Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio explains that just becausre you're cooking for babies, doesn't mean your food has to be plain.

on Jul 7, 20100

First of all, I want to say how much I appreciate not only your enthusiasm for Top Chef, but also your interest in my blog and your spirited responses week after week. While I seldom have time to reply directly to any individual posting (it’s hard to even have time to write the blog itself!), I really welcome the feedback. Thank you.  
 
Work brings me to Australia for the next three weeks, and the blogs I submit from Down Under may be briefer than usual. I promise to say more in the ensuing weeks (when the heat will be up on those chefs still standing).
 
Obviously, this week’s Quickfire Challenge was a fun one for both Padma and myself. Tasting each dish invoked for us images of our babies, as we imagined what their responses would be to each spoonful. I was pleased overall with the chefs’ performances on this task. They thought well on their feet and produced quite a few dishes my chowhound 11-month old would gladly tuck into (and gleefully share with our puppy, too. So much for training her not to beg).
 
Contrary to popular belief, by the way, cooking for babies does not mean throwing seasoning to the wind. Babies crave taste sensations like the rest of us, and while we don’t want to shock their systems or upset their wee digestive tracks, we can start them off on a lifelong love of food by seasoning theirs, albeit with a lighter hand. Hence my pleasure in seeing the chefs experiment with fenugreek and licorice oil. We just need to be alert to food allergies and sensitivities nowadays (unfortunately!) and introduce new foods slowly enough and at the right stages of babies’ digestive development.  
 
The format of the Elimination Challenge was an interesting one. It was very high stakes, as it led to the elimination of two chefs, and it was structured so that each pair would sink or swim together. Whether each chef tried to pin blame on the other for a fault in the dish, they’d both be leaving if the dish were found to be the weakest. I appreciated this feature of the challenge – at the end of the night, it doesn’t matter which line cook might have erred if a dish misses its mark. Whether he or she is even on the premises, it’s still the chef who is ultimately responsible for everything that leaves his or her kitchen. I was glad to hear Lynne acknowledge that the pasta was undercooked, since apparently she was the one who insisted Arnold wait to cook it. On the other hand, Arnold should have insisted they put it up sooner.
 
With this format, we wound up presented with three dinner dishes that were all solidly good dishes. As has happened countless times in the past, we had to pick the weakest among strong dishes for elimination. Arnold and Lynne’s had larger flaws in the execution than did the other two dishes. Furthermore, one criterion of the challenge was to create a dish that Hilton could add to its menus worldwide. While tasty, Arnold and Lynne’s dish is not as widely appealing as were the two short-rib dishes. It is hard to eliminate chefs who performed well, but a team’s creating a good dish was not enough here:  In this tough challenge, where chefs had three chances to outshine their colleagues, Arnold and Lynne repeatedly failed to do so.  
 
More from Oz next week.

179 comments
kagl0110
kagl0110

Tom - I was wondering if you had done a baby food cook book? Kim

John D. Ayer
John D. Ayer

I really enjoy the show, typically I enjoy the presentation by the chefs. The judging annoys me sometimes. Judging food and wine is typically a very subjective process. I like stronger spicing than my wife does, she like meat more and I like fish. These are dramatic examples of subjective analysis compared to the judging by Top Chef judges and I do appreciate the inclusion of guest judges to minimize the judges subjective bias. There are dishes, like the sea bass wrapped in bacon (sea bass cooks much faster than bacon, the analysis did not surprise me) that I can tell will just suck. There are other dishes I see the judges reject and I think to myself, "that dish looks great" and I find the analysis by the judges very poor in that I do not really understand their objection. Other times I do. Either the judging or the show direction and editing is very poor. As a result I typically don't watch the show because often I can't learn anything from the judging. This show was skewed so that I didn't understand the judging of some dishes. The blog above helped, but, not as much as I would like.

sfs22
sfs22

I'm new to blogging and am sure someone has brought this up.. but on the comment of food allergies by Tom, I would love to see a show that adresses this more fully. Food allergies are at an all-time high in children in the USA. Cooking for, living with and enabling them to have a normal school and life experience is a challenge and opportunity for parents (and chefs!).

