Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio weighs in on "Pea-gate."

on Jul 28, 20100

We will never know. Make no mistake: I care deeply about the integrity of this competition and consider it imperative that cheating be dealt with decisively. But the problem here is that we’ll never know which of the three possibilities actually transpired, and only one of the three possibilities actually involved foul play. And given that we can never know what happened, we need to move on. We can, in fact, move on without needing to belabor the issue because 1) Ed did not get disqualified, or even find himself on the bottom of the challenge. Quite the contrary, he found himself in the top three; and 2) Alex did not win the title of “Top Chef” on the merits of the pea puree in question. He won a single week’s challenge. As we saw with Arnold, one can win a challenge one week and be out of the game altogether in the week following. If it was Alex’s pea puree, then his mug deserves to sojourn on the wall of the Palm dining room.  The judge’s were quite taken with Alex’s pea puree, so if it were, however, Ed’s, perhaps it would have cinched the win for him, and perhaps Ed’s caricature would be peering out at future Palm diners. (When Gail said that the peas on Ed’s plate were superfluous, it’s because he served peas (not a new pea puree) that were not well made, and they were the weak link in an otherwise strong dish.) If Alex did pinch the puree, he’ll have to live with himself, which, if he prides himself as a chef, should gnaw at him over time and be penalty enough. Given that, as I wrote above, we’ll never know, we’ll have to leave it at that and move on. 

As for Andrea’s losing dish, when you use vanilla in a savory dish, the diner perceives the dish as sweet – even if the dish isn’t – because of the general association of sweetness with vanilla, and because of the frankly sweet smell vanilla has, which spills over to and affects one’s sense of taste. The dish could not support that overpowering essence of sweetness. It was so problematic as to have ruined the dish, even more so than Kelly’s oversalting of her beef ruined hers.

We’re half-way through with this season’s competition. From here on out, there will be less and less room for mistakes, and more and more need, I hope, to chose the best and worst dishes in each challenge from amidst all high-level offerings….

641 comments
starsia
starsia

Actually there's not three possibilities because as Alex says repeatedly he did not decide what to do with his dish till the second day and so if he had mistaken Ed's purée with his own then Alex's purée would still be around too. He either stole the purée or made his own perfect purée in a super short amount of time while Ed's just happened to also go missing. Plus Alex was told a few times that Ed was doing a pee purée. I'm annoyed with the producers for just letting him win. I'm sure there's enough video footage to go back over it and see at what point Alex is holding a finished purée. I'm pretty sure it was WAY to early on to make it himself. I never doubted the judges though. I can tell by your past decisions that had you known it never would have gone down like that.

kmom
kmom

Yes! I would also like to know if he was able to reproduce the puree?

BarbiQ
BarbiQ

I tasted Top Chef Season 7 contestant Alex Resnick's controversial Pea Puree this weekend at the 1st Annual Los Angeles Times Food & Wine Festival and there really wasn't much to it. Which kinda makes you wonder about the judges sophistica...ted pallets. Alex's Bacon Wrapped Date stuffed with Roquefort cheese was delicious, though you couldn't really taste the cheese.

This version of Alex's pea puree had an Uni Foam on top and was served cold. See More

Rose4ever
Rose4ever

I was very suspicious of Alex' behavior, especially after he mentioned he didn't know Ed was making a pea puree when it was clearly mentioned in the kitchen the night before by Kenny after Alex mentioned he wasn't sure what he would be making with his dish. I think he got desparate and in a moment of weakness took Ed's puree. He is a little spacy (loved the comments by the other chefs jokingly suggesting he may be an alien - Alex took it very well) but did he really have time to make a pea puree from scratch the next day (as suggested by his colleagues)? And the fact that he won because of "his" pea puree made his win totally unfair!

poptartfan
poptartfan

Better Than Bob Newhart!!! Watch the infamouos "Pea Puree" episode again. Every Time you hear someone say "Pea Puree" you must down a shot!!! This is best done when one doesn't have to get up early for work the next AM. Salut!!!!

Twiki
Twiki

"If Alex did pinch the puree, he’ll have to live with himself, which, if he prides himself as a chef, should gnaw at him over time and be penalty enough."

What a lame cop out. If he’s taking someone else’s work and passing it off as his own, he obviously doesn’t pride himself as a chef. The guilt is punishment enough? The problem with that sentiment is that people who cheat and steal don't generally feel bad about it. 90% of people who do bad things feel completely justified in their actions, so there is no guilt; only reward. So the only ones who suffer are the victim, the other participants, and the reputation of the "fair" competition itself.

