Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio has a positive outlook on the rest of the season, and talks about the range of chefs competing.

on Jun 16, 20100

Charles Dickens wrote of Washington D.C.: “It is sometimes called the City of Magnificent Distances, but it might with greater propriety be termed the City of Magnificent Intentions.” OK, I know he was thinking lofty – national governance, world affairs – he clearly wasn’t thinking ahead to our new group of cheftestants. But I also know that the quote would resonate with them. This is a determined group of chefs, and they’ve converged on our nation’s capital to win. 
 
I myself was glad to learn that Season 7 would be in D.C. D.C. has given rise to terrific chefs such as my friend Jean-Louis Palladin, who succumbed to lung cancer in 2001, but who was a driving force behind cooking in America. It has also attracted others, such as José Andrés, Jeffrey Buben at Vidalia, and Cathal Armstrong at Restaurant Eve. And, on a more personal note, I was also glad that D.C. is an Acela-ride away from NYC, where my new baby and new restaurant both clamored for my attention on the days we weren’t shooting the show.
 
The chefs hit the ground running with a high stakes Quickfire Challenge. Coupling the fact that this was their very first challenge under time pressure with the fact that twenty thousand dollars was on the line made for some shaky hands trying to wield those knives. I’m quite sure that folks could have peeled potatoes and diced onions far more quickly and neatly than they did that day were they not under a double-whammy of pressure. In fact, you saw only one of three instances in which chefs cut themselves. (As a side note: I’m constantly amazed at the chefs who show up with dull knives! It’s ridiculous – sharpen the things before you arrive, please.)  But this is the type of competition in which one benefits from being thrown right into the deep end of the pool: the sooner the chefs get used to performing under extreme pressure, the sooner they’ll start performing well under extreme pressure, cooking more closely to how they would in their own restaurant kitchens … which the four who made it to the end of the Quickfire Challenge and cooked for us all did very adeptly. When you consider that they were cooking with only basically chicken, potatoes, and onions, under a significant time constraint, on a low burner on a windy rooftop, the food was all surprisingly good. They all thought creatively on their feet and delivered good dishes. I remember thinking, “this bodes well for the season.”

69 comments
Debbie Montgomery-Bland
Debbie Montgomery-Bland

I have been a fan since the beginning...And while I'm glad you all have very successful careers...mine in radio has stalled...couldn't be more OFFENDED you had NANCY PELOSI on!! Seriously...who do YOU think is watching... her...or ME?

Daniel Stallings
Daniel Stallings

Top Chef is my favorite TV show of all time. Because of it, I have learned so much more about ingredients, food, chefs and have built a huge respect for that industry. I've enjoyed every season since its inception and am always thrilled when another season starts. My hope is that Season 8 is Top Chef: Dallas (and I don't live there). I just think it would round out the American culture we've seen through the series from the West to the East to the South to the Midwest. Now we need Southwest. Heck, rattlesnake could make a great Quickfire ingredient!

Elizabeth329
Elizabeth329

How about a Top Chef in Minneapolis?????? Please.

Dustin
Dustin

It might just be me, but I as a 20-something youngster, I feel like this year's cheftestants are a bit older than previous seasons, and maybe that explains some of the increased smack-talk going on. (respect the craft, folks!)

That said, not quite as enthralled with the group as previous seasons, but I think we have a James Beard award winner and a Michelin star chef, which always encourages me that we are watching professionally recognized talent.

Age and previous experience aside, it's all about the food, and there's nothing better to excite one's self out of a cooking rut than watching something like Top Chef. Also psyched to learn more about Just Desserts, as I agree with the cheftestants that desserts get shaft on this show (despite being the easiest way for a dude to impress the opposite sex!)

Missing the tats and the molecular gastronomy (yeah, yeah, I know, but it just sounds cool), Dustin

Bill G
Bill G

Enjoy show very much...sometimes very comical! Regarding season 7 opening episode..quickfire...2nd task..."brunoise" 10 cups onion...based on my experience and recollection... a brunoise is a combination of finely DICED items as a flavoring (sauteed) usually for sauces and soups. Onions, therefore, would be a component of a bruniose. I consulted a long time (10+ years) Ritz Carlton(Palm Beach,Naples,Amelia Island) chef and he agreed. PLEASE try to not only entertain but accuratly educate your audience about a great profession.

stylish
stylish

I'm annoyed with all the Nancy Pelosi comments. You wouldn't complain about any other celebrity... and last season Mrs. Obama was on the show.

Top Chef is about cooking. People who want to stop waiching the show simply because a politician they disagree with is on an episode are not loyal fans of the show. Politics shoudln't affect your choice of entertainment - puhleez.

