Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio was pretty pleased with this week's offerings. But where were the beer and peanuts?

on Aug 25, 20100

I didn’t have much time to research this, but from what I could glean it seems that ballpark concessions have been in place as long as the ballparks themselves and the teams playing in them. In fact my wife’s grandpa, a Bronx native, sold peanuts at the Yankees' Polo Grounds as a young teen in the late 1920s to help out his immigrant parents (and gain him viewing access to the games, thus killing two birds with one stone).
 
But concessions have come a long way since their original hot dogs, peanuts, cracker jacks and beer. As stadiums have “fancified,” so has the fare offered, and it’s not unusual to find more diverse –- and often regional –- offerings, such as crab cakes, lobster rolls, baby-back ribs, jerk chicken, salmon sandwiches, knishes (in both New York and Florida, where the Mets winter), light and healthy vegan selections, and, yes, even sushi. Recently I was in the Legends Box at Yankee Stadium, where the food was great: King Crab legs, sliced prime rib... What’s nice to see generally, though, is a trend towards better quality and healthier offerings than your standard hot dog.
           


I’ve been thrilled with the opportunities this season has presented us. Last week, Langley. This week, Nationals Park! When the challenge was originally set up, I was actually slated to throw out the opening pitch, but our shooting schedule changed, and someone else was already scheduled to do so on the day we wound up shooting the episode. Still, we were able to be on the field, and I was able to play catch in the bullpen, which was great. It was a thrill for us all to be there.
 
The chefs largely did very well. They did a good job with their dishes and with getting the food out. While I was surprised not to see dishes made with peanuts or beer, everyone met the criteria of the challenge. The fans who sampled the six dishes loved them. Ed’s dish was the clear home run –- it was a nuanced dish, difficult to execute, and he pulled it off with great skill. It was an unequivocal success, and perfect for a stadium, where you don’t want to have to think hard or work hard to manage your meal. Tiffany’s was a bit more unwieldy, but in a way that was consistent with what the meal was, and one could still juggle it with one’s beer.
 


Kevin’s error of putting the fries atop the skewers was not enough to get him sent home, as his dish was still essentially solid. Angelo’s sandwich had the wrong ratio of bread to filler, but the components of the dish itself were strong enough to withstand both that and the slight oversweetness –- it was still a very good dish. Kelly’s crab was terrific, even if her BLT was not.
 


Which leaves Amanda. When Eric Ripert goes so far as to use the word “offensive” in connection with fish, what more is there to say? As you’ve no doubt noted in the episodes thus far, he is encouraging of the chefs and seems truly to be rooting for them. Amanda’s permitting her tuna to oxidize was hands down the most egregious of the errors made by the chefs in this challenge. People are frightened of eating fish that has spoiled. Even the appearance of spoilage will engender an aversion to a dish, whether the fish has actually begun to turn or not.  Anyone eating Amanda’s tuna tartare first had to overcome our reflexive impulse to turn away from the fish because of its off-putting color. And this is an utterly unacceptable obstacle. To be honest, Eric was a bit afraid to eat the dish.  He actually said, “it’s dangerous — it could kill me.” Not only does tuna oxidize quickly once it’s been cut up, it also dries out quickly. When we serve tuna tartare in my restaurants, we cut it up as close to service as possible for both of those reasons, doing so a couple of times per night, and, on a slow night, even to order. Amanda’s instinct that it might be warm in the kitchen so she didn’t want to keep the tuna out was a good one, but there was a better solution than the one she settled on. She could have kept the tuna refrigerated and used smaller pieces as she went along. Had she kept her tuna intact until the day of the challenge, we might have had a tougher job determining our bottom dish. But since she didn’t, once she saw that her tuna was oxidizing she could have switched over to something like a tuna burger, where the oxidation would no longer have been apparent.



Amanda is young; she has lots to learn but I’ve no doubt she has an illustrious career ahead of her.
 
