Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio dishes on Ted Allen's book party.

on Dec 15, 2008

Andrea, characteristically, stepped in to help, but Miguel's disorganized thinking and panicked response showed him to be a potential liability one day in his own kitchen. I was also underwhelmed by Miguel's inability to learn the name of his cheese - it was the central ingredient in the dish! Nerves or no nerves, I feel a Chef should be knowledgeable about the food he is serving.

Despite her kindness, I also had a problem with Andrea's performance. She complained that latkes "aren't my scene" because she likes to make healthy food - but what is inherently unhealthy about potatoes, smoked scallops and caviar? If frying pancakes was her issue, Andrea could have found a way to interpret the ingredients according to her own taste and inclination. For example, she could have cooked the potatoes with a small amount of broth or water, sea salt and fresh herbs to make a chunky soup - a modern take on vicchysois - folded in the scallops and finished the dish with a dollop of creme fraiche and caviar, for a healthy twist on the ingredients she inherited. Instead, resigned to Miguel's vision, she served a lackluster dish of cold potato latkes piled with scallops and caviar.

Dave's John Dory poached in Court Bouillon (a classic fish poaching broth made from water, vegetables and vinegar) wasn't terrible but it tasted as though all the components had been cooked separately -- they never coalesced into a real dish.