Thanks to Bravo for shaking things up and featuring all different types of guests. And I can't say I'm unhappy about the new 9 PM time slot :)

Mike from Redding CA
Mike from Redding CA

Tom:

Are you ever going to have another quickfire challenge on the side of the trout stream again? Did you catch those trout yourself? I know you are a good fly fisherman....so did you catch them?

Some good trout fishing out here in Northern California!

Pavlova
Pavlova

Chef Colicchio,

So glad another season has started. I really admire your common sense and honest approach to food. Love your books and your recipes.

Ignore the complaints about Nancy Pelosi. How silly that people don't recognize that any political figure has fans and detractors. It's America, for Pete's sake!

I agree with the comments about showing the contestants smoking. I can't seriously trust the palate of a smoker, and it does set a bad example for young viewers.

I have a suggestion for a challenge for next season. On Top Chef Masters each chef prepared a mystery basket for another chef. All of the judges commented on how the master chefs chose great ingredients for their competitors, and noted that you would be unlikely to see that on Top Chef. How about repeating this challenge on Top Chef BUT, as a twist, make each chef cook with the ingredients he/she selected for another chef. Those who play fair benefit and those who try to sabotage another chef have to pay the price.

Love the show!

sunnybelle
sunnybelle

John was my favorite!! Im sad that he had to go!

Saltydog
Saltydog

Sorry, Chef's should be used to extreme pressure. I was amazed at the lack of technical skills. And Kenny? Sorry, dude isn't that fast.

Paty
Paty

Ugh at people in this country...

She's the Speaker of the House, they are in Washington D.C OF COURSE someone in politics will be on there, if this was 4 year ago it would have been a Republican, and I wouldn't have cared,as this isn't "Meet the Press" and they won't be discussing policy. Get a grip people,you are watching Bravo for Pete's sake, a channel that most definitely has a liberal swing to it and most definitely doesn't deal in politics.

Now that that's out of my system I'm so glad Top Chef's back and more than a little happy that it is in my hometown. D.C is often looked at as nothing more than politics, and this is simply unfair, many great chefs are finally catching on to this, and I'm glad Top Chef has too.

I love Angelo, sure he's a bit arrogant, but he has the talent to back it up. Kenny is also talented, but has to stop worrying about other contestants and focus on himself.This looks to be a feud of Ilan/Marcell proportions.

Now I can only hope that Spike ( and maybe hometown favorite Carla) show up on this season.

Tracy  Schmidt
Tracy Schmidt

Tom my Wife and I have enjoyed Top chef for the last 3 years. Its because I like your show so much that I am writing this my first ever email, to any TV program.

I have to say I was very pissed off in the way you changed the rules of the show halfway through the episode. We all know there is only one judge Tom and that is you.

It was you that decided to break the teams up and bring in 2 teams to the elimination. You should have edited the scene with Kenny telling him he had a 50% chance of

elimination if his team lost. Please from now on at least give us the illusion fairness.

Tracy Schmidt Moses Lake Wa

KPC
KPC

Cigarettes! I find it ironic that you are talking about our kid's health regarding sugars and starches in tonight's episode followed immediately with clips of contestants smoking.

I love this show, but I am disappointed by the message you are sending with cigearettes on TV.

bryan
bryan

I can not believe you guys jacked a girl for too much sugar for your taste.Did you know its against the law to bring alcohol,on school property.Hello,She wasnt trying to impress the kids.Is this a $50.00,plate school?If you dont get sued,Id be suprised.I now if you were in my home town,you would be really suprised by your opinion.After all its just your opion.

docgsb
docgsb

whats the deal with all the smoking chefs. not only does this disgust me but how can one maintain any kind of palate. finds some chefs that are healthy.

Rhonda Fugate
Rhonda Fugate

I saw the show tonite about school nutrition--however my son is a Type 1 Diabetic and has food restrictions. I think this could make a FANTASTIC challenge for your chefs. I love to cook and I have had to change the way I cook for my family because of this disease--wouldn't it be great for Top Chef to do something for the awareness of Juvenile Diabetes????

I hope you agree.

Regards, Rhonda Fugate

Thomasena Merriweather
Thomasena Merriweather

I think Angelo is an excellent cook, but I feel Kenny is being discriminated against, there is never a negative comment about his food, it is always complimented and each and everytime Angelo, who is not humble or grateful in the least and who is most threatned by Kenny continues to win!!! This is not a Black or white thing, but it truly appears that way and I'm quite sure many others feel this way. Kenny should have won the 20,000.00 dollars on the first challenge, and I think all of your viewers were shocked, I'm feeling like I don't want to watch the show anymore, because I see Kenny being pushed out and he is super talented. I have to mention that this is or was my favorite show.....

