Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio offers solutions to the chefs' dish problems.

on Dec 5, 2012

Stefan and Brooke were on the right track with their dish, but the main problem with their execution was that Stefan used sugar in his cabbage -- that’s how that cabbage is prepared, and the two just didn't know how to fix this very fixable problem. Frankly, the dish would have fared far better had he gone in a totally different direction with the cabbage, perhaps doing something winey and vinegary to counterbalance the sweetness of the rosewater ingredient. Even so, though, they, too, could have been far more imaginative. European desserts used rosewater long before chocolate and vanilla became ubiquitous. And many dishes from the Indian subcontinent use rosewater as well. Stefan and Brooke had ample sources of inspiration, had they allowed themselves to be inspired.

All of this said, please realize that I’m not judging any of the contestants as chefs. If I wanted to judge them as chefs, I’d go to their restaurants with secret cameras. No, I’m judging the food they present me in any given challenge. OK, so they all made bad dishes this week. That doesn’t tell me much about them as chefs. We’ve all made bad dishes. The question is what they’ll do now that they’ve been admonished to step up their game. 

I think CJ said something insightful in his exit interview. He said that he feels that he’s only now starting his career. This is true. He’s been bouncing around a bit since his last stint on Top Chef, but I hope he’s now thinking about food a bit differently. We’ll see, in “Last Chance Kitchen”…