I want to take a moment to thank you all for watching Top Chef and reading my blog. I also really appreciate that so many of you feel compelled enough by what you read to write a response. Though I don’t have time to reply to them all, when I see enough comments in a particular vein, I try to address them here. Since people are asking about judging criteria, I thought I’d give you some insight into how the show and the judging go down:
We shoot a season in 20 days, two days per episode. During that time, we judges are not allowed to interact with the contestants at all. So the whole “reality” aspect of the program? We don’t see it until you do. The “villains,” so to speak, the “nice guys,” the crowd favorites and least favorites … we don’t know the personalities. For example, we didn’t know that Mattin was lying at the Judges' Table about negging the asparagus in the volute in Episode Four. I learned about it the same way you did, by watching the edited episode. We have never made decisions about whom to send home based on who or what might be more interesting or “make better TV.” We couldn’t if we wanted to … which we don’t, anyway. We judge the food, plain and simple, and it’s the food that determines who will be packing his/her knives.
So let’s talk about that for a moment. Some people, assuming that we’re hungrier when we first sit down to judge than we are by the end, have wondered whether we are kinder to the first dish than the last. The answer is no. When we judge the dishes, we’re just tasting them, as opposed to hunkering down and eating. In fact, we’re still hungry after the last dish and often go out for dinner directly after judging! So the earlier dishes have no advantage over the later ones. Other people have wondered whether the dishes should be judged “blind” in order to ensure fairness in judging. Again, no, and here’s why. First of all, as I wrote above, we don’t know the contestants as people and so are not influenced by their personalities. Second, we quickly learn chefs’ particular styles of cooking from both the Quickfire and Elimination challenges and thus, even were we to taste the food “blind,” we’d still be able to tell, with about 90% accuracy, who made which dish. So judging “blind” doesn’t eliminate propensities for bias.
Here’s what does: judging the food on particular criteria. And here are the criteria we use: First and foremost, when tasting the food we look to see if, technically, it was prepared correctly or whether it was overcooked or undercooked. After that, we check to see whether it was correctly seasoned, by which I’m talking about whether it was salted correctly, because salt has the ability to bring out the other three types of taste you experience on your tongue, i.e., sweetness, bitterness and sourness. Then we look at how items are cut. Are they cut evenly? If so, they will cook evenly. We look at food combinations to see if the proportions are harmonious. And lastly, we look at presentation, but usually only when it is particularly ugly. If veggies are cooked correctly, they’ll stay green; if not, they’ll turn brown. How something is cut will affect presentation. We also just take note of whether, as with all great chefs, a personal style is emerging in a consistent way, or whether they’re just all over the place. Often we’ve seen a chef come in with a particular style and then, part-way through the competition, begin mimicking everyone else. These chefs tend to flame out; they don’t make it to the final four, and, frankly, they’re not yet secure and mature enough as chefs to be there. We do look at originality, as with Bryan’s winning take on chips and guacamole in Episode Two, or Kevin’s bacon jam, which was utterly original, different, and very, very good. I knew exactly where Bryan’s dish for Joel Robuchon came from – he adapted a dish from Thomas Keller – but he did make it his own. And, even hearkening back to prior seasons, most of our viewers were not familiar with molecular gastronomy and thought that Marcel was innovating, whereas, in fact, his techniques had been around for at least a decade and he wasn’t being particular novel in his application of it but was solidly adept at what he was doing.
When I visited Vegas last October, one of my favorite things about it was hitting the Red Rocks out in the desert and taking that 13-mile drive up and down and around the terrain. I could totally retire there, heat be damned. Unfortunately, I could totally NEVER be a cowboy or a rancher, so unless I learn how to sew blankets or make jewelry, I'm likely spending my retirement days in suburbia like I am now.
With that all said, this episode fell into the "some are just gonna be 'eh' episodes" category. It just seemed kinda there, to be honest. The quickfire was fun but the elimination challenge didn't really stand out to me, and this could be related to what you said about how it was so open-ended. To me, if you're cooking on a ranch and are told that in advance when about to plan, there should be NOTHING coming to mind that doesn't involve steak and/or BBQ. Ceviches? Coconuts? SWORDS?!?! I think most of the pool here overthought this entirely. It's "Top Chef", yes. You're experts, yes. But you're on a ranch, in the desert, cooking over a fire pit, feeding a couple dozen ranchers, in 130-degree heat. If I'm dining, I want a slab of red meat with a bottle of A1. I don't want cold fish salad in a tropical shell bowl.
