Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio explains why the top dishes were so impressive and why Mattin wasn't the one to go home.

on Sep 9, 20090

At this stage of the game, we are fielding enough comments both from contestants and viewers about the fact that the three (and now, with Jessie’s loss in this week’s Quickfire Challenge, four) first chefs to go home were women that it seems worth a comment from yours truly.  And so, a note about casting: The casting directors of Top Chef always cast an equal number of male and female contestants, but this is a ratio not seen in the industry itself. There are not nearly as many women as men in the field. In past blogs I’ve delved into the inequities facing women in the workplace, so I won’t reiterate it all here. More men typically try out to be contestants on Top Chef, giving us a larger male talent pool to draw from. In no way does this mean that women are somehow deficient as chefs. It is simply a matter of the numbers. For those of you ready to flame away that four women were the first to leave the show, consider this: we judge every challenge on the food in front of us and the considerations of that particular challenge. The sexist and patronizing thing to do would be to give special consideration to anyone due to his/her gender.

And I think it makes no sense whatsoever to suggest that if the editors have chosen to include a sexist remark by a particular cheftestant in a given season this means that Top Chef condones sexism. All it does is highlight the sexism of that particular chef.  If anything, it reflects well on the editors of the show, who have chosen to reveal an individual’s true colors rather than shield him from the censure of viewers.

This week’s is one Quickfire Challenge I can comment on, since I was actually there. As it featured the snail, let me take the opportunity to note that while there is such thing as a sea snail, it is a minor subclass of the species — generally, snails are not sea creatures. They can be found on land. Their meal of choice is grape leaves, and they are often found in vineyards, which might explain why they became a commonly used protein in France. The snails we presented to the chefs were live. However, to cook a live snail requires a lengthy purging process that the chefs wouldn’t have time to do. They were given snails that had been precooked, and just needed to be seasoned while being finished. This leveled the playing field, so that those chefs who had never before worked with snails weren’t put at that much of a disadvantage.  

Many of the dishes the chefs made weren’t even mentioned. For example, Michael V. made a lasagna of sorts with pasta and snails that was really good, but not given air time. Also not on air was our encouragement of the chefs not to make the traditional garlic-butter-snails dish. In general, a lot of the dishes succeeded. Kevin’s bacon jam was so good that while I have never before used any of the dishes that have come out of these challenges, I went home after shooting the season and immediately began working on a bacon jam – I worked it into a soft-shell crab dish that was on my Tom: Tuesday Dinner menu.

Harsh as it is to send an extra person home in a given episode, I like the idea of upping the stakes by throwing in a Quickfire Challenge in which someone will be eliminated, in addition to those in which someone will win money. These challenges keep the chefs on their feet and creating great dishes, as opposed to their saying, simply, “Well, I can’t be sent home for a Quickfire, so I just need to play it safe.” And I appreciated that rather than simply naming the worst dish and sending home the chef who created it, we identified the bottom three dishes and had the chefs who made them go right back into the kitchen and keep inventing. Working in restaurants, there are times when a bad dish goes out, and you can’t stop and bemoan the fact … you must just move on to the next, as these three chefs did. I believe that it was Jesse’s time to go. Looking back now over this season thus far, Jesse was consistently in the bottom of the Elimination Challenges, and while she may be a talented chef, competition isn’t for everyone – it doesn’t always bring out one’s best.

171 comments
escort site
escort site

Pretty nice place you've got here. Thanks the author for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I definitely want to read a bit more on that blog soon.

Bella Simpson

Caroline G.
Caroline G.

Hi Tom ~

I'd just like to state that in my opinion it's ludicrous for people to be bothered by whether a Top Chef contestant is male or female. I am female, incidentally. I'd like to ask those folks:

When you pay a pretty price for an outstanding dish and it is worth every penny, do you really give a flying fennel whether it was cooked by a man or a woman? Now, if you pay a pretty price for an outstanding dish and get some substandard essence of mediocrity on a plate, don't you feel ripped off regardless of whether the chef is male or female?

