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Top Chef: Tom Colicchio Explains The Judges’ Final Five Decision

March 04, 2011 08:00 AM by Shayla Perry

All season long Tom Colicchio has said that every elimination for Bravo’s Top Chef: All-Stars would be difficult, but “difficult” doesn’t even begin to describe the decision the judges were faced with this week. How could they send someone home after they all made such perfect dishes, each with so much meaning, and so much love? Well — they didn’t. But as Colicchio explains, it was never the judges’ intention to keep all five chefs.

Yes! Antonia Lofaso, Mike Isabella, Richard Blais, Carla Hall, AND Tiffany Derry will all be traveling to the Bahamas to compete in the Top Chef finale episodes! And how could they not be with Richard Blais’ genius fried bone marrow, Tiffany Derry’s ability to make Tom Colicchio actually like okra, Antonia Lofaso’s risotto done right, Carla Hall’s use of liquid Nitrogen to make grits, and Mike Isabella’s grandmother’s gnocchi.

Who could eliminate anyone on a night like that?

“Given the level of cooking, coupled with the great emotional work they each did, how could we send any one of the chefs home?” Tom Colicchio writes in his blog. “Normally, something in some dish somewhere stands out to all the judges as the flaw that breaks the camel’s back, that gets someone sent home. Here, while we mentioned that one element was a tad salty if eaten on its own, it wasn’t intended to be eaten on its own…and it worked within the larger dish. Etc.

“We were trying to seize on something to send someone home, but we didn’t have enough grounds to penalize any one of the chefs for what they delivered that night. Everyone did an outstanding job and it was such a great evening that it was just unacceptable to send anyone home.”

Check out this video of the Extended Judges’ Table and watch as Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons, and guest judge Dan Barber struggle to find something worth sending someone home.

Tell us… Who do you think will ultimately win Top Chef: All-Stars? Richard Blais, Mike Isabella, Tiffany Derry, Carla Hall, or Antonia Lofaso?

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Photo credit: BRAVO

Topics: Bravo Reality TV Shows, Top Chef |

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