Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio was alarmed by the chefs' excuses for not being able to bake or grill.

on Jun 30, 20100

I’m sitting on a train heading in the wrong direction – away from home – and I’m going to try my best not to sound testy. As you’ve also just watched the episode though, I’m sure you won’t fault me if I do. In this week’s challenges, the chefs were asked to perform two tasks that home cooks around the country do deftly on a regular basis, i.e., bake a pie and grill something. Watching the episode, I was amazed to hear mutterings of “I’m not a pastry chef” and “I’m not a grill chef.” The line of the week goes to guest judge Johnny Iuzzini for replying to Amanda, “I think it’s kind of a cop-out to say you’re not a pastry chef. My grandmother’s not a pastry chef either, and she can make a pie.”

Exactly. The French term for your basic pie crust is “pate brisee.” It requires flour, water, butter, and salt; that’s it. It’s the easiest thing in the world to make – all you need to know is the ratio and the temperatures (cold butter, ice water). The dough is incredibly versatile, lending itself both to savory and sweet pies, tarts, quiches, and the like. It does not require exact measurements – there are plenty of pastry chefs who make this dough without measuring out the ingredients. I am amazed, frankly, that any chef would arrive to compete in a season of Top Chef without knowing how to whip up a quick pate brisee, as it is not unlikely the chefs would be called upon to use one some way or other. So I was disappointed to hear “I’m not a pastry chef” and see so many of our chefs freeze up and flame out.

And then came the picnic. Where many of our chefs – including our winning chef – showed themselves “not to be grill chefs." I fear that many good chefs aren’t necessarily good cooks. They may do well with administering their own kitchens and may even generate good food from within that comfort zone, but take them out of their kitchens and away from their recipes and they’re lost. We shall see, as this season plays out....

In Think Like a Chef, I tell of a watershed event in my life: To briefly recount that story, I was at my family’s swim club one summer day when I was approximately 10 years old, and after a day of swimming I found myself good and hungry. My father had brought along several club steaks, and had heated the grill but not yet cooked the steaks. I couldn’t wait. I popped one on the grill and, when it seemed adequately cooked, I popped it back off and ate a bite. It was the first time I’d eaten something that hadn’t yet been seasoned and cooked for me, and I was surprised that it wasn’t up to steak’s usual delicious standards. I realized that something was missing … it needed salt. I added some and tasted another bite – and that same steak was suddenly really good. I added a drop more, and wow! It was great! I cooked another and then another, experimenting with the level of seasoning, discovering the fine line between bland and tasty, between flavorful and overly salty. I came out of my reverie to face an angry family: I’d singlehandedly cooked and eaten all the steaks.

68 comments
NoCookie
NoCookie

In every season we hear the cheftestants say "this type of dish is beneath me." If you're a chef you should be able to cook anything and with anything, from junk food to desserts to grilling. If they can't, they shouldn't be there. And if they think anything is beneath them then they clearly forget about their humble beginnings and about who might be watching the show. Anyone who makes that statement should be called out on it. So far this season I have no favorite and that says something about the quality of chefs as by this time I am cheering someone on. Most episodes I am usually hoping someone in particular is elinimated! I'm sorry Arnold was eliminated because LynnE undercooked her pasta and didn't own up to it.

Mary Alderman
Mary Alderman

I agree with Johnny Iuzzini's comment. I am not a chef by any stretch of the imagination and I can make a pie. I don't think desserts are the "kiss of death" that these guys seem to think either. It just takes a little time and planning. Actually that's my favorite thing to cook. I think a dessert challenge would be in order.

Manda87
Manda87

I know this post is a little late, but I completely agree with Tom Coliccio on the contestants lack of pastry skills. I have often wondered about this in each season of Top Chef. Most of the contestants are either owners of their own restaurants or they are the executive chef, or sous chef. I am almost positive that they have an executive pastry chef that they work with on a daily basis or have worked with in the past. Why on earth would you come to compete on TOP CHEF withOUT some basic pastry recipes, which they could easily get from their pastry chef friend/co-worker. I also find it to be quite comical that every season has the same results to pastry quick-fires and or eliminations. Being a pastry chef myself, I find it difficult to understand. It's like an elephant being afraid of a mouse.