For anyone following my point, I will state: At least part of the reason there has been such an uprise in the past 10, 15 years of incompetency in high places (which causes all of us to suffer, who pay dearly for various professional services only to receive substandard, unprofessional delivery of services) is traced back to individuals -- both male and female -- who have gotten ahead or an advancement for reasons OTHER than sheer competence over the discipline in question.

It would make me sick to see contestants with miserable dishes kept on simply because they are women. THAT would compromise the integrity of the judges and show for me.

I am a woman. And I still believe that the most competent person, regardless of gender, should get the highest reward. The truest reward is a job well done, and that comes from a personal commitment to excellence, and to a lesser extent, talent. It's bogus to treat adults and adult competitions as if we are in kindergarten and have to all get the same amount of juice or someone will be scarred for life.

Off of my soapbox.

Karen and Brian
Karen and Brian

Chef,

I live in Canada so I am a couple of episodes behind those in the U.S., what I am finding so far this season is that there is not enough "Tom" in the episodes. I have always enjoyed when you do your walkthrough and haven't seen any yet! Hope you are not getting tired of us yet :)

K and B

Troy M
Troy M

I couldn't agreem more with an top chef style show for people with no training and who aren't currently in the food industry. I have been a lawyer for five years, and am learning that isn't even close to what I want to do. Cooking has always soothed me, allowed me to relax. If you ever decide to do a show along those lines, count me in.

jelise
jelise

I am not a cook at all but since I have found this show I can't miss an episode. I have even watched the past seasons. This is so entertaining but I do have to "google" the names of some of the dishes. I just found this blog and certainly appreciate the info.

Klawson Borges
Klawson Borges

I think that Bravo should make a Top Chef amateur edition. and the grand prize could be paid tuition to culinary school and a chance to compete in next season of Top Chef.

Barbie
Barbie

I love top chef. Unfortunately Top Chef Judges do not seem to like ethnic cuisine unless it is Asian or European. It also seems they wanted Hector off from the get go. The other chefs around hector had a very high opinion of him.... And YES Puerto Ricans L O V E Chicharon... You all need to check your pallets and enjoy something that is cooked. Because it seems that the panel also solely enjoys raw food. I knew this would happen. I see it every season. Hispanics are gone before you even get to know them. I use it as a teaching tool for my children. And unfortunately I always pray that I will be proven wrong but I never am. BRAVO!!!!

Fran
Fran

Love this show and is considered my favorite. This season is tops! I mean it! Don't change a thing and perhaps maybe there can be a competition for TV viewers to suggest an Elimination Theme for one of your shows??? :)

MikeM
MikeM

Love the show! I've been watching the last 3 years. This year is very interesting. You have 5 consistantly bad chefs. After their gone the show is going to be alot better. Your contestants do have their own quirky personalities and i hope it doesn't interfere with the food they present. I will hand it to you for eating something that was never tasted before. The thought of putting something in your mouth and then realizing it taste rancid, well better you than me. lol I feel that all your rulings at the judges table have been spot on. ( I try to watch your facial expressions while eating ) Keep up the great job! On a lighter note, Tom please get a different pair of sunglasses or at least ask the camera man if there on your head straight. Ha Ha

Agreeeee
Agreeeee

Can you speak to the contestants so they understand every word you tell them. Thanks. A lot I'm serious, thanks A LOT. Now please. Speak clearly to the contestants without metaphors, similes, or other judge nonsense.

Brisk
Brisk

Hmm, Mattin stated that he did not shoot down Ashley's idea for the asparagus, but while shopping, he did shoot it down. And then Ashley still made the asparagus with it, and I think Mattin was just trying to be modest. Can you get this straight. The episodes don't show enough information on certain people, and show too much on certain people. And I feel bad on the 9/16 episode since a seviche is raw fish right or at least that's what I searched it up and said it was... then Mattin gets packed up for making raw fish in a seviche? And fishy-ness often makes food taste better, who wants to taste lemony herbs in all their food; or thats how the judges like it. Sorry just venting my bad day. Then, did you see that salad with the shrimp, green, messy, brown, barfy, clusterpoop. Must of tasted horrible too. Probably worst than the seviche Mattin made. Gah, I hope next season is better, im not watching anymore episodes. So far ive seen just blind tasting and judges not thinking it through enough at the judges table.

