Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio provides insight into the culinary competition.

on Nov 18, 20090

With only five chefs left, you wouldn’t imagine we’d give them an easy challenge, would you?  Neither would they, though I believe this week’s – in which we staged our own mini-Bocuse d’Or – surpassed their wildest expectations.

The Bocuse d’Or. It’s an incredible competition. To date, it’s not as well-known in the U.S. as abroad, though I think that it will become better known here in the next few years, as the U.S. develops a stronger presence at it. But to give you information about the competition, I first need to give you some background on famed chef Paul Bocuse, who founded the competition and for whom it is named…and to do that, I first should say a word or two about nouvelle cuisine, a term which was used as far back as the 1740s, but which Paul Bocuse helped put into the spotlight in its most modern iteration.

In its modern usage, the term was a reaction to and departure from French cuisine classique, the traditional way of cooking French food. For one thing, it is credited with the plating of dishes prior to service, as opposed to tableside after their presentation to the diners on platters (so, yes, it is interesting that the Bocuse d’Or went back to platters). This led, in turn, to smaller portions and to attention to and development of presentation styles on the plate. It also led to exploration of the cooking itself. Cuisine classique was standardized; nouvelle cuisine led chefs to go outside traditional boundaries, bringing new, often regional fare into the mix, using fresh vegetables and fruits, relying less on the traditional heavy sauces. Because the food was plated, the personalities of the individual chefs began to show, which led to food writers wanting to know more about the chefs themselves, which led in turn to Paul Bocuse coming out of the kitchen and becoming a personality. He made no bones about it. When he started opening restaurants in Japan (he has six) and at Disney World, as well as a cooking school, he was asked, “who cooks when you are not here?” and he famously answered, “the same people who cook when I am here.”

And so Paul Bocuse, one of the original proponents of nouvelle cuisine, was the first celebrity chef of sorts. He created the Bocuse d’Or in his search for absolute exceptionalism in cooking.  He wanted to discover chefs who could elevate culinary art by creating a competition that whole nations could get behind. It’s become a huge international competition, approached like an international sporting event, often with state sponsorship of the participants (can you imagine going to Congress to ask for a line-item for this…?) It’s a spectator event, and rowdy attendees make noise for their nation’s participants. And it’s a pressure-cooker of a competition, cooking metaphor intended. The competitors begin preparations months in advance, first planning and figuring out their dishes over a period of months, down to the most minute details, then ascertaining how to make the most complex dishes in the shortest amount of time, then practicing for yet more months, over and over again, until they can execute the dishes like clockwork, with precision, down to the moment. The Norwegian team actually travels in a trailer with the exact proportions of the kitchen they’ll be cooking in. A documentary was made a few years ago about that year’s Spanish team, and it’s highly dramatic.

Of course, our five cheftestants had twelve hours, not several months. They had no chance to hone the dish before it went into practice. Before I say another word about their individual dishes, I want to say that what they accomplished in this small period of time was nothing short of amazing, even if our judges went on to judge them as critically as had they been competing in the actual Bocuse d’Or.

172 comments
BlogBoy6
BlogBoy6

Hey Guys

Well this is my introduction to all of you here at video.bravotv.com. I just hope I can manage to contribute something to the awesome discussions that take place here..

I lokk forward to participating in the awesome community..

jkfromcincty
jkfromcincty

I'm sorry that Kevin didn't win. It seems like he did have a final bad day of cooking. But, apart from that, he's been my favorite chef from all the Top Chef seasons. Obviously, he's a great chef and his food has been the most appealing to me. Also, I think he is a terrific person. He's been very generous in his support of his fellow chefs. He never seemed the least bit manipulative and unpleasantly ambitious. He's a nice, likable guy. We will be hearing much more about him in the culinary world.

