Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio describes what it was like hanging out with Buzz Aldrin and the other space people.

on Sep 1, 20100

There are a few events in my life that I’ll never forget -- my wedding and the births of my two sons ranking highest on the list. Also on that list now, thanks to Top Chef, Season 7? Riding to the Goddard Space Flight Center to shoot this episode with Buzz Aldrin and a carload of astrophysicists. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

I kid you not: the group was discussing what it would take to get to Mars, not just in theory — to actually land a person on the red planet. They discussed the merits of this rocket over that, the best coordinates for a successful landing, the logistics involved. I’d elaborate on the details of the conversation, but I wouldn’t want to bore you with all that physics.  OK, OK, actually, I can’t elaborate on the details – that conversation was so over my head. They even discussed the politics of the mission, with one of the astrophysicists cautioning Aldrin that he had to couch his points with care, that he can’t just walk into a room and make people feel like they’re dumb. Aldrin cheerfully agreed. Apparently, he’s known for not suffering fools. Can you blame him?  He was the second human being to ever set foot on the MOON.  

It was a remarkable car ride.

And a remarkable meal. Our chefs did so well – all five of them. Their cooking was top notch. As I mentioned in the episode, there was not a huge margin between the cooking in the best and worst dishes of the evening. But as in the Olympics, where the gold medalist crosses the finish line less then a second faster than a competitor who doesn’t secure a medal, we did need to rank the dishes, declare a winner, and eliminate one chef.

Tiffany had many fans, but I haven’t received too many angry tweets about her elimination. I think it was clear to viewers that she was disadvantaged by the inadvertent freezing of her mussels and might not be able to fully compensate for their loss. And when you look at the five dishes presented, her concept just wasn’t as nuanced and sophisticated as the others. Curried fish over rice? Really? It might have been prepared beautifully, but compared with the other dishes, Tiffany’s just didn’t go far enough. We were looking for food that could be served in space; we were also looking for food that was out of this world. We were aiming for the stratosphere….

So while Tiffany presented a delicious dish, and while her execution didn’t lag too far behind that of Angelo’s, there was a wider gap in the level of sophistication of the dishes … and that gap cost her a seat on the flight to Singapore.

I know that some viewers have expressed disappointment with the season. I also know that we’re in for a very strong finale. The chefs cook some great food – the best food all season. And I will live tweet during the finale.  You can follow me @ tom_colicchio. Tune in – you won’t want to miss it!

242 comments
DC Chicky
DC Chicky

I know this is late, but I wanted to post how disappointed I was that Tiffany was voted off a few weeks ago. I remember season 4 contestant Lisa Fernandes was consistently in the bottom, however, you Tom and the other judges kept her there week after week. I think the cheftestant aren't the only ones playing a game!

twoboys
twoboys

Just a word about Kelly's dish. Since when does it take an hour to make white rice? Am I missing something?

Dunce Cap
Dunce Cap

This show is done. I used to look forward to watching but now it is obvious that there is an integrity issue with the show. Kevin will not win and they made sure Tiffany and kenny would be no where near the Top Chef crown.

Anna B
Anna B

KR: Bookmark the video page. Then you won't need to go through the main page to get there.

\bran muffin
\bran muffin

LOL How do you think I feel. I was rooting for John. But I still watch every week.

Giapet
Giapet

Tom, there is NO WAY you sleep well at night after getting rid of Tif-Your tremendous ego will automatically say you have no problem sleeping and you will of course dismiss my blog.....but, do the right thing-you can't bring her back to the show (well you could if you wanted to) however, she's a fantastic chef and you have the ability to connect her with people she might have never been able to come in contact with before. After reading your blog and the reason why you chose to eliminate her, I still don't believe it was enough for her to leave the show but, I'm not one of the Judges (good thing because my finalist would be somewhat different). I'll check in now and again on the show to see how its going-I won't lie and say I totally won't watch like some of the other bloggers, but I'll admit Tif's elimination has caused me to lose my zest for the show and some faith in the Judges' ability to be truly partial and fair.

