Tom Colicchio

A Top Chef is named! Tom explains Harold Dieterle's win.

on Dec 15, 2008

First off, I want to thank our faithful Board-ers for pointing out the contradiction in my last blog regarding the poker-snack Quickfire. While Tiffani's snacks were deemed complicated, my fellow judges reminded me they had actually beat out Harold's frozen fried food (with the exception of the chicken wings) for second place. Dave, as you may recall, beat them both.

And while we're on the subject of the Boards, it seems that last week's decision -- Tiffani over Dave -- was far from popular. After watching the episode, I could see why. It's an interesting phenomenon -- being present for an actual challenge, which takes place over hours, and then seeing the 48-minute demi-glace that makes it onto the air. What clearly didn't come across last week was the scoring system -- the guest judges rated the dishes numerically on scorecards. When tallied, the final numbers placed Harold in first place and Tiffani in second. Unfortunately, winning the poker-snack challenge wasn't enough to make up for Dave's low score on the high-roller challenge and forfeiture of the third, so Dave had to go. I guess a natural consequence of any filmed situation is the inevitable discrepancies between what happens in the flesh and what ends up onscreen.

I guess the best we can hope for is that our viewers ultimately trust that we, the judges, were there, tasting all the food off and on camera, making the best decisions we could given what we had to go on. In twenty-seven years of cooking I've hired hundreds of cooks and chefs and it has helped me hone my instincts about people. Hard as it may be to accept, (and even harder to represent perfectly onscreen), Tiffani and Harold really were the two strongest candidates for Top Chef, and I feel we made the right choice.