No matter how many times you say it, there is no way anyone is going to believe that Bravo “can never know what happened.” There are cameras on these chefs almost 24/7, not to mention the additional miscellaneous production staff. How can you espouse the ridiculous notion that there is/was no footage of Alex prepping, cooking, packaging, packing, removing from the cooler a pea puree AND no footage of Ed leaving his behind or misplacing it (in previous seasons, they have shown footage of food left behind/lost by chefs sitting on shelves or counters more than once) AND no second puree ever found in either kitchen?

Jay Dee
Jay Dee

Ultimately the blame lies on Ed for not confronting Alex. Ed should have manned up and Alex should have been dismissed.

Dizzy17
Dizzy17

I agree with Lainey.

When Art Smith so dramatically praised the pea puree to Alex, I felt certain he and the other judges knew what had happened and wanted to see him squirm or sweat or both! Never heard a judge rave that much over any chef's puree of anything before. How much puree was on the judge's plate? a teaspoon? ... How good could a pea puree be? squished peas? I'm disappointed in Chef Tom. It IS YOUR business and your show. Just because Ed didn't come tell you doesn't mean it didn't happen. Now, I'm just going to always be suspicious. ~

(quote) 'wonderful pea puree. I could have eaten a whole bowl of it. It was absolutely delicious. It was simple yet had great flavor'..

Home Chef
Home Chef

One more comment about Alex, he claimed in the next episode that he did not find veal "cheeks" so he even told Tom he bought shanks but presented the dish as veal "cheeks". He is dishonest as well as perhaps had an ax to grind with Ed for not getting everything on the dish in the Hilton breakfast challenge. Not only is he a thief he is a bad liar and Bravo has it on taper but hides it! Perhaps the producers are embarrassed of their poor judgement considering how many good chefs they turned down for the competition. All the other "villains" at least knew how to cook their OWN dishes!!!!

Home Chef
Home Chef

It's very easy to catch Alex if he stole it. Simply ask him to produce the receipt from the store to see if there are peas on it! Everything is computerized so the evidence would be there if he actually did buy it. If he uses the lame excuse of losing the receipt, it would be no big deal to have the producers go back and have the store pull the reciepts for that register, day and time questioned. End of dilema!!! But the simple fact is we are still talking about it shows that I believe the producers know the truth but will not allow it to get out for drama reasons as well as not embarrassing the judges for calling him the winner of the challenge! Perhaps the viewers can demand to see the receipt!

Beating a dead pea
Beating a dead pea

The producers/cameramen know if Alex stole Ed's pea puree. I hope something more than Tom's lame "we might never know" is addressed at the reunion show. The episode was edited to clearly show that Alex stole it -- he was stirring his puree and then the camera cut to unpureed peas in another pot. Surely Ed looked in the fridge when they got back to the kitchen to see if he left his puree there. And really, who is going to dump Ed's puree? The only one I could see doing that would be a cameraman, to stoke the fire.

AnaR
AnaR

This is quite simple: Two of the three scenarios you lay out would have left some kind of evidence. If Alex decided to make his own pea puree (after hearing that Ed was making one, which still makes it a little shady and unoriginal) there should be clips showing him making this pea puree. If this is the case, whether he mistook Ed's pea puree for his own or not, there should have been another pea puree around the kitchen, which was never found. So, supposing that there was no foul play and Alex either made his own pea puree or mistakenly took Ed's thinking it was his own, the question remains, what happened to the other pea puree? We saw Ed making his pea puree but we weren't shown any clips of Alex making his, there was no second pea puree found in the kitchen, and besides the fact that Alex had less time to prepare the puree it was silky smooth and the clear star of the winning dish. It isn't that hard to disprove rumors when everything that happened in that kitchen was filmed. Just go through the footage. The lack of said evidence makes me think of only two possible scenarios: 1) Alex did in fact steal the pea puree and covered his tracks or 2) Bravo producers decided to purposely portray him as a thief to make top chef more interesting TV' to what extent they participated in this scenario would remain to be seen. In either case it is quite shameful and definitely stains the integrity of this competition.

Brad H.
Brad H.

And, how is he going to make it again for the restaurant in which his picture is to be hung? The Judge from the Palm will know it's not the same, and certainly that would be enough to keep it off the menu, and take down the picture.