Meanwhile, can you believe Buzz Aldrin appears in our next challenge? I thought it would be hard to top the CIA…

94 comments
Viewer333
Viewer333

I love tuna tartare but it really is not appropriate for a baseball game, even if the tuna hadn't oxidized. It would be hard to eat. Tuna tartare is more for fine dining places. Once she put in the meat grinder, she should have thought to make tuna sliders maybe with a nice wasabi mayonnaise. Those are very popular at a lot of casual sport bars at least around where I live. Much more appropriate, appealing and easy to eat

Monica
Monica

It certainly looks that way, but we need to remember that these epdisodes were filmed months ago. There were still blossoms on the cherry trees around the Jefferson monument, which put it in the Spring here in D.C. It timing of the award and his departure was just coincidence.

AimeeB
AimeeB

The Emmy voters submitted their picks long before PeaGate 2010. With that said, I don't think this season is nearly as interesting or competitive as last year's. The chefs this time around don't seem to turn out great dishes as consistently as some of the previous chefs (i.e. the Voltaggios, Kevin, Jenn, etc.), nor am I as drawn to their personalities and rivalries. Unfortunately, as much as I love Top Chef, I don't see back-to-back Emmys for the show. TC will win again, just not for the D.C. season.

TonyaS
TonyaS

I know Angelo is not responsible for the horrible color of Amanda's tuna, but has anyone else noticed that everyone he "helps" goes home?

Cass
Cass

I made numerous comments last season, but hadn't posted anything this season 'til now. Not much to say. I liked Kenny and was disappointed at his elim. Although his oft-repeated duo format I found bothersome. Angelo seems very talented as do Ed and the now-eliminated Tiffany (who I was hoping would make it to the finals). I was thrilled to see your win for my favorite season of Top Chef. I'm so bored with this season and the challenges and lack of skill of some of the cheftestants, I didn't even watch the silly "astroanaut" challenge and took it off my series record on the DVR. A long-time fan that has been highly disappointed.

Deltra
Deltra

I AGREE TOTALLY!!!! THANK YOU!!!! Someone else sees what I have seen all along. An I really hope Ed wins now that Tiffany is gone! He is by far the most tallented one left.

RTRAlabama
RTRAlabama

Ok, I'm done with this season. Tiffany has been consistently at the top of the group since the beginning; the sandwich shop owner serves soggy bread, and has been mediocre all season. Yet, you send Tiffany home because she didn't skin the peppers. Amanda served SHERRY to children, and she lasted longer than Kenny. This season is not making sense, and I don't care who wins.

Charlie dee
Charlie dee

I think a huge mistake was made tonight w/Tiffany's elimination. She has won more challenges and put out more great food than anyone. She ran into a problem that was not of her making and she should not be penalized for it. I think you should take all of them. I realize as I am writing this that it's probably too late but I think it's a crock.

Sheila Wooden
Sheila Wooden

I am so disappointed in tonight's show. Tiffany did not deserve to be kicked off. That's it for me. She was one of the best. I'm sorry I don't think she should have been deleted from the competition.

Cflaco
Cflaco

The Yankees DID play at at The Polo Grounds until 1922.

solomogo
solomogo

As we watched the episode at the ballgame I wondered what would have happened if the chefs put there dishes up for display and the patrons picked them that way. I doubt many people would have grabbed for Amanda's grey tuna tartare. I certainly would have reacted the way Chef Ripert did and be very hesitant even to taste it.

Myrna
Myrna

Congratulations on the Emmy! Well deserved! Still I wish I didn't have to wonder whether the 4 weeks of kerfuffle about Alex- whether or not he cheated- which generated so many posts, was a setup by the producers. Those episodes were broadcast the four weeks before the Emmy Award Show; and just maybe they generated some buzz, got Emmy voters who were unfamiliar with youre show to tune in to find out what the fuss was about. The very day after the Emmy voting deadline, Alex was sent home, controversy over.

Wayne
Wayne

Kevin's shoestring fries:

It's a shame that the thing you commented on most were Kevin Sbraga's shoestring fries from the Ballpark challenge. I just ate at his restaurant, Rat's, on Aug 21 and he served the best French Fries I have ever had in my life. Redemption.

bsbfankaren
bsbfankaren

RLB, are you sure about Angelo's stats? I remember him winning consistantly early on, but perhaps it was all Quik Fire? What happens to the stats when you add those in?

