Tom Colicchio

Tom would have rather judged the Mother Sauce Quickfire Challenge.

on Dec 8, 2011

I actually think Ty was cooking ribeyes. I don’t know whether the chefs had the option of buying and cooking the whole thing, then slicing and serving it, which is how I would have handled making the meat for 200 people were I in their shoes. Furthermore, not every piece of meat is the same -- some have more fat in them, etc. So the process the chefs devised of cooking, flashing, moving the meat was all just too much. It would have been much better to just cook them in one place and be done with them. Working with the pieces of meat Ty was working with, I’d have kept them raw until 15 minutes before they needed to be plated, and then just grilled them, and they’d have been fine. And had they been thicker, they could have been tied, but they weren’t thick enough for that. I think this was a mistake of planning, and, as a result, while many of the pieces were medium rare, others were rare, while yet others, as you saw in the episode, were medium. Cooking them on the grill the whole way, Ty could have accounted for that.

Whitney exhibited a similar mistake of planning with her potatoes… as well as a mistake in how to make them, and in execution of the plan she did make. I’ll give her credit for being right in not cooking the potatoes the day before. Once they’re cooked, potatoes are terrible the following day. So that was a good idea. However, I don’t know why she didn’t prep them ahead of time. I would have sliced the potatoes a little thicker than she did and have soaked them overnight in the cream. Next, I’d have put them in a rondeau and very, very slowly cooked them in the cream until they were cooked through. Then I’d have layered them in the gratin pot and cooked them very, very slowly in a low over -- not a high oven, as the cream would break -- until the top potatoes were brown. I don’t know why people think they can slice the potatoes and put them straight into the oven. They never cook as nicely. And she didn’t need cheese in that dish. Did you notice that she was having trouble cutting the potatoes? First of all, there was too much cheese in there, and second of all some of the potatoes were raw, causing resistance. Raw potatoes are gross. Her potatoes never stood a chance. Many of Ty’s steaks were successful, but Whitney’s dish was not. There was no contest.

The generally lackluster cooking in the Elimination Challenge had me disappointed, as I mentioned above. Where I wish I’d been this week, rather, was the Quickfire Challenge -- that’s where the interesting cooking was happening. I loved this challenge -- I thought it was a really, really great cook’s challenge.  So I’ll say a word about Mother Sauces.