phans
phans

This has been a very enjoyable season to us.. The contestants have been there to cook... no "snarkey" attitudes, they all seem to like each other (I discount those who comment on the brothers.. they ARE brothers in the same occupation after all and it is natural for them to be competitive)..and no one has been mean/cruel or trying to throw one another under the bus as in past seasons. I enjoy the "non-drama".. personally. The past seasons always had the long clips trashing each other, being mean, cursing each other out, trying to sabotage each other.. So glad that this season has not focused on that. We phans want to see them cook and view and learn from their talent. We do not care much about their personal issues..or what gender they prefer to date!!! This is a cooking show!! So nice to see the original Top Chef back. These chefs are all top notch and it is just interesting to watch and see how the pressure of the challenges creates the tiniest imperfection for elimination at this point, since they are ALL top chefs and great personalities. Being from NJ, the Philly area, we were all rooting for Jen, but, even though she did not win the final, we all know to go to Philly and look for her food! She is a doll and held her own to the end. The rest are all amazing as well. Great season and great chefs. Hope next season is as good. Best to Padma!! We hear that she is expecting a baby!! She is still as gorgeous as ever and it will be nice to see her expand..her family, her horizons, and herself!! We don't care if she comes back skinny/super model.. She is gorgeous and hopefully she will embrace that at any size and be a normal mom with no weight issues!!! We'd like to see Padma as a real mom and not worry about looking the same as she does in the super model days!! We love her!!

egg
egg

Wow, what a great episode and the talent of these four shined. Kevin always trusting his simple foods with great flavors and Bryan honing his supurb technique. Michael ever challeging himself and jennifer stepping up to the plate. Sorry to see her go but I feel the judges made the right decision, as for Jennifer stepping up was a little too late. Good Luck to the finalists, WE WILL BE WATCHING

KellyRae
KellyRae

I rarely watch television but love Top Chef. However, I have found this season extremely boring. I'm not sure if it the challenges or those competing or the fact that the final four were so predictable from the very first episode this season. Maybe it is the whole combination.

I'm, also, not sure where people are getting the observation about certain people's attitudes and Kevin being so professional. I seem to recall on this episode, Kevin taking several stabs at his competition. The only person that I think has maintained composure is Brian. The fact that he helped explain a cooking technique to Kevin also speaks volumes. I don't see any fighting with other contestants when Brian is present, he is very calm and focused when he cooks, and maintains a high level of professionalism (Brian wasn't one of the chef's at the beginning that jumped into the pool, if people remember, but Kevin surely did).

Obviously Kevin appears to be a great chef. But, he has had several fumbles that some seem to forget. Especialy during the Restaurant Wars. They all were so worried about disagreeing with each other, in that group, that they ended up destroying all chances of winning. And I do recall the multiple poor remarks Kevin received about the pork being poorly cooked, cut, etc. And his dish was the one holding up the servers the longest.

Also, Brian knows what his errors are when he serves a dish. He has an interesting technique that is served beautifully. Kevin's may taste fantastic but some look extremely unappetizing. Kevin's dishes just lack that certain execution of someone with the potential to become a master chef. Brian appears to have the ability to shine.

It is unforunate but Jennifer really has fallen the past couple weeks. And I was really pulling for her. She is very professional in the kitchen, also. Michael, I just can't seem to get a grap on who he really is a chef. But, I think when Michael can learn to incorporate his wealth of knowedgle and develop his niche, he is going to be truly amazing!!!

So, even though this episode was extremely boring....in 5 minutes we'll see who gets eliminated out of the final four. I wish them great success in life. And, thank you Tom for your thought provoking feedback and genius. Besides the chef's, I think you make the show, Tom!!

Thank you.

KHS
KHS

As I understand from Tom's explanation, Kevin has won a chance to compete to qualify as the USA representative to the Bocuse d'Or. For more information, I looked up the application process - apparently Michael, Brian, Jennifer, any of the other competitors or any other chef with the professional qualifications required can apply to compete to be the USA rep.

For this Top Chef elimination, Kevin tried a cooking technique he never uses, got advice from a competitor - AND COOKED HIS DISH MORE SUCCESSFULLY THAN ANYONE ELSE. If I heard what I think I did, Brian said he used the same technique to cook his protein and failed to cook it properly.

Kevin has an incredible skill set and had the guts to try something new at this critical juncture in the competition - that gets him the win without question!!

Finbar Devine
Finbar Devine

Methinks you just gave away who the new Top Chef is by posting those pictures of Kevin. I realize he won the Bocuse d'Or challenge, but his body language in those pictures is that of a winner. As is the body language of those around him. Maybe it's a moot point, since everyone thinks Kevin will win anyway...

feednotfatten
feednotfatten

Man, I am worried. How in the world will TC be able to top these challanges in Season 7. I think back to other seasons and have to laugh at the thought of Big Crazy Cheeto Mike competing in this last episode . . . Tom's head would have been shiny with sweat.

