Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio wishes he had as much great produce as the chefs had to work with.

on Oct 28, 20090

You saw the gorgeous proteins that our cheftestants were falling all over themselves to nab when they first arrived at my restaurant for the Elimination Challenge. At Craftsteak we have every kind of beef imaginable (not to mention, of course, the cuts of lamb, pork, veal…) and I don’t doubt that at least some of the chefs are familiar with our menu and were thinking of what they could do, given free reign with those ingredients in that kitchen … until we switched it up on them, that is.

But no meat should not have meant no inspiration. I don’t know if you noticed, but the walk-in at Craftsteak was filled with the most amazing produce. We ran a truck in from the Santa Monica Green Market the night before filled with just the most incredible stuff. I was itching to get at some of it myself. I personally love walking through the Green Market in Union Square and seeing what the farmers are offering that day — it’s the produce that so often is the inspiration for my dishes, not the meat. Further, while Craft and Craftsteak serve plenty of meat dishes, we have a huge roster of vegetables and, in fact, many people come just to eat those offerings, knowing that they’ll have a great culinary experience. With this challenge we were giving the chefs the opportunity to be inspired as I so often am, by having brought the green market right to them. I just wish the chefs had allowed themselves to get really excited by what they found in the walk-in, despite having to do a 180-degree turn at 90 MPH.

I wish I could remember the comedian who said, “Sure, hunting’s a sport … it’s just that one side doesn’t know it’s playing.” (The first person who comes up with the name gets an autographed copy of my book Think Like a Chef. Other people have ripped him off since). We can debate the merits of eating meat versus eating vegetables. There are certain acids in our stomach that are present solely to break down meat, that wouldn’t be there were we not supposed to eat the stuff. But along with those acids, we also have freedom of choice, and while I personally like being at the top of the food chain, I fully respect the choice to abstain from eating meat, whether for reasons of health or conviction. I thought this was a great challenge.

For the most part, the chefs did well.

I know that Mike V. was furious that Kevin won this challenge — as we all saw in the episode, he felt that Kevin’s techniques were more rudimentary than his and didn’t merit the win. He said something to the effect that he could have made Kevin’s dish in culinary school, that he cooks that way when whipping things up at home on his weekends off. In general, please do not be snowed by the techniques employed by the Voltaggio brothers. Yes, they’re employing advanced techniques versus Kevin’s more basic methods, but at the end of the day unless you can pull off those elevated elements and actually make the food taste great, I don’t care how many blowtorches it took to create the dish — Kevin’s food not only is consistently well executed but also tastes really incredibly good. Young chefs are often keen to use technological wizardry and forget how to just roast something and make it really delicious, and perhaps Michael would do well to use the “weekend technique” he’s disparaging in order to make his food soulful and flavorful. In general, when Kevin has won challenges, the Voltaggio brothers’ methods might have been more advanced and out there but were weaker on seasoning. So I usually agree with the results when Kevin wins.

That said in response to Michael’s comments, I will also say that as regards this challenge, I was a huge fan of Michael’s dish and was talked out of my position by my fellow judges. That combination of banana and asparagus was so out of left field, and yet it worked. It gave us an interesting combination of the grassy asparagus with the rich banana. And yet there wasn’t the overwhelming banana flavor you’re probably imagining: if you were blindfolded and given a bite, it would take you a moment to realize you were tasting banana. It was an interesting background flavor — subtle, not caramelized and sweet — and it made sense in the dish. Mike showed great foresight and took an enormous risk: the dish could have been utterly disgusting and could have gotten him sent home. And yet it was great.

As for the bottom three dishes, while Jennifer gave us what amounted to a side dish or an appetizer, it was very well crafted and an overall competent dish. In light of what her colleagues in the bottom three gave us, Jennifer wasn’t going to be sent home for that dish.
 
Robin’s dish was a poor dish. It was what we might get from an accomplished home cook who says, “Oh, I like this … and I like that … and this would look pretty with them, too….” The elements were not in harmony, there was no cohesive vision, and it missed the mark. It wasn’t very good, but Michael Isabella’s was terrible.

