Tom Colicchio

Tom talks comfort food, high-end cuisine, and of course, Marcel.

on Nov 1, 2006

Carlos' dish of chicken-fried shrimp with corn, red pepper and lime was also good, but in the oppressive heat, it was starting to get hard to appreciate the heavier, fried dishes. Same goes for Mia's meatloaf sandwich with spicy ketchup relish. Good, but better suited to a cold, winter day. Marisa made dessert, where she is most comfortable. And while it wasn't bad, the dish had an unwelcome busy-ness to it; strawberry crisp with pecan-streusel topping, caramel sauce, vanilla whipped cream. There are plenty of people who think a dish is better if it trumpets a long list of ingredients, but I'm not one of them. There was a certain irony to the fact that Betty, like her nemesis Marcel, faced equipment issues. In her case, the griddle lacked heat, so she ultimately switched her grilled cheese sandwiches to saute pans, finishing them with only seconds to spare. Marcel deliberately tried to mess with her head, but Betty had the support of the rest of the chefs who cheered her on, right down to the wire. Her grilled cheese with portabellas and red pepper soup put an adult spin on a childhood classic (grilled cheese and tomato soup) and the flavors were clean and good. Because Betty didn't consider the challenge beneath her, her choices were exuberant, innovative, and they hit just the right midpoint between comforting and healthy. I'm not sure that she taught the molecular gastronomists anything, but as far as I can see, the brass at TGIFriday's could not care less.