Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio elaborates on why Dale and Stephen were the ones to go home, and on which decision he got outvoted.

on Dec 16, 20100

Before I write about this week’s Elimination Challenge, a word about last week’s elimination of Jen: Jamie and Jen were paired up to work on the dish that ultimately got Jen sent home. Jamie injured herself and a medic told her she needed stitches. We cannot send people home for being injured. It doesn’t matter whether someone else might have stayed and cooked; it was legitimate for Jamie to seek medical attention. Jen herself stated that Jamie’s absence did not negatively impact the outcome of the dish, and, in fact, at the end of the day, Jen made poor decisions that were ultimately what led to the spongeyness of the bacon and the blandness of the eggs. As for Antonia and Tiffany’s eggs being raw: they weren’t raw. No one was in danger of contracting salmonella at the museum that morning. Had they been, we would have reached a different conclusion. I had two eggs, and each was cooked perfectly, as were both Padma’s and Gail’s. Katie Lee’s might have been undercooked, but she herself felt that Jen’s execution of her dish was far worse than Antonia and Tiffany’s execution of theirs. It was a unanimous decision. It doesn’t matter that Jen is a stronger chef than some of those who remained. What matters is that she underperformed on that particular day, and in being consistent in our judging, objective, fair, and true to the competition, we had to send her home. I was upset to see Jen go –- I thought she would have stayed a lot longer. But if we’d kept her for that reason, we would have been guilty of skewing the judging.
 
This week’s was a very interesting Elimination Challenge. Unlike the challenge in Season 5, when we asked our chefs to recreate dishes from Le Bernardin, nobody was being asked here to recreate the dishes they’d eaten the night before at one of the four exciting New York restaurants featured in this week’s program. They were asked, rather, to create a dish inspired by the food they’d eaten.
 
It’s always fun to work with my colleagues on this show; this week was four times the fun, especially as we had the pleasure of seeing our cheftestants make their own marks on our four guest chefs’ signature styles. These four chefs have utterly different styles, yet they’re all here on this little 23-mile island, playing in the same sandbox, so to speak, and all accepted and appreciated for their unique contributions. That, to me, is one of the things that’s so exciting about this town, and one of the reasons that this was such a great challenge for our chefs to undertake here.  Known for his whimsy, David Burke of Townhouse enjoys taking his food “out there” and over-the-top. But do not let the fun-factor cloud fool you: his food is also always exceptionally good … and very difficult to do. Michael White of Marea, on the other hand, is more straightforward with his Italian fare. And yet, as with David, one should not be fooled by the genre. Michael’s food has layers of flavor –- it is far more complex than standard Italian fare, with combinations not normally found in straight-up Italian meals. David Chang has several restaurants in his Momofuku Group –- our chefs ate at Ma Peche, where executive chef/co-owner Tien Ho presides over a French/Vietnamese menu. Ma Peche was a good choice for this challenge, as I think Ho’s food was probably the easiest from among David’s restaurants for our chefs to understand and work with.  Wylie Dufresne’s avante-garde food at wd~50 was certainly the most difficult to parse and apply to the challenge. Wylie invents all the techniques he uses; he purposely does not use those of other chefs doing similar work. His work is quite cerebral and all based squarely in science. I don’t cook in that style, and I enjoy talking with Wylie about what he’s doing, but I admit that sometimes the chemistry behind it goes right over my head. 

71 comments
eagcil
eagcil

I don't think it's possible to consider Lauren's contribution in any way equivalent to anything anyone else did. I can serve food out of a dish. Frankly, I can cut myself with a knife, too.

And Michael Voltaggio wasn't the first to braise bacon like pork belly.

Bellisamo
Bellisamo

Tom Colicchio you totally rock the Food World and I for one believe you epitomize Top Chef. Some times it becomes genuine honesty requires brutal honesty. Sometimes a good teacher needs to show that they themselves can be "student". You are the epitomy of all great teachers. You're wonderful and eventhough there's a certain amount of "acting" involved, your genuine sensitive and sincere, likable nature comes raging thru nonetheless. I won't miss an episode as long as you are there. You are TOP CHEF. You ARE it!

