Why Top Chef Judge Tom Colicchio Hates This Ingredient

Tom Colicchio has frequently wowed us with his excellent culinary skills both in back of the house, as well as using his refined palate for tasting. When it comes to taste, however, there's always a little subjectivity to the art of cooking. Like all of us, Colicchio has some foods he simply doesn't like, no matter how well they are prepared. As Top Chef was entering its third season, the celebrity chef sat down with Frank Bruni of the New York Times and was asked the question, "Is there a food you can't bring yourself to like?" Colicchio replied, "Okra! It's just slimy. And sea cucumbers. And grated mountain yam."

For those that are wondering, okra is sometimes described as slimy by those who aren't a fan. Okra pods are known as "mucilaginous" (via Sustainable Food Center). If that term makes you think of mucus, you're on the right track, as it refers to a slimy and soluble fiber. One common side effect of this gooeyness is a lubrication of your digestive tract, so most okra lovers don't have to worry about constipation.

Tom Colicchio rates foods on both taste and texture

Sea cucumbers are another food that might be described as slimy. Sea cucumbers are a sea creature that resembles a large worm or slug. The sea creature has long been a staple in Asian cuisine, and is believed by some to have medicinal properties (via Healthline). The "meat" of the creature can be eaten raw, pickled, or fried and is known for its rather bland flavor and slippery texture. Sea cucumber is typically seasoned to pick up external flavors, much like tofu. These creatures are actually so popular that they suffer from over fishing.

Mountain yams once again, are part of the slimy food family. Future Top Chef contestants may be noticing a theme here — don't feed Colicchio slimy foods. Mountain yams, called yamaimo, may be at the top of a long list of slippery, slimy Japanese foods (via Japan Times). Don't get stuck on the term yam, as this is a distant cousin of our beloved sweet potato when it comes to taste. Grated yamaimo is often served hot or cold with miso soup, grated over soba noodles or cubed tuna, and is even used to provide elasticity to savory pancakes. 

So there you have it, chef Colicchio, like us, has a few hated foods on his list. Clearly he's not a fan of the slime, and we can completely sympathize with that.