Thirty-eight of the nation's best amateur cooks have earned a coveted apron and are progressing to the next stage in the competition to become a "MasterChef." Now they will face two culinary stress tests determining which 18 will move on.
The contestants prepare to face off in their first head-to-head challenge, which will test their basic kitchen skills. After a giant truck dumps bushels of green apples at their feet, head judge Gordon Ramsay tells them that they need to demonstrate their knife work by creating perfectly even slices. Joe Bastianich informs them that they are looking for "precision, accuracy, and focus." The contestants are to continue slicing until one of the judges stops them, at which point they will find out if they are going home or staying for the next round.
Each contestant finds a station and begins chopping. Shortly after the test begins, cries for the show's medic start, as one contestant after another cuts more than just the apples.
The first cook to be stopped by a judge is Seby, a student from McAllen, Texas, whose parents do not support his choice to become a chef. Gordon says that his slices are perfect, and he becomes the first competitor sent through.