Tom Colicchio

Tom shares his thoughts on this truly humbling challenge.

on Sep 2, 20090

I think I can safely speak not only for myself for also for most or all of us involved with the shooting of this episode when I say that it was a humbling and moving experience. Here in the States, we’re so used to tuning in here and there to our 15 minutes of war coverage on CNN and then resuming our normal day-to-day activities that it’s been easy to become inured to it.  Our men and women in uniform, however, live with the realities of our being at war every day. 

We had an opportunity to really spend some time with the people we were cooking for at Nellis Air Force Base — some about to be deployed, some just returning, as well as their family members, and we were able to hear firsthand about how their experiences were affecting them. Whether pilots or crew servicing the equipment, they put their lives on the line for us and endure ongoing and traumatic stress and often horror, and their families in turn undergo great strain and hardship. Michael Voltaggio summed it up beautifully when he said that our work is about hospitality. Food is hospitable in its truest sense; it’s a way of taking care of people.  Here, we were able to do something caretaking for people who put themselves in harm’s way, who see things they shouldn’t see and undergo experiences no person should ever have to undergo, and the contestants were really touched by their having the opportunity to make this meal and show caring for and appreciation towards the people we cooked for that day. It was an honor to feel we could make a little difference for people who do so much for us all.

Our chefs handled the challenge very well. The decision to place Jennifer in the role of Executive Chef was a smart one, and she played the role expertly. In past seasons, the contestants who stepped into that role for various challenges never really fully inhabited the position, but Jennifer did, and the other chefs saw that she handled her responsibilities fairly and strongly, with professionalism and without ego. They realized that they were being well managed, and they never questioned her authority. Jennifer was concerned about ensuring that every chef create the best dish possible and she kept the kitchen running smoothly and well. For example, she was not unduly harsh with Hector when she reminded him to stay focused: other chefs awaited their turn with the equipment he was using, and she needed to keep him on schedule. She did a great job.

This challenge was less about creativity and more about basic cooking done well. With the winning dish, the idea of taking the smoked slab of bacon and braising it was a good one – it coaxed out the flavors beautifully. And what’s so creative about bread pudding? Nothing. But even if a tad dry, the bread pudding was intensely flavorful and satisfying. It was a good version of bread pudding. Similarly, the potato salad was fairly conventional, but it was very well done.

On the other hand, while Preeti and Michael Isabella recognized that the challenge was not about innovation, they failed to execute their dishes well. Unlike the bread pudding or the potato salad I just cited, Preeti’s pasta salad wasn’t professionally done. It’s as though she and Laurine trolled the Internet for a run-of-the-mill pasta salad recipe, and then put little effort into ensuring that its flavors and textures worked well. It was bland. But Preeti, unlike Laurine, failed to recognize it as such. Michael, on the other hand, knew full well that his dish was lackluster. He said right at the onset (incorrectly, as he would subsequently learn) that he would not be judged on the dish, and so he treated it as a throwaway. And that’s what we got. And that’s why he was back in the bottom three. If there’s a dish on your restaurant menu that you consider a throwaway dish, you’d better believe that that’s the dish your reviewer is going to lock onto and decimate you for in print, online, on air, for posterity. I hope we’ve saved Michael from that experience, angry as he was while at the Judges' Table. 

I think that given the nature of the challenge, the episode was fairly self-explanatory, and there isn’t much more to say about the dishes. In this third episode, we see that the level of cooking and professionalism in general is head and shoulders above prior seasons. Preeti was right in saying in her exit interview that this season is far tougher than seasons past. It’s fitting that chefs of this caliber had the honor of cooking for Top Guns.

One final word or three about last week’s blog, for all who seemed to feel that not only Ashley but I should not have discussed same-sex marriage on what is first and foremost a cooking show (and blog). The chefs who participate are real people with real lives who, as one person posted last week, “don’t cook in a vacuum.” Ashley was entitled to have an emotional response to the circumstances of the challenge, even if I disagreed with her implication that it should not have been a Top Chef challenge. In my blog, I comment each week on the events of the show.  Last week, I gave my views on same-sex marriage in order to then comment on Ashley’s remarks. Had I not put my remarks about her dismay into the larger context of my views on same-sex marriage, people would wrongly have assumed that I was not a proponent and would have blasted me for it. Thus I proffered my views in last week’s blog so that I would not have to clarify and defend them in this week’s. You’ll notice that I didn’t voice them on air in the episode, which, yes, is a cooking show. I put them in my blog, where I am afforded a soapbox, and where I have the prerogative of waxing on about whatever aspects of the show I consider important. And I do consider this important. If what I wrote reaches a couple of thousand people, great … and if it moves even one of those people to achieve even a slightly different understanding of someone else’s situation, extra great. It may or may not, but I’m glad to have the forum in which to try. 