KR
KR

Chef Tom,

My boyfriend and I don´t have TV at our house anymore, so we watch everything online. BravoTV.com is great that full episodes are provided, but every time I go to the website to watch the show, the chef that was eliminated is always on the front page of the website. It gets ruined every time and I have to watch the episode the whole way through, silently, as to not ruin it for my bf. I love the show anyways, but this irks me. Oh, and that I want to read your next blog! Thanks for all the entertainment and cooking tips.

KR

lori13
lori13

UGHH Ed, UGHH Kenny, ANGELO for the !!!!!11111WIN!

Top Chef Wannabe
Top Chef Wannabe

Tom,

All personalities and subjectivity set aside, your decision to eliminate Tiffany was simply wrong. There were at least two dishes which did not meet the requirements set out by NASA- the bone-in lamb and Angelo's sweet sauce. If you are going to throw out common sense and rigidly adhere to the "top plate" judging guidelines, should not the rules and requirements of the dish also be enforced? If so, two or more of those dishes should have automatically been placed at the bottom, and the elimination choice made from there.

Viewer no more
Viewer no more

This was my last show. Sending Tiffany home was just wrong on so many levels. How did her mussels freeze? Was it sabotage? I don't know but her performance all season long was to good to be sent home now. Tom hope you can keep the fans interest up until you give the top prize to Angelo.

No longer a fan!

Unbiased Viewer
Unbiased Viewer

have you been watching the same shows as everyone else?!!!!

mdw
mdw

i cant believe Tiffany was sent home over this one challenge. She was the most consistent chef there! bad decision!

Unbiased Viewer
Unbiased Viewer

my 86 year old mother pointed out to me that Angelo dipped his spoon into his dish, tasted and then dipped the spoon again!! She said "he's a bad cook!" I'm glad I wasn't eating his food - he had also talked about his sweat dripping into his food - disgusting!!

K-DOG
K-DOG

I do understand why Tiffany went home for this one episode. However, sometimes I don't understand why the judges don't take in consideration the body of work over the season. For instance, Kevin has been hit or miss. He served Sirloin. Really? Sirloin? Tiffany has had way more hits than misses, and has been consistently better than Kevin. Even if Angelo was second to last, he should have been saved based off merit. This was Kevin's time, and the judges missed that.

Viewer 1220
Viewer 1220

Tiffany, if you're reading this, you need to know that you don't need the title of Top Chef to be successful in life and I know you will have a wonderful career without some reality show winner's title. Tiffany was always consistently over the top and I don't get the judging for the "winning dish du jour". Try basing your judging on overall consistency. The remaining contestants do absolutely nothing for me.

Cat in the Hat
Cat in the Hat

This year it is anyone's game. I would have liked to have seen Arnold in the mix still, but it is what it is.

Stats so far this season: (if a team win, I included in individual stats)

Angelo: Quickfire wins - 4; Quickfire top finish - 3 Elim wins - 2; Elim top finish - 2

Ed: Quickfire wins - 3; Quickfire top finish - 1 Elim wins - 3; Elim top finish - 3

Kevin: Quickfire wins - 1; Quickfire top finish - 3 Elim wins - 1; Elim top finish - 3

Chefs no longer in the competition:

Kelly: Quickfire wins - 2; Quickfire top finish - 1 Elim wins - 2; Elim top finish - 3

Tiffany: Quickfire wins - 2; Quickfire top finish - 1 Elim wins - 2; Elim top finish - 5

Amanda: Quickfire wins - 1; Quickfire top finish - 2 Elim wins - 0; Elim top finish - 1

Alex: Quickfire wins - 0; Quickfire top finish - 0 Elim wins - 1; Elim top finish - 2

Kenny: Quickfire wins - 3; Quickfire top finish - 3 Elim wins - 1; Elim top finish - 1

Stephen: Quickfire wins - 0; Quickfire top finish - 2 Elim wins - 0; Elim top finish - 0

Andrea: Quickfire wins - 0; Quickfire top finish - 0 Elim wins - 1; Elim top finish - 1

Tamesha: Quickfire wins - 1; Quickfire top finish - 1 Elim wins - 0; Elim top finish - 0

Arnold Quickfire wins - 0; Quickfire top finish - 0 Elim wins - 1; Elim top finish - 1

Lynn: Quickfire wins - 0; Quickfire top finish - 1 Elim wins - 0; Elim top finish - 1

Tracey: Quickfire wins - 1; Quickfire top finish - 0 Elim wins - 0; Elim top finish - 0

hotsytotsy
hotsytotsy

I loved Tiffany! She had such a presence, a wonderful stature, the perfect chef look. And she was awesome in the kitchen, not falling to pieces, cursing, throwing people under the bus when there was pressure and chaos. So positive too and humorous. Of all the chefs from every season, I liked her best.

