Just ask the judges, who gush about the exceptional talent in this exclusive clip.
According to our favorite white-spectacle-wearing chef-preneur, Graham Elliot, the competition simply keeps getting better and better.
"Every season, you see the contestants at a completely different level, because they have that foundation to jump off of," he says, "and here, they've had five seasons of MasterChef and three of Junior, so they're coming in realizing that food is at such a level that they are cooking every single day at home."
In short, they seriously know their stuff.
"They are trying to refine their skills, their technique, their reading. They know greater understanding of all the ingredients and seasonality, and they come in and they show us that stuff — and that is what makes the show so fun," Elliot emphasizes.
Tough love judge/executive producer, Gordon Ramsay, agrees that there is something particularly special about this season's crop of contestants, who represent the growing popularity of the cooking competition which has now gone "the length and breadth" of the country.
"The talent coming through and the background stories and the passion is exceptional," says Ramsay, adding, "They're that good at the beginning, and at the end it's magical."
And, perhaps in a preview of chummy times to come on the judging panel, new chef on the block Christina Tosi (Joe Bastianich decided to focus on expanding his empire, including 30 restaurants worldwide) is just as psyched about Season 6's home chefs as her judging peers.
A renowned pasty chef, published author, James Beard Award winner and co-owner of Momofuku Milk Bar, Tosi's stamp of approval certainly carries weight in the culinary world — and she seems poised and ready to hand it out to this season's highly capable competitors.
She elaborates, "I think the sign of any great home cook is what they can do with the simplest of ingredients, and these cooks just came alive and their stories came alive."
Although prior to being interviewed for this clip the judges had ample time to get to know the contestants — and they did — Tosi asserts that they didn't truly know the mettle of some of the show's frontrunners until they tasted what was on their plates.
"We've known them for weeks at this point," she says, "but some of them we've just gotten to know so much deeper through their food... it's sort of speaking to us."
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