Roe T.
Roe T.

All I have to say is have Alex remake the Pea Puree and see if tastes the same as what was judged.I'm sure he would know exactly what made it so special.If he can't then it wasn't his.

TruthBeTold
TruthBeTold

I stopped watching after Kenny was sent home and Alex (the pea thief) was allowed to stay after not doing a damn thing.

jackfrost22
jackfrost22

I for one am quite surprised there is not video evidence proving or disproving this. Where's the footage of Alex pureeing his own peas? Where's the footage of Alex stealing Ed's instead? With as many cameras as there are in the kitchen, I find it bordering unbelievable that none of this was caught on film.

long time viewer
long time viewer

Tom, maybe the solution is that in the future the producers will alert the judges to any questions of impropriety. For now, everyone in the US thinks Alex is a pea-puree thief. He might have won a challenge but (hopefully) he's ruined any chance of Top Chef helping his image.

For what it's worth, I think Ed didn't say anything because he isn't a confrontational person. Some people just have too much manners to stick up for themselves.

I look forward to perhaps seeing a few changes to ensure that integrity is present, even when the judges are not.

A Pelosi
A Pelosi

Really, really, are you sure you want to show that there is no integrity in such an important competition. You've just shown that you have no integrity to ignore this questionable behavior on such an important decision. You (Tom, Padma, Gale) harp at the contestants about their conscious and integrity and refuse to look into or check out such an important detail in your own recipe for reality TV. I agree with the viewer who said they won't be watching. I've lost interest. If an artist, and these competing chefs are artists, can't be certain that others who judge and hold them to standards, neither hold or respect ethics, integrity and morals or standards. Well that is a dish spoiled with suspicion. Why would any talented chef want to cook for you if there is a possibility that another competitor or even you the judges could steal and take credit for their work. And make no mistake if anyone tried to take credit for Tom Colicchio's work, I'm sure he would have plenty to say... So disappointed, such a sour taste on my palate, lost my appetite for Top Chef. Will be watching plenty of other shows where there is integrity of work ethic and respect for another artists work.

JK
JK

I think we all understand that we are watching "so called" reality TV. Of course they want drama. Alex may havn't stolen the pea puree and if he didn't they show should clear him. If he did they should come clean but it appears that they are being stringent on stating that they do not know and it will remain a mystery. This is BS since they tape everything. I am not disappointed in Bravo but raher The Palms in putting this guys mug and possible "stolen dish" on their wall and menu. I would expect more from this establishment and will not be eating there in the future or recommending them for clients since they would allow their name and reputation to be used in alliance with something this shabby and low class. If you will allow someone like Alex who appears to lack any integrity to represent your restaurant how do I know your Chelf's aren't spitting in the food.

JK

Lainey
Lainey

There needs to be a PeaGate Cookoff at the reunion show! The judges need to evaluate who really can make the best pea puree. In the meantime I hope someone will visit the Palm and deface Alex's characature and that the restaurant gets lots of diner complaints about this scandelous dish. I'm sure the recipe Alex gave for this dish to be made at the Palm is at edible, but not likely to induce the the euphoric experience had by the judges when they were actually tasting Ed's puree. Also, consider enrolling the producers in an ethics course. Tom, Padma and Bravo should be ashamed of having producers of with such low-class standards running their show. It is obvious from all the comments, the audience has been very disappointed in the way the situation went down. Like a rigged game show, once the audience feels, rightly or wrongly, they are being played for fools, they will just tune out. So fork over the footage that shows Alex making a puree or admit publicly that you played your viewers for suckers.

chrispone
chrispone

hah!! I hate pea soup,my dad use to eat it all of the time.ugh Alex lied and said he didnt know that ED was making Pea soup but Kenny mention it. It's TV, why should the back staff say anything. This really makes good TV. i SAY WHEN THAT RECIPE GOES ON THE MENU, WATCH OUT, ED IS GOING TO HAVE TO COME TO THE RESCUE !! LOL

eejbee
eejbee

I completely agree. I was completely taken by surprise on this one.

Cooking teacher
Cooking teacher

I hope Tom reads this! I will no longer be watching Top Chef. Alex has no integrity, has gotten away with murder, and should have gone home long ago. Kenny was awesome and a man of character. To have a portrait of Alex on a wall of a restaurant for a dish he did not create is despicable. Tom, it is a lame excuse to say he was on a winning team and therefore cannot be eliminated. If he did not participate with that team, HE WAS THEREFORE NOT ON THE WINNING TEAM! Have you no logic? I am finished with this show.