If only the judges could have looked past the mussels and brought into consideration her whole performance to that point, as they did to keep Jennifer alive after her horrible restaurant experience lasr season. Sometimes one needs to blink and think of the greater good. It's been done before. Tiffany was the quintessential chef and it was a shame to see her go.

Cat in the Hat
Cat in the Hat

I don't get those people that say they'll never watch the show again when one of their favs gets eliminated. My fav was Arnold and he was eliminated way too early, but I'm still watching because I LOVE this show. Great job to all involved! Congrats on the Emmy! And even though Tiffany won't compete for the title, she did win a trip to Paris and some cash. I'm hoping Ed wins!

Unbiased Viewer
Unbiased Viewer

I have really enjoyed Top Chef for years and have, for the most part, either agreed with the judges or at least understood their decisions, but I have to say that this season has been VERY frustrating - I had hoped to see the REAL top chefs compete against each other but because of the so called "rules" the show has reduced the finals to a contest between the "hit or miss" chefs and is not interesting to watch anymore - even the remaining chefs were surprised at Tiffany's elimination last week, and after tonight's episode, I really don't care which of those guys wins. PLEASE, PLEASE, judges and producers revise the rules for deciding the basis of who gets eliminated when planning for next season.

Viewersharon
Viewersharon

I just read all the comments. I agree I think Tiffanay should be in the finals, but all games have rules and the rule for this is "todays dish" and that it. Don't worry about Tiffany, the busines in her restaurant will double after this show.

Viewersharon
Viewersharon

I just read all the comments. I agree I think Tiffanay should be in the finals, but all games have rules and the rule for this is "todays dish" and that it. Don't worry about Tiffany, the busines in her restaurant will double after this show.

Cyndee
Cyndee

Is it ok for Angelo to double dip his spoon in his dish to his mouth and back the the dish..yuck... I loved Tiffany... she can cook... just a bad day.

Topchefwannabe
Topchefwannabe

I was also sad to see Tiffany go, she was so talented and didn't deserve to go.

I hope Angelo can pull it out and win it all. Love ya, you are too CUTE!!!!!!

Merrily
Merrily

Mucho congrats on your well earned Emmy win! My friend, Fred, and I have a date night, via phone, where we talk and discuss the show while the commercials are on. Your sponsors may not be happy to hear this, but I wanted you to know how delightful you are in enriching our lives.

CherylB
CherylB

Right on! Come on people, Angelo deserves it!

dee too
dee too

@Barb57.... "Other than Tiffany leaving I did enjoy the NASA challenge and it was great to have Anthony B. back at the judges table."

Did you mean to say just "Other than Tiffany....." or did you really enjoy Tiffany leaving? I read "Other than Tiffany leaving" to mean you wanted her to leave. I really liked Tiffany so to me, the correct phrase would be "Other than Tiffany" not "Other than Tiffany leaving..." Please explain cause I am confused. Thanks

CBD
CBD

You must have Tiffany confused with someone else... She was not "full of it". If anything, she was full of integrity, expertise and pesonality! Best wishes to the remaining Chefs!

(no longer a) Happy Viewer
(no longer a) Happy Viewer

Since my previous 3 posts haven't been added perhaps 4th time is a charm... Here's an abridged version.

Hey Top Chef producers and judges. How about you all take a little piece of your sizable salaries and contribute to this year's Fan Favorite Award and make it a $100K prize. ...I'm not worried about it goign to the wrong person cuz I know fo'sho who's going to win it! Look'n out for ya Tiffany. ;) That aught'a make up for this week's egregious decision.

bsbfankaren
bsbfankaren

Thank you for a very succinct and very well thought out argument!

MelBell
MelBell

Big mistake last week letting Tif go. Viewership will suffer, and you knew what you were doing when you did it. BIG mistake!

yumyum
yumyum

The background of the challenges for this season has been amazing. It seems, however, that the contestants and judges are not focusing on the rules. In the Space Challenge, it would have been interesting for dishes to be presented before and after being freeze dried.