DaveM
DaveM

I agree with all the posts that this season's contestants are less than memorable. I don't see a single one that I would like to work alongside of, let alone answer to as the chef. And to 'Top Chef Fan,' how can you trust the flavor of the food cooked by someone who smokes? Yuuuccch! (Anthony Bourdain included! - just look at some of the trash he eats on his show on another network.)

Salty
Salty

All I can do is shake my head. Great chef that can't cook? That just doesn't happen.

Viewer3435
Viewer3435

I love the steak story! At around the same age I once got chewed out bigtime by my parents after I went crazy sampling the melted cheese and sauce topping thrEE loaf pans of lasagna in the oven...

You and Padma are great on the show. So far this season the chefs are not impressive. And ITA with all the other posters, seeing a bunch of people puff puff puffing away constantly is kinda gross.

morango
morango

"Im just tired of Andrea saying she was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs.” Its getting old an we all know it now she has said it on every episode"

You know, when I heard that last night it definitely sounded like it was edited in from an old interview. If it's still on your DVR, rewatch it... her voice is a little lower and slower for 5 seconds, then back to normal. The magic of television.

Del Tinsley
Del Tinsley

I can't belive Arnold is out because he was teamed w/ someone who hadn't cooked in, what? Six years? He kept telling her to cook the pasta.

You're losing good chefs by "teaming" them w/ bad ones. You're not getting the TOP CHEF out of the group.

lynnR42168
lynnR42168

I love the top chef show. I watch every season. But, the last elem. when Tracy was sent home hurt my heart. I think Tom you had already decided to send Tracy home why did you have to hurt her fellings so badly. You are one of my frav. chefs and for you to be so mean to her really made you look kinda bad and I didn't really want to watch the rest of the season. I understand you have a job to do but you don't half to make yourself look so damn superior and cold. I think these chefs that come on your show want your appro. and your feedback on their food they don't want to hear how stupid you think they are, or how they need to be more traveled you think they should be. I'm sorry but some of use can't afford to go to the places you are priv. to be able to go to. I know you worked hard to get were you are at but, You don't need to step on peoples backs on the way there. Sorry but I thought you should know how bad you looked on that pertic. show.

sincerely yours Sarah Lynn Roberts

BravoSandy
BravoSandy

Is this suddenly an American Lung Association targeted board, or what? People in the hospitality industry smoke. Whether they should or not is another story entirely, yet people should be very aware of this fact if so many are actually in the industry.

Also think people should read the bios on these chefs. Their pedigree is pretty close to last year's.

Danika3457
Danika3457

Im just tired of Andrea saying she was named one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs.” Its getting old an we all know it now she has said it on every episode

Teresa in Michigan
Teresa in Michigan

I have been watching TC since the beginning and it is my favorite show. Loved Las Vegas, TC Chicago was probably my favorite, maybe because I actually met Stephanie at our public library.

There seems to be a lot of emphasis on desserts, and I am assuming it's because of the new show Gail will be hosting Just Desserts? I figured something like that would come out as it seems to be the downfall of most chefs.

I have to agree with most of the comments about the quality and nature of the chefs. Whiny, back stabbing, (is this The Real Chefs of DC or Top Chef?)and basic cooking skills seem to be lacking. I'm not a chef, I don't pretend to be one, but I sure can make a pie.

It will be a very difficult decision to make in the end. Mostly because I don't think anyone is very good, so in my opinion it's going to come down to who sucked the least. Sad. Where's Hung? Dale? CJ?

t

mokc
mokc

I cant believe you guys let angelo throw that last challenge just because he has immunity. Peanut butter on celery for kids, you have to be joking. He should have lost his immunity and been on the chopping block. Maybe Tom and Padma should have them lose their immunities when they cheat and throw a challenge, it would make the show that much better.

Pavlova
Pavlova

To Kelleigh:

Linda Garrett's comment was in response to Rayne who said, "I'm just hoping that maybe this year we could have an African-American win the title. But it seems the way Tom is critizing all their dishes, we won't. I see in a few weeks them being eliminated one by one."

Rayne's comment suggests that the criticism leveled at the minority chefs shows a racial bias. That kind of accusation is unjust.

mama
mama

I was shocked at so many of the chefs not knowing how to make a simple pie crust! And they complained about it! Who doesn't know how to make a pie crust!?!?!?!? I wanted to eliminate every chef who whined about that, if you don't know the basics then why would I ever want to eat your food.

