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Top Chef: Tom Colicchio Urges Chefs to Speak Up!

December 24, 2010 02:00 PM by Shayla Perry

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After this week’s challenge at the U.S. Open on Bravo’s Top Chef: All-Stars, judge Tom Colicchio tells the cheftestants what they could have done to change how things played out with both Jaime and Spike–SPEAK UP!

From Tom Colicchio’s Blog:

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.

…just as Spike has to reconcile himself to being responsible for not preventing his teammates from tweaking his dish. He should have been decisive about it. Again, perhaps the evening might have gone differently. Adding the yuzu was a mistake, as was Spike’s failure to better season his shrimp.

Casey’s dish was solid; it just wasn’t as good as Fabio’s, so Casey wasn’t going home. Tre couldn’t be sent home, and Tiffany’s dish, while underseasoned, still outshone Spike’s.

I’m trying to think, for the future, about how better to structure the challenge to avoid another situation in which a competitor might elude possible elimination as Jamie did. Perhaps the judges should have to taste all the dishes, regardless of how the challenge goes. I’m not sure, though. I also kind of like the strategizing that comes of knowing that the game could actually go as it did and that the chef of a poorer dish that never gets served might be spared elimination. It raises the stakes for everyone, and I’m all for a challenge that asks the absolute best of the chefs.

And in general, that is what we got. The food was generally terrific. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, especially as many of us prepare for large holiday gatherings, that food need not be “fancy” to be fantastic. Carla took the win with an elegant interplay of flavors in a dish that could also be classified as “homey.” It shone from amidst a collection of complex, layered, sophisticated and truly fine dishes.

So enjoy whatever you’re preparing this week, and enjoy sharing it with your loved ones. Whatever you celebrate, may you all have a great Holiday Season and a very happy, healthy and safe New Year.

–Tom Colicchio

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