Meyer
Meyer

Good commentary on the episode, and your comments have gotten more insightful each season. Nevertheless, I wish you would have explained why Eli was wrong about what a Sauce Americaine is, since most of us viewers have no training in the classical French sauces.

Viewer
Viewer

I absolutely love ceviche, but can we have an episode where no one does ceviche? This season should be called the Ceviche Season. It's not just one ceviche per episode. Sometimes two or three people make ceviche. I watched tonight's show hoping no one makes ceviche... nope! It's there, and not just once either. ugh!

Don
Don

No More CEVICHE. PLEASE.

CP
CP

I have to agree that this season is very boring. The same people are in the top and the same are in the bottom. I did watch my favorite episode from season 1-the Napa dinner with truffles. I loved that the chefs were polite and pleasant to watch, cause it is about the food. I would love to see Dave again.

I also am a bit tired of the special effects in cooking. Who cares about poaching in plastic or liquid nitrogen ? Food needs to taste good and many of us watch to be inspired in our own kitchens.

Susan
Susan

Just a note about the women being the first to go. This was totally justified by the the quality of the dishes they prepared. I am a female chef and frankly with the exception of Jen who is very talented the women are not in the same league as the male contestents. I really felt for Jen on the Bachelor Challenge, the team brought her down. I am well aquainted with Bryan and know what great talent he has, but I do hope that Jen gives him a good run. May the best Chef win.

NYCShoes
NYCShoes

I am loving this season, however, it is getting kind of boring because the same people are always in the top and/or winning. While I understand they are extremely talented...this season is lacking a sense of surprise. It is kind of...predictable. I don't know...

Tim
Tim

Dear Chef Colicchio,

I am a chef in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. We obviously get different service providers for television, so I just finished watching the second episode of the latest season. I have a question. Why was there no reprimand given to the men who jumped in the pool? That would be grounds for dismissal for my staff and hopefully yours. Two of the worst men who jumped in the pool and two of the worst female team should have been up for getting the axe. The day was about the bride and groom to be, not a bunch of primadonnas abilities to cook appetizers in the sun. Thank you, Tim.

Laura_Ray
Laura_Ray

Top Chef is a great show. (my favorite on TV, really) This season is great, and stacked with some really tough competitors. The hype and viewer responses/opinions to some of the things that make Top Chef what it is, really, are annoying. Not even going to TOUCH the sexist crap thats been floating around...because it is just that. Moving on, to suggest the judges bindly taste the dishes to eliminate any ideas of preferential treatment, etc, blows my mind--- The very idea takes away much credibility from the highly esteemed group of people at that table. As if they wouldnt be honest or play favorites? Were not talking about a group of 21 yr old shift coordinatiors at McD's that are going to support their beer buddies to the end... HELLO? Feedback in restaurants, espceially in the kitchen, is immediate, honest, to your face, and a huge tool to improve people, therefore there should be no reavealing of who made a dish, bla bla bla...not to mention, the show doesnt need anymore elements of surprise. Making the contestants anonymous to their dishes while being tasted, takes away from the pride they have for their work, the decisions they made, and so on....standing by the dish from start to finish whether it tanks or not, to me, is huge. Watching someone taste your food anonymously, as opposed to placing it before them, saying "I made this for you, enjoy", is drastically different. There is often a connection between a chefs and the food s/he prepares and the judges, I think, enjoy that. (Id bet after the second or third shows, the judges can almost pick who made what, anyway.) The contestants swear. Ok. Have you ever been in a busy kitchen on Saturday night when Expo lost a ticket???? Stress much? But is it an acurate depiction of how many chefs/restaurants/kitchens are? YES. I wont generalize here, but every chef, cook, server, GM, bartender (I fall in line here somewhere, haha) I KNOW has been accused of having the potty mouth. Well? It IS what it IS! (PS, when TC is on, isnt it late for kids to be up anyway??? Just wondering) Next, people who don't drink are going to write in and want to eliminate all the booze and drinking from the show. Guess what people? What makes Top Chef great (amongst other things) is its realness, and I think any person whos worked in a restaurant for a duration of time will agree. Tom, I wonder if you shake your head and share the same thoughts when you see some of this junk. Dont change a thing!!!