Before we even discuss the leeks, let me confirm for those of you who weren’t there to taste the dish that while the leeks may have been the primary problem, they were not the only problem. Natalie was right to say that the rest of the dish underwhelmed. As for the leeks themselves, they were butchered; they were horribly cooked. Certain ingredients can withstand imperfect preparation; please never serve me a badly cooked leek. Mike had time to correct what was happening and didn’t. But even had he done so, I still can’t quite grasp what Mike was striving for, conceptually. Why did he think it was in any way inventive to make leeks look like scallops? That’s just silly — there’s no reason for it. A leek is not a scallop — it’s not even a protein — and there’s no reason to make it look like one. This was a challenge about vegetables and was an opportunity to honor them, rather than turn them into faux-finishes of proteins. Furthermore, even were I to accept the premise that making a leek look like a scallop was a cooking innovation, I’d think it would have made more sense then for Mike to have roasted it as one would roast a scallop, which would have yielded a far more satisfying taste and texture than the one he was striving for and failed to attain. I don’t get it.

Mike I. knew his dish was bad — he even acknowledged as much to while we were shooting the reunion episode — but seemed to count on Robin’s dish being worse, so he never seemed to actually consider that he might be packing his knives. I really think he believed that as long as Robin was still there, he was safe, that there was no chance she’d outlast him. Jennifer, on the other hand, was wholly focused on her own performance, without giving a thought to those of her competitors. She understood that a mistake could get any one of them sent home.

As it can. We’re down to six chefs. Stay tuned.

408 comments
wpolscemamymocneseo
wpolscemamymocneseo

Mate, you are a good writer. Your article is so good. You should do it professionaly

church website design
church website design

You know what? i wish to meet Chef that will help make the food and taste i want because i was inspired by this blog and it was so happy to know this.

church website design
church website design

Thank you for this wonderful article by having a great information and i am also a vegetarian ad i don't eat fatty foods.Thank you and God bless!!!

Tools
Tools

kerrie, It's you. There's nothing uninteresting about watching competent, classy professionals doing their best. You want "compelling" characters? Go watch Big Brother.

Elaine Koogler
Elaine Koogler

I study Medieval and Renaissance cuisines as a hobby and must agree with Syd, with a few additional thoughts. We have been working to dispel the myth about heaving spicing masking rotten meat for some years now. I have studied cuisines from most European countries as well as the Middle East, China and Japan and can tell you that this is definitely a myth. As Syd pointed out, the only people who used spices other than herbs that could be grown in the garden were wealthy households. Spices were imported at great expense from the Indies, mostly. Even pepper was rare. On the other hand, acquiring fresh meat was relatively easy. There are many recipes for beef, pork, veal, lamb, mutton, game of all sorts, fish of all sorts, etc. The meat might be aged, but we do that today and don't think we're eating rotten meat.

Even in wealthy households, spices were kept under lock and key and often there was an officer who was responsible for the dispensing of spices for the day's cooking. Often food would be heavily spiced as that was a way that a host could show his guests just how wealthy he was!

Another reason why some of the recipes appear to use enormous quantities of spice is because the spices at that time were substantially less potent than they are today. Shipping from the East took months or years...and by the time a spice reached its destination, much of the strength of the spice would have faded. Consider how much strength a spice loses in your own cupboard if it is more than a year old.

I doubt you'll do it, but those of us who study Medieval and Renaissance cookery would really appreciate it if you would correct the misinformation you have passed on. I enjoy watching Top Chef and have learned a great deal not only from watching the contestants meet the challenges, but from your and the other judges' commentary. That's why it is so important that you make this correction...I am far from the only person who has and is learning from you!

Thanks!

Syd
Syd

I'm a medievalist by trade but admittedly, not a food expert. However, I am in possession of a medieval cookbook made by scholars, not cooks.

I would say that "medieval food is heavily spiced" is pretty inaccurate. Maybe banquet food? I am certain that peasant food is bread, polenta, ale, cabbage, etc. One tactic would have been to do very simple grains and vegetables.