Based on the challenge, Tiffany's dish made sense logically than Ed's lamb chops (the bones would be extra garbage in space) and Kevin's onion rings (soggy once rehydrated). Curry dishes retain their flavor and consistency even after being frozen. No excess garbage either.

Why bother setting up rules when there are no consequences for not following them?!

GeeDee
GeeDee

Saddened by loss of Tiffany guess I'll go for Ed, or Kelly not big on Kevin,and whether it's edited that way or just who he really is Angelo kinda creeps me out.

Serious Foodie
Serious Foodie

I can honestly say this season no one has(for the first time ever!) irritated me to the point of talking in an unkind manner to the tv. How lucky has this cast has been they have done some seriously envy worthy things this season. My only complaints not very memorable personlities. Let's face it I remember the entire Marcel vs The World season and for some reason all in my household cannot for the life of us forget the dish Feesh Tacos and we relish in pronouncing it aloud at any given circumstance! Bummer Tiffany went home she seems like someone anyone could hang with. I was extremely impressed with her cooking skills once she owned who she is and how "SHE" likes to cook. One memorabe thing though the PEA PUREE! Why doesn't anyone utter anything about the PEA PUREE! Best of luck to all!

another viewer
another viewer

I agree: TIFFANY was top chef this season. I am not watching the rest of the season. These are not top chefs. shame on this show for selling out. IF you think Angelo is a top chef or Kevin??? inconsistent, blithering fools who don't know how to follow the rules or be professional.

Sad sad sad. Good bye top chef... or should I say Mediocre drama queen chef?

Sad
Sad

Honestly, since Season 4, after, what my friends and I have come to refer to as, "The Chorizo Incident" (you know what I'm talking about, Tom), I have constantly threatened to never watch this show again. Last season, I took back my threats--I always have an "A Team," and mine consisted of the last four standing. I was convinced that Tom and the gang had pulled it together, and they were really going to choose the best cheftestants that there were to win.

This season... this season.... where to begin. I will say that only two of my "A Team" have made it to this very end. I think it's obvious that Kenny was on my team.. I mean whose team was he not on? He was a god damned champion, and, again, you know what I'm talking about, Tom. Tiffany was also on my team, and I know I'm not the only one upset about that one, either.

I'm gonna finish the season. You know I will, too.. You know most of us will, even the ones thanking you for the free time. That guy will be sitting in front of Bravo secretly watching the finale...

Damn you, Top Chef...

Terriper
Terriper

I agree with pegasuspiggy. I have been watching since season 1 and I'm so disappointed with this season. I only remained watching it for Tiffany and now that she was booted, I don't care to watch it anymore. I really hope season 8 is better.

smilesinal
smilesinal

I am upset that both Tiffany and Kenny are gone...i personally enjoyed watching them, and wish they would of stayed. And while i'm gripping i just saw another repeat of Top Chef (forgot which one) but has Sam and Marcelso on it, and i still get mad when i watch that one. Marcelos cut his own throat picking Sam and goofy to be his sou chefs.

Nisher
Nisher

I still don't understand why this is a difficult concept for people to grasp. Tom pretty much has to repeat it weekly.

IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW WELL CHEFTESTANTS HAVE DONE IN THE PAST. IT'S ALL ABOUT WHAT IS PUT IN FRONT OF THEM THAT DAY.

The same rule applies if you visit a new restaurant that you've never been to before. If you get a bad meal, no recommendations or reviews are going to make that meal good. You're going to be disappointed. That's it. If Tiffany put out the least successful dish that week, then that's it. And believe or not, Tom, Eric and Anthony know a pantload more about cuisine than pretty much all of you combined. Good grief, they didn't kick your puppy or dump your best friend. Get over it.

SusanCoyote
SusanCoyote

Geeeeezzz! Don't you people read his blog before you post a comment??? How can you kick Tiffany off? Read the blog, you nincompoops! I liked her very much but she choked and that was it. It's a TV game show, lighten up.

you have lost a viewer
you have lost a viewer

The show has lost its credibility. Tiffany has been consistent and genuine. She should not have gone.