I have a child with multiple food allergies- luckily managed by careful diet and planning. I work with her teachers, church and any group activity to ensure they know what anaphylaxis looks like, train them on epi-pen use and send ALL of her food along. She LOVES all kinds of flavors and foods, thanks to just what Tom suggested in exposing our children to different spices and flavors early on in a safe manner. I love to cook, thank God!

But it's something that we need not only more awareness of, but help and ideas for cooking foods that are healthy and safe for our kids. Chefs need to be able to know how to do this on the fly too- they get alot of people in their restaurants or catering that have dietary restrictions or allergies.

Hope to see more focus on this in the future- it could be a really fun challenge with a group of kids with different allergies.

Viewersdgsetv7
Viewersdgsetv7

race doesn't have crap to do with it. It's all about the food.

Lots of people reading lots of stuff into things that I am sure not seeing on the show. I love that there are many persons of color on the show this year. I believe the judges are colorblind and gender neutral. they care about the food.

the cheftestants, well, they are simply people and they are speaking their opinions.

Dr Vance, love what you said about kenny. All his "I'm the Alpha Male" crap is just beyond delusion. He may be the alpha male in his daughter's world, but his sphere of importance ends there. I will enjoy his being bounced.

RAPW
RAPW

Seriously? I understand this is not actually going be served to infants (I hope), but one of the dishes the judges claimed to be their favorite contained Honey. Honey is a known cause of Botulism in infants and should have been disqualified... period! Just like a previous challenge cooking for Middle School Students and a contestant used Sherry! Again... Seriously? Alcohol and minors? Regardless of "most" of the alcohol being cooked out there are STILL traces of alcohol left over! If you are going to have a contest, these things MUST be a major issue otherwise I consider the judges a joke!!!

NoCookie
NoCookie

I can't understand what people are up in arms about the baby food challenge. They simply wanted the chefs to make a puree!!! The fact that Padma and Tom are parents of newborns is just the excuse to have them make it. No actual baby was going to taste the food. I am sure that if any child were going to taste it, the guidleines would have been different and there would have been a pediatrician there as an advisor. If anyone is using Top Chef is a guide to feeding Baby - you need to stop now and call your pediatrician before someone calls the police! Besides who better to consult than the person who raised you and fed you. Afterall if you are here and writing on this blog they did something right. True dried beans may need to soak but in a pressure cooker (I'm sure they have one)they can cook in less than 15 minutes. However there are beans that don't need to soak such as: Blackeyed peas and black soy beans... As for the elimination challenge. What we see is edited and we certainly don't get to taste the food. Perhaps [in the end] the winning dinner dish was better than the breakfast dishes.

GCabot
GCabot

Podar et al:

I am not sure why everyone is so hopelessly confused regarding this challenge. If you have watched this show at all, you know how beholden it is to its corporate sponsors. Hilton hotels basically sponsored this episode. They were looking for *a single dish* that they could put on their worldwide menu. That happened to be Kelly and Andrea's dinner dish.

You have to look at the challenge in a risk vs. reward analysis. Keep in mind that none of the chefs knew what the reward was while the challenge was going on, but even if they had, would any of them really have taken the risk to try and go all three rounds just so they could have more shots at winning a free trip? I do not think so. Now take into account that for all the chefs knew, there would not be any material reward for winning at all.

In addition, it is a myth that cooking dinner gives some sort of inherent advantage. I believe Chef Ripert mentioned that one of the breakfast dishes came extremely close to winning. From Hilton's point of view however, they do not care what round a dish is from, only which dish out of all of the ones presented is going to be best for them. Furthermore, you have to remember that the guests almost always provide the prizes. This is why you will have contestants winning free trips in the first few episodes and just a cookbook later on- there is no rhyme or reason to the prize value. I think that too many of you are being sidetracked because of the prize itself. Sure, it would have been more logical to have people eliminated instead of safe as the rounds continued, but given this was an elimination challenge, if that had occurred, it would have made what is suppose to be the most suspenseful point of each episode more than a little anticlimactic.