Bellisamo
Bellisamo

Tom, you totally ROCK in every sense of the word, from culinery genius to sexiest man on the planet to downright honest, forthright and brilliant!! I'm a mad total foodie and you are magnificant from your stern direction to your compassionate heart. I absolutely Love love love You, Tom. (ps: I'm happily married btw. lol)

 Mary Leonard
Mary Leonard

I am really surprised that Red head Tiffany is still there; frozen watermelon? I have two other comments, hold the cussing down, it makes you look like you don't have a vocabulary and we can read lips. The other comment, watch Angelo; he seems to try to sabaoge.

Egghead
Egghead

Best line ever... "I know a lot about Led Zeppelin but I'm not Jimmy Page"...

dahli22
dahli22

I loved loved loved this challenge. i also hope you do the quickfire pallette challenge (while blindfolded) again too.

Frank Tempone
Frank Tempone

Top Chef Bottom Finishers exists. It's called Hell's Kitchen.

Kelsey Thie
Kelsey Thie

Hi Tom, My Mom is the biggest Top Chef fan in the world. It is ironic, however, because she is allergic to 19 different foods. I think it would be a good idea for one of the Top Chef challenges to prepare a meal for her. She's allergic to things from gluten, to strawberries, to garlic, to dairy, to chicken and turkey, with 13 other random foods thrown in. When she found out she had these allergies she lost a lot of weight. It would be a good challenge for chefs to try and make a dish that my Mom can actually eat, with all her restrictions, that doesn't involve steak, ham, and potatoes, which is basically all that she eats. What do you think?!

Chef Valerina
Chef Valerina

Chef Colicchio, It's always a pleasure to watch you on Top Chef and am so happy that Bravo came up with the idea for the Top Chef All Stats. You make me very proud to be a Chef as you are always classy, professional, objective, well groomed, articulate and much, much more!!!

I love Fabio and can only guess that Bravo receives a lot of fan mail regarding him. I wasn't sure who to send this to so you seemed like the best choice. I would love to see more of Fabio even if he isn't the best Chef, I just found him so fun and entertaining. Is there anyway he can have a permanent position on the show? Please tell the Bravo people the fans want to see more of him.

Just also want to tell you I think your critiques and blogs are always "spot on" regarding the Chefs. I have more respect for those Chefs that can own up to their mistakes instead of the ones that argue that their dish was perfect when ALL the judges have told them their food was not good. They just make themselves look bad.

I am so glad you have stayed on the show and hope you will remain for years as I always enjoy watching you. Happy Holidays!!!

Adriana Soto
Adriana Soto

Grettings from venezuela... Hi my name is Adriana, and i have 22 years old... i loveeee this show, because of it, i star to study cuisine, in Parallel with chemical ingeniering... I love it, because is Focused in the food and not in drama, so i desire you all the Success. =D

DarkMoon
DarkMoon

I feel so bad for the judges, there are fans of all the cheiftestants from past seasons, no matter who gets to pack their knives and go some viewers are going to be upset! I wish everyone would keep in mind that we as viewers do not taste the dishes!

As far as all the concern about runny/undercooked eggs we choose to eat them or not, the possibility of a cheif bleeding into my food is a lot more disturbing, get real people!

zephyrweb@live.com
zephyrweb@live.com

overall criticism sending a person home? seriously? have you WATCHED the show? it's how a dish tastes! don't go by how the show is edited--it's edited so you don't know what will come out of Padma's mouth when she gets to say "pack your knives and go"...you think you know, but you don't...if your dish tastes the worst, it's going, and if they don't edit the show to indicate that your dish tastes the worst, that's just your tough luck....i also love how the viewers seemed to have stopped watching the minute jamie left ...because i saw her come back and jump in and help with the entire line--she was "everyone's" helper...granted she didn't have a dish to call her own, but she wasn't just sitting there on the sidelines holding her hand whining that it hurt either...for that they clearly couldn't send her home as Tom pointed out--she did participate in the challenge ....and if you listen to the judge's table conversation AT ALL you'll hear Katie talk about the fritatta (and she's the one who got "runny" ones)--she says she didn't hate them or love them, they were just ok....so while she was clearly exaggerating about them being raw--they weren't raw according to Tom, just a bit runny (ever had a sunny side up egg anyone? don't hear anyone whine about those to the health dept!) they just weren't executed well....Jen was trying to copy the COOKING STYLE of the dish Michael V won with in Vegas (not the dish, which was asian in flavour) but the style--braising the slab of bacon as if it were pork belly...and she didn't do it well--he did....