RedSoxFan88
RedSoxFan88

Tom,

I hope you read the riot act to Amanda about her behavior in this show, regarding her taking Alex's stuff out of "her" oven. When you have 16 contestants and 8 ovens, why would anyone believe they could "claim" one exclusively for their own? And, in my opinion, deliberately messing with another chef's cooking ought to result in immediate dismissal.

And her excuses? "We always claimed ovens"? Where? and "Prison rules"????? You gotta be kidding me.

I sincerely hope that if she did anything like that again, you sent her packing. I know that no matter how good her ribs might be, she's missing some qualities that are vital for a Top Chef to have.

sjpeeples
sjpeeples

Would somebody please ask Michael Voltaggio to slow down when he does video of a recipe. It's impossible to keep up with him.

FLMM
FLMM

I'm rooting for Kenny or Tim (even though I'm a white southern conservative, Rayne, imagine that!), but overall a really weak bunch this year. Last year, you could tell within a few weeks that it was a really great group of chefs. This year, and maybe it's because of the specific challenges, the chefs haven't really impressed anyone (judging from the comments). Angelo seems like an older Marcel. Kenny has some crazy skills, is bold, and has an aggressiveness that should take him far. I like hometown Tim though, and hope he gains the confidence to win, but I don't think he's as technically skilled as the Angelo or Kenny.

Daria
Daria

Tom, I just recently discovered your blogs and I have read everything. You are a joy! I have enjoyed you on the show - your professionalism, your kindness, your honesty - everything about you is very real. NOW, your blogs!!! I love reading them! I enjoyed your 10-yr old grilling story! Thank you for a wonderful show and a wonderful blog. One day, I'd love to try your restaurant!!

Girl Chef
Girl Chef

Tom:

Love your blog! However I have to tell you that I'm a little unimpressed with this seasons cheftestants.

Some of the dishes they have made are some of the things I've made in my first year of culinary school. And coming off such a strong season such as last year, I would have thought that this season would have surpassed that, sadly it hasn't.

I was super excited to see that it was filmed right here in my back yard of DC. I just hope that we get so see some of the great chefs we have here in DC.

Oh and Rayne, do you really need to put the race card into play here? The fact that there are black chefs this season is irrelevant. They all made it to the show based on their skill set, not the color of their skin.

Dave NY
Dave NY

This seasons Chefs seem to be a big group of also ran's...Last season had exciting vibrant motivated chefs who made some fantastic looking dishes. This group reminds me of the type of chefs that are on Hells kitchen...Fast food chefs..what a disappointment to wait all year for the new season and then have this bunch arrive...I believe it was Kevin who said last season that none of the chefs would want to win because their opponent had messed up or lost on a technicality, these guys are already resorting to shady deals and throwing challenges just to get ahead. The winner of this season should just walk away and say thanks for the 15 minutes of fame...I don't think you will ever hear anything from any of these COOKS....except maybe an autograph signing at the new local fast food joint...although I'm not sure who would want an autograph from any of these zeros! what a shame, hopefully we will have better luck with Just Desserts!!!

BallardBelle
BallardBelle

I am always annoyed when ANYONE on this show says they are not a "pastry chef" or "such n such" type of chef.

I propose the next person who says that, get slapped upside the head with a fresh fish and sent packin'!

Viewer123456
Viewer123456

Tom, I loved the look of Arnolds corn salad for the cafeteria challenge so much that i got the recipe off your site. As i was making it i was thinking man.. that is a lot of limes and juice so i cut it in half.( 3 rather than 6) After tasting the dish i realized that maybe it was not cut down to size. MAYBE the 6 limes was to feed 200 kids.. because the final product was terrible i was so upset. All i could taste was LIME! how is it that you guys loved this dish.. i did all the other ingredients and procedures exactly the way the recipe called for. My opinion, way less lime more cilantro..

obvious
obvious

I'm happy with all of the "cuts" so far . Goofy dreadlock guy and his maple mousse . Jacqueline and her 2 pounds of sugar in her dessert and unstrained liver mousse. If Tracy was voted one of the top 25 chefs in Atlanta then the state of cusuine there must be in shambles . Chicken burger for the school lunch ? Sausage burger for the cookout ? Clarivoyant huh ? I wonder if she was able to predict her own demise. These shows early on have a way of leading to the next obvious cut . Steven and Tim keep hitting bottom . If it continues then both sould be gone by the next show . (they did say 2 cuts next show , right ?)

