Friday, May 30, 2008

Tom Colicchio Responds to Scallopgate

Possums, earlier this morning we received an email from the Ursus Major himself, Tom Colicchio, regarding our post about the now-infamous frozen scallops. The subject line was “scallopgate.”

With Colicchio’s permission, we are running the email in its entirety and without any editing, so that you, possums, may have the benefit of his side of the story:

Tom Colicchio here. In my blog on I stated that the scallops were in the kitchen because the were provided by Allen Brothers.

Allen brothers sponsored the challenge, and all of the Allen brothers products were placed in the kitchen by the culinary producer.

This statement does not contradict Rick's [Tramonto] assertion that the producers put the scallops in the kitchen.

I hope this clears things up.


The Troll said...

It's not the culinary crime, it's the cover-up. Will they never learn?

Lee said...

Look, regardless of why the frozen scallops were there, Rick Tramanto handled Spike's accusatory tone (thinly veiled in a foam of faux-respect) with style and clarity and without falling back on passing the buck, even though it could have been rightly passed to the Allen Brothers team. He handled it well and with grace. Bravo (ahem) I say.

Even if the offending frozen nuggets had been there without the aid of production, there could have been any number of reasons... scallop toast, perhaps...or a prep cook that stuck them in the freezer by accident or miscommunication or maybe a freebie from a purveyor... it could have been totally legit and not all "ooooh, you have frozen scallops in your freeeeezer...."

However, having the phrase 'Scallopgate' come out of it is pretty entertaining.

The Big Shamu said...

Culinary Producer = Lee Anne Wong.
I'm loving her more and more.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You must be giddy with excitement having received such an email.

I don't think your original post was really that far out of line with the truth. And, Tom's blog actually notes that Rick knew it wasn't ordinarily in his kitchen but decided he wasn't going to make a "federal case" out of it.

Besides, what's a better television, what was said, or:

Spike: Its in your walk-in Bro.
Rick: Well, Leann put it in there as a trap and you fell for it, Asshat. Besides, frozen scallops are good for [blah, blah, blah]...

I'm actually impressed that Rick knew for a fact he didn't have frozen scallops. I can't name what's in my one fridge now, let alone what's in one of any number of fridges at an armload of restaurants.

a-nony-mouse said...

I'll never stroll by the scallops at the supermarket again without wondering... fresh or previously frozen?? Actually I'll just be mentally counting up the days until the next Top Chef episode/season.

hughman said...

ooo... some flan mail from some flounders!

hi tom!! we love you here at AB! if you ever want to treat us to dinner here at Craft in LA, we're available! i'll even order scallops and tell everyone how fresh they were. promise.

Anonymous said...

I went to a local restaurant that has a decent fresh fish counter and asked if they had scallops for sale. They said yes, they were frozen. I asked why and he said they were from Canada. (I live in Florida). So I wonder how on earth people get truly fresh scallops most anywhere unless they're close to Canada or have them flown in daily, which would be very expensive.

Cool hearing directly from Chef Tom and "scallopgate" is hilarious. I hope he also addresses "polish sausagegate" at the reunion show.

Dorothy Snarker said...

Whoa, the Colicchio contacted you directly to clear up Scallopgate? Oh. The. Power. Can you feel it throwing through your blog veins? Bravo, Amuse-Biatchers. You have arrived.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Lee Anne would be in trouble for placing those scallops there. Explanations or cover-ups or whatever are fine, but it still hurts the reputation of his restaurant a little.

cube said...

You have hit the blog big time!

Anonymous said...

I didn't see this mentioned anywhere at Bravo's website, which I find odd to say the least. If this really isn't that big of a deal, then I would think it would be there out in the open.

I also listened to Spike's interview at I don't know who that person was that stepped in and talked about the scallops, but IMO, she should have stayed out of it. I believe she made matters worse.

IMO, something doesn't seem right at all about this season of Top Chef, and I have been a fan of Top Chef for years.

Reluctantly, I still say Antonia wins it all. I wouldn't have put her in the top five, anymore than I would put Lisa in the top five.

eric3000 said...

Another fun controversy! Thanks, as always, for sorting things out!

Anonymous said...

I read your original post, and I don't get it. You quoted Tramonto as saying he didn't know about the scallops and didn't know where they came from, and you quoted Colicchio as saying that Tramonto did know about the scallops and did know where they came from. No matter what Tom says, how is this not a contradiction? And I think it's bullshit that you didn't call out Tom on this. Is it just because he wrote you an e-mail?

lou said...

Lee Anne explains all in her blog and blames herself. She chose the frozen scallops, not to trap anyone, but because she figured someone would use it for soup or sausage.

Anonymous said...

Butternut scallop soup!

Charlus said...

Anonymous, possum, as you note, the issue is pretty clear: did Rick Tramonto know the scallops were there, and did he know how they got there? The issue isn't--for us, at any rate--how the scallops came to be in the cooler. Whether they were intended to "trip" people up is also irrelevant. We believe in free will, and no one forced Spike to choose the scallops. What interested us was the stark contrast between what Tramonto said in the Bravo interview and what Tom Colicchio wrote about whether Tramonto knew of the scallops. The contradiction in their two statements is self-evident; we had pointed it out in the original post, and there was no need to point it out again in this post, where it would only have been churlish. Rather, Chef Colicchio--for whom, let it be said, we have tremendous respect--wrote in and offered his side of the story as to how those pesky scallops got there, a *different* issue. We felt that you, the readers, would be interested in what he had to say about it. There was nothing to call him out on, and no need to be churlish. We may be Amuse-Biatch, but we have no intention of being Amuse-Jackass.

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