Good to see Laurine break through. She had one appearance on the bottom but I don't really think that was entirely her doing, otherwise she was hovering in the middle up to now. I think tonight gives her a real shot in the arm.
I think the reason no one cooked a steak is because they probably considered it too cliche. Just a guess. I was a little surprised to see Mattin go over Robin, but not much. She knew her dish was bad, he as you said on the show was clueless. I'm sure she'll be on her way soon enough.
Top Chef is my hands down favorite show...I think your blogs are an amazing "side dish." Wish we could see you talk more during the show. Thanks for staying true and consistent on how the show is done and how the judges operate!
You are a braver person than I with those coolers and the heat! I hope everyone came through the experience okay including the guest judge who reported not feeling so hot.
Tom, I always appreciate your thoughtful insight into each episode and tonite's blog didn't disappoint! This season, so far, has been the best... the quality, expertise and professionalism of the cheftestants has far out-weighted season's past! And so far, I have agreed with each chef that has been asked to pack their knives and go - especially this evening! When you physically get up from the table and throw the food away the only logical conclusion would be that that chef is going home! Robin's dish may not have been all that great but at least you didn't spit it out! Great show this evening! Great season thus far! Look forward to your next blog.
Tom, I was curious as to your statement that "we judges are not allowed to interact with the contestants at all." In previous years you spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen checking out what the various chefs were doing. Why the change? I do agree that some of the chefs are trying harder to be clever with their food instead of just making a dish that tastes good. Seems like the basics of cooking the meat, fish, or whatever properly sometimes go by the wayside.
I'm curious...... is Chef Tim Love, the guest judge, Gail's husband?? It seemed they have a connection.....
I love this show, I wish I had the boldness to be on it. My cooking is rustic, more family oriented, not so much fresh and new. I loved your explaination on what goes into the judging, it is a good point you make about being able to taste the cooking of a chef. People know my style, and when I go to pot lucks and chef events people know it is me in my dishes. Anyway keep up the good work, and although you really dont mean to, I think you guys make great TV!
I love your explanations and I know how hard is to assess things and be objective! I am a teacher and I constantly have to assess the student's progess in order to guide them through their own learning process. I make comments that are constructive and motivational to encourage growth.
I love the show and I have followed all the seasons faithfully. How do you think these young chefs take the jugdge's comments? Have you seen chefs growing and becoming better? and/or Has any been so deflated and discouraged that they have abandoned the profession?
Thanks in advance for your answer, Cari Pensacola, FL
Hi Tom, I really enjoy the show and find this season's chefs, refreshingly more focused on their cooking skills then on each other's short comings. I was wondering if the cheftestants are permitted to bring any reference recipes to the competition or do they rely only on stored knowledge? Thanks, Lorie
I agree that Mattin had to go, but I woulda bet my life that Robin was going tonight. Theres five chefs that are so much better than the rest of the field, I just wish we could have a full field of equally skilled chefs.
I've watched every season of Top Chef and have a huge passion for cooking. I have been told my food is great although I have had no training beyond being a prep cook and a short order cook. I can't believe the French challenge. I'm willing to bet my escargot stuffed mushrooms would've rocked! I couldn't believe several of those so-called chefs don't even know how to prepare escargot, open oysters, cook fish and basic stuff like that. Are you ever going to have a Top Chef Amatuers? A bunch of people that have no formal training at all but a passion for food?? If so, sign me up!!
I want to thank you for a wonderful show, and one that has made my paltry culinary skillz more interesting. I have loved the show since Week One Season 1; and look forward to every episode.
While I have never had the oppurtunity to taste and relate to your experiences, I have done my best to broaden my appreciation due to your show. My 3 and half week old son, will have more culinary experience because of your show. I just want to thank you, Padma, Gail, and the rest of your incredible staff for bringing people to the light of well seasoned food.