You just have to look at the big picture from the show, and more importantly, the sponsor's point of view, and the challenge really is not that hard to fathom.

CARNE_ASADA
CARNE_ASADA

HI TOM..I LOVE, LOVE THE SHOW! I DISCOVERED IT BY ACCIDENT (SEASON 2) WHILE BROWSING THROUGH THE CHANNELS, AND NOW I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF IT! TONIGHT WAS AN INCREDIBLE SHOW..BUT WHAT WAS AMANDA THINKING? AS AN EXPERIENCED CHEF SHE SHOULD KNOW THAT A MINESTRONE CARRIES PASTA! IT WAS ODD THAT SHE WOULD NAME HER SOUP LIKE THAT. AS FAR AS KENNY AND ANGELO, I LOVE THEIR RIVALRY, IT KEEPS THE SHOW INTERESTING...AND IT MAKES THEM MORE COMPETITIVE. CAN'T WAIY FOR NEXT WEDNESDAY! OH BY THE WAY....I WOULD LOVE AN EPISODE WITH ONLY MEXICAN FOOD.....!!! IMAGINE.. CHILES RELLENOS,ENCHILADAS,CARNE ASADA...MMMMMM!

hokiehi
hokiehi

sent the wrong pair home Tom!!! Very disappointed in you for that poor judgement!

teacher extraordinaire
teacher extraordinaire

Tom: Why were you so indignant or shocked to think that the girls in this challenge used canned beans because they didn't have time to properly cook dried beans? When I do beans from bags of dried, they typically take me at least 24 hours, start to finish. Soaking overnight, seasoning, boiling, finishing takes many, many hours...how would you get it done faster?

MFass
MFass

I have a question around a comment you made during the judging of this competition. One of the teams (I think it was for lunch) made a salad where they added canned beans to up the nutrition. You said something about the canned beans like - can't they cook a bag of beans?

Whenever I make dried beans, I soak them overnight and then simmer on the stove for 2 hours before adding to a recipe.

Is there a way to make dried beans that someone can do in 45 minutes? I could see if they were making lentils because those cook pretty fast, but I was under the impression you had to do a lot of prep to make dried beans. (Which is why sometimes we also use canned - if you have not planned it out you are stuck!).

Dr Vance
Dr Vance

Tom, congratulations on the "wee one" with the digestive TRACT. I hope you were just in a hurry. That was one of the most creative Quick Fires yet.

How do you come up with the challenges? I have a pretty good imagination, but it's not up to dreaming up the dare-you's that you folks whip up.

I've had to lead a clinic staff. A lot of your contestants know the difference between leading and bullying. I don't wish Kenny much luck. I wish him the lesson his "alpha male" disposition needs.

Thanks for your contributions. It must be a load of work with a family and several restaurants to run.

Erica313
Erica313

I don't think I have ever been so disappointed in an elimination challenge since Sam was totally robbed in season 2. I have never seen where the actual "losers" turned out to be a "winner". Wasn't the point of the entire challenge is that the chef that created the best dish didn't have to go on? Why wouldn't they have been the winner..to actually win the prize perhaps they should have done kind of a half job throughout the courses..then they could have won?

I don't have a clear favorite I suppose. I would guess Kenny stands out the most however in previous seasons I had an idea about who was a quality chef. I am a devoted fan of TC..but I have not just been as enthusiastic about the season as previous seasons..More commentary on the food please!!

fan too
fan too

Why do people persist with their belief that Top Chef is on some kind of a campaign to promote women or racial minorities? As if individuals who represent these demographics need anyone's patronage -- or patronizing -- at this point. Yes, it's true that the inclusion of Jacqueline and Amanda in the losers category lowered the odds for both Kevin and Ed to leave, dropping it from 50% to 25%. But the judges were simply picking amongst the four poorest contestants. And neither Kenny nor Ed seemed to fare poorly when it came to the actual food. Their sin was failing to step up to the plate when it became apparent that Angelo wasn't going to go all out for the team.

