Competition does funny things to people. It's the reason why a talented athlete reaches for steroids, or a stockbroker solicits insider information. Everyone feels they need an edge, and they're willing to bend the rules to get it for themselves. But consider this -- what if one of the kids had a serious medical condition requiring strict adherence to the calorie limit? The camp trusted us to deliver exactly what we promised -- a 500 calorie meal. There is a concept known as "truth-in-menu" and it is an unwritten bond between chef and consumer that what they order is what they'll get (it also applies higher up on the supply chain -- when I pay a premium for fresh produce I trust the farmer or fisherman is really giving me the goods). Years ago, a waiter at Gramercy Tavern was asked by a guest if a soup on our menu was strictly vegetarian. The waiter, no doubt feeling lazy, never checked. "Sure," he said. The guest, it turns out, was seriously allergic to the chicken stock in the soup's base, and ended up in the emergency room. The waiter, once I learned this, ended up out on his a**.
Guests at my restaurants trust me, and I, in turn, trust my staff to help me keep this bond intact. That's a rule I'm just not willing to break. Tom p.s. In answer to the many folks on our boards who wrote in asking why Emily was sent home in last week's challenge, instead of Mike -- the answer is fairly simple. As judges, we're not always privy to the attitude or unseen work habits of the chefs until we watch the completed episodes, just like our viewers. For that reason, we make our decisions based on the food. And while Mike's steak sandwich was clearly a mess, it was at least edible. Emily's dish was so heavily salted that it wasn't. For that reason, despite Mike's sloppiness and poor attitude, Emily was the one to go.