Thursday, October 15, 2009

'Cat food' puts SF chef in jeopardy on Top Chef

San Francisco catering chef Laurine Wickett was in the bottom three again this week on Bravo TV's Top Chef.

One judge, Food & Wine magazine Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin, called Wickett's pork dish "cat food."

Wickett survived, as another chef was eliminated. But her reputation and ego were bruised in the judging, shown Wednesday evening. What head judge Tom Colicchio said in his blog:
Laurine opted to make a pork butt rillette, but the problem was that she didn’t know how to make it. She thought it was a braised meat. No, no, no – you confit it in pork fat first, so that the water is forced out and is replaced with fat. After you’ve completely cooked the meat over several hours on a low temperature submerged in fat, you take it out, whip it up with a fork (or a mixer with a paddle), slowly incorporating more of the fat with which you cooked it, and you end up with very lush, rich, unctuous meat. By just braising it, Laurine wound up with a stringy, watery dish. She really screwed up. ... At least her chutney and salad were quite good. … Dana did say that she thought the texture of Laurine’s dish was like cat food … it wasn’t.
Wickett owns Left Coast Catering in San Francisco. She is the last of three Bay Area competitors still on the program.

(As an aside: One is led to wonder how the editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine knows what cat food tastes like.)

(Photo credit:


  1. Terrible decision and execution. She has zero chance to win. Do they make a pork cat food?

  2. Good question. My research shows that pork isn't used much in cat foods for a variety of reasons. In one instance, I found information that a vet prescribed special pork cat food for a cat that wouldn't eat anything else.