Teacher Extraordinaire
Teacher Extraordinaire

Why did they let Mattin lie about shooting down the asparagus in the sauce....It was obviously taped in the store...he told Ashley NO...no French do not use green asparagus in a velloute. Yet at judges table she wouldn't stand up for herself...while i am proud of her not making a scene, she could have gone home for something that she trusted him about...she must learn to do what she feels is the best for her. Mattin doesn't care if she goes home. I think if there wasn't so much time between raw footage and post production, the judges could go to instant replay at judges table. GO BROTHERS V. and Kevin! Mike I. is a putz!

gail
gail

are we sure that Battan (sp) knew what tom meant when he asked if he "shot down" ashley's idea? his next comment about taking the first shot made me wonder if there was a misunderstanding. still doesn't improve the dish- just wondered.

Claire
Claire

Tom, I live in Houston, Texas and I love food. I watch the show everyweek, and think to myself, where can I get some good cooking like that? I have a favorite, Marks, but I am looking to try something different. I havent been able to find anything that I think competes with it or I havent been looking in the right places. I was hoping that you would have a suggestion for me. It is my birthday coming up and I would love to celebrate it over an amazing meal. Thanks.

Dar
Dar

It seems meaningful that most of the great French chefs in the world are here in the United States and have chosen to locate some of their famous restaurants in the USA as well. Let's not forget Eric Ripert, who must be MIA because judging his employee would be a conflict of interest.

Even Marttin said he dreamed of being a chef and owning a restaurant in the USA, and he made his dream come true.

Maybe there is a message in that somewhere that the malcontents in the country should think about-that the dream and the promise and the hope of this country is still alive and well.

The recently eliminated Hector and Jesse seemed like genuine and decent chefs, and it seemed like Jesse just couldn't get a foothold in the competition. There was something appealing and nice about both of them. May they and their cooking rock-on in the future with good things happening for them.

tammy rhoads
tammy rhoads

tom, i am not a chef nor do i pretend to know how to cook anything but red gravy, macaroni, and steak, i can grill any veggie you name, however i love love love your show, my 8 year old daughter and i keep telling my husband we really want to go to vegas and eat at your restraunt. we love padma and gail too, the celebrity jugdes are a real treat, thanks for a wonderful and well rounded show .

Mike
Mike

Tom if there are so many people worried about the fairness of the judges and the judging process maybe it would be better if there where a system of blind tasting setup so that yourself and the other judges didn't know who's food they were tasting Let's face it most chefs don't serve the food they make they have servers for that. Do you wait tables in your restaurants Tom? Let the dishes take a number and stand on their own is all I am saying. Then there can be no question on the part of the judges. Any cooking competition I have ever been to the judging is blind tasting why should yours be any different. I don't have a question of the dishes served I am not there to taste them myself but if the food stands for itself there is no question.

Viewer
Viewer

Tom ~ Top Chef has become a family show in our home with basically everyone sitting down to watch and have fun. If we're not home, we DVR it, but especially for my son and I, we don't miss it! (The show has inspired him to think about being a chef!) Having said that, my complaint is this.........PLEASE remind these chefs that they are on TV with many viewers, children alike. Their language is deplorable, and enough of the "bleeping." It gets really old, and what is it saying about themselves. It's not a proud moment, that's for sure. Yes, have my children heard those words....of course, but REALLY, are they necessary? Since the chefs look to you as a mentor, and perhaps a father figure, would you be so kind as to have them tone it down. Thanks, an extremely loyal viewer and her family!