As for meats, game meats are popular, particularly aged ones (this is where the term "well hung" comes from). If I had been doing a "medieval" dish, rabbit, pheasant, and venison come to mind as appropriate. The use of game meat would most likely code for nobility due to the practice of forbidding vassals to hunt on the lord's land (which was pretty much all land in some areas).

In a collective eating setting, a banquet, your "table" might be a slab of hard bread. So I could see a bruschetta-type construction actually looking like medieval dinner. Stews and gravies did much to break down trenchers (your edible tables).

A banquet trick immortalized in a children's rhyme involved the placement of live birds in a pie crust (yes, it happened). Another popular technique would have been cooking a fowl, saving the feathers, and then reattaching them to the roasted bird to give the impression that the food is "alive." Food, for official occasions anyway, in the Middle Ages is more about spectacle--the display of wealth and artistic prowess--than taste.

My favorite medieval story about food comes from the Decameron. A Genoese lady is keen to deflect the attentions of a rather unpleasant suitor, who despite the fact that she is married, just won't stop bothering her. She invites him to dinner and serves a full banquet of dishes, but each one is made of chicken and only chicken. He comments that it would have been nicer to have some variety. Her reply? "No matter what they look like, all chicks taste the same." Now, that's probably misogynist, but also hilarious. And very much to the point.

So if I'm ever tasked with cooking medieval food? Maybe I'll do an all-chicken banquet. At the very least, I'd make sure I didn't cook anything with New World foods like tomato, chocolate, or potato, or Asian foods like pasta or rice.

Or failing creativity, I'll just take something and douse it in black pepper, which for many was the only available spice (and so expensive, that in parts of Europe you could pay your taxes with it instead of coin).

To be quite fair, nothing at Excalibur looked particularly medieval to me, except maybe the ale. And that chicken.

Syd
Syd

I'm a medievalist by trade but admittedly, not a food expert. However, I am in possession of a medieval cookbook made by scholars, not cooks.

I would say that "medieval food is heavily spiced" is pretty inaccurate. Maybe banquet food? I am certain that peasant food is bread, polenta, ale, cabbage, etc. One tactic would have been to do very simple grains and vegetables.

As for meats, game meats are popular, particularly aged ones (this is where the term "well hung" comes from). If I had been doing a "medieval" dish, rabbit, pheasant, and venison come to mind as appropriate. The use of game meat would most likely code for nobility due to the practice of forbidding vassals to hunt on the lord's land (which was pretty much all land in some areas).

In a collective eating setting, a banquet, your "table" might be a slab of hard bread. So I could see a bruschetta-type construction actually looking like medieval dinner. Stews and gravies did much to break down trenchers (your edible tables).

A banquet trick immortalized in a children's rhyme involved the placement of live birds in a pie crust (yes, it happened). Another popular technique would have been cooking a fowl, saving the feathers, and then reattaching them to the roasted bird to give the impression that the food is "alive." Food, for official occasions anyway, in the Middle Ages is more about spectacle--the display of wealth and artistic prowess--than taste.

My favorite medieval story about food comes from the Decameron. A Genoese lady is keen to deflect the attentions of a rather unpleasant suitor, who despite the fact that she is married, just won't stop bothering her. She invites him to dinner and serves a full banquet of dishes, but each one is made of chicken and only chicken. He comments that it would have been nicer to have some variety. Her reply? "No matter what they look like, all chicks taste the same." Now, that's probably misogynist, but also hilarious. And very much to the point.

So if I'm ever tasked with cooking medieval food? Maybe I'll do an all-chicken banquet. At the very least, I'd make sure I didn't cook anything with New World foods like tomato, chocolate, or potato, or Asian foods like pasta or rice.

Or failing creativity, I'll just take something and douse it in black pepper, which for many was the only available spice (and so expensive, that in parts of Europe you could pay your taxes with it instead of coin).

To be quite fair, nothing at Excalibur looked particularly medieval to me, except maybe the ale. And that chicken.

kerrie
kerrie

Hey, Is it just me or is this season missing something? I find it to be lackluster and uninteresting. I'm not suggesting that anyone needs to shave their head or threaten to shave anyone else's but I find almost all of the chefs to be devoid of any real personality. It's all so serious. No one is even compelling enough to dislike. I "sort of" root of for all of them in the hopes that someone will do something or say something that will amuse or entertain me. No luck, so far. Any thoughts?