Have a great week, all.

177 comments
balefire
balefire

Scallop can be pronounced either way (according to the dictionary, ahem). And it was slightly cringe-worthy of you to try and correct a chef of Tom's caliber on the pronunciation of "scallop." He's a renowned chef. He knows how to pronounce "scallop."

Anyway, thanks Tom for your comments! As usual, I appreciate both your insight and your intelligent writing style. You're one of the best parts of the show!

Morgan D
Morgan D

Enjoy the show again this season. What is interesting is that the cheftestants personality profiles are pretty much the same from one season to the next. You have the self-delusional, overcompensating and terribly arrogant types like the Frenchman from last season and Mike Isabella this season and about half the crew who are constant whiners who are obviously uncomfortable outside of their own element of their home kitchen. But then there are the rest who accept the challenge and try and make the best of the situation and l am sure they surprise themselves from time to time. The editing probably has something to do with how the chefs are perceived and surely it is the intent to increase viewer interest

Although the show is in the can and the winner has been crowned it would be nice to give the cheftestants real time feedback. They would find out that we love some and don't love others. On second thought that would not be a good idea...they could get their feelings hurt.

Anyway it is still interesting to see the wide range of skills, talent and spontaneity of the chefs

Cathy
Cathy

I don't understand Ashley's not wanting to cook for people about to be married. Why not go the next step and dislike cooking for people who are already married? It's a very immature point of view. It's unrealistic! Whatever her personal views are, there are a lot of married or nearly-married folks in this world. She needs to grow up... or are we using the show as a forum for gay rights? ... in which case it's simply shameless.

Finally, I love, love, love Tom - the show is not the same when he's not there.

Caren
Caren

This season is more enjoyable than the previous seasons.Everyone seems more respectful to each other and work better together in the kitchen. It is warming to see the contestants have a chance to win money throughout the competition as they all work hard. thanks to the sponsor you have! It must be a real challenge to come up with the quickfire challenges recipes in a kitchen that seems crowded and the ovens don't seem to bake the food at the correct temperature. I say this because I have repeatedly seen chefs set the temp and come back to find out the food is undercooked. This reflects on the company that makes the ovens.Also the ice cream maker never sets the ice cream in time.Having a show like this is educational, but the tools, utensils, ovens and counterspace needs improvement. Show us new and innovative ideas in using new products making your recipes in our kitchens at home. The time recommended to cook fish, chicken, and beef to be safe should also be considered in the time allowed to chefs when they prepare their recipes for the public to see.I think the time it takes to serve up the dish for the judges should be separate from the cooking time. I really don't like to see chefs wiping plates with their aprons. Can't you have some wipes for the chef's to use. I wouldn't want to eat off a plate after it was wiped by a dirty apron,also why do you only shop at one grocery store? On the master chefs show the chefs waited at a table with a bottle of wine upon their elimination. It would be nice to see top chef contestants sit in a comfortable setting after they have completed their challenges instead of them sitting in the pantry waiting for the results.Wishing all the contestants and judges the best in this season of Top Chef. Thanks for the entertainment, I watch every week.

MM
MM

To all that ask about the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military...some people aren't aware of it. Ashley may be one of them. Am I on her side? No. I am just stating.

I do want to say that I had great pride when watching this episode, as a memeber of the USAF of 14 years it was nice to see this (although I wish it was here at my base!) So THANK YOU TOP CHEF for thinking of your nations "Freedom Fighters". You should think about doing something like that for the other branches as well. They would greatly appreciate it as well. Again I thank you.

laure
laure

I think this season is a lot of fun. It seems like the show is about food again, and I really enjoy hearing the chefs talk about why they did what they did. I like not having so many prima donnas that the focus on the show shifts from "who's gonna win" to "who's mad at who." I find this true in TV a lot... a show has a great first season, then producers and writers move in and usually end up making it like every other show out there. Clearly, the brothers angle is somebody's idea of the tension that's supposed to have us biting our nails - I wish they would knock it off. Whoever decides how to run this show ought to take a cue from the chefs - work with what's in front of you with professionalism, creativity and passion for your craft. If you overwork it, you ruin it.

