The contestants I'm most impressed with so far are Jennifer Carroll, Kevin, and the Voltaggio brothers. Obviously, with Bryan running Volt in Frederick, Maryland, I'm rooting for him, but I rather like Michael's inventiveness and imagination. Tasked with creating a dish inspired by one of his vices, he decides to make a rack of lamb (wink), marinated with the juice of two coconuts (wink wink). Cheeky, but an example of good culinary thinking.
Kevin won the first elimination challenge, of course, and he seems to really know what he's doing. Likewise with Jennifer Carroll, who won the first Quickfire challenge: When she said she's made boys cry in the kitchen, I was in love.
Michael Isabella seems like he could be the next Marcel: Knowledgeable, but an ass.
Jennifer Zavala's decision to use seitan in a dish was probably her downfall; as Spencer Ackerman points out, it's eaten out of necessity, rarely for pleasure.
Potential dark horses: Hector, Eli, Mattin, and Ron.
All in all, this could be a pretty good season.