Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio describes judging with his culinary idols.

on Feb 15, 2009

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!