Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bonus Beats: Colicchio on Risotto and Rock and Roll

My feech on Tom Colicchio, who will be presented by UCSB A&L on February 22, is in print today (not yet online, so no link yet, sorry), and even at 700 words, I ran out of space to include all the juicy tidbits he offered. For instance, did you know that the costume designers have a bet with each other as to which one can get Padma in the ugliest outfit? OK, he didn't say that (he didn't have to). But I did ask him, what's more dangerous to prepare on Top Chef, dessert or risotto? And he said: "None of that should be hard. Food often has a tendency to continue to cook off the heat, which is why you let a steak rest before serving it, and I think a lot of contestants know that and count on it. For risotto that doesn't carry over--lentils are like that, sometimes potatoes--and then the contestants undercook it, thinking it will finish cooking. Also since you start tasting it when it's really raw and then keep tasting, it fools you into thinking it's done. I've had times when I made it and it comes up to the line and I taste it again and I realize it's not done enough and I send it back."

And one thing you might not know about Colicchio, especially since he's never taken the opportunity to step onstage with any of the bands that have played at any of the rocking events where the contestants have to each make a meal for 200 all by themselves while blindfolded and dangling over a shark tank (you saw that episode, no?). He plays guitar, calling it a "serious hobby." "I play everyday up with the kids between 6 and 7, and then in the evening watching the news," he says, refusing to say what riffs best block out Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum or New Gingrich (rock and rollers all). "At home I usually play finger-picking blues, but out, that's too difficult," he says, "Fortunately I have friends who are good musicians and they'll let me front the band. We'll do Dylan, Neil Young, stuff like that."

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