Emily D
Emily D

Hi Tom, Thanks for the grilling story! I also wonder how is it that many of these chefs freeze up when it comes to pastries and/or any kind of dessert? I miss some of the antics from early seasons of Top Chef - loved season 3 with Dale, Casey, Brian, seems like they had more fun! Actually I think it's getting way more serious although Jen was a hoot last seen, and Stephanie previously. I also miss the dramatics of Dave from (was it season 2???)

Anyway looking forward to a great new season of TC - wondering if Angelo is going to be just like Marcel????

AWOFA
AWOFA

I love Top Chef and have watched it since day one. I must say, I am sorely disappointed in this season's contestants. No one jumps out at me with the creative ingenuity that says "Taste my food- i will blow you away". I also question the state of their palates as many of them smoke which does lend itself to "dull taste buds" if you will. Do they not taste their product before serving? I was shocked when i saw the fish wrapped in bacon--- what was he thinking? And you were absolutely correct in sending Tracy home-- it was a disgrace to Italian cuisine. I give you and the other judges credit for enduring one culinary disaster after another. With all due respect, I hope none of you suffered food poisoning this season. Best wishes to all.

Elizabeth Megan
Elizabeth Megan

Hi Tom,

Top Chef is my absolute favorite show but I could almost never try any of the recipes on it. Why? Because like some other viewers mentioned - salt. I was diagnosed with kidney disease two years ago and had to change my diet. Like you, I loved salt. If I had the choice between salty and sweet - salty always won. Now, I have to have a very low sodium, low protein diet. How about a challenge that addresses this?

Thanks.

Sherry in CA
Sherry in CA

I'm a long time viewer of TC. Chef Colicchio, thank you for the insight and techniques you share. I've learned a great deal from your comments. I want to echo the concerns expressed about this season. DC has been very disappointing. The chefs are not memorable. Many dishes have been poorly made or bizarre (Sherry in a school lunch should have been scratched immediately; the dish was embarassing). There are many fine chefs in the world. TC should be the cream of the crop. We've seen frozen dough, poorly made rice and beans, no thickener in fruit pie filling, undercooked bacon, undercooked sausage, mealy tomatoes, 2 lbs of sugar in pudding, and a ton of very bad excuses from the chefs. Based on previews of next week, canned beans will also be used. These are TC contenders? As Gail Simmons mentioned during judges' table, step it up! Usually I'm excited by the creativity and skill showcased on TC. LV was an absolutely stellar season for TC. There's no reason that DC should be terrible. I hope the level of competition improves.

mzsej
mzsej

are the contestants interviewed/reviewed before they are selected for the show? yes, i agree that they should have basic skills, which i think you should verify before you hire them.

rfbogart
rfbogart

Hey Tom why did you and the editors at Bravo choose to edit out Andrea from the show. She seems like a strong competitor but you guys felt it necessary to leave her on the cutting room floor??

Smoking?
Smoking?

Tom,

I'm wondering if you can comment on the number of chefs shown smoking. Doesn't smoking harm the palette? I would think this would be the worst thing a chef could do to themselves? What are your thoughts on this? I'm kind of appalled.

Thanks!

hubert harriman
hubert harriman

I enjoy the Top Chef shows very much but one thing really disturbs me. WHY are so many of the young chefs featured smoking cigarettes? I find it very distasteful and can't think of any logical reason for doing it except that the show's producers may have been bribed by the cigarette companies to do this. I hope that you can prevail on them to stop this in the future. I'm not a prude and am a former smoker - this just doesn't make any sense!

Medically minded
Medically minded

Tom, I can appreciate that seasoning is very important. However, I hope that you and the other TC judges will take to heart the idea of a low-sodium challenge. High sodium diets are a major contributor to increased blood pressure, which in turn leads to a higher risk of stroke - cutting salt early can save brain tissue later.

Maryanne M.
Maryanne M.

After 6 seasons, I cannot believe that these guys are still pulling the "I'm not a pastry/desert/whatever chef. You know that at some point someone is going to have to make a desert or a pastry crust or something.

