Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bear Baiting: A Defensive Tom Colicchio Says He’d Give Hosea the Win All Over Again

Well, possums, if there’s one thing we learnt from reading National Geographic and watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom as a child, it is that you must never, ever, ever attack a bear, for bears wax exceedingly wroth and their wrath is fearsome to behold.

How much more true, then, is this for the Ursus Major himself.

In response to the firestorm that has erupted on the Internet over Hosea Rosenberg’s being awarded the title of “Top Chef,” Tom Colicchio called People Magazine—exclusively!—to give the irate a piece of his mind:

“If I had to do it all over again, reading what I’m reading, I’d still say Hosea wins. He made a better meal….We don’t care about personalities. We don’t care about who was making out. We simply care about who put together a better meal from start to finish.”

First of all, the teddy doth protest too much. As mentioned in this video, he does care who was hooking up with whom. But that’s an unimportant point.

This is the bit that is interesting to us:

Plus, he adds, the judges only consider the output from that night’s challenge – never relying on past performances or outside factors.

“I come to Judges’ Table with an idea of who I think should win based on what the challenge was – not based on who I think the best chef is,” he says.

We find it curious because on his Bravo blog, Toby Young has a quibble with that “never”:

I asked Tom at the outset whether the same rule applied to judging the finale as it did to all the other challenges, namely, that we had to disregard everything the chefs had done before and judge them entirely on their performance that day. He said it did, but with one caveat: if we whittled the finalists down to two, and there was nothing to choose between them, we could bring in their past performances as a tie-breaker.

As far as I was concerned, that was exactly the situation in last night’s episode — and, for that reason, we ought to give it to Stefan, who clearly performed better over the course of the season than Hosea. My argument went like this: Stefan and Hosea tied the appetizer and the first course; Stefan won the second; and Hosea won the third. So that was one win each, deadlock.

It’s a frightening day in our little corner of the Snarkshire Moors when we find ourselves thinking that Toby Young makes a cogent, lucid, persuasive argument, but end times appear to be upon us.

But take a look at Tom’s statement again. It seems implicitly to concede that he doesn’t think Hosea is the best chef, and that is the most revealing thing of all. That, we suspect, is what lies at the heart of the “popular revolt” on the blogosphere, a very American sense that the principles of meritocracy have been violated, and that the winner, no matter what the title says, is most decidedly not Top Chef.


Vic said...

Am totally bummed that Stefan did not win. Hosea seldom showed greatness as a chef. Stefan proved himself over and over.

Anonymous said...

I love Tom but he's clearly talking out of his ass on this one. The judges screwed up plain and simple.

GL said...

And yet in this post

we see Toby admitting that Hosea cooked a "marginally better meal on the night".