Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio explains how Jamie could've gotten her first Elimination win.

on Dec 10, 2008

This challenge involved cooking for Gail Simmons' bridal shower. While that was a noble reason to cook and a beautiful affair, many of our chefs were overly concerned with the fact that they were cooking for a bridal shower, when, in fact, that was a red herring: The important thing was to use the theme they had drawn (old, new, borrowed or blue) and simply make good food. (I was also surprised to hear how often people mentioned the fact that they were cooking for 45 guests. This number should not rattle a chef.)

OK, the "Blue" team had it the toughest conceptually. There is no such thing as blue food (even Hubbard Squash, which is as blue as food gets on the outside, has orange flesh on the inside). The team came up with a good idea - the deep blue sea - but then didn't follow it through particularly well. Chilean Sea Bass was a terrible choice. Aside from not being associated with blue water, the Patagonia Toothfish (it's real name) is one that nobody should ever use, as it's been fished out and is endangered (for more about that, you can check out Hooked: Pirates, Poaching and the Perfect Fish, by G. Bruce Knecht). Even if it weren't an ethical gaffe, this fish is never fresh, but always arrives at the store frozen and is defrosted there. Choice of fish aside, the dish itself just wasn't very good. The whole thing was very pedestrian. Between the very soft fish, the crust that wasn't crisp, and the corn sauce, there was no texture in the dish at all. The team could have done something dynamic and interesting with the deep blue sea concept, but they just didn't. It was a boring dish.