Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio describes judging with his culinary idols.

on Feb 15, 20090

Both Carla and Fabio kept it relatively simple, which is why they were successful. Carla could have done many things with the directive to make peas. She could have made a tortelloni, a sauce … it was nice to see her prepare her elements very simply and let them shine. By far, this is the best that not only she but all of the chefs cooked this season. I think this is because they had been given a direction: “Cook X, Y, and Z” and they didn’t have to think and overthink. Often, when there are parameters around a task and when you have to do less, you can actually focus on doing more, on doing a great job. This is not to say that I’m not a fan of complex food but when, as with this competition, you have to plate the food yourself, and you choose to get complex, there’s often just too much to do to get it all right. Here, the chefs had less components to be responsible for, and they were able to focus more on each and get it right.

…for the most part, that is. As for the bottom two dishes, Leah undercooked the egg and botched the hollandaise, essentially messing up both of the principal components of her dish. With Stefan’s dish, on the other hand, only the salmon was overcooked; everything else was really good. So the choice for elimination was clear.

We have our Final Four. On to New Orleans! I’m looking forward to a great finale, and may the best chef win!

8 comments
Tatiana from Hawaii
Tatiana from Hawaii

I like the way you judge, straight to the point. I've noticed this season Padma Lakshmi is more outspoken about her opinions, but somewhat sounds sassy.

Angela
Angela

I was happy for hosea and he worked very hard on the show in order to win.

I would like to see the show do one thing...as a child I learned about cooking from the Justin Wilson show...he was fun, entertaining and made me interested in cooking...it would be interesting to see the next group work with the Justin Wilson recipes to see if they can cook them in a way that honors Justin Wilson..

lynette
lynette

i agree with your post with the exception of acknowledging another great judge - Marcus Samuelsson. i'm sure if he didn't have the credentials, he wouldn't have been sitting at the table among other great chefs.

Robyn
Robyn

So--if Fabio HAD opted to go to the hospital, would you have THEN taken his broken finger in to consideration?

Viewer
Viewer

I must agree with "Confused".I too,am mystified, as to why Stefan didnt go when his fish was so badly overcooked.......and I dont remember anyone saying Leah's egg was underdone, but all of the judges agreed about the fish. Also , everyone, please stop mentioning Stefan's attitude! He is not cheating, and he even helped Carla win because he helped chuck her oysters. It isnt a popularity contest. Many cocky and arrogant people are top notch chefs (remember the look on Eric Ripert's face when Jamie said she didnt care for his dish during judge's table?).Hung was a pain too but he still won.

Jean
Jean

Thank goodness Leah finally got the boot. I'm sure she'll improve with age and experience, but her making it so far was almost entirely luck. Kind of like Spike making it so far last year. At least Leah didn't wear a bunch of ridiculous hats.

helen
helen

thank you for inviting jacques pepin. there is a purity about him and his life and cooking that shines. and i think this reflects the philosophy of top chef and tom colicchio as well. what is the difference between cook and chef to you?

Kimberla Jane
Kimberla Jane

I am so proud of Carla. Slow and steady wins the race. I think it takes real talent to make a vegetable special. I'm from the South and Southerners can make vegetables taste really special. I hope to see a more vegetable inspired quick fire challenges.