Addie
Addie

There is a difference between a vegetarian and a vegan. A large portobello cleaned of the gills, stuffed with a melee' of veggies would have provided all the needs of a vegetarian. Protein and a non-meat meal. In fact it would have even met the needs of a vegan. Vegetarians will eat eggs, milk, cheese and other by-products of an animal without sacrificing the life of the animal. Vegans are more extreme. The guest judge did say she was a vegetarian, not a vegan. So it left open a whole slew of foods available to use. All it required was a bit of imagination and the skills to provide a tasteful and pleasant dish.

Teacher Extraordinaire
Teacher Extraordinaire

I think the way we all learned our food science in health class, dairy, legumes, etc. are thought of as vegetarian proteins. Thank you to the person that explained that there is a lot of protein in leeks and spinach. I still say that the dishes that week were pretty sad looking. No stir fry, no rice, no noodles, few potatoes, very little color. With that produce delivery, there had to be some colorful peppers, fresh brussel sprouts, fresh spinach, apples, pears, nuts, etc. All of these contribute to beautiful hearty main dishes. As glad as I am Mike I. left, I'm eaqually ready for Mike V. Why does he have to be such a "Richard". He complains about others swearing at him, he turns around and does the same. he tries to take over someone elses work station and then tells them to RELAX! Even if he won this competition, I would never eat in his restaurant.

Alex K
Alex K

Tom,

Thank you for acknowledging that crafting a vegetarian meal isn't about serving a substitute for meat or tossing together some unimaginatively prepared veggies. A chef should approach a vegetarian meal the same way she or he approaches an omnivorous meal: you take the highest quality ingredients you can get your hands on and you elevate them. And as Mike V. learned the hard way, elevation is not about complication. Sometimes a pinch of salt and a splash of olive oil is the best way to honor your produce.

Steven H
Steven H

"A leek is not a scallop — it's not even a protein — and there's no reason to make it look like one."

The recent referencing of meat as "the protein" on cookery related programs brings rise to such inaccuracies as Tom's quote. Beef has about 16 grams protein in 134 calories; leeks have around 3.4 grams in 138 calories. So on a caloric basis, leeks have in the neighbourhood of 21.25% the protein of beef. Not too shabby.

Spinach is even more of a protein king than leeks. For 130 calories of spinach you get the same 16 grams of protein that you get in dead cow.

So, let us ban the association of protein as a synonym for meat.

Tom is right, though, a leek is not a scallop although it does have just over a quarter of the protein as a scallop.

Dallas, GA Michelle
Dallas, GA Michelle

And Kevin McCaffrey took aim at those who consider hunting to be a sport. “It’s not a sport if both teams don’t know they’re playing.”

LOVE the show!

HRB
HRB

Hunting is not a sport. In a sport, both sides should know they're in the game. ~Paul Rodriguez

Close but not exactly what you quoted!

~HRB

Cindy T.
Cindy T.

Dear Tom,

I really enjoyed this episode. It really inspired me to cook more vegetarian dishes, especially since my meat guy Kevin, who is my all-time favorite TC contestant, made such a delicious and satisfying dish!

I am also really glad that you mentioned Michael Voltaggio's extremely petty and unsportsmanlike comment about Kevin's win. I was shocked that he would say something like that about Kevin's food, when his own "inventive" banana polenta was something he learned from a chef he worked for!

FoodieJ
FoodieJ

Hi Chef,

Is it just me, or is this season a little lack luster on big personalities? Where are the Fabios, Mikes, and C.J.'s? Come on TC, that is half the fun of watching this show!!! Also, is Anthony B. coming back as a judge this season? Would be a gas watching him with the V brothers!! Have a nice day, and congratulations on your new baby!!!

MichelleinLaguna
MichelleinLaguna

Right in the nose TOM!

Without tasting a thing (other than the Schwan's dish from Kevin - YUM!!!!) . . .

It was the same guy from Saturday night Live, who said:

I'm A MAN . . . I SHOT A BIG DOG!!!!

