Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio has no doubt that Jen's dish was the worst, and she deserved to go home.

on Dec 9, 2010

Jen endeavored to make a very similar dish to one that Michael Voltaggio did successfully in Vegas, but her version in this particular challenge just didn’t come together at all.  ou even heard Casey –- Jen’s own teammate –- say on camera that she didn’t like the dish. The texture of the bacon was spongey, and the egg lacked flavor. As for why Jen would go home for the dish instead of Jamie, Jen herself said that Jamie’s not being there did not affect the outcome of the dish. If Jen herself said so, there’s nothing further to be said about that. (Jamie, by the way, had never had stitches before and was a bit frightened when she heard she needed them, which is why she left to go get them right away.) I didn’t mind at all the very vigorous defense Jen mounted. I didn’t mind her tone or the content of what she said. Jen wasn’t sent home for what she said; she was sent home for what she cooked. Staying honest about the food in front of us meant acknowledging that as strong a chef as Jen is, and as good a job as she does in her professional life in Philly, she’d served us the weakest dish on the losing team...

...which happened to be the weakest dish on either team. We cannot say so overtly while eating the food, lest the episode be over before it’s over, but it was abundantly clear to us all that “Team Herbivore” was the runaway winner. Their food far exceeded that of “Team Carnivore.” Katie Lee and I sat at a different table than that of Padma and Gail, and when we all reconvened we found that we had independently reached the identical conclusion that Team Brontosaurus had blown away Team T-Rex. All of Team Brontosaurus’ food was delicious. The argument that it wasn’t all necessarily “breakfast food” was irrelevant. I would put gnocchi on a brunch menu — people eat and enjoy hash browns, so why not another potato dish?  Similarly, people drink tomato juice at breakfast, so why not a flavorful, light and wonderful gazpacho? And a parfait that delectable made without dairy is laudable — it deserved the win.

On the other hand, let us parse the dishes served by the other team, almost all of which was flawed. I won’t recap Jen’s dish; ‘nuff said about that (and I can’t wait for the inevitable schooling I’ll be getting from Jen’s fans...). Rather than churning out three frittatas, Tiffany and Antonia could have focused on making only one or two and making them well. Further, they knew that the ovens were cooking unevenly, yet they didn’t do anything to accommodate for that. Similarly, Tre knew that his sauce had overreduced, yet he didn’t fix it. His team was permitted the use of butter — Tre had more than one option for fixing that sauce.  Tiffani and Dale made a solid steak and eggs, but it wasn’t particularly noteworthy and certainly not “win-worthy.”