ZOEYJADA
ZOEYJADA

Season DC was the worst yet. I could not find a favorite to root for. This season is going to be the best ever. Some of the best chefs are on this season, and some of the most annoying. When Marcel, both Tiffanie's, Spike and Angelo depart, it will be very depressing to watch anyone go home. Anthony Bourdain is over the top and I imagine people cooking their hearts out find it difficult to listen to his crass comments. If he took the time to honestly educate the chefs on how to improve rather than posture for the camera, it would be beneficial to us all. I have learned so much from this show and I hope it continues for many years to come!!

FargoCarol
FargoCarol

If Jaime had not been on a team, would she have been sent home last week? She wouldn't have been able to serve anything.

Viewer12
Viewer12

Maybe he wasn't up to the challenge now, but he was a capable chef in Season 1, and you must have forgotten that during the special 4 Star All Star (Season One vs. Season Two) challenge that he not only won the QuickFire but he beat Marcel head-to-head with a lobster dish that Tom said was his favorite dish of the competition.

DebiM
DebiM

I too was surprised to see Stephen back, especially considering this is "All Stars". I truly believe it was for "drama" and because of that, I was disappointed in the beginning of Season 8. I'm with you in that this elimination has restored my faith...

Stephanie Demers
Stephanie Demers

I love Fabio, but I'm getting really disappointed in his issues with putting his own spin on other cuisines... apparently everything can't be pumpkin tiramisu!

bitesize
bitesize

JAMIE should have gone home last week not b/c she went off to get stitches, but b/c, upon her return she said nothing about the dish, submitting to Jen's choices. She should have fought it out w/ Jen -- I would have, even if I'm no top chef. That being said, I can't get over Jen's egg garnish and not b/c it is bland. I like hard-boiled egg even w/o salt, and esp. set off against something that's smoky and spicy as the bacon was (if indeed it was spicy and smokey). But am Asian, and we eat white rice a lot to balance out the strong flavors of the main dish, so I don't care if hard-boiled egg is "bland." What turns me off about it is that to me it is so amateurish, tacky . . . o UNINSPIRED and uncreative. I checked out Angelo's poached egg with bacon bits as garnish and finished off with a cheese broth. WOW. Now that's creative. Checked out, too, to the winning banana parfait recipe -- and I am bowled over. It so deserved to win. REQUEST: Could you guys play up the dishes more? Loved this week's challenge. Dale deserved the win -- but what did he do? How did he do it? I kept hitting the replay button. Am a bit bemused by Angelo's white chocolate - I want to understand it more.

Rich sims
Rich sims

Chef, who am i to disagree with you or padma, i think jen had more heart than anyone still standing.

Carwin
Carwin

With all due respect, I don't understand the logic of Tom's argument about why Jamie wasn't eliminated. The point isn't that Jamie would be "punished" for being injured, its that she didn't cook something and Jen did. Jamie is basically given a free pass for the episode. Let's also remember that Jamie cut herself. Its not like someone else cut her. It was an accident and its too bad, but things happen.

To quote Tom from a previous season (slighly different context): this is a cooking contest. If you don't cook, you're out. An analogy: If an athlete at the Olympics misses a heat in the swimming, she's not given a pass into the finals--she's out. It may not seem fair, but its a lot more fair than eliminating someone who actually completed the event.

Myrna
Myrna

I enjoyed this show. Last week was unfocused- more shots of chefs running around than of the food they prepared. This week was all about the food. I especially enjoyed visiting the four NY restaurants. Well done! ReLlast week's elimination:Thinking it over, I can't see why Jamie was allowed to remain on the show when she didn't cook a dish. Yes, she was injured; but it's a competition. And in a competition there's no room for excuses. If an Olympic athlete misses the qualifying roundsfor whatever reason- death in family, injury, he's gone; try again next time.

Mid-RangeChef
Mid-RangeChef

I can appreciate the comment about not sending folks home for being injured, but I think it's pretty misguided in this case. Jen cooked alone, which shouldn't be too big a problem, but let's not forget that the winning dish was a relatively simple one that was well executed by three extremely talented chefs. Of course she's going to say that she wasn't held back by being alone, but you let someone off the hook for a nick. Two stitches? I guess next time a chef sees a challenge that doesn't suit their style they can let their knife slip and sit it out without being eliminated.

Let's also remember quickly that chefs have been sent home for not contributing.