Top Viewer
Top Viewer

I agree totally with the remake idea - do it now. I googled "remake puree" just to see if they had and I got here... So c'mon, the producers/crew knows what happened with the peas and Tom therefore knows what happened. Someone as smart and in control of his own sh*t as Tom has the inside track on all goings in his work place. He may have been out of the loop during this incident (happens to busy people) and he made a decision based on what he knew. Denying that you know after the fact means: 1.) you would have made a different decision if you had known or 2.) you did know. This article should have been about how it didn't matter why Andrea went. She compared herself to a guest Chef judge so she was leaving. This was an opportunity to do it. Plus food that sounds gross - is gross. Vanilla what? They can get rid of Alex anytime. He's kind of a mess.

Suzy L
Suzy L

I know this episode aired awhile ago and "Pea-gate" was the focus, but can we focus on Amanda for a second?

In her bio, she states she loves cooking "meat on the bone." Yet in this challenge she took apart a perfectly good (well, more like excellent) porterhouse because she didn't know how to cook it? Um, what?

Duckie
Duckie

Tom says he showed up after Ed was looking for his puree. The video shows him standing there the whole time. This stinks.

doyle
doyle

i agree completely. this is a show where the cameras are constantly rolling and catch everything, that is their job. the editors have the fun job of trimming down all that footage. of course they know but withold this information for the obvious reason of creating a buzz. people are talking about it and will continue to watch. all this comes down to is the fact that this is not entirely a chef competition but more a reality show and the producer's job is to keep things interesting, which usually involves them stirring the pot (no pun intended!).

Justagirlintheworld
Justagirlintheworld

I agree. I was shocked that no one brought up the fact that Alex used veal shank and called his dish veal cheeks.

Michelle from Akron OH
Michelle from Akron OH

I can't believe that Kenny was sent packing last night. He was definitely my favorite chef this season. He has been my top-pick from the begining. In my opinion Amanda from the blue team should have been the one to go home. Sheonly made one dish, and the judges didn't like anything about it. At least Kenny organized and led the team well. You got it wrong this time judges!!!

bluzbill from NC
bluzbill from NC

so as I understand it there is no video of Alex washing his peas, working at a food processor to make his pea puree or placing the puree in a container. That had to take at least 10 min and more like 15 min but there is ZERO evidence he did any of that. I can understand not getting a 10 sec shot of someone taking a container but to miss the creation of the whole dish?

and then he stays by butchering the lamb, failling to clean and debone the fish, failing at front of house and without making a dish? Looks to me like the judges FAILED in this challenge. Why didn't you call back the red team to ask these questions?

kecb
kecb

Whoa, it's totally clear that Alex took the puree. It's not just in the evidence described by other people above, but also the look on Alex's face when he accepts the win. His face screams nervous and guilty, not excited and relieved as one normally would express in such a situation. Not okay!

Bravo really does need to correct this. Andrea using an unusual flavor with swordfish is not nearly as elimination-worthy as Alex blatantly taking credit for another chef's work.

ex Viewer
ex Viewer

never watching Top Chef again. After tonight's episode, the judges have shown how unprofessional they are and incompetent at jugding!

Pat R
Pat R

I adore TOP CHEF. It is one of 3 series that I watch all year. Kathy life on the D list of course and project runway.... I have watched EVERY episode of Top Chef since the beginning. I do not really blame the judges for not addressing the pea incident, But I do blame the directors of the show. Ed was just being a big ...no I mean BIG person about it. I can't believe that Alex is even still on the show.This has cast a shadow over the show that has tainted it this season. If it was not Alex stealing that puree then it is a disservice to him also. I know the show is edited but this should have been addressed before the season showed . It just takes away from the integrity. The one thing I totally disagree with my love judge Tom is,he thinks Ed should have made a stink about it. Nope Ed is showing that he can survive the underhanded dealings and still be on the show for his talent !!!

DrFood
DrFood

You can't blame Ed for not saying anything--when you complain about some one else on this show the judges usually don't think well of you.