luvcookin
luvcookin

To Leslie @1:26pm on 9-14,

Yes, there is "Country Fried Steak" or as we call it down here in Texas "Chicken Fried Steak". Beef that is breaded with an egg and milk combo then dredged in seasoned flour, as you would to fry chicken. However that dish is generally made with cubed steak, not a beautiful rib-eye as Hector did. He basically took that rib-eye and put it in the deep fryer! Egads! And chicken fried steak always has a lovely white gravy on top or for some people to the side. Hector's was a slab of meat just deep fried.

luvcookin
luvcookin

OMG!! I feel like a stalker! I just took the "Tom" quiz and I got way more right (10 out of 13) than I did when I took the "Padma" quiz. Just love Tom!

Sin City Cyn
Sin City Cyn

Just returned from Las Vegas and thought the Top Chef fans would be as amused as I was to learn that the Sports Book at Wynn is producing an Odds Sheet for the Top Chef contestants. You can't actually place a bet (unfortunately); it's for entertainment purposes only. For last week's show they correctly ranked Jesse as the favorite to lose the Quick Fire (at 22 to 1). They have Jennifer ranked as the favorite to win the show (1 to 3). Fun stuff!

Vegas is the perfect setting for Top Chef. Nowhere else are so many great restaurants within walking distance of one another. It's like being a kid in a candy store! Kudos Top Chef!

DMG Anchorage
DMG Anchorage

Hi Tom, TOP CHEF is the favorite show in our house, and everything else is planned around it. I think it gets better each season. I have two not complimentary statements. One was addressed above, about some of the chef's hygiene and sanitation, hair, sweat, touching their hair etc. And, I've worked in plenty of kitchens and know it can be controlled better than shown on air. The other, should probably be addressed elsewhere, but I can't figure out where so I thought I'd do it here in the hopes that you would know where I can get an answer. It seems that residents of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and The US Virgin Islands are NOT eligable to enter ANY of the wonderful Top Chef contests. I would like to know why ? and really hope that it is NOT a decision of the show, as you have many fans in these places and would hope that something would be done to change this. Thanks

Hair Doo
Hair Doo

Tom, Great Blog and great season so far. I am concerned that TV vanity and eclectic-looking chefs are taking precedence over preparing great dishes in a more hygenic manner. The kitchen counters and equipment are always shown being cleaned up, but the chefs have hair everywhere, with no hats or kerchefs to be seen. Many sweat heavily especially in warm weather situations. I would love to see points taken away for unsanitary-looking chefs. You and the judges always look great...why can't the chefs clean up too?

Lynda S
Lynda S

Hi Tom,

Wonderful blog! It's very informative and respectful.

I think you guys kept Jessie longer than her expiration date. She was stale from the get-go!

Leslie Padilla
Leslie Padilla

I am still a little taken back by wolfong gangs comment to Hector that fried steak doesn't really go in America. There is such a dish called "Country Fried Steak" which can essence the pallet of Americas far and beyond

Leslie

Charley K
Charley K

All i can say is "True story" i agree completely with the dicision to send Hector home i mean it was his fault completely that the meat was poorly prepared, he had time and didn't come through.

Jenn
Jenn

So articulate...as usual. I'm new to reading your blogs and have really enjoyed your insights. Any chance we will be seeing you paired up with my favorite word-wizard, Mr. Bourdain, this season? I really missed him as a guest judge last season. With Jen doing such a great job I expect not to see Eric Ripert for quite some time, or at all, so I'm holding out hope for a little Tom and Tony time.

sfmicrowaved
sfmicrowaved

I have never missed a single episode of Top Chef. I should note that I have no business in any kitchen - utensils down! I've wondered if I ever was a contestant on Hell's Kitchen if I could make Chef Ramsey's head explode with rage. I'm betting I could. What I enjoy about Top Chef is that all the judge's seem fair enough. At the very least, they seem to stay at a reasonable distance from their personal feelings about each contestant and focus on the dishes in front of them. I haven't learned a whole lot about cooking from the show but that's only because it would have to be dumbed down to the point of "take the wrapper off the stick of butter, the put the butter (not the wrapper) in the round thingy". Also, everyone is running around like crazy, I couldn't attempt to write down what they were doing. Regardless, I will continue watching since Tom is dead sexy, the contestants create beautiful plates of food out of seemingly nowhere, and I have yet to see anyone on the panel with food stuck in between their teeth. Thank you.