Thanks for the explanation of show taping Tom I was curious about that. And I absolutely agree, if you want to be a chef, really, really, really seriously want to be one, you learn the basics just as you would in any other job. No excuses for not knowing at this level, a lot of these people's careers are based on the culinary arts - why would you not know the mother sauces and their derivements? As far as molecular gastronomy I read somewhere that a few years ago the innovator Ferran Adrià was said to have declared the term dead. Although I still get much inspiration from his work and others like Heston Blumenthal and Wylie Dufresne although I am far from playing with the equipment they use. If you happen to have an extra copy of your book "Think Like a Chef" laying around in the way on a coffee table or something be glad to take it off your hands lol. Looking forward to visiting your Craft Atlanta restaurant someday soon hopefully. Thanks for your insights to the show.
While I agree that it's best not to judge based on the "drama" aspect of a reality TV show, how much does a chef's reaction at Judge's table factor into the decision to keep or cut someone. For instance, if Mattin had owned up to the problems with his dish and admitted his mistakes (like Robin did), would that have influenced your decision at all?
You write very well. Thank you for describing the behind the scene process of judging. I wondered if there are any requirements of the chefs regarding cleanliness? Sometimes a contestant may sweat in the food, sometimes one may need a serious shampooing of their hair or perhaps they all should wash their hands before tearing into the challenge. I guess the boiling and baking kill the germs? By the way, you are the best part of this show! You're truly smart, funny, fair and a pleasure to watch!! Thank you.
Thanks for the blog Tom! I am always pleased to be able to read your blog so soon after the show airs. On the off chance that you read this I wanted to thank you for making me excited about food and cooking.
Even though TC doesn't usually show how a dish is made in cooking show style, listening to your critiques of the food has improved the food I make for my loved ones immensely.
Respecting ingredients, thinking through the "why" of dishes, and balancing flavors seem obvious now, but hearing your pearls of wisdom whether they are from the show or the blog have turned on a lot of light bulbs for me.
I am sure this is true for many others. Whenever I watch an episode of Top Chef, it makes me want to cook and makes something great for my family and friends.
It seemed as if Robin might have been saved because she knew her dish was bad and admitted it. Mattin, on the other hand, seemed to genuinely believe he had made quality food. Obviously, whether or not a dish is good is a matter of taste (heh), but given how much everyone else disliked it, this wasn't simply a matter of differing but valid opinions. Either Mattin was lying when he claimed to have tasted the food and found it acceptable (a possibility, given the events of last week), or he honestly thought something everyone else found revolting was delicious. I think that had he just said the food was no good, as Robin did, he would have been safe.
I agree with you, where was the Beef, BBQ ? For sake is the desert ! Too much ceviche. They overthought the challenge and location, the simplicity and the visuals of the dishes were not that great this time ! Episode 4 The Classic French Cuisine was my fav so far. The V. Bro's, Mike I., Jenn and Kevin are solid ! I like Ashley and Eli too ! Mike Isabella is real quirky, makes me smile ! Good Luck Sunday at the Emmy's TC has to win this year ! Best Co-Host ! Love, Tigressa
Tom, this is my first time posting although I'm a long time fan of Top Chef. I have never read your blogs before, but did so tonight. I just had to write and give you props. As a Las Vegan, I know you have top eateries Craft, Craftsteak and Witchcraft. Your culinary and business expertise are legendary. However, in my opinion, you can now add "Wordcraft" to your repertoire - your articulate and insightful blogs have answered questions I always had about the show and your after espisode analysis is spot on. I say Bravo and thank you!
Another great post, Tom. I do have one question that I would love to have answered:
When are the cheftestants "interviewed" about their thinking process? Is it before the winner is announced?
For some reason, I want to know this.
Hey Tom, enjoy the blog, it's enlightening. Curious about something. This week was the third time this season that a chef has unnecessarily sent up a terrible second dish (Ashley's panna cotta, Mike I.'s shrimp salad, and now Ron's coconut drink). Isn't one of the first things a chef is taught not to serve a dish gone bad? I understand when there is one dish and something went wrong, and the contestants are forced to put up a dish that doesn't meet their standards, but sending out bad food when you don't have to seems an absolutely egregious offense. Now, I realize you've placed the offender in the bottom all three times it's happened. What I don't get is why you haven't come down even harder on these chefs for not maintaining a personal standard. It seems about the worst offense possible, and grounds for immediate PYKAG. Any comment?
Tom, I think the judges are very accurate as mentioned by one of the cheftestants in the last episode. It is also nice to see that the chefs are getting good ingredients to work with and not getting hamstrung with tying dishes to the "theme of the day." Keep up the good work and we will keep watching!