CIA STU
CIA STU

wOW. CAN'T BELIEVE THE BERNAISE WORKEED SO WELL. GOOD JOB!

CIA STU
CIA STU

LoveD the show since episode 1, but what is going on now. fake bernaise and a French chef that doesn't know how to make a veloute. It's funny how people forget the basics. They should do a butchery/yield challenge. That would be great!!!

EAC Viewer
EAC Viewer

TOM-THANK YOU FOR ACKNOWLEDGING JENNIFER AS EXEC.CHEF. LOVE NELLIS-I APPRECIATED THE HEARTWARMING COMMENTS FROM THIS SEASON'S CHEFS AS MY DAUGHTER WAS AIRMAN OF THE YEAR THERE IN THE 90'S.(THESE CHEFS ARE THE BEST EVER). I LOVE LOVE LOVE FAVIO'S CLASSES AND I MAKE AT LEAST ONE DISH PER WEEK ALL SUMMER FOR MY ECLECTIC GROUP OF SNOW BIRDS (I LIVE IN WESTERN NY AND FARM LIFE IS LES MISERABLES ALL WINTER). I LIVED IN NYC, LI,NY, SANTA BARB.AREA CA AND SAN FRANCISCO/NAPA THANK YOU FOR SAVING MY LIFE.

Viewer
Viewer

How can they do a fake bernaise for daniel boulud annd all those famous french chefs. It is just unbelievable coming from that strong team.

Julia
Julia

Top Gun is a Navy program. While I doubt any of the Air Force personnel who benefited from Top Chef's hospitality will amplify this slight against them sufficiently to view the whole experience negatively, it is a little bit of an insult to associate them with a naval aviation program. I'm not saying that Navy is any better or worse than Air Force, just that I'm sure you'd prefer that people know you well enough to publicly refer to you as Tom Colicchio and not Tim Colicchio -- even when they are doing something nice for you.

Viewer
Viewer

Have been watching prior Top Chef challenges (with the excruiating brat Marcel) as a prelude to tonight's telecast - and something just hit me. In one segment, you dealt with contestant behavior and you, and all the judges, chastised the participants about conducting themselves with dignity and respect. Yet, in the quarter final, you snapped out that you didn't care about what goes on in the kitchen. You are so wrong and talking out of both sides of your mouth. My group of Top Chef friends expect to see a cooperative attitude and respect for colleagues - above all else. Without those common qualities, no one is "top" in anything. By the way, Marcel should never have gone to Hawaii but the rest of you just had to fold to Padma, right?

Walt
Walt

Tom, One of the things that I thought was interesting about the show at Nellis was that no one commented on "Don't ask, don't tell."

If proscriptions about same-sex marriage were such an issue at the Bachelor/Bachelorette party it would seem to me that Ashley or someone would have been even more livid about serving food at an "institution" (Air Force Base) where some of the competitors on Top Chef would be prohibited from serving.

Did it come up at all or were contestants admonished prior to their trip to Nellis?

City girl
City girl

To Fern from San Diego, I know! I've never made a traditional pasta salad that lived up to my expectations. I finally started thinking outside the box... and it's been great. May I suggest you dress your pasta salad with an asian-type dressing? The scent of sesame oil is always intoxicating. Mix it with rice vinegar, some ginger, maybe some sugar if it needs it. Use any pasta and experiment with different vegetables. My favorite is red peppers, shredded cabbage, corn niblets, scallions, sesame seeds and peanuts. It was delicious. I've also started using hot pepper flakes or sriracha to add some heat and tamarind to add another interesting note. To Tom: You're the best. Keep blogging about anything you want!

Alex
Alex

Tom, This is clearly the best group of chefs you have assembled. Watching every week is not only entertaining but educational. I am learning more this season than any previous one.

Speaking of previous ones...I'm still trying to figure out the Ilan and Hosea wins. What the heck was in the mushrooms???

Have a great season.