Connie Gloverf
Connie Gloverf

Hello Judge,

I really enjoy watching Top Chef. I haven't missed an episode. I was wondering,,,,,,,Most chefs use a gas range, correct? What if one of the challenges had them cooking on an electric range instead? Those of us who have electric ranges, know that the burner area stays hot after turning it down. I wonder how they would fare especially when what they are cooking cannot be overdone.

I think it would be a hoot to see who wins that challenge. Please give it some thought.

Thank You for letting me give my idea, and I am looking forward to more episodes, even though they come on when I am working.

Sincerely,

Connie G

Pacific Northwest TC
Pacific Northwest TC

Glad to see the quality of most cheftestants this season! And thanks for moving to 9 PM! Now I won't be late for work every Thursday morning!

When is TC coming to the Northwest? With the wonderful cooking scene in both Portland and Seattle, with all of the wonderful local ingredients, and with the popularity of the TC show; the Pacific Northwest is a "natural" for your next season!

dci1812
dci1812

I read a newspaper review of the new season's first episode and have to take exception to their less-than-optimistic view of what the newest season has in store for us. They said that Top Chef is basically the same show as before - with different people (Oh, and they added that there weren't as many young chefs). Well, I don't know about you but that is EXACTLY what I want to see in Top Chef. I don't need for the producers to try to overhaul the show. It's a good show. Leave it at that. I don't need to see character development. I don't need to see it try to compete with other (less authentic) cooking competitions. If Bravo wants to really strech things in a good way, try to throw in a couple of different types of challenges, or try limiting the chefs cuisine choice to that of a specific country.

Bottom Line: It's a great show. Let's leave it at that!

miss vogue
miss vogue

Heck Tom. I'll gladly trade for those dull knives! My are held together with duct tape!!! I can't believe the first chef to be sent packing used store bought dough. Do they not watch past episodes?? Between using canned dough, it's trying to cook pork belly that will usually sink the ship.

sueM
sueM

Welcome back to you and your show Tom! Looking foward to a great season. I agree with the first elimination, not a lot to offer there,although he seemed like a nice guy. Angelo is definitely worth watching but I agree, the politicians should have better things to do right now. All in all though, it's gonna be fun. And the 9pm slot, what a great idea!

JsinGood
JsinGood

Personally, I'm kind of disgusted that Nancy Pelosi is going to be on the show for a segment - might have to skip that episode. I'm sort of afraid to see what other politicians and pundits might show up. But Eric Ripert as a judge makes up for even that, I believe. I was very excited to see him join the ranks.

sbh1cats
sbh1cats

i can respect the office, but i don't have to watch nancy pelosi...i don't respect her... i understand with top chef being in washington, there will be some politicizing going on, but please keep it to a minimum...i would hate for you to ruin a good show...

Loyal Florida Fan
Loyal Florida Fan

Great to have you back!! I so love this show; have watched every single episode and some 3 times. Happy to see "After the Knife" and very happy to see the extended judges table.

Can't wait to see more!!!!

Mrs. Vigga
Mrs. Vigga

Hi Tom -

Super excited for this season! I'll throw in my support for including polititians on the show - from what I can tell, TC has always had guest judges such as musicians, actors, personalities and a large number of average joes that have nothing to do with food. You should include polititians for the same reason I saw the Washington National's in the promos - its a part of Washington! It's the one thing that truly sets Washington apart from any other city. As a Washington DC native, I can't wait to see what you do with our city and I look forward to reading your blog all season!

Gill
Gill

The season's off to an interesting start - it's great to have TC back!

I hope you're not discouraged by the few posters complaining about Nancy Pelosi, as if they can't bear to spend even a few nonpolitical moments in the company of someone they disagree with. (How many of them were the ones telling dems to "respect the office" when GWB was president?) Buzz Aldrin, a prominent Republican, is going to be on as well, so it's not exactly one-sided. Anyway, food's a uniter, not a divider!

Heather F.
Heather F.

Love the show...Especially since my cousin is one of the contestants!... Go Ed!... if ya ever watch americas iron chef be sure to watch him when hes cooking with kat cora!

Robin Sutton
Robin Sutton

I love watching anything that has Tom Colicchio he looks and acts very professional all the time. You know when you look at him is like damn that man is it and it makes you want 2 slap your momma down. It is too bad he is married, but I wish him and his family the best always...