If Top Chef actually had an agenda to promote women and racial minorities, then Carla from season 5 would have been the obvious one to target for bias in her favor, considering the level of her popularity.

chrisb
chrisb

Like many I am confused as to how you picked the winner, and hope you can exlain it next week. I find it odd one of the best rewards so far, trips to Europe, were given to people who had "lost" two rounds in a row. To the viewer's mind the "winners" were out in round 1 since they made the best breakfasts and were "saved" right away. I understand giving a trip to Europe would be a lot for just making breakfast, but maybe a different challenge should have been used for the travel rewards.

thanks.

Leah Carter
Leah Carter

Two things to say about the most recent episode (which I'm re-watching on my DVR, BTW): (1) I'm SOOOOO sick of Angelo. He's not just cocky, he's a full-on jerk about Kenny, and has been since day one. He seems just as intent on Kenny's elimination as he is about his own food. How insecure! (2) That elimination challenge was ridiculous! The third worst team of the day won the Hilton reward and trips?!? Instead, have a final show-down between the two winning breakfast teams, the two winning lunch teams and the one winning dinner team. The way it was run made no sense. We can tell Lee Anne is gone this year - she never would have let that fly on her watch.

SD Fan
SD Fan

BarbiQ - your comment was completely unnecessary and offends all of my sensibilities.

That being said, this round robin deal was too confusing! Plus, we didn't even get to see all of the winning dishes? Though Arnold and Lynne's dish was "out there," I do think it was inappropriate to not understand and acknowledge individual contributions. Additionally, the winners should NOT have been from the final round. Don't most chefs focus mainly on dinner? Of course the best meal would be from dinner! But it is more interesting see what can come of breakfast or lunch in such a competition.

FInally - Angelo's carpaccio is more appealing to the masses than squid ink pasta with mussels. PLEASE - don't kid me.

Mom in Florida
Mom in Florida

I hope this gets posted. I made both of my children's baby food from scratch - froze the food in ice cube trays and defrosted for eating. I read a lot of data on preperation and doing this and that was 28 years ago. This challenge sends a very disturbing message to moms out there; perhaps thinking that whatever they make for their family can be put in a blender and consumed by an infant...WRONG!! Salt, for one instance (forget about the honey for a minute). You can NOT give an infant a lot of salt....don't even salt their food. Fish?? As Tom does say in his blog, babies growing must SLOWLY be introduced to foods due to allergies and fish is a good example, as with using any type of peanut oil or anything with peanuts. Same goes with sugar and substuting with honey is not the solution. Using fruit is the only sugar an infant (2 month old) should get. Ideally, I would have done pork/carrots and apples...using only natural apples and the carrots in a small 2 course for the infants and left it at no pork for the babies. Remember that the challange was for a 2-month old and an 8 month old. In an infants' world months are long in diversity for eating, perhaps a light meat, like chicken - while Padma's 2 months old would not be given that at such a young age, Tom's 8 month old, perhaps even a ground chicken finger he could eat depending on how many teeth he has. This was not a good challenge, there are way too man variables and it leads new moms to think they can save money by just grinding up what the family eats and it's just not right. Please do some clarification on the challenge to educate your viewers - licorice oil - you must be kidding for a 2 month old. Bacon - not yet.