End of the day, what's worse - a dish that wasn't up to par, or no dish at all?

hissyfit
hissyfit

I loved this episode and am loving this season. It was great to see the enthusiasm that the chefs had tasting the food of master chefs and then watching them make a spin on what they sampled.

I'm so happy that Angelo and Carla are there. I'm impressed by the variety of chefs and don't even care who wins at this point, I'm just enjoying the process.

Ron O.
Ron O.

Tom, I find it interesting that Jen got sent home for her food being too salty in Season 6 and now got sent home for bland food in Season 8. What can this poor girl do to satisfy you picky judges???

hissyfit
hissyfit

I am loving this season and I loved this episode. It was great to see how excited the chefs got tasting the food of masters and see how they took that in their own direction. I really wanted to taste the winning dish when I heard the broth tasted like buttered toast. How could that be?

I'm just so happy with this season and that my two favorite chefs, Angelo and Carla are there. I honestly don't really care who wins, I just want to keep watching them all compete.

KatrinaSC
KatrinaSC

@ some previous poster: there is a medic on site, he is the one who said Jamie needed stitches. I agree it would have been unfair to send Jamie home. Based on the judges comments, it is obvious Jenn's dish was the worst (in execution, not concept) - one has to think that Jamie had a say in the concept part of the dish, maybe that is one of the reasons she stayed.

Personally, I love Fabio. there were several dishes worse than his, so that is why he didn't go home this week, not because (or just because) he is great to listen to. I hope he is still here for restaurnat wars, b/c he makes a great front of house person.

Clayton
Clayton

All due respect Tom, esteemed judge Katie Lee said her egg was raw. I just watched the replay...she said RAW, R-A-W. I know first hand, it only takes one bite to contract salmonella. Doesn't matter if 10 of 11 were good - only takes one. And serving raw eggs to kids is never a good idea. Especially on national tv. Can't wait for your memoirs, when you're 90, to admit you were wrong. I hope I'm around. If you couldn't eliminate Jaime, and couldn't figure out who between Tiffany and Antonia served a raw egg, why couldn't you let everyone stay and eliminate 3 the next show? You've done it before - not with 3 but with 2 for sure. And I still maintain my best burger ever was at Colecchio & Sons last week. Truly a pleasure so no hard feelings.

Dave C.
Dave C.

I would also like to make a general comment. Considering this Top Chef All Stars....I would hope you factor in degree of difficulty more on this season. For example, I'm sure any of these chefs can make great pancakes.....but I would hope noone could win a challenge making pancakes. More than anything, what annoys me most is people skating by on not messing up mediocre dishes.

I

Dave C.
Dave C.

Real quick about Jamie. I don't understand the logic of her getting through at all. TC can't risk her health...but that does not mean you get a free pass for doing nothing. To be fair to every chef, you have to be judged on what you have done THAT week. I was disappointed because Tom, you're the only one that calls out chefs for doing nothing, or not stepping up. It wasn't what Jamie did to deserve to send her home, she simply cannot go through when not doing anything.

I hoped Stephen would stay (even though I generally don't like him). He's got a good knowledge base but was obviously rusty. Still, he had good components of the dish. And I like Fabio...but I don't see what he's done that he is still in the competition. I thought you would have come down on him harder for mailing it in this week. You've said its not Top Sous Chef in a previous season....Fabio also called out another chef once saying "its not Top Scallops".....well, its also not Top Italian Chef either.

Viewer11
Viewer11

Tiffani should have been sent home before Stephen; her dish received the worst overall criticism from all the judges, and that, if this in fact a "reality show," should perhaps count for something. I don't care if Stephen is a "know-it-all" and if one judge (Bourdain) said his dish tasted like a head shop. I thought eliminations were based on OVERALL CRITICISM. Obviously the producers have a very big hand in terms of who gets sent home--I'm sure they realized that sending a girl home 3 weeks in a row would have been bad for ratings. But then again, is Tiffani really that great for ratings? I'm sure the show would still continue to be entertaining--and more honest--without her. These blogs tend to be filled with half-truths, and it's disheartening.

armchairchef
armchairchef

I, for one, am SO glad to see Stephen go. Regardless of whether people think he's charming or an insufferable snob, the one thing he is NOT is a chef. Not in his first season, and not now. I was amazed that he was brought back at all - an All Star? Not hardly. There's a reason the team members made the comment of "well, he can open a bottle of wine for us"...he's not a chef, he didn't even continue to pursue a career IN the kitchen, so why oh why was he there? Because you needed to fill the slot and other past cheftestants said "No thanks"? Great elimination. It restores my faith in the show.

armchairchef
armchairchef

I think you're on to something - if Bravo goes with it, demand royalties! How about a "One and Done" Bottom of the Top Chef rematch? LOL

Glasnik
Glasnik

It's funny how everyone got up in arms about the raw egg last week and no one cares about Dale T's sunny side up egg. I get it, though--the rules change when you're dealing with kids.