Alex

Viewer
Viewer

tom, I have been watching the show and i find that the judges are to narrow minded at times, and i love to see their faces when the "chefs" show their back bones. I understand that the concept of reality tv is to spice up the rateings but the things that the judges say at times put fire in my blood. One judge made a comment saying she had to wait and it was unexceptable...Im sorry to say every restaurant there is some type of wait, and if she doesnt have to wait then there must be something wrong with her taste buds, for that means she goes to some run down places so she doesnt have to wait...

Jeanne G., Philadelphia
Jeanne G., Philadelphia

Chef C: Love the show. Do any of the critics of your not recognizing Chef Jennifer C. realize that she had immunity this week? Had luncheon Monday at 10 Arts. My compliments to Chef J and her staff and also the dining room staff. It was a lovely experience. JG

mmc
mmc

In my last post I forgot to mention that I thought Jennifer did a wonderful job acting as Executive Chef, She kept everybody moving, kept aware of the time and did a great job keeping all the egos in check.She was the best of all the chefs I have seen in that role!

mmc
mmc

In my last post I forgot to mention that I thought Jennifer did a wonderful job acting as Executive Chef, She kept everybody moving, kept aware of the time and did a great job keeping all the egos in check.She was the best of all the chefs I have seen in that role!

Ruth Bowler
Ruth Bowler

Tom--- Clam Chowder is not a poor choice for a hot day. New Englanders eat clam chowder all summer long. It's considered typical summer fare for us. I'm disappointed that you snobbishly made fun of the decision to serve it. Also, please start pronouncing "scallop" correctly. Check your dictionary. It rhymes with "trollop", and "wallop"---the "a" has an "aw" sound.

penni
penni

you are the smartest sexiest man on T.V.

cr
cr

Tom,

Not to beat a dead horse, but you did bring up the gay marriage issue again in this blog, so I have a question. The dinner for top gun was also for thier family. In the era of "Don't ask don't tell" were homosexuals allowed to have thier partners there to share the event with them?

Elizabeth S.
Elizabeth S.

Just got caught up on the last episode and even before I read the comments had been thinking this episode seemed a little sexist. Jennifer was clearly the head of the kitchen and in Restaurant Wars that is always the position that is the most at risk but yet she was not rewarded for her fantastic work by being in the top. And when the judges were discussing the bottom 3 (at least what the viewers saw) it seemed to be clearly between the 2 women. There was a lot of "oh look at that Mike guy, isn't is funny when he gets mad? Hahahah" going on but clearly he made some terrible food and knew it AND decided to serve it when he didn't have to. I'm not saying it was intentional but I think there was something a little off about treating the women worse than that guy.

Fern from San Diego
Fern from San Diego

Hi, Tom! You add so much sparkle to the show. Thanks for your continued words of cooking wisdom. I love to entertain and pasta salad always sounds like a good idea, but I've yet to find a delicious pasta salad recipe. The pasta seems to suck up the taste and it always turns out blahhh. Where does the flavor go? Will you please point me in the right direction to solve this mystery. Do you have a good recipe? Thanks. Congratulations on your baby!

Sandy
Sandy

Tom, Really like this season and the quality of the cheftants. It was nice to see some good judging and criticism of the bottom three-now if the judges would be this tough every week it would make the season even better.

Viewer
Viewer

I often wonder where reality t.v. heads are when they talk about economic woes & that beauty is a requirement in order to be even considered for a job. About time Bravo reality gave props to the military. Well done Top Chefs!

JeanB
JeanB

Tom: DID the people responsible for contestants DELIBERATELY chose women for this season who the judges could dismiss without thinking of it. It seems that once again a MAN will be top chef; I mean, God Forbid another Woman sneaks by and actually cooks better than anyone else.

Any judge who would pick a loser like Hung and say they were fair and chosing the best person has to be lying

Or is it that most outside judges are just male and gay

Sally B.
Sally B.

Tom, I am grateful to you for writing your comments; they are well thought out and well written, with a kindness that is not often seen.

I don't know if you can do anything about this – the videos on the Bravo TV website can't be heard by people who are hard of hearing, we rely on closed captioning or the text. There are approximately 36 million of us, 18 to 20 million under the age of 65. I'm telling this to you because I don't know how to bring it to the people who could do something about it. They will be required to do it eventually; it would be easier for them if they did it willingly.