Mark D Smith
Mark D Smith

ok, i have to comment here on the quickfire challenge - "brunoise" ten onions? not only was that a bit OTT (10!), but surely an onion is not an item that holds up well to true brunoise, i.e. 1/8th or 1/16th dice. a shallot maybe, but an onion is inherently too thick. while one of the contestants did mention the 1/8th inch size, it seems that NO-ONE was doing true brunoise, rathe macedoine is more like it. the footage had the contestants going way too fast for such a precise cut, i don't care how long they've been doing it ... otherwise, great episode, and looks like there is some good talent in the bunch.

KareninDC
KareninDC

Thank you, thank you for switching the time to 9:00. Love that!

Thanks for the blog. I was very concerned that this season would be like last season where there were so few chefs consistently in the top. One night my daughter said that she wanted to "fast forward" to the finale (which was still weeks away), because it seemed like we were watching the final four week after week. It felt like we were just spending time eliminating those who were never going to get to the final show anyway. We love the tension of not knowing who is going to cook something beautiful and amazing each week. I worried that we saw the this season's final four again from the start. I am glad to know it's more evenly matched - more fun for me as a viewer.

Also, I've lived near D.C. all my life. I was born in D.C. Political shows are on in my house all the time. I really don't need to see Pelosi. Her favorability numbers are bad, and she needs the air time representing her as someone more likeable. She's using the show. And according to the democratic concept of fairness you need to let a Republican use you like that too. Watch out, you may end up with a panel of pundits over-analyzing why you chose Pelosi, what did you REALLY mean by it, and who's funding what could be deemed commercial time for her. Sorry, you guys bought into the premise and walked into the current American political mire. Lol.

Looking forward to the season!

dc in nyc
dc in nyc

Glad see a couple of strong NYC area chefs represent. Angelo and Kevin are looking like good bets to go deep this season.

As to political figures that people love to hate, there has to be a DC politician challenge. Not having politician episode in DC would be like not doing a casino challenge in Vegas. Bravo has enough experience I'm sure it won't be overly in your face. I imagine it'll be be like the marriage challenge last season, when the editors stuck in Ashley's comment on the unfairness of prohibiting gay marriage. Don't get upset by it, just remind yourself you are watching Bravo channel, not Fox or CBN.

Bea
Bea

Hello: Early this year I swore I would NOT watch another reality show. While at my daughter's, the TV was turned to TOP CHEF. It took one episode and I was hooked. I even tried not watching and determined to keep the promise to myself. Good luck with that. This show is fast paced, interesting and very unpredictable. Now, I tape each episode and watch when alone and can pay attention. Telephone, text message, knock on the door, all I have to do is pause. Despite living alone I have a very busy life. Thank you so much for the pleasure of watching such a wonderful show. I love the fact that I am not always sure who is staying or having to pack up the tools. I love the Hostess and Host as well as the guest judges.

SkepticalTCFan
SkepticalTCFan

Seriously. What's with the Michigan representation?? There are incredibly talented chefs in Michigan and not just the Metro Detroit area. Must Michigan continue to be picked on? Why do you seem to choose Michigan chefs that are too weak for such an intense, TELEVISED, competition?? You can redeem yourself by a future Top Chef Detroit!

Tilted Sideways
Tilted Sideways

I caught the video Bonus Clip, following eliminated chef John Somerville into the suite in which he was sequestered. I'd there were more. You could have made an entire web series to tide us over until next week. I'd call it 'Bottom Chef'. After next week's episode, John could welcome the next eliminated chef where they would pair classic cocktails with that weeks winning dishes, or something.

chessypeake
chessypeake

I was glad to see a comment on the rockfish. We were watching our favorite show and when we see a chef from Maryland and know he can cook a regional dish of his choice, we all expected to see rockfish since it's not the time of year for good local crabs. To have this wonderful fish that was on the endangered list and unavailable to Marylanders for so many years back in the stores called "just a bass" in a derisive manner was sad. We were shocked at the reaction since he truly produced a regional dish. That aside, it's nice to have the show back on the air and at an earlier time. I'm sure it will be another interesting season.

borbor
borbor

SO GLAD my favorite show is back. I have watched very episode since year one. Twice. I love watching the triumphs and disasters taking shape on second viewing! Tom and Padma and Gail seem like old friends now. Eric Ripert is a great choice too he always seems fair and that French accent and calm demeaner add a certain gravitas. I love watching you Tom, as you cover your mouth with your hand at Judgement Table, obviously carefully editing your comments which are always not only backed by obvious knowledge and experience, but helpful to the chefs, if they choose to listen. And let's hope we've seen the last of that English guy Toby or whatever with his unhelpful and over-thought and ridiculous analogies.