Yep, I know the talent is at a different level. Yet, it seems predictably boring to have chefs who have shadowed Eric Ripert working with the self-proclaimed "comfort cookin" Robin. It's like a contestant on Dancing with the Stars who's been dancing "professionally" for 15 years, competing with a sport's announcer. ZZZzzzzz . .somebody wake me up when it's over.

Beverly
Beverly

I love Top Chef! I record it every week, and look forward to watching every week! I cheer the winners and am sad for the losers. I can't cook. Not at all. But I like to watch Food Network and Bravo/Top Chef. Don't know why. I am a fan. PLease continue showing Top Chef. I love it!

Longing
Longing

Thank you Tom for the informative posting regarding the Bocuse d’Or Episode. I gained quite a bit of insight from it and will be watching to see how Kevin does in his quest to compete in the finals.

I have been a Top Chef fan from day one. In all honesty, I cannot believe that ANYONE would be rooting for either of the brothers.

From the start of this season they have both demonstrated the snootiest attitudes I have ever seen on television..they have been rude to their fellow cheftestants and seem to absolutely hate each other. Not once when one brother has won - has the other brother been happy for him. So much for the great American ideal of Family.

No matter how contrived or complicated the dish is - it is the taste that matters when all is said and done. Would you go back to a restaurant if you didn't enjoy the meal you had? I wouldn't.

I have supported Kevin since this season began - he is consistant, he thinks his dishes out before he constructs them - and based on his body of work - deserves to win this competition.

Jen obviously needs to go back and learn more from Eric....and the brothers need to learn they are not the greatest chefs to ever cook in the USA. Their egos should not be more important than the food they prepare.

Kenneth
Kenneth

Tom-

In the Bocuse D'Or episode, you asked Tim Hollingsworth how coachable Bryan Voltaggio is. Did you or the one of the other judges (Padma, Gail) ask this question about the other chef contestants? If not, why not? I think it was an intriguing question and would liked to have known how the other contestants ranked in this aspect. If so, I believe the editors of this episode should have kept them (including responses) in the final edit, if only for fairness symmetry.

I may have mentioned this in another comment, but I also believe the episode should have illustrated or commented about Gavin Kaysen's unfortunate "diswasher ate the project" incident that probably kept his entry from ranking higher.

Overall, great episode.

Rumpley
Rumpley

This isn't about the Bocuse D'or. This is about how BORING the contestants are to watch this season....yawner with a capital Y!

The brothers and Jennifer are like watching paint dry. Man, I love food but these people are making me actually think of turning Top Chef off. Hopefuly next season, there are some personalities as vibrant as the food they produce, otherwise consider me an ex-fan.

Also, why pit almost Michelin starred up and comers against nobodies? The writing was on the wall at the start of this season who the last four would be, considering they already were the "biggest guns" of the lot - very, VERY predictable. I'd rather see a bunch of people come together who haven't apprenticed under world renowned chefs, and just have this natural talent yet to be discovered. It was like the Little League going up against the World Series team - who do you think is going to win?

PS: Last but not least..my final crab (notice the food pun? hahahaha) That goldfish tank behind the judges table is uber distracting. Total animal cruelty to put that many fish in a tank that size.

Kathy Galgano
Kathy Galgano

Dear Chef Tom, My husband and I love this season. Thank you.

I had sent in a request for a challenge that involves an attention to ingredients for people with dietary restrictions and food allergies, and I want to thank you for the Celebrity series challenge that did just that. Fabulous!

Lynne415
Lynne415

I just found this site and started reading Tom C.'s blog. I have to say this blog really gave me further input on the show and judging. I have loved Top Chef and have to say each year it gets better and better. Tom C. is just the best at keeping the balance at the judges table. Love his low-key, constructive way of judging.

This year I have to say I'm pulling for Kevin but not because of his dishes as I think each of the finalist bring their own unique styles to cooking. For me, Kevin seems to leave his ego at the door. I appreciate watching someone like that...this world has enough chefs with egos bigger than their culinary abilities.