I'm an old cowboy who lives 70 miles from the Vegas strip. My wife is a huge fan so I see the show on a regular basis.
I am very pleased you recognized that the best effort was mediocre at best. I considered the setting near magical for someone who can cook. I have flame. I have food. What else do I need?
First, I must comment on the challenge with cactus. No one understood cactus cooking. Before you cook any cactus part you get two pieces of heavy leather and pat the cacti between them to remove the thorns.
Second, you pretty much need to fry cactus pretty hot to dry it out. A buttermilk and breadcrumb coating will make almost any cactus palatable as an entree.
Third, cactus fruit was available as near as I could tell. A cactus pancake with cactus fruit is pretty bland, but if you just add sugar and syrup you can have a darn nice breakfast with no main ingredients but cactus.
I was very disappointed in the direction of the chefs' efforts. They were just totally clueless.
For the main challenge they knew they were cooking for a bunch of cowboys. I've been a cowboy since I wore size 6 boots. I like beef, pork, chicken on Sunday and fish when it is available. No one thought of making anything out of beef for cowboys?
Send them all home. They were cooking for themselves, not for their clientele.
Is it a surprise the only pork dish was tops? I've got at least six pounds of smoked pork loin in the fridge right now. Tonight we had hickory smoked pork loin tacos that were amazing.
If I may, the pits were propane fed? Excuse me, but if you can't cook over an open wood flame you can't cook.
With a $100 budget I'd have bought a ton of canned beans, a variety of cheeses; skinless, boneless chicken breasts; a cheap pile of sirloin, sweet potatoes, peppered bacon, green beans and biscuit makings.
What I would have served: Grilled chicken breast in Southern (clear) barbecue sauce with baked sweet potato and braised green beans with onion and a baking powder biscuit.
On the side (because the elements would be leftovers) a couple small pieces of sirloin wrapped in bacon over beans.
Presentation? A nice white chicken breast, next to a half open-top grilled sweet potato, alongside of green beans with French fried onions, next to the petit sirloin and a baking powder biscuit.
Take all those canned beans and toss them in one pot and simmer. Bean lovers will scarf them up.
Serving tiny portions of exotic food does not a chef make. Serving succulent food that makes people want more is what being a cook is all about.
Fish for cowboys? Let them eat steak!
None of these idiots understand fire. I challenge all of them to a Chicago-style deep dish pizza over an open flame. Make these dudes work to create food people want to eat!
How about next season ou have two or three sessions where they actually use an open flame to create their concoctions?
As an old cowboy, all I have to say is all your Chefs are dudes.
I really appreciated the subtlety with which you spit out your food, Tom. Some people would have made a show of that.
Very nice to see Ashley up on top. It seemed like she had it in her.
the guest judge (forget his name, sorry) told the contestants that just because they were going to be cooking at a ranch, it didn't mean he didn't expect fancy cooking. that's probably why no one went with steak.
In your judging process, do you take into consideration the chef's "self-awareness"? For example, in this episode Robin was aware that her dish was poor, while Mattin was not, and in fact he was surprised to be in the bottom three. This has happened in previous seasons as well. It seems that you and the other judges are always a bit concerned about this, as you look for the chefs to develop as the stakes are raised round after round.
I am interested in your perspective on what impact, if any, a chef's "self-awareness" of a bad dish has in the judging process. Thanks.
Tom, I wanted to say how I like the change at the final judging where you just give a short critique of the weak dishes and then Padma announces who is leaving.
Much better than listening to each judge.
Oh, and love your Coke commercial.
Is it just me or should having a Michelin star or being nominated for a James Beard award disqualify you from Top Chef. Part of the intrigue of this show was watching young chefs test their limits. Now we have young superstar chefs already noted for their cuisine competing. What fun is that. We already know more or less that Brian, Jen, Kevin, and Mike (Brian's brother) will be the top four..
I look forward to your professorial posts. Thank you for explaining the judging schism. Although you now claim simple would have been better, the cooks were told to make a gourmet meal for the cowboys. Hence, the overthought, under realized dishes.
This challenge harkened back to the S-2 beach challenge. Fire pits are the pits. I was very concerned about refrigeration and wondered how the ingredients would fare. Mattin should have incorporated the wonderful peppers from Espelette (Basque region) to wow the diners. He seemed somewhat clueless when you explained the problem with his dish. I expected Mattin to prepare a paella. I've had it made on a fire pit in France and it was unbelievably wonderful.