Donita
Donita

Thank you Tom for your thorough analysis each week. For drama sake the producers allow us to think some of the dishes are heavily flawed and that someone just missed going home for an egregious error. I'm glad to know the food really is good with minor correctable flaws. Go Tiffany! Go Ed! Good guys should win!

black-rocker-chick
black-rocker-chick

Come on folks, Angelo is not responsible for Amanda's the horrid appearance of Amanda's tuna tartare any more than she is responsible for his soggy bread!

Isn't there enough drama in this show without creating more with how the show is cut?

Top three, Angelo = Tiffany = Ed. Both Ed and Angelo both cook with an Asian flare, so it will be interesting to see if they end up canceling each other out, giving the win to Tiffany!

Crabrubywater
Crabrubywater

I hope the top three are Tiffani, Ed and Kelly. I do have a question, Tom. It seems that the chefs taste their food and dip the utensil back in the pot for you guys to eat. Isn't that gross to you?

marta7
marta7

I've sent in 3 emails and none of them have posted. I don't have any doubts that Tiffany will win this year because it's being orchestrated that way. It seems that Angelo is the most talented chef in the competition, yet the producers are coming up with any video that makes him look bad and they're trying to make Tiffany look good. I mena, come on, the Ethiopian quickfire challenge where Samuelsson asked Angelo if he was raised in Ethiopia and yet Tiffany, who admitted she didn't know the flavors of Ethiopia, won the challenge with her goulash? Give me a break - at least I'm not that gullible.

Giz
Giz

It's a game of may the best Chef win. Why should he help them out???

Gotham
Gotham

Tom, your wife's grandpa would have told you that the Yankees did not play at the Polo Grounds in the late 1920s. The Yankees played at the old Yankee Stadium, which was almost directly opposite the Polo Grounds on the Bronx side of the Harlem River; the Polo Grounds (which were on the Manhattan side) was the home of the New York Giants.

Where's Tom?
Where's Tom?

Congrats on the Emmy, Tom. It's nice that they still called it Top Chef, even though it really has become the Padma Lakshmi show. I think you were on screen more on the Emmy ceremony than you were the last couple of episodes. Maybe you are getting tired of the show (I hope not), but listening to Padma droll on about some chef's knife skills while three world-class chefs sit at table is getting really old.

Faithfulviewer
Faithfulviewer

Chef Colicchio, I have a suggestion. I really have an issue with the games chef's play. Specifically Angelo, I really think that since this show stesses chef integrity. Why not let the chef's continue to earn immunity by keeping out the bottom three. How many seasons have you or Padma told a chef that they were lucky they had immunity or one of the cheftestants said I could send out boiled water and not go home. Why not take it up a notch? This would mean that the chef who earned immunity during the quickfire would keep his/her immunity as long as his dish did not end up in the bottom. This could keep chef's from playing mind games and sending out peanutbutter stuffed celery and be responsible for what they send out of the kitchen every show. Congratulations on the Emmy.

maxpro
maxpro

I agree that season 7 is the most boring yet. Also the last guest judge was a sad choice too (he really never pushed himself out of his comfort zone of seafood in top chef masters). This group of chefs seem to be the least talented since the show started. Chef, was this group the best you could find?

Pearlz
Pearlz

Congratulations on the Emmy win....way to go Top Chef (my favorite show)

ilovetom
ilovetom

congrats on the emmy, holy **** ! I'm glad and heartened, there's something about the show that makes me come back, and even watch episodes TWICE. I am not an appointment watcher of tv since I was 10, but this is one I always watch. kudos !!

Nadine Harris
Nadine Harris

I'm not sure where all this stuff about Amanda not having skills and so forth is coming from -- except from the other contestants, and clearly they are very biased. They'd rather see her go home than them. None of you tasted her food, and few of you have even a fraction of this mystical "technique" that she is supposed to lack, so I suspect you're all being conned by the bigmouths on the show. Now her personality -- that's something we can judge. And I thought she was cute, funny and likeable. That won't keep her on the show, but I was sorry to see her go, although clearly it was time. I also think Alex was getting an amazingly raw deal from posters. Think for yourselves, folks! Poor guy.