Crystal P.
Crystal P.

Hi Mr.Colicchio,

I noticed that all of the chefs on the show carry their own professional grade cutlery sets. My partner is an aspiring chef and I want to get her a really nice professional set. I know you are extremely busy but could you possibly recommend a brand so that I go in the right direction. I don't know anything about the professional chef world and I want to make sure I get her the best. Thank you. The show is great!! We watch it every week.

Fourth Stooge
Fourth Stooge

Congratulations to Kevin. It's nice to see someone with such a generosity of spirit do so well. He reminds me of the contestants in Top Chef Masters. I have a feeling that the Masters would also have found a way to live with Robin amicably. That's what a chef does--give them a broken egg and they make an omelette.

TeamFood
TeamFood

Our family loves this show- we're huge fans. However, I have a suggestion. If the elimination is truly about the food served at that challenge and that challenge alone, then it seems unfair that the judges know who cooked what. To be truly unbiased, the judges should taste the food without knowing which cheftestant did the preparation (of course, the home audience will know and be able to root for their favorite meal). That way, chef personality or history would not enter the judging- and the results would be honestly about only the food.

cathysue
cathysue

i have this one big question why do the cheftestants smoke i thought you had to be able to taste foods how can you taste the food when you smoke

Nineva
Nineva

I would think that chefs cook very well on their days off considering who would be eating that food.

Full Plate
Full Plate

I've watched great cooks win the contest and deservingly so. Top Chef each one. But I’ve seen enough Drama Queens from each season. Most of them lost along the way. Just one episode I would like to see Burned Toast Contest. Get a collection of Prima donna, exasperating personality together and let them dish out among themselves. How do the birds of feather fly against each other?

Viewer Amanda
Viewer Amanda

I'm surprised at all the digs at Kevin. Considering the judges seemed to really enjoy what they were eating, I could have predicted his win a mile away when the other dishes all fell flat. Being able to execute is an important skill and some of the Cheftestants overreached. Yes that is the point, considering the Bocuse d'Or theme, however they also have to keep in mind time restraints, just like they do at the actual competition.

What I was more shocked with was Eli going home over Micheal. But I suppose I can't taste the food, so I can't really say, but it had seemed like Michael was way at the bottom, bad night or not.

And generally a type of food is not a theme, it's not usually accepted as such on this show, and it was sort of out of his depth to go so simplistic thematically. I was really surprised by what an off night he had.

~Amanda~

ValPT
ValPT

This is my favorite season of Top Chef by far! I think the final four are fantastic, but I am pulling for Kevin to win. I think Kevin and Bryan are the top two, with Kevin being the best. He cooks food that tastes good,he is consistent and he adapts well to each challenge. He seems to thrive under pressure, which is impressive. Kevin deserves to win, with Bryan as runner up.

Thanks for the blog, very informative!

LynnNChicago
LynnNChicago

I think the majority of us agree that Bryan should have won this challenge, therefore I hope we can all agree that we should show him how we feel by voting for him as Fan Favorite! The frustrating part is even as the Chef's sat waiting for their fate, Kevin said he didn't do his best and he certainly did not expect to win, that says it all! Tom your blogs are great and they really provide a lot of help for us "civilians" to understand why you make the decisions that you do, and most of the time you do convince, unfortunately not this time. I agree with a previous post, I don't know how you're ever going to be able to top the talent on this season's Top Chef going forward, this is a truly high caliber pool of talent. Good luck, you've raised the bar for the viewer, I hope you can meet it next year. Love you Chef Tom!

Jill L
Jill L

This season is no doubt the best season. I just watched the rerun and it's quite obvious that Kevin didn't deserve to win the Bocuse d'Or competition. He should be disqualified. Sending Kevin to 2010 Bocuse d'Or competition is unfair and a huge mistake since he didn't really participated in Bocuse d’Or competition; he made up his own. Bryan definitely ought to win the competition. Still love the show, but very disappointed with the judges' decision.

cookingfan
cookingfan

Own would think that to be considered "top chef" one would know sous-vide cooking. It's been around for 40 years. One doesn't need to cook in that manner every day but should be familiar with the technique.

