Last Wednesday I had the fabulous opportunity to sit down with Tom Colicchio. The Top Chef judge was in San Francisco to promote his new book 'wichcraft: craft a sandwich into a meal — and a meal into a sandwich. He exudes a natural confidence and quiet intelligence and stresses the importance of using a good bread to make a sandwich.
We chatted about sandwiches and Top Chef — season six starts filming in an undisclosed location on April 27! To find out what sandwich he is totally sick of and who's his favorite Top Chef contestant of all time, read more.
PartySugar: What was your most memorable childhood sandwich?
Tom Colicchio: [Thinks for a minute.] My grandma used to make us these great little grilled cheese sandwiches that she served with a bowl of tomato soup. They weren't that special, she used Kraft singles, but they were made with lots of grandma love.
PS: Why do you think the sandwich is so essential to American cuisine?
TC: As a chef you spend the majority of the time on your feet. At the end of the night you throw a bunch of ingredients in between pieces of bread and eat it standing up. The sandwich works so well because everyone is so busy. It's a classic; everyone has sandwich memories. They're not that fancy and it's portable food.
PS: What do you predict will be the next big sandwich trend?
TC: Hmm. It will definitely be ethnic. Everyone keeps talking about bahn mi. It's like Banh mi. Banh mi. Banh mi. I'm so over Banh mi. We've already been there done that with barbeque pork and pulled pork. I think it will be something inspired by Indian street food. What are those Indian street food sandwiches called? It's a funny name? [Chicken frankie]
PS: What's one sandwich tip the average home cook should know?
TC: Don't overstuff! Especially when making a panini. People need to learn how to use salt. Most home cooks under season. You also need to understand how to use heat. Amateur cooks never know how to use heat.
PS: Who was your favorite contestant on Top Chef?
TC: You may be surprised, but it's Tiffani. She was really poorly portrayed. Her personality was not portrayed well at all. She's a great cook.
PS: What was the most shocking moment in the history of Top Chef?
TC: The day shooting was cancelled and I got a call from the producers asking me to come down and take a look at something. We were supposed to be in production but we had to push it back due to them shaving their heads. It was crazy. I couldn't believe it and it was my birthday! I saw the entire unedited video. It was terrible. Shocking. Absolutely shocking.
PS: Where are you filming Top Chef 6?
TC: I can't tell you that. The producers would kill me.