Our other issue with Chuy’s was ultimately, exactly what Tom said, the dish just didn’t work. If you have to overcook the salmon to make the cheese work, then something in the basic concept of the dish should be reexamined. Salmon should not be cooked that way. It was totally dry, so it was really unappealing. And the goat cheese! I mean, goat cheese and salmon? When you think of cured, cold smoked salmon it could work. Maybe that’s what he was going for. But it was not successful with hot salmon at all. Not only did it not work from a flavor perspective and a texture perspective, but the goat cheese took on this mealy, sort of curdy consistency, which made it even more unappealing. It actually didn’t feel like the rest of the food I’d eaten from Chuy to date. So in the end, we felt that Chuy had to go. Chuy is awesome. He’s like a little ball of fire. He’s super high energy and really skilled. He is really young, and I know he’ll have a long, excellent career, but he made some bad decisions that night.
And just to touch on the desserts because well, that’s my sweet spot: I liked Dakota’s and I like Grayson’s. Edward’s was just mediocre. But Chris’ was exactly what we all said – overdone, no consistency, and no underlying thought to it. It felt like he just threw everything onto that plate without thinking it through. You don’t need 17 flavors. They don’t go together. There’s no dialogue.
Bravotv.com: It kind of reminded me two dishes from the past. Ilan’s “gluttonous” dish from Season 2, and Stefan’s finale dessert.
GS: Stefan’s dessert in the finale was better than this. It wasn’t good enough to win, but it was better than this.
And just one note about the other Chris and his appetizer cigar: I want to say that I do applaud him for taking a risk and trying to give us something new and innovative, but he got stuck in the trap that a lot of chefs get into when they are trying to push a modernist concept on a dish. There needs to be a purpose for it. I always say if it doesn’t make it taste better, if it doesn’t make it more efficient in the cooking process, or make it look more beautiful, why are you doing it? Do it not just for the sake of doing it. I think Chris got caught up in the idea of it and lost track of the challenge because of it. It did not fit any of the criteria that we asked for, and it was not appealing or enjoyable to eat at all. But I get his inspiration and appreciated that he challenged himself to do something different. He just was listening to what was in his own head instead of to our clients.