RLB
RLB

Tiffany is obviously the ‘beast’ and has been the frontrunner in this competition for a while despite how Angelo & Kenny have been portrayed & inflated themselves to be. Angelo has done absolutely nothing impressive since the 3rd week of the show. The chef’s elimination challenge records tell the real story. Tiffany: Bottom rated 0/never Middle rated 4 times Top rated 5 times Won 2 times

Ed: Bottom rated 2 times Middle rated 4 times Top rated 3 times Won 2 times

Kelly: Bottom rated 3 times Middle rated 2 times w/1 ‘safe’ Top rated 3 times Won 2 times

Angelo: Bottom rated 2 times Middle rated 6 times Top rated 2 times Won 1 time

Kevin: Bottom rated 5 times Middle rated 2 times Top rated 3 times Won 1 time

Tiffany is the frontrunner with Ed closely chasing her. Kelly is in the middle with Angelo & Kevin IN THE BOTTOM. Like Kenny, Angelo was a lot of talk & has become a ‘flash in the pan’.

cocopuff
cocopuff

Congratulations on the Emmy!

All of you seemed thrilled with your win-- well-deserved. I hope you write about it in your next post. Was the award for season 6 as a whole or a particular episode of season 6? Enjoy the show and appreciate your efforts to help children improve their health and opportunities by working to pass legislation in Congress. I saw that the bil passed but Congress only funded 1/2 the amount asked for, is that correct? What can we do to support this effort as citizens?

Margaret R. Eggers
Margaret R. Eggers

CONGRATULATIONS to the ONLY "reality" show worth watching! Thanks for keeping it professional and about the food, not about the pseudo-drama like the rest of them. Mosel tov to all the TC Crew!! MRE

Lisa Paciorek
Lisa Paciorek

Congratulations on the Emmy win! That radiant smile on your face was beyond compare! Love you, Tom!

M3
M3

Congratulations to Top Chef for last night's Emmy win. More & more it looks like last season has set the standard.

PeachPie
PeachPie

Looks like it was a tight race this week. THAT is always a good sign. Listening to the judges comments, I honestly couldn't figure out who you'd be eliminating. I don't know if that's just clever editing or if it was really that close.

The best part of each season (though nerve wracking to the chefs) is when/if it comes to a matter of splitting hairs over what sends someone home. It usually means everyone is cooking at a very high level.

As for Amanda going home...well, yeah...I wouldn't want to touch any raw fish that was discolored, so I get it. I wish her the best. She can cook and will only get better with time.

And I'm with Alicia Baxley who commented on Angelo's "Asian Influenced" food. I get that this is his comfort zone, but can he do anything else?

LG
LG

I'm not Tom, but yes, it would -- because it keeps air from getting to the flesh. It does change the final product, though, and not in a way that I find appealing. Tuna doesn't need more oil and the olive overtones leave a funny aftertaste that really shouldn't be present in a tartare.

just another nyc chef
just another nyc chef

Why isn't anyone else focusing on the fact that she put the damn tuna in a freakimg MEAT GRINDER?????!!!! Could she possibly bastardize the fish any more? Oh yes she can... dress it 4 hours ahead of time. Before she continues her career.. she should take some time to stage in real restaurants that could give her a damn hint on proper handling of fish. If eric ripert let her watch his butcher at le bernidan for 5 min she would be light years ahead of where she is now. Why are undereducated hacks good for tv?

just another nyc chef
just another nyc chef

Why isn't anyone else focusing on the fact that she put the damn tuna in a freakimg MEAT GRINDER?????!!!! Could she possibly bastardize the fish any more? Oh yes she can... dress it 4 hours ahead of time. Before she continues her career.. she should take some time to stage in real restaurants that could give her a damn hint on proper handling of fish. If eric ripert let her watch his butcher at le bernidan for 5 min she would be light years ahead of where she is now. Why are undereducated hacks good for tv?

bigTCwatcher
bigTCwatcher

Congratulations on your EMMY win, you guys finally got it.

