltaggio repugnant. His arrogance really rubbed me the wrong way, and I far preferred Bryan, so I'm happy to see him back in competition, too. Jen-in-Vegas is and was one of the female contestants I liked and admired most, and whose food I would have liked to eat. Her attitude when she got eliminated so quickly in her first All-Star season put me off, completely, so we'll see which version is back.
I always liked Lee Anne. I'm more than a little surprised that she seems so unsettled, this time around. I hope she finds her rhythm. I'm also quite fond of Malarkey, always have been, but I understand that he annoys the daylights out of many (including his competition).
The only one I'm unhappy to see again is Lisa Fernandes. I loathed her when she competed, and she's going to have to do a lot to redeem herself, in my eyes. She does seem more mellow, but that's damning with faint praise. I probably won't be sorry to see her go.
The panel of guests was so impressive! That was a list of LA heavy-hitters!! Plus the legendary Jeremiah Tower! Suzanne Goin's first restaurant, Lucques, is one of my favorites, anywhere. And for those of you with long memories, she was the victim of the Cheetoh penis! I don't often see her business partner, Caroline Styne, on TV, so that was a great pleasure.
I'm going to enjoy this season, I can tell, though it already feels weird that they're not practicing social distancing, and the thought of them flying off to Europe makes me nervous, until I remember that all of this was filmed long ago!