Sadly I was watching it and in elementary school still - so couldn't quote who said it!

Although I used the lines more than once on my family during ELK SEASON IN COLORADO!

THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES ANYWAY!

JPfossum
JPfossum

Hi Chef,

Really love what you offer ...love your insights and expertise. ONly sorry that I haven't had the opportunity to dine at one of your establishments yet. May I ask a question? My family of 4 ..husband and two young adults --21 and 19, are planning to escape some our our holiday habits and head to Chicago for Thanksgiving this year. I just printed out a list of a bazillion restaurants that will be open. YAY! Options, but now ...oye, options. I was wondering if you have a suggetion? Ok, this is what I have narrowed it down to: (in no particular order) 1) Lawrys ; 2) Bistrot Margot ; 3) Pump Room or 4) Vermillion. Any input?

Thanks! JPF

E-Town
E-Town

Someone named Marlon Gray thanked Mike Colicchio for Top Chef. Does Tom's brother Mike have anything to do with the show? Is there something to come? Possibly the Volt brothers making the finals to be judged by the Colicchio brothers? They look and sound alike, it would be fun to watch. Thanks for representing Elizabeth Tom! Hoping to see your brother too.

Viewer123
Viewer123

Please tell me that the it doesn't come down to the 2 brothers, I am really trying to believe this show is somewhat "real".

mjb
mjb

Hey Tom,

With regard to the quote:“Sure, hunting’s a sport … it’s just that one side doesn’t know it’s playing," I wonder if it came from the chilling short story "The Most Dangerous Game," by Richard Connell, which was first published in 1924.

-mj

VegginOut
VegginOut

Hey Tom,

Great blog, and thanks for all your insights every week! First off, let me start by saying that I was really disappointed (as a vegetarian) by the abundance of "rabbit food" thrown on a dish. I'm sure it all tasted fantastic, but really? No pasta, no other ethnic cuisines?

My other beef with this episode was that it seemed that Jen got chewed out for presenting something that was very similar in size to what Bryan V. presented. Can you elaborate on why she was in the bottom, yet Bryan wasn't? Thanks!

PaulJJJJ
PaulJJJJ

I understand that mike's dish was not the best but overall he is a better chef and you say that it goes challenge by challenge but i do not agree with that you have let contents stay that have had the worst dish so for you to say that i do not agree with you. Robin is there for you know what she has been in the bottom every time and if you want the best chef i would have to say that she has no business being in this show still.

tc fan
tc fan

I guess I am the only one not overly inspired by this season. It seems last season the contestants were underqualified and this season they are overqualified. I thought the main purpose behind Top Chef (0f course other than ratings), was to give an up and coming chef the opportunity to open his/her own restaurant. The top dogs in this competition have already proven themselves. They already have achieved this dream.

While last season nothing seemed to be good enough; this season, the comments are, "incredible, fantastic", etc... There is little room for growth. The top 4 seem to learn very little from this competition.

mialynn
mialynn

Applause, Applause..with a standing ovation!!!! YES mike deserved to go, actually several episodes ago....his food was juvenile as well as his attitude. As far as Robin goes, props to her for hanging in there and doing the best she can. I would have to admit she would get on my nerves if i had to be around her all the time, but the treatment she has gotten is just terrible...Does anyone on that show consider anyone else's feelings? Guess not. Jennifer has been my no. #1 pick from the beginning, i have no idea what has happened to her. The Voltagio brothers? Great innovative chefs, but way too arrogant. Who knows???, Looking for a surprise on next elimination.

Monica
Monica

Maybe now Craftsteak can add a substantial vegetarian entree to their menu?

AG
AG

I live in DC and have been to Mike Isabella's restaurant many times - it's fantastic. I was so mad at him about the leeks because Zaytinya's menu - which is comprised of mezze plates - has so many delicious vegetarian offerings. He does vegetarian food incredibly well. I don't know what was going through his head with that awful leek thing!

C Andreas
C Andreas

Chef Colicchio, I am in complete agreement with you about Kevin winning this challenge. While his dish was not the best looking plate produced, it was the only one that looked like a real dish. As a chef, I have to prepare food for vegetarians quite often, and am happy to do so. I feel it is my job to honor their wishes, and their food.

