Nearly 60 representatives from New York’s top kitchens were on hand last night at Cipriani Wall Street for an Autism Speaks benefit auction spearheaded by Brasserie’s executive chef, Franklin Becker. In a room full of chefs, we found Craft’s Tom Colicchio hosting the event all by his lonesome (his scheduled co-host, Brian Williams, had to cancel to cover the Senate vote on the bailout plan). The chef, contrary to reports, has no plans to change the name of his new venture, TOM: Tuesday Night. “I was joking. And the New York Times took it and ran with it, he said. "People are making such a big deal about it." Colicchio also protested criticism of TOM’s $150 baseline. “For an eight-course menu, it’s comparable to everyone else around town. I don’t think it’s outrageous."
Since Bravo released Top Chef details yesterday, Colicchio no longer had to keep mum about special guest judges the Foo Fighters. “The challenge itself is hilarious,” Colicchio said, but was demure about the details. He was happy to dish about Dave Grohl, though. "The funny thing with Dave was that right before we go out to do our entrance, he’s like, ‘I’m so excited. This is my favorite TV show. I can’t wait!’ The Foo Fighters, after the Grammys, actually spent the night at Craft in Los Angeles. So, I knew that. They’re really into food. Some of the things he said … it was hysterical. I would just look at him and be like, ‘What did you just say?’ He would be like, ‘the sear on the meat could have been a little better, you know, I think you needed a little more seasoning.’"
"À la peanut butter sandwiches!" says Wylie Dufresne.Photo: Patrick McMullan