The V-Boys seem to keep competing with themselves, which is funny to see. Overall, the cooking talent this season seems as though it is of the highest order. The cream of a talented crop rises to the top each week.
It appears that Top Chef is being politically correct by putting two women in the top 4 because the women have all been in the bottom...i hope that's not going to continue.
Sorry to assume space on this blog with a rather mundane question, but I can't find the answer elsewhere. Does the site have a page or method to allow the user to find all recipes for a given episode? If it does, I haven't been able to figure out how to get there. Many thanks to anyone who can help this technology challenged loyal viewer.
As always, thank you for your insights. Since Episode 101 I have learned just a little bit more with each show and by reading your blog.
Interesting that this week you would discuss judging and it being all about the food. To qoute a chef for whom I have very high regard "A Top Chef is one who inspires others to want to work for them." (See Season 1, Finale.) I happen to agree with that wise chef that the Top Chef should be a bit more.
I'd also like to comment about last week's blog. I've been around long enough to have heard from a supervisor "I don't want you here. You're taking a job from a man," and have that be acceptable to the company. (I thanked him, as I knew exactly where I stood. Years later when he reported to me? Priceless.) I appreciate that the producers want to have equal representation, but I for one would prefer to have the best cheftestants, regardless sex, race, whatever. It's heartbreaking for me to see chefs who really don't seem to be anywhere close to the skill level of the others.
Thanks again for yout blog, and for "How to Think Like a Chef." Both have made me a better cook.
Great episode last night and it was refreshing to see Ashley and Laurine pull themselves up from the bottom. I kept thinking Mattin was trying to be this season's Fabio, but he just didn't have it. He kept talking about how he was French, as if that automatically put him at the head of the class. The brothers Voltaggio continue to be a favorite.
What an episode! Like many other fans I`m glad you outlined your criteria here. So many of the contestants, in this episode Eli, say things like "I`m going to cook my food I`m not going to cook for the judges" as if you're culinary tyrants. I was wondering, as someone who's had food poisoning many times, has there ever been a case where everyone at judges table was made ill by a dish? I know Tim Love said he was still not feeling well after Mattin's ceviche. Also, I`m very impressed by the level of professionalism on this season, they make drunk Jamie and Leah at elimination last season look moronic by comparison.
Tom, thanks for some of the backstory. I'm wondering, do you ever watch the aired episode and say "that's not how that really played"? Viewers often wonder if what we're seeing is how things really played out or if it was edited to enhance drama.
I haven't heard anyone mention this, but I thought the "cowboys" were pretty with-it on the food front. They idn't seem to mind that they were getting ceviche and not steak.
This is the best Top Chef season so far. The quickfires have improved tremendously. Last season, many of the contestants played it safe in quickfires since there was not much to win and nothing to loose, why take chances? The eventual winner seemed to lay low, playing it safe, and then passing by default two better chefs when they stumbled at the finish. This year, there is huge pressure and huge rewards in the quickfires and that is much more interesting tv. The casting still has problems. At least this year there aren't any culinary school just-graduates and not as many chefs who are way unqualified in the cast. The casting of equal numbers of men and women did not work at all. There are 4-5 really strong male chefs and only 1 or 2 females who even come close to them. Show after show of women being kicked off the island with painful whining excuses really got old. Matin and Hector(spelling?) actually did the show a favor by failing to cook simple meat and fish dishes and deserving to go. But overall, they were stronger chefs than several of the women who remained. One of the brothers stated that plainly and I agree. Please work on the casting and quit arbitrarily "politically correcting" the cast selections and let the best chefs compete regardless of gender. Love the show by the way. Darrel in Little Rock
I understand that French cuisine is considered the foundation of Western cooking but this seems to be a Eurocentric notion.
Making French sauces is basic ASSUMING that you've grown up in the Western world (even Marcus Samuelsson, though born in Ethiopia, spent time in Sweden and was trained under Western cooking).
More than 1/3 of the world population (i.e., China and India) probably has never tasted bechamel or veloute.
If there was an episode that challenged contestants to prepare classic Chinese dishes, I think most if not all would fail miserably.
