Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio talks about making food on the fly.

on Dec 15, 20080

Harold was a case in point - he decided on a dish that would actually improve due to refrigeration (turning that obstacle into an advantage) and wouldn't suffer from reheating. His Thai soup was delicious. And by choosing Escolar, a fish with a nice, high fat content, Tiffani made sure her dish would reheat well without drying out. Despite suffering from the flu and a high fever, she threw herself into the challenge with characteristic focus and intelligence, and even managed to charm her guests, so I guess my words to her last week actually had an effect. Others didn't fare so well. I was genuinely surprised at Lisa's dried-out, overly-herbaceous chicken breast. Chicken breast is quick to cross that line between cooked well and over-cooked, so reheating it can be a disaster. Its mild flavor requires judicious seasoning and a light hand with dried herbs, which can taste medicinal if overused. And Lisa's timidity in the kitchen (she complained of not being able to get to the equipment she needed) was a poor excuse. While I really like and admire Lisa, I expected better. Stephen correctly assumed that the microwave would steam his dish nicely in its banana-leaf wrapper, but the proportions were off -- too much masa left his "fusion tamale" dry, and there was waaaay too much fusion fusing in that one little dish (Japanese shiso leaf with Mexican seasoning?). And once again, his typical condescension didn't go over well with his audience. Stephen seems to be missing a crucial bit of emotional intuitiveness, which could ultimately cost him despite his talent.

And Candice...where to begin? Eggs, the main ingredient in a quiche, overcook in an instant on the stove. In a microwave? Forget it. But the biggest problem was that of the crust. Baked goods don't hold up to microwaving, as even most novices know. Candice tried to say she was "taking a chance" with her quiche, as though it was an act of culinary daring. But she wasn't taking a chance with microwaveable quiche - she was simply making a bad choice. Candice wants to be taken seriously as a chef, but she is often the first person to point out her own youth and inexperience, unconsciously begging a 'pass' from her diners. Sorry, can't have it both ways. Thanks to our readers for their patience with punctuation and other typographical errors; While our blogs have been carefully edited for errors, transferring to HTML can cause character changes or lost punctuation. Bravo is working to correct the problem.