My heart sunk when I heard [Spike accused the chef of having frozen scallops] because I’ve known Rick for years and can say with certainty he doesn’t use frozen seafood in his restaurant. Along with the high-end steaks they had provided for the show, Allen Bros. had included a variety of other products to round out the restaurant’s existing stock, including frozen scallops, which is how they came to be in Tramonto’s walk-in. I learned later that Rick knew this when we taped the show, but chose not to make a federal case out of it. But as a colleague and fan of Rick’s, I feel it’s important to set the record straight.
Yes, it is important. Of course, that doesn't help the poor Chicago trenchermen who came to dinner and had to eat Spike's mushy scallops, Lisa's peanut-butter mashed potatoes, and so on, but it does clear Tramonto's name. Now, we hope, we'll actually remember it.
Not our scallops on 'Top Chef,' says Rick Tramonto [Chicago Tribune]