Lacrema
Lacrema

You are totally right about the audience losing respect for Mattin after his lie. Everyone at my house for the viewing party was appalled.

I'm also looking forward to a few of the other chefs stepping up their game. It's obvious that the Brothers V, Jen, Mike, and Kevin are very talented, but I'd love to see some real competition from the rest of this super-talented crew!

Jen, New York
Jen, New York

I think you guys actually got it right in sending home Jen, Eve and Preethi for the first three episodes. But I think Ashley should have gone home instead of Hector in the last one. I found Ashley's attitude from the Bachelor/Bachelorette episode a bit offensive and does not deserve to remain. Apparently, Ashley was not pleased with having to prepare for a wedding couple because she's a lesbian and can't get married, therefore, felt pissed for about a challenge that's connected to an event she cannot participate. How can she react like that and not think anyone would take offense?!? What would she have done if the episode called for her to prepare for a Bat Mitzvah, say she's not Jewish and refuse to cook?

legalpara
legalpara

While I appreciate Tom's insite, I feel that Mattin should have gone home, hand's down. He is French and if his meal was in the bottom, then he has no place in the competition. If the topic was Latino, and Hector was in the bottom, Hector should have gone home. I agree that sending Hector home sends a bad message to the Latino community. I guess if you cannot properly, exquisitely cook our native food in a competition, then its okay. Mattin, should think the prejudices of the world for saving his behind.

Amy S. from Houston
Amy S. from Houston

(My comment from earlier has not shown up, and since it didn't have anything obscene or inappropriate it it, I hope this was simply a glitch or oversight.)

Tom, I love your blog and enjoy seeing you on the show. I have to admit, though, that I was disappointed to hear you say on the show, and repeat on the blog, that you respect Ashley for not "throwing Mattin under the bus." Actually, you asked Ashley a direct question, and now you are saying you respect her for not answering your question truthfully. It seems you are implying that answering a direct question from a judge is tantamount to acting like a petulant tattletale. In my view, she had not only the right but the obligation to answer your question, and I'm disappointed that you seem to think that getting to the truth -- that you asked for! -- is not important.

Viewer
Viewer

Dearest Tom, Does the obnoxious and objectionable personality of a chef ever detract from the flavor of his or her dish? That Mike has got to be one of the most offensive and "nails on a chalkboard" contestant's to date. I know every season has a "Mike" type who make's viewer's cringe every episode b/c of their arrogant, self -absorbed and narcissistic behavior and he get's this season's oh so ugly and insensitive one. Being talented in something doesn't give you license to be a first class jerk. I find it rather curious that as skilled as some of these obnoxious one's are; present and past, not one has ever gone on to win the title of Top Chef. Awe... Karma is a bitch... isn't it?

PeachPie
PeachPie

Crap, I also misspelled bearnaise. That's what I get for posting at 7am. I'll shut up now. : )

TimD
TimD

Great blog, Tom! Great to get a bit of "inside information" too.

There seems to be a bit of confusion among the viewers though. Joel was voted Chef of the Century in France. Do the French really care if he can speak English? I think not.

Being from the Basque region of France really IS an important point. The cuisine is different. I don't know how much it matters in the overall scheme of things, though, since Mattin is the only "French" chef in the competition and he thought being French gave him an advantage.

The "molecular gastronomy" techniques aren't all that new. Sous vide is an almost 40 year old technique. Yes, it's old enough to be considered classic. I would be willing to say, however, that cooking techniques will far outweigh molecular gastronomy techniques. Without solid basic technique, all the molecular gastronomy in the world won't save you. They are just "tricks" to give you an edge when combined with basic techniques and knowledge of cooking.

Ok, enough of that.

Kevin is awesome! That had to be an awesome experience for him! Luke Skywalker at the table with Yoda!