Since Top Chef is made for a Western audience, I understand the bias. But let's be clear. French sauces are basic ONLY if you grew up in the Western, haute cuisine world.
Thanks for the blog, I can't tell you how nice it is to get a through overview from the head judge's perspective, and your eloquent wording makes it all the better.
Two questions that were already mentioned below but really intrigues me: 1) Karin's question about when the cheftestants are interviewed about their thinking process? I can never tell if it's before the particular winner of a challenge is announced (still leaving them in limbo), after the winner of the challenge is award, or if the producer just waits until after filming of both the quickfire and elimination challenge to conduct a full interview? Maybe that is a question best served for Andy Cohen after the season but it always intrigued me when all of that takes place.
2) Keith's question referencing that the judges not being allowed to interact with the contestants at all. I also remember in previous years when you would interact with the chefs and ask what they were making. I don't know how helpful that was to the show, but also noticed that you have not been sifting through the kitchen anymore beforehand / interacting with the chefs.
As always, great blog Tom. I was thinking the same thing about the chefs not cooking steak, it can be made elegantly as well as anything else! It seems odd, that after all the seasons of Top Chef that have been on that people still might think the show is rigged somehow and the notion that the judging is sexist is ridiculous. The men this season (in my opinion) are simply better than the women--Except Jennifer of course!!
In response to Julia's comment about placing two women in the top 4 for this episode, I don't understand why you'd assume such a thing. Perhaps they all 4 simply deserved to be there and get credit? I don't think you can make the sexist argument as most of the contestants that have gone home have been women. If they cared, more men would have been eliminated by now. Plus, they've had episodes before with uneven numbers on the top and bottom...
today was my first time reading the blog, and im pleased to say that i completely agree with and am happy that you explained the way things a judged.
my only question is, couldnt eating someones food first or last make a difference in the way a dish tastes because of the other flavors left lingering in the mouth?
Last season in New York, it seemed there was a lot of focus on choosing seasonal ingredients, honoring the protein (especially the farm episode), etc.
I'm curious then why so many chefs are cooking fish (Arctic char, shrimp, cod, etc.) in Las Vegas. I don't know much about the desert (having always lived on the East coast), so maybe there isn't all that much that is seasonal and maybe the fish is good quality because it's such a resort town or maybe there are foods that are local and I don't realize they are, but it just strikes me as odd that there doesn't seem to be much discussion this season of using seasonal or local ingredients. Aside from the cactus Quickfire, of course...
Thanks for the insights into judging.
Has Bravo ever approached Patrick O'Connell, the chef/proprietor at world-renowned Inn at Little Washington, to be a guest judge?
I've been a regular viewer since the start of the show. My focus on those eliminated has usually been brief, to the extent that we know better now who is likely to make to the end. I think Hector is the first contestant I've seen who showed visible anger upon being eliminated. Most eliminated contestants whom I remember were either resigned, sad, or hid their feeling through a brave face. So my curiosity was piqued enough that I watched Hector's post-elimination interview on the web, and was struck by his fear that his early exit might hurt his career. I've only considered the winners and the benefits they've accrued through their survival and eventual win. I'm wondering, when eliminating contestants, do you, for lack of a better way of putting it, feel bad? As Suzanne Goin put it during her guest appearance, no one is tying the contestants' arms behind their backs, forcing them to be part of the show. They're adults, who take responsibility for themselves. But do you take into thought the possibility that you could be damaging a contestant's reputation? I just felt a certain sadness for Hector.
A meh episode that edged into boring when Bryan V won yet again. And did Michael V get the bad guy edit? That opening statement about talented cooks that did not include Kevin and Jen (who he had just worked with and called talented!?) was ridiculous.
While it's clear that there are the top contestants and everyone else, it really doesn't make for compelling television.
Anyway, thanks Tom for your explanations. It really adds an element of insight that makes the overall experience of the show fun. And your writing is so much like the broken staccato of your speaking voice that it sounds very authentic and not ghost written.
I laughed out loud at Robin's comment that what cowboys on a desert ranch really want at lunch is a "hearty romaine salad." Totally clueless. I'm still dumbfounded that no one cooked beef and that there were so many fish dishes. Clearly none of those folks had ever been to a ranch or known a farmworker. Those folks want a hearty red meat lunch. Not a fussy salad or marinated fish.
Love your blog Tom.