Deb
Deb

First of all, love, love, love the show. You are great, Tom, and Padma and Gail. Very fair, and all of that. I do want to comment specifically on this blog-- when you said, Tom, "...undergo experiences no person should..." I have an issue with that. THe brave men and women of the military are honored to serve their country and they wanted to do it, whatever it entails. It is not for everyone, true enough, and I know that you are being sensitive to their feelings. There are, also, resources that will give much more info on the war than "15 minutes on CNN". Which everyone is aware by now is slanted to the left. And the chefs should have said in front of all the airmen that it was an honor to serve them.

mmc
mmc

Hi Tom , I really enjoy Top Chef and also enjoyed Top Chef Masters so much.I was rooting for the final three from the first show. All three of them deserved to win and all three are terrofic chefs. Since Rick Bayless won kudos to him. He seems to be a really nice guy as well as an excellent chef This season of Top Chef is interesting to say the least. I loved the meal for the Air Force...they deserved a special tribute and I am sure they all appreciated it.I think the Colonel was touched too.I love to cook and always have and the one thing I learned early on was food has to be seasoned to taste good. You have to taste and season as you go along.If you put too little the dish is blah and too much can destroy a really good dish.My Mother used to say I ate a whole meal as I was cooking it because I tasted so often. It also helped that I love most of the food I cook. In my Italian family cooking was a way to show love and caring and it still is to this day. Congrats on your baby!!!!

Susan Hubbard
Susan Hubbard

I love the show. I love Tom. The only comment I have is a suggestion - Why not have people from everyday life come on the show (maybe 9-5 working people). I'd lov to volunteer!!!!! I do love the show and think the judges are very fair.

Nia
Nia

Top Chef is not shown in my country, but I find your blog so well-written that I'm going to look for downloads somewhere :)

Low salt fan
Low salt fan

Millions of people are eating low salt diets for health reasons. The FDA is considering cutting the daily requested consumption of salt in half for health reasons. We are continually hearing that food is not salted enough on this show. A true top chef can make something taste good without salt.....Hello Mrs. Dash.

Viewer
Viewer

Chef Tom, for a cook, you are literate and articulate, which is quite unusual in this industry, but your political position on gay marriage is inappropriate for a cooking show. Maybe you should grow your hair out, put on a tie dye, get tattooed and pierced up, and go work as a salad boy for Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, so you can protest Prop 8 and pontificate on political issues in your spare time.

What are you going to do next season? Have a Mexican illegal cook cry about not being a citizen and pontificate how evil America is while demanding he be given political rights?

marybeth
marybeth

I find it interesting that Ashley didn't have a single complaint about catering for the military...which is also off limits to her as a lesbian.

Cherie S.
Cherie S.

I think it would be interesting to offer the quick-fire challenge the choice of immunity or $15,000. What do you think Tom?

Lydia
Lydia

Tom is truly a class act. He is not afraid to speak his opinion i.e. the soapbox. The word here in Las Vegas is that Tom was always nice to the employees of the M hotel and polite to fans. Everyone at the M had positive things to say about him because he treated everyone with respect.

Shannon Booth
Shannon Booth

I'm an avid fan of Top Chef, and have been since the series began. I must say, that this past week was my favorite episode yet, but that may be because I'm a bit biased. My husband is active duty in the Air Force and is currently deployed, so being such a huge fan of they show and seeing that the show has taken place at an Air base, was really close to my heart. It was great, and I only wish we were stationed at Nellis so I could have enjoyed such a wonderful experience. But, thank you for doing that, coming from a spouse of a deployed Airmen, things like that are much appriciated!

Viewer
Viewer

Karen, You find it sexist? How could that be? The only woman that won this competition did so because their golden (white) boy blew it. Three challenges, three women go home-this year is looking to be the most flagrantly sexist yet. They even show a (white) male contestant stating his believed superiority over all females. In the past, they've tried to hide the sexism a bit-getting rid of strong females at the beginning so they won't be a threat in the end. This year, they seem to be celebrating it. Such a sad commentary on what is acceptable and expected in our society.

susan
susan

Love the show, looks like this season is going to be great. As always glad to see you judges. I think Jennifer did a great job keeping everyone on track GO JENNIFER. poor poor pasta salad not so good.

susan
susan

Love the show, looks like this season is going to be great. As always glad to see you judges. I think Jennifer did a great job keeping everyone on track GO JENNIFER. poor poor pasta salad not so good.