Loopy
Loopy

Just read the NYT's review of Ed's restaurant (Plein Sud), which was less than enthusiastic. Do you wish that major publications would wait to do reviews until the season is done? By making Ed look like a mediocre chef, it will kind of take the luster off if he wins...and if he doesn't win, it looks like it was telegraphed. I'm probably reading too much into this, but curious if you or the producers had any opinion at all. The season is going great -- looking forward to Buzz! (He was great on Howard Stern, too!) Think that Angelo deserved more credit for doing all the expediting -- that's part of the reason the kitchen ran as smoothly as it did. Kind of unsporting of Tiffany and Kevin to try and knock him down when he brought up a very reasonable point of how he could possibly get his food out and expedite for them all...

FloridaGal
FloridaGal

Sunday, 8/29 WAY TO GO ON THE EMMY FOR BEST REALITY SHOW! I thought that Tiffany's dish being a little sloppy was a sure sign that it was juicey. How come one of the chefs who had PTK was not used to take orders? One or two of them would enjoy taking orders at a ball game over sitting in the hotel. I would like to see them used. Especially in RW. I feel that Angelo knew that it was way to early for Amanda to "shread" her tuna. I am trying to come up with a nice word on what happened to the tuna after Amanda sent it threw the meat grinder. When Tiffany helped Kelly and said I would rather beat a chef on his/her best day than for a mistake, it made me like her even more. Since Angelo was guiding her to use the meat grinder, I feel it was on purpose to make her look bad. Angelo had the perfect opportunity to say, "it is way to early to grind up your tuna - it will lose it's nice pink/red color." I wonder if Angelo would use a meat grinder in his resturant to make a tartar? I so agree with you that this season has offered many opportunites being in the DC area. No matter what your afiliation, it sure is neat to have people we see on the news being part of TC - a reality show. It says alot that they would want their name associated with the show. I grew up in DC, so it has been like visiting with family as I watched the shows. And next week, Buzz Aldrin! I live about 5 miles from the Cape in Florida. Whenever a shuttle or rocket goes off, we all go to the back porch and watch "Florida Fireworks". I have so enjoyed TC since the start. Thank you.

BostonPride
BostonPride

Congrats to Ed, Red Sox solidarity!

bsbfankaren is totally right- no one can blame Angelo for what Amanda's mistakes. Amanda decided that she wanted to tartare her tuna the day before, and asked Angelo about a specific technique. Angelo helped her out by explaining what to do - he never suggested that she do her tuna the day before. That was Amanda's decision alone.

Yeah, he could have helped Amanda out by giving her some tips on what to do the next day when the tuna began to oxidize, but guess what? So could have any of the other chefs. In the end, Amanda had to live with her poor decision, and it's absurd to claim that Angelo sabotaged her or in any other way disrupted the integrity of the competition. Also, in the end, Angelo stepped up and took the risk and responsibility of expediting and trusting Ed enough to cook his dish for him. He should get a little credit for that when no one else was willing to play that role.

addicted tc viewer
addicted tc viewer

i think that Angelo will have an advantage, now that we know the location of the finale is Singapore. Even though he is playing a crafty game, I think he has talent. Ed seems like the thoughtful guy, though. He thnks through the intent of the challenge and creates something that satisfies the goal of the competition. It is true...some of the previous competitors would have had a ball with the word play competition. Particularly Richard B and Kevin G. They had creatve minds and a sense of humor, in addition, to being extremely capable chefs. I love the way you use these talented and interesting chefs to support the current competitions.

enightman
enightman

Dear Tom:

I have been a big fan of the show since the beginning. I am glad to see that the judging is back on track. Ed deserved the win with his fritter. It was appealing to the masses. As an aside I am glad to see that Alex was asked to go. He was out of his element with Top Chef. The drama he brought along might have been interesting TV but was not Top Chef.

