The US Open. For New Yorkers, it is summer’s last hoorah, its endnote, our signal that summer will draw to a close with the close of the games. I learned a lot about the US Open from this week’s challenge. I learned, for example, that it is the current iteration of what is actually one of the very oldest tennis championships in the world. Now boasting mixed doubles, and matches for wheelchair-bound players, it’s come a long way since its days as a men’s singles championship in the 1880s.
It was thrilling to be out on courts where the greats of my time have played. And it was great to have Taylor Dent with us. I was actually at the US Open in 2009 when he upset Feliciano Lopez and then Ivan Navarro before being beaten by Andy Murray in the third round. Taylor knows food, knew the language of it and how to talk about it, and was a good judge.
It was also nice to get to judge with Tony Montuano of Spiaggia in Chicago, whom we were fortunate to have with us because the Levy Group that runs the US Open is out of Chicago. In fact, he and some other Top Chef Masters did dishes at the Open’s food court, which was a lot of fun.
As for our “match”: Once again, I have to address Jamie and her lack of contribution to the challenge. Having seen the whole episode, I recognize that she agreed the night before to the team’s decision to put the weakest dish out first … and then balked and simply refused to put her food out. But the rest of the team should have said to her, “Jamie, that was the decision. You’re going out.” And when we called for them to say whose dish was up first, they should simply have called back, “Jamie’s.” End of story. She would have had to abide by the group’s decision … and perhaps the results would have been different. But the team didn’t do that, and they have to reconcile themselves to their role in that.