Keith
Keith

I have to agree with the comment about the nutritional value of the meals served by the chefs. The C.O. made a point of it early on and the chefs seemed to have missed it.

Although a bit mundane, the dreaded pasta salad included fresh broccoli and other vegetables. Yes, it was safe but the dish was familiar for the military families and probably the most nutritious item served. Too bad that was taken into account.

Mike should have gone but he's a spicy character so he's guaranteed to make it to at least the final six.

Ally
Ally

Tom, I just wanted to that I really enjoy watching Top Chef every week - last week's was particularly moving - and reading your blog! Among my friends, I am known as a klutz in the kitchen, and although I still manage to lose the pepper shaker in the sauce, Top Chef has inspired me to try out recipes and cook instead of sticking something in the microwave.

chefrexs
chefrexs

Tried to leave a comment (register) a couple of weeks ago, must be a new format.

Anyway, the week Eve was asked to leave, Tom said to one of the new judges "she did poorly on the last challenge" - that was WRONG. The judging should be on the current challenge, and he should not have "influenced" the new judge's decision.

Kathy Rogers
Kathy Rogers

Tom, My Husband and I love your show Top Chef and drool everytime,( For The Most Part ), over all the wonderful looking plates these talented Chefs come up with...We wonder why you haven't considered having an "Average Fan" of Top Chef become a "Guest Judge" for each episode...Pick em out of a hat,fly em to a taping,give em a room,let em hang out with you and other Judges ETC., and give em a little dough to spend...I think it would be awesome and really bring another element to Top Chef that other Cooking shows don't really touch on...My Husband and I would love to be "Guest Judges"...Think about it, I think it's a great idea... Take Care, Kathy Rogers...Bandon,Oregon...

pimenton
pimenton

Tom,

I've always enjoyed your blog, but it seems extra thoughtful and insightful this season. Thanks, and keep up the great work!

Viewer
Viewer

like every season, top chef viewers need to get over themselves. most of us have inconsistent views, or at best, make inconsistent statements and take actions inconsistent with our principles. ashley was merely reacting to the challenge at hand and reacting HONESTLY. you people waiting for her to say something about the military, football, etc, whatever. she's not the spearhead of the feminist/gender equality movement, so stop acting like she is or that you expect her to be just because you didn't like her reaction to a challenge. the issue of marriage is more hotly discussed and debated and yes, affects more people directly and personally. it's like if you were denied the right to an education because you didn't fit into the idea of a student, and had to serve others, not by choice, at their graduation. so stop saying her reactions are so unreasonable or implying that she is a hypocrite and get over it. just like you expect her to suck it up and get over her stuff, get over someone reacting to something that highlights what they feel is a grave injustice to them. and you never see someone say that i am a straight chef because why don't you walk around saying you are straight? because in most situations, heterosexuality is the norm. it's not because top chef is trying to shove some agenda down your throats. geesh.

valerie
valerie

Dear Mr. Colicchio I am a true fan of the Top Chef series, i can honestly admit without embarrassment. i have seen every series and every show. hence forth my question, Recently Bravo introduced a Top Chef Masters series, and i am curious why you did not involve yourself, if i am not mistaken, you are a self proclaimed super chef,and well respected, who has the ability to judge those among your craft, i would think that you , Padma or even Gail would have enough nerve to enter a Top Chef competition, you do believe you can do it ,right? honestly how much fun for the fans would it be, to see those who judge, finally compete in the same challenges and be judged themselves? during your shows i always find myself asking..could Tom,Padma or Gail do better under the same circumstances?..Prove it..Show me, I dare you...

Dr.K
Dr.K

Well another person of color goes home from TC. Only two more to go. And this one was a two-fer because she was a woman!! In no time at all we'll be down to the contestants that really matter, the white guys, and the the women with the balls to hang with them! Colicchio, who couldn't make a ham sandwich that a bunch of GI's would like, waxes eloquent about cooking for the troops. When will you be off to cook for the Marines at Camp Pendelton I wonder, instead of milking the audience for all of the pathos that you can with the flyboys? But the irony is that the military, that has done so much to break down barriers of race and gender, is the unwitting backdrop for the axing of a woman of color. I look forward to the day that one of the less then white chefs calls the judges out on their so obvious biases. By the way, Tom, as someone else said, how is your fab, over-the-top pasta salad? Still waiting for that recipe.