Tom Colicchio

Tom says: stop playing it safe.

on Nov 15, 2006

When Alfred Portale started layering components high on the plate at The Gotham Bar and Grill, it was groundbreaking -- an expression of the man's own sculptural leanings (he was formerly a jewelry designer and has impeccable taste). It was daring, a risk he could afford to take because he was creating great flavors and using perfect technique. And yet legions of young chefs have copied this by simply stacking up food, without grasping the context or having the talent to pull it off. I guess what I'm saying to our remaining chefs is -- stop playing it safe. Dive into your ingredients looking for flavor, season liberally with your personality, and worry less about "wowing" us with artful presentation. If you cook good food, the rest will follow. It's not more complicated than that.