Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio elaborates on why Stefan's dish was the worst.

on Jan 30, 2013

   What I think was the most challenging aspect of the challenge was actually the plating. The whimsical vessels at the chefs’ disposal all had five-to-seven smaller sub-vessels. This is out of the ordinary (unless you work at Qsine or another restaurant where such vessels are used), which means not only that the chefs had to account for the vessels in conceptualizing their dishes, but also that that they had to put extra thought into what they were doing when plating everything. Hence the difficulty you saw Brooke having as the clock wound down  Had I been making a dish in this challenge, I probably would have braised a piece of pork with clams together, which would have been in the biggest vessel, and then I would have put cold garnishes around it that I had prepped in advance (as Sheldon did with his kimchi -- smart!).

Sheldon’s kimchi, by the way, was really, really good, as was his beef. The good parts of his dish soared, which helped outweigh his poorer tempura, whereas Stefan’s whole dish was poor.

Though Lizzie’s dish fell apart because of the cabbage, and she left the ribs in, her flavors were all good, and hers was an interesting dish, so she, too, still beat out Stefan. Brooke’s dish was terrific, despite the papadum. And Josh was lucky that he was able to salvage his dish. The pasta he was trying to make can -- and has -- been done successfully, albeit using techniques Josh didn’t use in this challenge. One way to do it would have been to use “meat glue”: You thinly cut all the scallops, lay them out on a piece of plastic wrap, glue them together, roll them in plastic wrap, and thinly slice them lengthwise into “pasta.” Another way would be to create a puree using agar agar (a gelatin substitute produced from a form of seaweed) instead of gelatin, so that it would set up like gelatin but wouldn’t melt with heat. You could then fashion the “pasta” from that. Ferran Adrià did this a decade ago, to the amazement of all, who wondered how his “pasta” didn’t melt. But Josh didn’t do either of those, and he’s very, very lucky that he found a way to turn what would have been a disaster into something he was able to work with.   

And so it’s Stefan who disembarks. He had not one but two good runs on Top Chef. Can he best Kristen in Last Chance Kitchen and get back into the race to take that title he’s been after for so long…?