Viewer in Michigan
Viewer in Michigan

I, too, was really pleased and surprised--not by Dale's graciousness, which has always been evident, but by Stephen's response. He showed real humility in admitting that he was out of practice in the kitchen and not on the same par as the other contestants.

I also want to say that I had some genuine issues with the DC show, but I am really enjoying this one. Lots of interesting challenges, lots of twists and surprises. I would never have dreamed that Jen would have gotten eliminated so early, for example; but I was also surprised that she kept choosing ingredients, like pork belly, for which she had little expertise. Just because she's an awesome chef--and her challengers seem to agree with that--doesn't mean that she can't have a bad day. Remember that Kevin in her season went down in flames over pork belly, too.

And what's going on with Tiffany Derry? She seems to have really lost her sparkle...and her enjoyment of cooking.

It's great to see these people back, and together in the same kitchen. Love Anthony Bourdain as a guest host; I think that Tom seems more thoughtful and present in this season than he did in the last; and this week's challenge was fantastic. Thanks!

CLK
CLK

I'm loving this season. The eliminations are very unexpected. Last nigths episode was great. It finally gave the chefs the ability to be free of restrains. Chefs just had to be "inspired" and create a great dish. I think there are people flying under the radar, but I'm gald Steven is out. He's not at the same caliber as the other chefs.

deedada
deedada

I love you. If we both weren't married, I'd ask you to marry me :) Keep up the brilliant work. Your blog is a joy to read.

PauskaVitch
PauskaVitch

I greatly appreciate reading your thoughts about those who get eliminated each week. Although there are people who may disagree with the decisions that have been made, I trust you, Tom. After all, you are one of the few who have actually tasted the dishes! And getting fed really bad fish sticks by Amy Sedaris while blindfolded was definitely my highlight of 2010.

Puffin
Puffin

Tom, I genuinely feel for you! I think viewers and commenters forget that we cannot decide the winners and losers by sight, the chef's personality and the resulting debate alone - taste is all important and in that you and the other judges alone have the full picture. That is the nature of this beast.

I understand discussing injuries, personalities etc but I will never understand how people can say that a cheftestant should/shouldn't have been sent home on sight, editing and onscreen drama alone.

For viewers who think the judges are biased or told what to do by the producers - why bother watching in the first place? The show is about taste first, personality second, so if you don't trust the judges its nonsensical to tune in IMHO.

Keep up the good work Tom!

Mary McDonald
Mary McDonald

Dear Tom, What a cool challenge! I liked being introduced to four chefs that I didn't know that well and seeing what they do and then watching what cheftestants did. Great idea and obviously it stumped some of them. I was really surprised that Tiffany had so much trouble. She is usually more up. Stephen and Dale were the right choices to eliminate. Stephen has not been in the kitchen enough lately and it shows. I agree he is very knowledgeable but practice makes chefs. I don't think Dale got the point of the challenge. Neither did Fabio. Great show. One of the best challenges I've seen. Thanks for a great job.

brklyngirl
brklyngirl

I must say, I absolutely love Tom, but yeah...what gives?

Agga
Agga

I thought for sure Tiffani would be sent packing this week. Tiff's dish looked horrible and judging from the comments, I thought for sure she was a goner. I was hoping Tom would comment further about her dish and explain how it was less horrible than Dale and Stephen's.

Sheila Lienemann
Sheila Lienemann

What struck me most about this most recent episode was the class and dignity shown by Stephen and Dale upon their elimination. Even at Judges Table, when each was explaining their dish, both demonstrated appropriate self-critical humility. This was is stark contrast to the anger and indignation shown by the first two eliminated contestants. Stephen and Dale will likely take this experience to grow, where the other two chefs may ultimately parlay their elimination in to ugly bad attitudes. In fact, it appears as though Elia has already done just that.

Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald's Corporation, used to say "when you are green, you're growing; when you're ripe, you're rotten." Clearly Elia and Jenn have become a little overripe.

fellowjudge
fellowjudge

What no one seems to notice is that as long as the chefs' names are tied to their dishes, there's no way that the judges can be impartial and objective. Let's see a blind judging TC! Maybe some of the women could finally get a win.

chakrateeze
chakrateeze

What a great Quick Fire! The addition of the timer and having to cook the Mise en place-- the relay is already one of my favorites, was genius!

As for Marcel, I'll admit he can be a bit of an ass. But, he's matured a lot! And I truly respect his culinary POV.

btw, carol suzuki, JIMMY PAGE was with LED ZEPPLIN!!!!! Not the Rolling Stones. And Tom said as much.

doodlelover
doodlelover

Here's my problem - you seem to change your views depending on whose talking. Fabio is dissed because he moaned that this isn't what he does, but then Stephen is dissed because he used salmon (not a Mediterranean fish). I have always had a hard time following the judge's reasoning. The editing doesn't help but the judges appear to apply different standards to different contestants and different episodes.

Colleenita
Colleenita

"Jamie injured herself and a medic told her she needed stitches. We cannot send people home for being injured. It doesn’t matter whether someone else might have stayed and cooked; it was legitimate for Jamie to seek medical attention."

I don't fault Jamie for choosing to get stitches immediately. This is a reality show and a chef's hands are critical to their livelihoods. No one should risk their health for a show (although if TC is so concerned about cheftestants' health, what was up with the all-nighter?). If she was frightened or concerned and wanted to go, then surely she should be permitted to go to the ER. However, that does not mean that Top Chef needs to give her a free pass to the next round if she chooses to leave for stitches DURING a challenge and fails to complete any dish for the challenge as a result. If it had been an individual challenge, not a team challenge, would she have been given a free pass to the next round as well? What about if it was final four? Does a chef get a free pass to the finale if they get injured and seek medical treatment? If only Kelly had known...

I am an athlete. If you are injured or sick during a qualifying meet, and cannot compete, you don't move on. It's not fair. But life's not fair. "We cannot send people home for being injured." No, but you can send people home for failing to complete a challenge, no matter what the reason. You can. You just didn't. You could also have chosen to send no one home because of the Jamie situation. You didn't. That was your choice. Own it.

TedBiddle
TedBiddle

Maybe the challenges for the whole season are already planned out, but it would be interesting to see if you will bring back some of the departing cheftestants to let them compete to re-enter the competition. A lot of people seem to think Jen should still be around, and could win it. Interesting to see if she would come back, if invited back. It seems to me that Fabio is still around because of his personality, charm, or likeability. I predict in the end it will be between Blais, Angelo, and one of the women chefs. (for fairness, I don't see it being a final with 3 men), and I don't see the producers allowing it. I'm still suspicious that the producers have a 'behind the scene's 'say-so' on who stays/who goes). Would have liked to seen Voltaggio in this competion.

top chef going downhill
top chef going downhill

both jen and jaime were both clearly affected by the competition stress in their respective seasons. and jen seemed a bit unstable already at judge's table. at least she got to phone in to tom at that after-show show. that being said, it DID seem like a spiteful decision. the judges, in the past, seemed to make spiteful snap decisions based on attitude at judges table- mike isabella and stefan richter come to mind. this last episode was good, and it was good to hear the restaurant owners giving props to EVERY chef except that one may not have stood up to the others. i dislike bourdain's flamboyant judging comments, he's just copying toby's style.

biggest fan
biggest fan

Jamie should have gone home last week. Not for getting hurt, but for her poor knife technique. I am sure safety is a big part of a successful kitchen. Jamie's sloppy knife technique was the reason she was unable to cook. This is a contest of who has the best technique and skill to create a successful dish. Jamie failed, she should have gone home.

stikk in MD
stikk in MD

A good set of challenges since it allowed the chefs to cook without restrictions and great environments. To offset this, I suppose next week it will be cooking with a Leatherman tool and Swiss Army knife as the only utensils. Doh, I am only kidding producers..."tune in next week for Top Chef survivalists."

I understood Jen's angry departure, but to Tony B's point in last week's blog, Dale and Stephen show much more class in balancing disappointment with a respect for the other competitors. Top Chef seniors...funny line Dale.