FerminaDaza
FerminaDaza

Tom- your blogs add so much more depth to the show. Thanks for the obvious thought and time that you spend on your comments. I enjoy it! I cant believe there are Kevin haters...hilarious. He exemplifies a professional, positive, passionate love for his craft and quietly sets an example with his food. What a great season... and I appreciate the education that this show provides those of us who are fans of food but not in the industry. The producers have kept the necessary amount of drama via the editing without losing the focus on the culinary content. I'm a fan!

henny
henny

Kevin has won with consistent flavorful cooking. His vegetarian dish wasnt great looking but was what a vegetarian would be looking for. The Olympics - same thing. The judges were looking for perfection. any cooking mistake is elementary and would definitely not qualify. Techniques can be taught - basic cooking cannot at this level. This is why they train for so long. Kevin can cook and has an apptitude for learning new techniques - a perfect trainee for the Bocuse d'Or. So good for him. Love Kevin. He cooks for his judges and for his customers. exactly what i would be looking for as a customer.

topcheffage
topcheffage

This challenge needed to go to Bryan. Yes, Kevin is very talented but he always insisted he cooks southern food with a twist. Compared to Bryan, Kevin doesn't seem to have the level of technial skill Bryan has. In my "humble" opinion, Bryan is the most qualified to compete in the Bocuse d'Or. He's by far the most rounded of the final 4. Oh and "welcome back Jen"! Love her too. The talent from this season is incredible. They are head and shoulders above seasons 1 - 5.

Debbie in Atlanta
Debbie in Atlanta

My Boyfriend and I have made Top Chef our weeknight Date Night! We sit together and watch the show, critique the chefs and the judges, wonder what the food tastes like and make predictions on the winners and losers! We have thoroughly enjoyed watching this season's Top Chef and are extremely excited that an Atlanta Chef has made it to the finale! I love your blog, Tom! You explain everything with such passion and detail. It really helps me see where you are coming from! Thanks for keeping us in the light!

Debbie in Atlanta

HausFrau
HausFrau

This episode shows once again how underrated Bryan has been. Bryan has helped his competitors (he gave Mike I a sharp knife in the Natalie Portman challenge), supported his younger brother (wouldn't gossip about the failed fish dish) and generously gave Kevin cooking tips in this challenge. He has been gentlemanly, serious of purpose and produced some amazing food as well. If that isn't a consummate chef, then I don't know what is... He is my fan fave and I will vote for him to the max!

Bon
Bon

I did not like this episode at all. The fun of watching Top Chef is watching the process while imagining making the dishes or at least eating them. I could do neither with the food presented in this challenge. The food seemed so far removed from anythig attainable that I lost any interest in the result.

Joyce Admas
Joyce Admas

Tom, Recently my 25 year old daughter and I were hospitalized within two weeks of each other. She for an emergency appendectomy in Buenos Aires, Argentina and me for bladder surgery in Loma Linda, California. Both being great fans of top chef, we think there needs to be a challenge for "hospital food"! Not for those on special diets, but for those of us recovery from surgery who crave a decent meal. Thanks for the consideration and Bravo for Top Chef!

LISN
LISN

I had never heard of the Bocuse d'Or until this episode. I can't help but chuckle at the faux Bocuse d'Or. It was a fake version of a made up competition started by a chef someplace to get his name out there for perpetuity. This competition seemed overwrought with details and high expectations that had no possibility of being fulfilled in the limited amount of time allotted. The real version seems like so many other competitions in that are geared for a very small segment of society who arbitrarily give the award to whomever they feel like (even if the entire competition has not been completed (as alleged in Gavin's case). That smacks of unfairness and frustration to even participate in it, let alone watch it. When the rules of the faux contest were given, 4 out of 5 tried their best to comply. The lone chef to do whatever he wanted (Kevin) won by default because the others followed the rules and failed the test. He bent or broke the rules to cook his way and won! What a world... btw: I adore Kevin. I'm just disappointed that he was given such an enormous prize based on a weak dish.