Haruka
Haruka

Thank you for clearing up why Arnold *sniffle* and Lynne were eliminated, but the challenge itself seemed to be a monumental fail to me. You got rid of at least one serious contender in (I dunno about Lynne) over a dish that tasted good except for the uncooked pasta. I watched the extended judging and was shocked to hear Padma say the 3 dinners were 3 of the best dishes you guys had had all day. Basically, you had 3 of your top dishes at the "bottom," but it really wasn't the bottom because one of the "losers" actually won tickets to Europe. HUH??? Were these teams actually the bottom or were you keeping them around to see what else they could do? If they were the bottom, how does the bottom win? Shouldn't the winner have come out of the breakfast group? I've commented elsewhere that this challenge was good in theory but failed in execution. It made no sense.

ElizabethMcC
ElizabethMcC

First of all, belated congratulations, Tom, on your new little one! I love your show, and I'm delighted to discover your blog.

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who was taken aback by your comment about the team using canned beans. We eat a strict vegetarian diet at home, so I make beans several times a week, and it takes a minimum of 3 hours from the moment I rinse them and put them in the pot to start simmering until they're tender enough that I can add them to the pan with the onion and spices (I don't bother with soaking, I just start them cooking 3.5 hours before it's time to eat). Your chefs had, what, 45 minutes to make lunch? There's a chance they could have managed lentils in that amount of time, but not dry beans.

My 9 year old daughter wants me to add that she's glad you've had some vegetarian-focused challenges, but she wishes you'd have more vegetarian and vegan *chefs*, or at least stop having so many vegetarian *unfriendly* challenges so that it's impossible for vegetarian chefs to compete. (she also really loves your show, we sit down to watch it together every week!)

Dr. Fran E.
Dr. Fran E.

Mr. Colicchio I love, love, love you our little one loved your baby carrots at Craft/Atlanta. We visited when he was just about 6 months and he happily ate his mashed portions! We've always made our own baby food so we value creating meals for our babies that are wholesome and full of taste!

While I know some folks out there may think that you've got to follow a pediatricians advice to a T, I think you're right when you say that you can lightly season the food. We don't spice it up too much and we try to make his food look appealing on the plate and not take for granted that he is a baby.

Thanks!

TCDiehrd
TCDiehrd

It is really sad that race and bias keep getting mentioned in many of these blogs as a reason/rationale for why Kenny is still on the show. How about the fact that he is talented and a good chef and just as worthy of competing as Amanda (who foolishly used sherry to make food for kids!!!) or Stephen (who is usually in the bottom)! The hotel challenge was completely unfair and when contestants get sent home it should be due to an individual error. Not sure why race is always mentioned...this show is about FOOD but I guess for racists it is always about colour :(

Arctic49
Arctic49

Tom-I love the blog! I did enjoy the quick fire-that's always the challenge when you're a parent--how to make something nice for everyone without having to make separate meals for the different age ranges in the household. Also introducing new flavors to children is a great way to get them to eat a wider variety of foods later on. On the elimination challenge, I was sad to see Arnold go, but having the three rounds prior to the final elimination did seem fair. He was very gracious!

HD
HD

My goodness! Let the honey thing go already! Like someone said before if you are looking to Top Chef on what to feed your kids you are in need of serious help! It is a TV show for goodness sake. We are not doing foreign policy here! He used honey, the show is over, WHO CARES?! Sheesh!

By the way...my bet is on Kenny and Angelo for the ending. Every other chef is mediocore.

FloridaGal
FloridaGal

FloridaGal Thank you for having season 7 in DC, I lived there for 30 years. It is such a pretty town. I too think that Kenny, Kelly and Angelo will be final Chefs. I am part of Team Kenny! He has heart as well as being an acomplished chef. I wish you would change the point system in the Fantasy Game. Amanda has points for being bleeped and for verbal fighting. These should be negative points. Amanda has 23 pts and has never won a challenge. I would like to see being a team leader: selected or evolved, getting team members to be a team, taking risks with your dish added for positive pts. I agree Arnold and Lynn should go home. They did not listen to the lady from Hilton. The sqid ink black noodles reminded me of creepy crawly things. I also want to thank you for challenges that are making the chefs think out of the box. I was exhausted watching Three Meals and when Kenny almost went home, kept me on the edge. Looking forward to the next episode.

