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The Daily Dish Top Chef

Tom Colicchio Took on the Kaiseki Challenge With the Most Stunning Dish

"I'm still cooking the way I know how to cook," the Bravo's Top Chef head judge said of taking on the elimination challenge. 

By Abby Feiner

On Bravo's Top Chef's May 21 episode, each of the remaining cheftestants were responsible for one of six courses in a progressive kaiseki meal for their elimination challenge. While some of the competing chefs were visibly nervous about the task, in the What What Tom Do? episode above, head judge Tom Colicchio noted that the key to being successful in the challenge is to stick to familiar cooking techniques when working with different foods or flavors. 

How to Watch

Watch the Top Chef Season 21 premiere on Wednesday, March 20 at 9/8c on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

"I've been to Japan a couple of times, I love Japanese food, but I'm not a Japanese chef," Tom said in the video. "I'd take those Japanese ingredients and use them the way I would cook, so that's kind of what I'm doing here."

Tom had one food in mind for the challenge. Noting that kaiseki, a traditional Japanese multi-course dinner utilizing specific techniques, is "all about these great ingredients," Tom explained: "There's nothing better to me than king crab or crab in general."

Ultimately, he decided on a grilled king crab & uni with uni beurre blanc, noting: "I've done a version of this crab and uni dish for probably 20 years now."

As they got started on the meal, Tom and Nilou Motamed stuffed crab shells with a mixture of of white miso, butter, lime juice, and curry powder. This technique, Tom explained via a tip in the video above, allows the crab to baste in its shell for the maximum flavor.

What Would Tom Do Colicchio Crab 01

For the uni sauce, Tom combined ginger, yuzu, sake and miso and whisked the mixture with mixed with butter.  "It's kind of like a Japanese beurre blanc," Tom said. "Which is exactly what I'm talking about, just taking the ingredients, but still doing a technique that I'm used to doing."

He noted: "You'll get a different flavor in there, but I'm still cooking the way I know how to cook."

After cooking the crab on binchotan (Japanese white charcoal that cooks the food at a lower temperature), for a few minutes, Tom plated the stunning meal, which, based on Nilou's reaction, seemed to taste even better than it looked.

In true Nilou form, she quipped: "I feel like you may have a future with this cooking thing."

To see a step-by-step guide to making the meal, check out the video above and scroll down for the full recipe!

Grilled King Crab & Uni With Uni Beurre Blanc

King Crab 
4 King Crab legs, cooked
½ c White Miso 
½ stick Butter
Pinch of curry powder

Remove crab meat from shells and set aside.  In a mixer add miso, butter curry powder and
 squeeze of lime mix until well blended.  Transfer to pastry bag or syringe and pipe into empty
 crab shell.  Place crab back in shell. Grill 
1 head of Enoki Mushrooms
2 tsp White Soy 
½ tsp sesame oil
1 Lime
2 pinches of Bonito Flakes
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set aside to marinate.
UNI Broth
¼  cup yuzu juice
¼ cup sake
1 tbl ginger minced
1 tsp miso
1 stick of cold butter, cubed
4-8 pieces of fresh Uni
In a small pot add yuzu, sake, ginger and miso cook on med low heat. Slowly 
incorporate cubes of cold butter until melted. Carefully add Uni 

Fresh Mezzuna or Peppery Green
Chili Oil, 2 drops per dish.

Serves 4

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