As for the people threatening to quit watching because you are daring to have politicians on a show set in D.C. ....Please, please quit! I'm sure Nancy Pelosi will be talking about food and not the economic crisis so many seem to think she caused single-handedly! Why must EVERY blog turn into a forum for the tea baggers?

Joe 2, why is Top Chef a "guilty" pleasure? It's the most absorbing show on TV since The Sopranos went off the air. And hey, lets have a quickfire challege based on tea bags for balance! Yay! Can't we just have some fun?

BiddyBop
BiddyBop

This show is so bogus. I just finished watching Las Vegas Top Chef and Bryan was robbed. You all touted Bryan's dishes and then gave it to Michael. All because Michael had some 'oh poor me' story about all he's ever done is cook and that's all he'll ever do. Get a new host, please.

vxtr
vxtr

Always look forward to the start of each "Top Chef" season...and to your blog. A little bewildered as to why Bravo will start the show with so many contestants and not allot a full two hours to the premiere so viewers can see all of the prepared dishes.

Seriously
Seriously

Really people, focus on the food and the competitors, not who may or may not be a guest on a later episode. Looks like another great year of Top Chef. I think it may take a few episodes for to find my favorite this year.

Patty, Virginia Beach
Patty, Virginia Beach

Tom,

Have never missed a season! You and Padma are the BEST! Really excited that Eric will be judging this season...he is adorable!

All that said.....I agree with many other viewers. I am terribly disappointed that Bravo would dampen the happy atmosphere of this show by having pelosi appear. She is selfish and uncaring...millions are unemployed while she demands a larger jet, new fancy office...she has no conscience.

I watch all of the Bravo shows to get away from the gloomy news of economy, politics, etc. I will definitely change the channel when she appears!

Have a great Season!

M3
M3

Tom, Glad you're back. Love the show, love the blog.

Seeing as how you're coming to us from DC this season it's really not a stretch to expect some politicos to show up somewhere, sometime. Rather parochial thinking from some. It's about the food...

Looking forward to this season & your insights.

Lovely Lisa
Lovely Lisa

Tom, I love you, and YOU are the reason why I tune in weekly. I find it very funny people are complaining about Pelosi. "The majority of this country?" give me a break, (its the hollow pedistral, again). The majority of this country needs to realize/accept their nationality, its certainly not "white".

I love the show, and I am glad to see a group of diverse AMERICANS.

RedDawn USA
RedDawn USA

Seems like the new season is off to a good start. Same sort of demographic on the contestant selections ... some with vast experience, some with self-taught experience, some with little or no experience brought in to be part of the show.

As a long time viewer from season 1, I won't be watching when you have pelosi on for whatever reason the producers chose her except maybe for controversy and ratings.

This is someone who has made sure to disregard everything the majority of the people of this country have spoken up on and who continues to be so far removed from reality, so many people I know that watch TC almost religiously have chosen to find something else to do with themselves for that night especially and some for the whole season.

As the rest of the country finds a way to pinch every penny due to the government spending money we won't even have in 3 generations from now, pelosi finds it necessary to get a new office that costs $18K a month. A MONTH!

Bravo chose to have her on, knew it would spark huge emotion in people and rolled the dice on the loss.

Too bad they seem to enjoy the controversies a little too much for their own good.

Steve K3
Steve K3

Tom's blog remarks surprised me; or maybe it's my perception: a serious number of competitors appeared truly inept- or not functioning well in that environment. (e.g-you've made this dish hundreds of times, and you need a recipe?; how could you do that to a really nice steak? or simply the pastry/disaster by the first to be dismissed- what was he thinking? or was he thinking? )

Kevin C In Jax
Kevin C In Jax

I've watched the show for all 7 seasons, have loved it. It looks like you have some great talent to work with this season! Oh, if I were to pick a frontrunner it would be Angelo.

shirley from Baltimore
shirley from Baltimore

Congratulations on the birth of your new baby! Enjoyed last night's episode looking forward to the rest of the season.

ronzie
ronzie

I knew the moment I saw John that he would be eliminated. Seems like the contestants that "weird" viewers out are the ones "weeded" out early.

jamx
jamx

Thanks Bravo for the change in time. It's great that I don't have to rush around getting ready for work before I can enjoy the show.

John was the obvious choice to go last night - yep, he weirded me out too. I think it was the hair. What a mess. Sorry, but I could not get past that. I'm a stickler about normalcy in the kitchen, including appearance.

So glad to have you back blogging for us Tom. You are the best!

chelly5272
chelly5272

Tom, love the show but love you even more. Although I wish you hadn't moved to 10 becauase I have a class I teach at church Wednesdays and don't get home till 9:30. But thank God for DVR right. Missed you!!!!