The real difference between Kevin, Mike, and Brian is that Kevin has a real desire to produce a great tasting dish with the ingredients he has to work with, while the Voltaggio brothers think that ingredients are to be manipulated by their techniques. Kevin honors the food, while the brothers work with food.

disappointed in WA
disappointed in WA

Am I the only one responding to the Top Chef Reunion, shown last night? We watch it the next morning (today) and we were very disappointed to see the reunion instead of a real Top Chef competition. Let me praise Fabio that had a thankless job - the previous chefs got together and each one wanted to be "all grown up and perfect now" but Fabio had to bring up the conflicts and oddities of the past years. Unfortunately, praise ends with Fabio. The show was boring boring boring. Looking forward to next week when the real Top Chef is back. Love the show, the real show!!!

DeeG
DeeG

Sure sounds like it was an interesting episode. It would be GREAT if Bravo Updated their website with the episode. :( Seems all there is that overrated housewives show.. UGH!!

B
B

Having just read this blog for the 1st time, I now have even more respect for Tom and the rest of the judges. I LOVE this show, have since the beginning and have to say that this is absolutely the best season ever. It seems that even some of the chefs in the bottom this season could give some of the better chefs from previous seasons a real run for their money.

Tracy in the Adirondacks
Tracy in the Adirondacks

I rewatched last weeks episode tonite. Did it seem to anyone that there might have been something between Jen and Mike I? Pretty serious kisses goodbye I thought????

Susan Smith
Susan Smith

WOW! Who cares about leeks or mushrooms. I believe anything Tom Colicchio cooks is fine. He makes the show. I only hope I can meet him one day. He is so handsome and makes everything sound delicious.

Laura P
Laura P

Love the blog! 1st time I have visited a blog and I found it eye opening. I like that you have shared some of the reasons for not being veg. I am also glad to hear you respect the vegs loving public. To eat is a true pleasure and joy. To celebrate eating the way Top Chef does makes me inspired to think about what I put in my mouth. It is so easy to buy frozen foods and junk. Thanks for celebrating food and keep on blogging. Also please keep on giving the reciepes for those of us who want to play in the kitchen.

B-Man
B-Man

I agree with most that Kevin, Mike and Bryan are leading the pack. But, I can't help but think of an important quote about cooking. "Never trust a skinny chef"

Although I think the "V" brothers will make it to the end, Kevin will end up the final "V"ictor!

ps: I don't agree with previous seasons that Marcel was the Top Chef. His side shows, temper tantroms were nearly enough to stop me from watching the show. Let's focus on the cooking and not the drama, please!

Vagitarian
Vagitarian

Tom, As a long time vegetarian, I respect everyone's choice to eat whatever the like. Without getting into a moral argument about meat eating, how about an episode that says something about meat's environmental impact? Like Rick Moonen's episode on sustainable seafood? I'm guessing that Craft sources most of it's meats from environmentally friendlier ranchers, Organic, grass fed etc. How about using top chef to educate Americans a bit more about where their food comes from and some of the better choices that can be made?

Thanks, love the show, keep up the good work.

ThatsIt
ThatsIt

Did I miss the part where ya'll said they could only use veggies? Vegetarian doesn't mean graze on all things green and leafy. What disappointing, unimaginative fare from these chefs!! I compare their entrees with what the TC Masters put out for vegan Zooey (they weren't excited either) and I continue to be impressed with what really great chefs are inspired to do....

mmc
mmc

Hooray for Kevin! his dishes have been so consistantly good and in this instance he really deserved to win. I like most of the dishes he made, even the undercooked lamb. in a real situation it could have been sent back and cooked a few more minutes.He cooks with a lot of skill and he also cooks from the heart.As well as having a good personality.I like Jen but she seems so worn out it's sad to see. Bryan is great to watch and unlike his brother he cooks some great dishes but not with a lot of arrogance.Michael might be an innovative chef but his attitude turns me off!