Sdreher
Sdreher

Tom, every week I have watched Alex do something and then have to make execuses for...but the week with the pea puree was beyond the pale. How could he do such a thing, and then win with that puree that was Ed's! And then tonight, I am just so shocked at his filthy way of working in the kitchen, leaving the meat to be redone, but I understand it was the group. I just one of the judges had reacted and changed the way the ending was played out. Even Angelo was floored when it was Kenny who went home. However, Kenny knew that if the team lost, he, as the leader, might be going home.

One more thing, Alex is slovenly in the kitchen....

Thanks for listening,

Sdreher

Patty Anderson
Patty Anderson

If you watch the rerun, Alex says "I'm not sure what I am doing...". THEN someone says someones bacon is burning (Alex's). The camera pans in on the stove and there is a pot of what looks like pea puree to me. That SOB won the challenge on the other guys fabulous pea puree. He has no conscience.

Question for Tom
Question for Tom

Tom, the video clearly shows you standing RIGHT NEXT to Ed while he's searching for his pea puree. There are several different shots of Ed searching around the kitchen, and in each and every shot you're there, too. Why do you say otherwise?! Please clarify.

Top Chef Fan
Top Chef Fan

I also think that Alex didn't make the pea puree. I am sure this will be the first topic on the REUNION show. Maybe Bravo is keeping it for Ratings? I don't think Alex is a good cook. I have to think these chefs are way better chefs than that of "HELL'S KITCHEN" (Love that show too).. Top chef is really creative chefs, and Hell's chefs cook the same thing over and over.

Vernon
Vernon

They should have Ed and Alex re-create their pea puree. Each of the 4 Judges from the show in question should taste each and decide whose dish they originally tasted.

FooDoo
FooDoo

PeaGate isn't going to be over until the producers right the wrong. It was obvious Alex didn't make the Pea Puree. This is a culinary version of plagiarism - taking the dish of one person and passing it off as his own. It's not the judges' problem to resolve - it is squarely up to the producers. This incident has damaged the credibility of the show. It's obvious thousands of viewers were aghast and offended that the producers even aired this episode with such an egregious offense. Alex needs to be stripped of the win, his picture needs to come down at the Palms. However, since Ed did not speak up and question this situation, he should not be given credit for the dish, either.

Disgusted in DC
Disgusted in DC

You can be certain that I will not accept any table, at the Palm, which is anywhere near Alex's wall caricature. I will also steer clear of any menu item which bears his name. In my opinion, Alex does not possess the class and dignity worthy of being called "Top Chef". UGH.

ChazZ
ChazZ

I agree Kgb,

There has to be cameras filming some part of the prep or the day of the compilation which would answer this.

They add all the bloopers, etc. but they cannot see for sure it this guy made it or touched a pea? Like Kenny said, you cannot make it in this time. If he made it there should be tape of it?

Chuck

Teacup317
Teacup317

I cannot believe that Alex is still on this show. If his dish had no flavor???? Also, he pointedly told Chef Tom that he couldn't get veal cheeks yet when asked what he had prepared by one of the attendees at the social even, he said he'd made veal cheeks??? Time for him to go. I don't even think he knows how many untruths he had told.

Mitchell
Mitchell

Top Chef's integrity is a question??? Alex should have been confronted by producers immediately. Cheaters should not win any prizes. I agree with Maureenr. Has anyone suggested having both of the men recook a pea puree with their special dish? It could at least show that who ever made it in the first place deserve to win. I do hope the producers, judges and the contestants addresses this before the end of the season.

viewersimone
viewersimone

ANDY- I love you but WHERE ARE THE TAPES???????? I expect that at the reunion it will be resolved. No doubt for ratings since we all want to know. I am really concerned about the manipulation that took place 'cause someone KNOWS what happened. I too am surprised that a producer didn't step in to get to the bottom. Tasteless.

Faolin
Faolin

Obviously we, teh audience, are not letting it go, I like a little drama but then I do expect the producers and/or judges to address it. I hope they revisit it based on the fan feedback.

Truthseeker
Truthseeker

Did ANY of the other chefs see Alex make the pea puree? I don't see how he could have made it without Someone seeing him. In addition to them, there were the camera crews and producers ... no one saw him?

Come ON, Tom - a first grader could do some detective work and get to the truth. Obviously, you don't want to know the truth.

We viewers deserve better.

Pili vangelder
Pili vangelder

COME ONNNN....BravoTV....not nice,I know its a competition,that means that everybody its losing their humans values..I'm sorrybravo i think u have to solve the pea situation,if. Not I'm not going to see this show anymore....