I Want to Believe's Daughter
I Want to Believe's Daughter

Dear Mr. Colicchio,

I have been watching Top Chef ever since I first saw season 2. I've been enthralled by it for the past five seasons. Top Chef is a big priority over my life, and the 9/10 PM time slot is reserved for absolutely nothing else!

This is the first time I have EVER even THOUGHT about not watching this season out. Tiffany was one of the strongest, if not THE strongest, chef this season. When I saw last episode that she got voted off, I literally dropped my laptop in shock. I went to bed that night feeling sick. Really? You kept hit-and-miss Kevin but got rid of Tiffany? I know you guys say you judge only on the current challenge, but...I KNOW there have been some instances where you guys have left cheftestants on longer because you would like to see more from them. I always imagined that Tiffany would be in the final four/three, and possibly the one to win, but I guess not.

This whole season 7 was EXTREMELY hard to watch. If it wasn't the judges making these strange decisions (Amanda really stayed on for THAT long and Steven really could just slap his name on a dish without doing any work and it counts for Restaurant Wars?!), it was the eyerolling-inducing scummy antics of the chefs that made this season the absolute worst for me: the obsessive focus on Angelo and Kenny's peeing contests; Steven and the whole pea debacle; the powerplaying and backhanded tactics, etc. Tiffany, Ed, and Kelly were nice breaths of sunshine between all the crap that was going on all around them.

I don't care about any of the remaining chefs going to Singapore (cool final challenge location, by the way!), and I don't even have the desire to see the remaining season out. I was excited by Top Chef D.C. (I am from the D.C. area), but I was sorely disappointed by this season. Sometimes I was just watching the show for the sake of watching it.

I'll probably end up doing that with the finale, just to see who the winner ends up being since I bothered watching this much. I really do hope the next season is much better. I have been bored by some of the past seasons (season six comes to mind), but never before have I been utterly disgusted and nauseated by them.

(My comment doesn't seem to have been posted even though I wrote it almost a week ago, so here we go again!)

Cope
Cope

I too was disappointed with Tiffany being eliminated. She has a very pleasing personality along with a load of talent. I am glad I was not the only one that noticed Angelo "double dipping" sorry but if cooking is your field that is unacceptable.

Former Top Chef Fan
Former Top Chef Fan

I have seen every season of Top Chef and unhappy to have witnessed a great show going down the same path as other reality shows. At first, it was all about the cooking...but now it mostly seems to be about reaching a predetermined conclusion. Is Top Chef still "real?" Tiffany Derry was a keeper but it seems like the judges want Angelo, who really doesn't show much integrity, as their pick. No matter what he does, they give him the win. When he really screws up and should have gone home, they let him off with a few bad comments, to which he shivers a little...but he's still in the game. Tom and Padma...still love you, but you both need to check yourselves. You're getting really hoity-toity in your criticisms...I mean, I assume that you still have some "regular" taste buds, or does everything have to taste like raw liver for you to say that it is good?!!

mike75
mike75

I saw it, I also saw Richard Blaze as her sous chef as well. Makes you think that the Iron Chefs watch Yop Chef to find new sous chefs.

mzjeannie
mzjeannie

i live and breathe top chef, being in the food idustry for 41 yrs, it is a passion to me, love tome, would love to meet him in person. jeannie

Viewer99
Viewer99

I'm afraid I'm with the disappointed viewers. I just think this season has been aa bore. It looks like what they've been cooking is just so-so. I don't really care who wins or who get eliminated.

Viewer99
Viewer99

So was Richard from a previous season!

kimora1
kimora1

I loved Tiffany as well but at least her fans got to enjoy her for a while. My favorite was eliminated way too early! I am speaking about Arnold! He was cheated out of showing us his fabulous food. I want to see him back as fan favorite! Give someone who had less air time a shot.

brooklynchick2101
brooklynchick2101

I have been livid since they eliminated poor cute Arnold! He got a raw deal. He was my favorite. At least you Tiffany fans got your good fill of her. My guy was sent packing way too early! I want to see him as fan favorite. Maybe I will get to meet him one day. a person can dream....

kimora1
kimora1

I adored Tiffany she was my second favorite. I have been devastated since my adorable bow tied Arnold was cheated out of being on the show. I would love to see him as fan favorite! All the great people get booted it is ridiculous.