Podar
Podar

"I think a lot of people aren't understanding the challenge - the winner was the team with the best dish overall from all three rounds of the competition, which coincidentally happened to be from one of the teams that didn't win the first two rounds. I don't believe the winner was only chosen between the last three teams." - GCabot

How can you say that? The final three teams clearly made the worst breakfast and lunches. The only reason they got to cook dinner was because they sucked at both the previous meals.

The team that won the trips was the best of the worst. Their reward should have been only that they weren't sent packing their knives.

The rewards should have gone to the best breakfast team. Period.

Top Chef needs to make right for this poorly thought out challange.

fan too
fan too

For the final dinner challenge in the elimination round, Kenny, Kevin, Andrea, and Kelli all made braised short beef. Sorry for my ignorance, but I was wondering how one goes about doing a braise in one hour? Had they begun this meal way before, like during the lunch period, in anticipation of having to do this final challenge?

ls28
ls28

hi tom!!! i love your blogs and i admire you very much. i have a question for you; how do you cook beans??? i cook them in the slow cooker for 10 hours!!!! thats why i was a little confused when you were surprised that 45 min weren't enough to cook beans... maybe you were refering to a different kind of beans... =) thank you!

MartiA
MartiA

I'm a huge fan of TC. As a professional cook I know how difficult it is to meet all the challenges the cheftestants have. Speed, creativity, presentation, and flavor are just a few that come to mind. I admire these ladies and gentlemen that put themselves out there to be picked apart not only by the panel of judges but by anyone watching. I think the show has brilliant challenges that keep the chefs on their toes and fans tuned-in. Perhaps there is more gamesmenship this season but it is a contest. I love the show and would love to see Chef Kenny as Top Chef! What a rollercoaster he's been on. I did notice that he's in the bottom when he works in groups, and winning challenges on his own, hummmm! Can't wait to watch it play out!

HungryMan
HungryMan

HungryMan I am so into this season. I am rooting for Kenny, yet he is not part of my fantasy team yet... Kenny is confident while Angelo can be obnoxious. At the end it will be Kenny, Kelly and Angelo. I think the right pair went home this week. I don't care about the pasta being undercooked. Squid ink, on black pasta yuk! Arnold was not listening to what Hilton was looking for. When traveling I look for comfort food, just hearing about the short ribs makes my mouth water for some. Did anyone notice that in Tracey Bloom's bio she was a pastry chef for Sia's resturant. Was that a pie of a pastry chef? This season the challenges have moved the Chef's out of their comfort zones. Making a school lunch on a very limited budget, a pie, baby food and most exhausting the Three Meals all very creative and challenging for sure. I am so tired of hearing how this season is not up to par with last. Apples and Oranges. Also for those who don't want the drama, are offended by language or smoking - turn off the TV and read a cookbook.

JamminJanie
JamminJanie

OK, I have read with interest the comments regarding the use of honey. Just FYI, processed honey is fine for infants, it has been heated and processed in the same manner milk is pasturized while raw honey should be avoided. Raw honey while heated and strained still has much of the pollen in it and should not be fed to infants under the age of 1.

AECarson
AECarson

Tom, I think cooking for your family's special needs is great! For example I have food allergies. Not really bad, but bad enough that it causes inflamation in my body. I would love to see a cooking challenge that excludes the foods that I have allergies to. Keep in mind I love these foods but they don't love me. I shouldn't eat: onion; mushrooms; garlic; cabbage; cucumber; string beans; white potatoes; tomatoes; white & brown rice; salmon; eggs; all cow's dairy (but goat is okay); yeast; sulfur dioxide; peach; & pineapple. Is this a challenge? You bet. I have been able to work around these foods but would love to see your Top Chef's give it a go and give me some other ideas on delicious meals I can have. Annette

Sherri Lee
Sherri Lee

Love the show. Can't get enough of this show. I knew it would be Lynne and Arnold because I feel Kenny and Kelly would not be sent home. So far they seem like the top (along with Angelo)though I know it's early. I felt that you liked their dish better than than the unglazed short ribs. Especially when Kelly's team has great ones to compare to. I know you love your short ribs (one of my faves as well). The pasta and mussles sounds like a great tasting dish to me but I did not taste it. But I would order it on a menu.