Bacon jam? Rock on buddy, rock on!

PeachPie
PeachPie

To Susan... oh wait, never mind. I realize you were asking a question "if" they knew what would they have dont, not that they did know. Sorry.

PeachPie
PeachPie

By Susan

"I was appalled at Mattin's lie at Judge's Table. If the judges had known Mattin was lying, would he have been sent home?"

You're forgetting something (or maybe are a new viewer). The judges DO NOT SEE the chef's shopping, prepping, or cooking. The only interaction they have is when the food comes to the table.

It's not until WELL AFTER the entire season is filmed that the judges see what happened behind the scenes. They don't see that footage until we see it. So they couldn't have known. Just as they didn't see Mike Isabella's comments about the other chef's until the show airs.

PeachPie
PeachPie

Chef, Can I just say how much I'm enjoying this season? Wow.

This is honestly the first season where, forget everything else, I can't wait to see what is going to be cooked in each episode. That's not to say that everything else I love about TC isn't there. It is.

Sexism? I guess I missed the comments pertaining to all the eliminated judges being women. I have to wonder if the viewers making these comments are long time viewers. It would NEVER occur to me that a contestant was sent home based on gender or anything other than a bad plate.

What a great episode! Robuchon!

After watching this, it made me want to get into the kitchen and use some of these sauces. Which aren't easy. I still cannot make a decent bernaise after all these years.

Seema
Seema

Not sure who (if anyone) reads these comments, but thought I would give this a shot.

I enjoyed this episode and thought it was especially entertaining with the super high stakes quick fire. My main criticism of both challenges are the biases involved.

Perhaps it can be argued that some knowledge of French cooking is required to be a "Top Chef." However, I felt that requiring the chefs to cook escargot, a protein not found in many cultures and then asking them to use French sauces did create some issues. Chefs with Classical French training and/or those who have attended culinary school would have been fine. But what about those chefs with excellent skills who were never formally trained or those whose came from different cultural backgrounds. Even former Top Chef winner Hosea never attended culinary school.

I felt it was unnecessary and even unfair to give chefs a challenge where they were more or less asked to confirm. The quick fire I thought was a little better- at least they could put their own twists on the escargot. But many of the sauces (the veloute for example) took experience and knowledge to prepare. I hope that challenges in the future will allow for chefs to showcase their own culinary viewpoints and styles and not adapt to something they are uncomfortable with.

John
John

Tom,

Just a quick question - will Charlie Trotter ever be asked on? If so, you can do a challenge where the chefs create something from raw ingredients alone - no cooking. If not, maybe someone can convince Ferran Adria to stop by (yeah right).

John
John

Chef,

Top Chef continues to impress in terms of the quality of cooking. To me, it is clear that Michael V., Bryan V, Jennifer and Kevin are a cut above the rest. Though I am cheering for Bryan (he is the hometown favorite), and can see the passion that Jen and Michael V. have for cooking, I must say that Kevin is my sleeper favorite. He is not only truly comfortable with himself, but he seems intimate with his food. For writers, they say you should always write about what you know, and Kevin cooks that way. He is passionate and extremely knowledgeable about Southern cuisine, and it comes off as genuine. My only regret about him winning the quick fire was that I could not see him perform for the illustrious chefs at the table. My thanks again Tom for such a wonderful show; keep up the great work, and know I will be tuning in faithfully each week!

Viewer2
Viewer2

Must say I agree with MrsT about Mike I completely. Just like in the Thunderbirds challenge, his strategy for staying in is riding the coattails of a real Top Chef. He was in the bottom for his throw-away salad and this time was totally coached by Bryan on the Bernaise. He admitted himself he didn't really know how to make it! Did you see how he immediately maneuvered himself to get Bryan as a partner? Which leads to another little unfairness in this whole challenge, getting to pick your partner. The great chef's are always going to pick each other so your loading the deck. You would get a better view of their versatility and skill if the partnerships were at random. Anyway, only way for Mike to prove himself is to make a winning dish all by himself...