I have learned alot from the show. Thanks and continue doing what you do to make the show such a success.

Cheers Andy Vienna VA

enightman
enightman

Dear Tom:

I have been a huge fan of the show since the beginning. I am glad to see that the judging is back on track. I think they decsion of giving Ed the win was great. His fritter sounds great and really was appealing to the masses.

I am glad that you as judges finally saw that Alex just was not in his element. And the drama that he caused might have been interesting TV it was not Top Chef.

I have learned so much from the show and web site. Thank you and please continue doing what you are doing to make the show such a success.

Cheers Andrew Eves Vienna VA

David H.
David H.

I know Top Chef is a competition, but it really turns me off when one contestant bad mouths another without provocation. Kelly has practically defined herself as the person who couldn't stand Amanda, an image that in my mind eclipses Kelly's successes. (Similarly, all I remember of Eli from last season was his immature treatment of Robin.)

I prefer rooting for chefs that I like, and one of the things I admire about Amanda is that she dealt with the constant criticism with class.

So it was a real disappointment to me that, of all people, Ed decided to go on the attack this week. Ed and Tiffany are two of the most likeable frontrunners in quite a while. They are both great talents who also keep their egos in check. Let's hope it was an out-of-character moment for Ed.

JonathanD
JonathanD

As I have been making alot of dishes with ahi tuna as of late, especially Poke', I have to ask: Is there any way to stop or slow the oxidizing of tuna. I saw the episode and I thought someone mentioned oil. If this is the case, what kind of oil and how much as to not ruin the taste of the tartare?

Thanks in advance.

Lyn H.
Lyn H.

I don't think I've had as conflicted feelings since the first season of Top Chef. My feelings and judgments are lining up for Tiffany--on all levels. I love her skill, warmth, and professionalism. My son commented that you are getting meaner each season. I've noticed a change, too, but not in a negative way. There are certain things that should just "Go with the territory" of a professional chef--rice making being one. How many contestants have been eliminated because of rice? I also wonder, with you I'm sure, why an aspiring Top Chef would not have watched original and re-runs of all episodes and mastered the tricky techniques? It is, truly a mystery; and I feel impatient along with you.

Sean Caruthers
Sean Caruthers

Nats Ballpark = Weak Sauce I was disappointed with the offerings from the cheftestants in the ballpark challenge. They all seem to be playing it so safely. Crab cakes, chicken skewers, meatball sandwiches, tuna tartare. While a new spin on old classic can be a huge success, where is the innovation this season? Most ballparks offer more seasonal, flavorful, bold, and exciting choices than a lot of the dishes we saw put out this week. Having been a loyal viewer, I expect to be wowed every time I tune in. This season's crop of cheftestants seems to be lacking something...

jdwchef
jdwchef

I think you are right on the top 3. Tiffany by far is my favorite though I do like Ed as well. The jury is still out on Kelly for me. I am glad Amanda is gone though, she seemed a bit immature to me in the way she talked about some of the contestants.

lolly
lolly

I keep switching team members. Team 1 Ed, Kenny, Kelly Team 2 Ed, Angelo, Kelly Team 3 Ed, Angelo, Tiffany

Ed is the only lasting team member. I think the winner will be either Ed or Tiffany.

Brad73
Brad73

Liked the concession stand challenge, except, AGAIN, why make someone in charge of front of the house? At this stage in the competition surely you should be focused on the food. It's Top Chef, not Top Maitre'd.

I may not like Angelo much as a person, but if he had gone home because he had to split time between cooking his dish and taking orders that would have been a disaster for this season (which is honestly already a major step down from last season).

sandy78
sandy78

I also hope that Angelo and Tiffany will make it to the finale. I was impressed when Angelo was willing to step up and take orders. Even if he did start to regret his decision, he didn't push the job on to anyone else. He was responsible. I can also tell by watching the show that he has an bigger bank of experience with cooking variety than most of the other chefs. Tiffany consistently makes great tasting dishes, which is an important aspect of being a top chef. I was glad that Amanda went home, but I also think Kevin should step up with his cooking.