TopCheffie
TopCheffie

I have been a Top Chef fan from the beginning, I don't always agree on your decisions, but still love the show. This weeks challenge should have been a tie between Brian and Kevin, Kevin winning for taste and Brian winning for the Bocuse D'or portion. You said that Kevin was judged as a Top Chef contestant and not for the Bocuse D'or but then also said on the show that Kevin would have been disqualifed from the get go for the Bocuse D'or portion. But the Bocuse D'or was what the challenge was so I am a bit confused on the outcome. I think that Brian should have come away with something at least for the complexity of his dish and how well it seemed to be received by the other judges. Still love the show!!!

Eytan
Eytan

I agree with all the comments from viewers who were perplexed by Kevin's win. Essentially, the criteria of the elimination challenge was explained to the viewers as being X and he gave the judges Y. Seems to me analogous to a student submitting a brilliant paper yet one that does not meet any of the criteria of the assignment given. That usually get you a failing grade.

Jody Mc
Jody Mc

Love the blog Tom. Because of editing it's nice to read your reasoning. We surely don't see every detail and hear every discussion due to time restraint. I am leaning to Bryan winning over all and Kevin will be fan favorite. This season of chefs are truly amazing. It is to the point where it rips your heart out every week. I agree with some of the bloggers where you see them helping each other even though it's a competition. They are a great bunch of people and fantastic to watch. I just get out the tissues out every wednesday night now. You will have to pull a rabbit out of the hat next year to top this season. But I am sure you will think of something. My favorite episode this year is when they served Joel Robuchon.

Bernice
Bernice

I was very happy to see Kevin win this and hope he wins the title of next Top Chef. I was also surprised because of the judges comments. Not one of them could have exactly executed what was needed for this challenge. However, they all did a great job. Once again Kevin showed his intelligence by knowing what he had to do, asking for help, and following through with a great finish. Bryan has also shown himself to be a good person by answering Kevin's questions. On the other hand, I've had enough of Michael's comments. It was also good to see Jen rally and do well. I totally disagree with the person who has said that Kevin is becoming arrogant. I have not seen one little bit of that. We have Michael and Bryan telling us all how good they are and how much more they know than everyone else, all the time. Geez, if that is so, why are they not winning everything? Kevin has shown intelligence. Kevin has shown versatility. Kevin has been a gentleman. Kevin has been constantly praised has having flavorful food. Gee, flavorful food...maybe that should be highest on the list for a cooking competition ! Good Luck, Kevin And, thank you Tom for your informative blog.

pastrygurl
pastrygurl

Kudos to Byran and Jen. Kevin should share some of his prize money with Byran. The dude didn't know how to suvee. Personally, I think Byran should have been chosen over Kevin to compete in the 2010 Bocuse d'Or.

KathyO
KathyO

I quite enjoyed this episode! I had never heard of this competition so I'm glad they partnered with Top Chef to raise the profile of the competition and to take the individual challenges to a new level.

Bryan helping Kevin, Jen helping Bryan... Professionalism at its best. This season is just pure fun to watch because it's about cooking...

Dave from Phoenix
Dave from Phoenix

It seems that over the 6 seasons your focus has gently migrated from a typical reality show formula (focus on unusual personalities and interpersonal drama) to more of a focus on finding and showcasing great young chefs. I can't remember any other episode from any season where your compliments just before announcing "pack your knives and go" seemed so sincere and heartfelt in the praise you lavished on all 5 chefs. I sincerely hope that your focus more on food and and less on drama doesn't kill viewership; instead I hope your viewers appreciate the smart show you offer and the mental stimulus I feel each week. I for one am a bigger fan today than ever. Bravo!

LynnNChicago
LynnNChicago

Michael is really taking a beating for being "cocky" but he is very tame in comparison to some past contestants, he certainly hasn't had nearly as many confrontations with fellow contestants as some have, (Marcel for example)

Yes, Kevin is talented and seems to be a very nice person, but did you all miss his little "plug" of himself noting that he had also been nominated for an award that the guest judge had won? He can be a little over-confident at times too, helped along by the judges awarding him wins.

I understand, viewers can't taste the food we can only base our opinions on what the judges state. Still, I think Bryan should have been awarded the win last week.