TC fan Neil
TC fan Neil

Mike V. has displayed a lot of talent and ability throughout this competition. And while he does employ very modern techniques to cooking, he has also shown that he is rooted in fundamentals, for instance his butchering of the rabbit earlier in the season. He also has noted many times that his food pushes the boundaries but still remains rooted in classic flavor combination. He seems to just be expressing frustration at being in the top the most number of times (7/9), but not having as many wins as Kevin to show for it. I think Kevin and Mike V. have risen to the top, and would make a fascinating finale-they both have contrasting styles, yet are both very good at what they do.

Sherri L.
Sherri L.

Kevin is not only a great chef but he is a very smart chef. He cooks to the situation and does a fantastic job. He also cooks from the heart and not to prove something (Mike V. who may even be a better chef should take a lesson).

Kevin has a great support group (great family) etc and it really shows. We all should be so lucky I guess.

Dee Dee
Dee Dee

Will the producers of top chef ever release a collection on what has gone on during the judging? I think I can speak for most viewers by saying it would be great to see some uncut footage of tasting and judging.

FL Cook
FL Cook

Love you blog Tom. I agree with some of these posts in that - most of these dishes looked like a quick fire challenge and not a meal. It can be done and I think you all made the correct choice in the clear winner. What happened to a vegetable pasta, etc. I clearly don't understand the lack of creativity when so many good things were there for them.

The comments on having too much fun to judge - you must be kidding!!! I guess you are not suppose to have fun at a dinner. It was great to see everyone laughing and enjoying themselves.

Again Tom I need to ask; where is the elemination house this year?????????

Geekgirl717
Geekgirl717

Tom:

I was very disappointed with most of the dishes presented as well. It seemed as though when they heard no meat, they just gave up.

As for the quote (because I would be honored to get a copy of your book) I believe that it was Paul Rodriguez with: “Hunting is not a sport. In a sport, both sides should know they're in the game.”

Also, kudos on sending the right Mike home. Gah, he just irritated the heck out of me.

Meat-eater
Meat-eater

First of all, TC is a great show. I have been also watching the Next Iron Chef and that show just cannot compare to TC.

Tom, great blog as usual. Do both of the V bros, use the techniques? I thought Brian was a little more traditional than Mike V. I like watching them, but thought his commentary was out of line. If I were to go to a restaurent, it would be Kevin's because his food looks like it really tastes good.

Meaty Goodness - haha, brilliant comment. I will have to use that one. The is nothing worse than dining out with a high maintenance vegetarian or vegan. I am sure you can all agree, there is always one in the group.

Viewer from GA
Viewer from GA

As a person who grew up totally vegetarian, I would like to say Mike Isabella's dish was just plain insulting. We don't need our food to look like meat. We need it to taste good and be nutionally balanced. Come on!

Todd
Todd

Kevin appears to be a chef, and he appears to be a contestant that the V Brothers don't seem to respect...which is too bad, because he appears to really be a chef...the others are magic and mirrors (wasn't that one of the of the challenges in past a past Top Chef?) All I can say is that respect needs to be given, to Kevin ---

Amalia
Amalia

I was also really disappointed by the dishes in this episode. I am medically incapable of going vegetarian permenantly, but for religious reasons I am encouraged to go vegetarian for a full month each year, plus a few days each month. That's a good amount of vegetarian cooking!

I used to live in Tibet, a very meat heavy country. We like our meat (Favorite dish: Hyarku! Boil meat in water, add meat to water, garnish with meat. Mmm). But on holidays we go veg and these days a lot of people are going veg for religious reasons. For me, part of the challenge and joy is reinventing these delicious, filling dishes for the vegetarian palate! i'm not a chef (although my friends want me to open an authentic Tibetan restaurant stateside), but I love experimenting with food and seeing what the chefs do! So I was really sad not to get my weekly dose of food for the eyes. I'm sure they could have done better.

Unique name I guess
Unique name I guess

That entire table seemed like they were having so much fun. I found myself wondering about your ability to judge objectively since you were all so obviously drunk, hehe. It's great that we're finally getting some vegetarian challenges thrown to the chefs between this episode and Masters. It's just seemed like such an obvious restriction the whole time; it's amazing we went five seasons without a vegetarian challenge.