Be smart and have a few recipes under your belt when you get to the Top Cheg kitchen guys . . . sheeez

Pam in Charleston
Pam in Charleston

Well I for one don't mind the scenes showing the chefs smoking, mainly because that IS how it is in real life. If anyone has ever worked in a professional kitchen you'll know that more often than not the staff is smoking. Why? I have no idea, I think most people realize now that smoking is detrimental to your health. I think it has something to do with the stress level though, and maybe more Type A personalities are chefs than Type B?

At any rate, keep on keeping it real TC. Those of us that know, also KNOW, that smoking is going on behind the scenes in most kitchens!

Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon

I was really looking forward to Top Chef in D.C. as I'm from the area--actually literally next door to Mount Vernon. So far, I'm really not enjoying it very much. What the heck happened?

#1. The chefs don't seem all that good. I see that I am not the only one who has noticed. Or are we all spoiled from last season? BTW, are these not the most back-stabbing, whiny, snotty jerks ever assembled on one show? Not only is there no stand-out cooking-wise, but there is no stand-out personality wise, either. Nobody to root for, so far.

#2. What's with all the smoking? Gross! How can a chef--who depends so much on his/her palate, sense of taste and sense of smell, piss it all away by smoking?

#3. Chilean Sea Bass? Are you freaking kidding me? What happened to promoting sustainability? Did no one pay attention to that show? And then, adding insult to injury, the chef totally ruins it?

But thanks for introducing your viewers to D.C. and Mount Vernon in the Spring. And yes, it really does look that good. George says hi and come for a visit.

Sue0627
Sue0627

I am a fan, however, I must say that so far I am not impressed. In the past I already had at least one chef I was rooting for, not so this time around. I don't see the talent that has been there before. I shall watch with interest.

Sue0627
Sue0627

I am a fan, however, I must say that so far I am not impressed. In the past I already had at least one chef I was rooting for, not so this time around. I don't see the talent that has been there before. I shall watch with interest.

Denise in LA
Denise in LA

I have to agree with a lot of my fellow viewers. This year's contestants, with a few exceptions, don't seem to have the level of skill and discipline as past years. I'm not a Chef, but I have worked back of house at several restaurants, I've opened three, owned one, and I frequently jump on the line when my chefs need a hand at the events I now produce. Even I know how to make a basic pie crust, and I know to season food before it hits the grill, and how not to under cook fish. I'm really hoping that the chaff and the wheat are separated quickly, so the Chefs with real skill can compete at a the level I've come to expect from Top Chef. Have a great holiday weekend, Chef!

vics02
vics02

Speaking of whiners, why complain about watching people smoke? Is someone worried about catching it from a smoker in the kitchen? I suspect this is a set-up to inform them how evil smoking is and how it ruins your sense of taste. Fair enough. But my goodness when you think of all the antics we have seen over the last few years this is nothing. I like the group, and I enjoy seeing food that is something I might actually cook.

Kelleigh
Kelleigh

In Response to Linda Garrett,

I am a Black American and I hope the best chef wins period...regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. I endeavor to become a better cook and love watching so many talented people compete week after week. It is amazing.

Who you cheer for is one thing, we all have our favorites for different reasons, but at the end of the day, the best and most talented should (hopefully) win. Last season's final three was amazing. And even though Kevin was from the ATL (my hometown), I was cheering for Michael all the way because he clearly was an amazing, fearless chef.

Happy 4th all!

Top Chef Fan
Top Chef Fan

Seriously? Top Chef is cooking contest, not a morality show. If you don't want to see people smoking, then don't watch. ( I don't smoke, by the way).

I do feel that this group of chefs is not up to par with the other chefs in past shows, but maybe they haven't gotten into the groove yet.

Striped Spinach
Striped Spinach

My heart jumped a little when Jonathan Waxman appeared for the Elimination Challenge. Then it jumped out of my chest and straight to the TV when Bryan Voltaggio briefly flashed in the previews.

Like many viewers, I miss S6 and its Fab Four. But I'm confident that the show/cheftestants will get better this season once the kitchen gets less crowdy. Next week's double elimination sounds like a good plan.