Keval
Keval

I love this show and find Tom's blog extremely helpful in parsing out why the judges make their decisions. I felt the winner of the last challenge Kevin, who I think is very deserving of his wins, once again showed why he won because of his food, That being said, the prizes were almost an embarrassment of riches. I would have preferred to see Bryan, whose food I thought exemplified the challenge in spite of the fact he needed more time, have been the chef who was afforded the opportunity to be a member of the Bocuse D'Or team and Kevin could have taken home the 30K. Sadly Jen, who I was a big fan of in the beginning has really lost traction and deserves to go home. The final 3 should be the V brothers and Kevin. As obnoxiously as they have portrayed Michael he is an interesting and innovative chef. We all should take into consideration that this is TV and the producers have something to say about the personalities.

Kenneth
Kenneth

Tom--excellent blog, it provided good insight and background into the various aspects of this episode. I found myself wondering why Tom Keller didn't participate in the judging and was pleasantly surprised by the reason you provided.

You also provided nice commentary on Kevin's offerings and why he won. I'm very glad to see that Kevin is able to win in a variety of settings while remaining true to his food style, even if Michael Voltaggio dimisses his technique as appropriate only for days off. I wonder what Michael V thinks now of Kevin's skills. Kevin continues to prove that taste trumps technique. I'm also impressed that Kevin was able to learn and fairly master a new technique for the contest, showing he is not only skilled and intelligent, but is able to elevate his techniques as each contest and competition demands.

LuckyL
LuckyL

Best episode! After reading your blog explaining in detail of Bocuse d’Or, I now feel that Bryan ought to win this competition. Kevin is a great chef and no doubt he cooks delicious food; however, all of the final cheftestants are able to cook delicious meals. But to accomplish the Bocuse d’Or competition requirements, Kevin’s simple approach should be disqualified. Of course, I don’t think he should be eliminated as he deserves to be the final two.

Chubs
Chubs

I just want to give huge Props to Bryan & Jen for helping out their fellow team mates. I think they showed some true sportsmanship.

Sherri L
Sherri L

I love this show and the seasons top 4-5. I am enjoying it so much I don't want it to end. I can't even imagine how difficult this will be for the judges. I get the feeling you really like/respect this group.

Kevin has always been my favorite. The guy is a sweetheart and very smart but I think Bryan may take this thing and Kevin will be the runner-up. It' all good with me either way. Not that that matters.

Pimenton
Pimenton

Chef,

Thanks for the insight, as always, about parts of the chef world that most of us don't see, in addition to what happened in the episode. It was great to see the mutual respect all of the chefs have for each other. I know it's a competition, but I think it makes for better television to see them helping each other out with technique and in the kitchen. Great to see Jen get her game face back and great to see Kevin keep winning with food that is clearly his. I love learning tidbits of cooking history from the blog - I'd love to see more of it on the show. Keep up the great work on the show and the blog. It's very clear the judges have been getting it right in narrowing it down to this group of five, then this final four.

sbh1cats
sbh1cats

it kills me how derogatory and critical so many of these people are in the post...if you don't enjoy the show, don't watch it and quit whining when they don't do things the way you think they should be done...obviously, the posters aren't at the top of their profession or they would be on the show themselves...sounds like a lot of bitter grapes around here

Gabor
Gabor

Tom wrote:

"cauliflower is not a Mediterranean vegetable"

This statement is not true. Cauliflower originated in the Northeast Mediterranean and is a highly valued vegetable in Italian, Balkan, Greek, and Turkish cooking.

leelikes
leelikes

Tom,

Wow, your blogs are so unbelievable this year. So much more information and insight. As far as the drama, Bravo!, Bravo. So glad you dropped that business (one might think you listened to the comments). This season ,it just seems to be the usual troubles that accompany a large group of people living together and competing (this one can live with). This is what we watch the show for, cooking and seeing future talented chefs that will make a name for themselves and make this a better world to live in and eat in.

That being said, wonderful challenge. I myself had not heard of this competition, once again great season you are introducing so many new and interesting challenges and test of chefs this year.

You almost lost me as a viewer last season but I decided to give your team another chance, glad I did.

You could not have ended up with better chefs in the finale. I have butterflies and total impatience waiting for the next show.

Keep Toby on next season, last year I was not sure about him, but he has stepped us him game, lost some of his painful sarcasm and has ended up delivering much needed humour into this competition.

Keep up the good work and please, please pick the same level of chefcontestants next season.

Can't even wait for the finale.