Richard Blais talks Top Chef Las Vegas — Second Helpings: A kiss is just a kiss

Bear in mind that I don’t know Jennifer at all. We have never met and don’t have a close degree of separation that I’m aware of. Well, until now I guess.  But we have both worked in Michelin-starred French kitchens, where a kiss on the cheek from a female chef to a superior male chef is not only excusable, but more often than not, protocol.

Considering that, and the fact that she was probably jumping out of her clogs that she just won fifteen grand, I’d say it was nothing more than instinct and adrenaline.

She has fully ingratiated herself into a European kitchen mindset and her actions speak to that commitment.  The hammer that nails down the case is her pronunciation of ceviche. She’s pronouncing it as it would be in French. I know it was nails on a chalkboard to many, including my wife, but, c’est la vie, non?

Immediately after the kiss, Tom makes an expression that my wife and I have come to refer to as Tom’s “Go Phillies” face. Ironically appropriate, since Jennifer is based in Philadelphia, I believe.

I was participating in an event last year promoting Top Chef: New York and my wife and I ran into Tom.  One fan, rather randomly, said hello to Tom and then said, “Go Phillies”.  Now, granted it was the pennant race, but Tom’s reaction was epic.  It was the same expression he made after Jen kissed him. You’ve seen it.  The one he makes when encountering a chef on the chopping block trying to defend something illogically. The one he probably made as he was forking through that chile relleno.

It’s a mixture of “Does not compute” and “seriously?”…

Half grimace, part eye roll and a touch of guffaw.

Look for it throughout the season!

As I cover Top Chef Season 6 in Las Vegas for Bravo, I take a few seconds of action each week and throw it under the microscope. I often find one or two moments each episode that either reveal a industry insider’s secret or, as a former competitor, something I have a behind the scenes take on.

In episode 1 of Las Vegas, both of these moments came together in the same sequence. It was the kiss that Jennifer Carroll gave Tom Colicchio. And the facial expression that Tom made immediately following.

I’ve read on a few blogs that some people feel the kiss was inappropriate.

I don’t think so.

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