Phyllis M
Phyllis M

I enjoy Top Chef and Top Chef Masters. This week's challenges were interesting. I thought that it showed more of a talent in each chef this week. The right chefs went home for this challenge. One thing I am noticing, I am having a hard time picking out the really good chefs. The chefs from last season left a lasting impression of high quality chefs. The two brothers were excellent. I am having trouble finding someone this season who shows that kind of quality in cooking. They are very knowledgable in cooking and are talented, but aren't showing the quality in their cooking compared to last season's chefs. One other point I would like to make is this show is the best one compared to the cooking network and hells kitchen. There is no comparison in the quality of cooking Top chef and Masters are the best!

lorigoose
lorigoose

Love the show! However, this is the third time I have posted a comment and not one of them has been approved. Seems like I might have hit a sore spot with whoever edits these things. Please, people, tell me why we eliminate a young bright chef because his "experienced" partner undercooked the pasta because she was too good a chef to let a "young kid" take the lead. And on the previous show the elimination round was "revamped" after they thought Angelo threw the challenge. Didn't anybody remember that they said the 4-person team with the lowest results would have someone going home and then they chose two people from two different teams at the last minute. That way Kenny would not have a 50% chance of going home. That week he should have had a 100% chance of going home because he stunk. I still stand by my belief that TC is keeping Kenny because they want to have an African-American winner and Kenny is their best chance. They better start looking elsewhere.

Chayil
Chayil

I wasn't going to comment, but I can't help myself. I am really enjoying this season of Top Chef. Last season was great and had some of the best chefs ever, but it was totally predictable. Really, who didn't know that one of the Voltaggio brothers was going to win? I don't have a favorite yet but I am partial to both Angelo and Kenny. I am enjoying their competitive natures and their confidence. In regard to this week's episode, I think the elimination was absolutely fair. Raw pasta may seem like a small thing,, but keep in mind that they did not fulfill the objective of the challenge which was to make a dish that would have mass appeal and be appropriate for a hotel menu. I liked the double elimination because it is so tiresome to hear the chefs throw each other under the bus season after season. We'll see plenty of that during Restaurant Wars. And to the poster that stated Tom is gunning for an African American Top Chef, I don't think that's a fair statement. There are several Black chefs in the competition this year and just because neither of them has been eliminated thus far, doesn't mean there is some kind of conspiracy. Have a great day, everyone!

Reezy
Reezy

Tom-I have loved Top Chef since I discovered it during season 2. Although, I know you might not feel you need to address accusations of racism or prejudices of any kind, I believe it is time for you to blog once and for all that this show is strictly about the FOOD. Its a shame that people want to make it regarding anything else. I know that you listen because when I mentioned Mia's being allowed to leave over Howie to you, I read your comment about it in the TV Guide shortly after. Again, love the show, but hate the critics. The show is what it is.

BarbiQ
BarbiQ

Arnold and Lynne went home because they were supposed to create a dish that would appeal to the "AVERAGE" hotel diner. The "AVERAGE" hotel diner is NOT going to order Squid Ink Pasta w/Black Mussels. The Average diner, especially if it's an American diner would run from it, unless it was smothered in bacon and cheese.

BarbiQ
BarbiQ

To all of you who think that babies cannot eat seafood or exotic meats, what about kids outside of the US? Do you really think that Japanese babies don't eat seafood or that Irish babies don't eat sheep's innards? They've been eating it and thriving for centuries. What kind of foods do you think your grands and great-grands ate when they were babies?