And Tom, you seemed to have quite a voracious appetite for a little munchkin of 10. ;-)

Viewer12345
Viewer12345

I couldn't agree more with Tom - a great chef SHOULD include how to bake and grill. However, almost all the seasons I have watched, we as viewers have to hear "well, I am not a pastry/dessert chef" - like it is beneath ANY cook's dignity to bake a pie or any other dessert. I am not a cook by any means - in fact, I hate cooking for the most part. However, whenever I have guests at my place, I ALWAYS make certain that there is a dessert because I think everyone loves to eat something sweet after dinner - even if it is just ice cream on a hot day or a cookie or whatever - sure dessert is fattening and most of the dessert is not good for you, but to me dessert is We always got dessert when I was growing up and I have a hard time understanding why any of these chefs that have appeared on Top Chef find it beneath their dignity to make a dessert. Don't they serve it in their restaurants? Don't they serve it to their guests when they are entertaining? A lot of times, when I go out and the entree isn't any good, I almost always overlook it if the dessert is good (depending on if I order a dessert that day or not). As for grilling - again, don't most people grill at least once during summer? Even if they don't have an outdoor grill, most people can grill inside the house - Grilled food is generally good for you too. I can't cook but at least I grill quite a bit inside the house - chicken especially. I love the way grilled chicken tastes. I wish that Top Chef would require the chefs during the final episodes of the season to make a dessert. I also agree with another comment that it was unnecessary for Tom to roll his eyes when the chef apologized for offensive Italian cooking. It was quite rude too - she may have had a bad day and at least she apologized unlike most chefs in the past who would have taken offense to the statement.

Mike D
Mike D

Tom,

As with other loyal viewers, my family is really dissapointed in the group this season. We watch the show to see very high-caliber people take their cooking to another level through competition. The lack of professionalism and pure capability in this group is dramatically different than last year.

Your team has a big part in this. Your brief interviews with contestants highlighting their selfish and unprofessional attitudes is only telling everyone thats what you want. Your team's failure to quickly address the infighting and lack of professionalism shown by the bottom two teams during the school lunch program judges table was very dissapointing.

Is this your show or Chef Ramsey's?

We are big fans Tom, and expect more from you and your team.

kojiattwood
kojiattwood

"I'm just hoping that maybe this year we could have an African-American win the title. But it seems the way Tom is critizing all their dishes, we won't. I see in a few weeks them being eliminated one by one."

Yup, good thing Tom wasn't on the panel for Top Chef Masters this season otherwise Marcus Samuelssohn really would've been in trouble *rolls eyes*

Karen5671234
Karen5671234

Is it me or is this season more "reality TV" driven with emphasis on the rivalries between the chefs and catty comments? I don't know if this is being directed by the editors or camera men, but I don't like the format.

The older seasons of Top Chef emphasized and respected the food, and was about treating the food as an art. Please don't cheapen the show. I watch Hell's Kitchen when it's on, but I actively TiVo and yearn for Top Chef because it's so much better, as the chefs have been likeable and talented. Please don't lower the quality of Top Chef.

Competant Home Pastry Chef
Competant Home Pastry Chef

I am amazed, in a bad way, that every season the chefs come onto the show unable to bake some basic desserts. Didn't they do their homework, i.e. watch the previous seasons, and figure out that they would likely be called upon to make a dessert?

It was painful to watch them being called out by the guest judge for their failures, which, as he said, any reasonably competant home cook can do. I'm not a great pie baker, by any means, but I can make a reasonable crust and filling-- it doesn't even have to be a dough crust, they could have used ground nuts and pressed the dough into the pan. I always feel bad for the show's losing chef, but that blueberry disaster made me wish that they could send the Quick Fire loser home. She didn't know that you needed to use a thickener in your filling. What's up with that!

mmc
mmc

I'm certainly not a chef, I'm a cook but a good one.I say that with pride because I learned so much from my late Mother and then i went on to make up my own dishes while keeping hers too.The secret is seasoning and tasting as you go along.The only thing worse than underseasoned food is oversesoned food.That's why i season and taste.I'm not 100% perfect, but I like my own food too.Have a lovely holiday Tom...some day I'd like to see you on Top Chef Masters...if you can ever find the time!

Maegan Johnson
Maegan Johnson

Linda,

Is her hope of an African American chef winning any different from all the comments in seasons 2-4 about a women winning top chef? I can think of countless episodes when both contestants and judges remark on the lack of women in the cooking industry--and I think you find the same thing with minorities. I don't think it means that they don't think women and minorities are lacking in skill or talent, I think she was hoping that skillful and talented women and minority chefs are showcased as there seems to be less of them in the industry.