Lisa Stein
Lisa Stein

Love the show - best on TV. Was upset that Arnold had to go. He seemed to offer great food/flavors. His partner was so insistent on waiting to cook the pasta - seems like she took him down with her. Lisa

GCabot
GCabot

Also, the format of the elimination challenge was novel and interesting, but because it was so time-consuming we got very little commentary on the actual food. It would have been much better if the time alloted for the judge's comments regarding the food, especially during the first two rounds of the competition, were significantly lengthened in the future. The snippets we got from the judging panel were so truncated as to be nearly incomprehensible.

GCabot
GCabot

I think a lot of people aren't understanding the challenge - the winner was the team with the best dish overall from all three rounds of the competition, which coincidentally happened to be from one of the teams that didn't win the first two rounds. I don't believe the winner was only chosen between the last three teams.

Thank goodness Arnold is gone. His stereotypical persona made me cringe every time he spoke.

Also, can someone please explain this exchange:

Chef Pouillon: When you planned your dish, did you do it intentionally to have black pasta and black mussels?

Arnold: Yes. I think aesthetically, and I think it was a beautiful contrast in color and presentation. I just thought it was absolutely stunning.

Exactly how does black on black equate "beautiful contrast in color?"

Sue C
Sue C

I've watched every season of Top Chef and never before have I actually been angry at the elimination outcome-- until now. I don't think that Arnold should have been eliminated because of Lynn's pasta. As you can see in the episode, he was nervous about waiting until the last minute to cook the pasta and even asked Lynn to cook it when there were 12 minutes left, and she refused, though not to his face. BRING ARNOLD BACK!

S Ovenden
S Ovenden

Have to disagree with the person who was thrilled to see Spike, Bryan and Mike Isabella. How do they come to be called fan favorites? All they remind me of is how hateful, petty and mean they were to and about the other contestants when they were on the show.

Andy Joe
Andy Joe

Wow. There were 3 HUGE problems with this episode. First, the quickfire challenge was illogical. Would you ever feed a baby some of the things that were in the "baby" foods?

The elimination challenge was a hot mess. It made no sense. The winners should have been chosen from the winning breakfast team. Period.

The third, and largest problem is a minefield, but it looks like the folks at Bravo are pushing for an African American Top Chef this go-round. This is the second week when, based on the pre-elimination comments, the weakest performer was one of the African-American chefs, but white (or in Arnold's case, Asian) contestants were eliminated.

Last week, it looked like Timothy's ribs were the worst item, yet Tiffany went home. This week, based on what was aired, it appeared as though there was both a problem with the texture and taste of Kenny and Kevin's ribs, while the dish Arnold and the old lady received more compliments, other than the undercooked pasta. The flavor was, by all aired accounts, better than the flavor of the ribs, and the seafood was well cooked, yet Arnold and the old lady went home. I guess the gays are more expendable.

Maybe next season we'll have a gay TC!

PoorKitty
PoorKitty

I've watched every season of Top Chef and have never been so disappointed by an elimination challenge. Although the eliminated chefs were not my favorites, I found the challenge to be very poorly designed and extremely unfair, particularly the part where the two time losers reaped a big prize.

TC Fan
TC Fan

It doesn't seem right that a winner is chosen from the losers. Obviously, they didn't have the best dishes or they would nothave been in the dinner challenge. Why wasn't a winner selected from the breakfast group? This week elimination challenge winners should be called "best of the losers".

Warren
Warren

First and foremost: "A bag of beans?" Dry beans must be soaked (overnight usually) and then cooked for hours. how were they supposed to accomplish this in 45 minutes? Dissapointing Tom.

Second: The way this elimination challenge was set-up left the early bests no way to win overall and the losers the opportunity to win the competition. Totally bogus.

ChefWannabee
ChefWannabee

I love your blog Tom and what I really appreciate is that you are very approachable. Love Top Chef!

JoeJnj
JoeJnj

Can someone tell me why Andrea and Kelly won trips?!?!?!?!?!!!! One of the teams that won the breakfast round should get it. Really makes NO sense!!