Thursday, September 23, 2010

Top Chef:Just Desserts 9/22/10--"Cocktail With a Twist"

Previously on “Top Chef: Just Desserts”: a bunch of pastry chefs got together to make desserts and be over the top and things of that nature. As my sister pointed out, looking at pretty desserts is somehow more satisfying than looking at regular food. It matters less that you can’t eat it. Seth did very well and started winning things, as did Heather H. Tania couldn’t get her mousse to set and went home. (click for more)

Morgan and says he and Seth have bonded, partially because they’re both straight. Oh, they also admire the same people, Morgan made sure to bring that part up too. Tim says he’s the mama. Seth calls home. Already? He says his mom has had a run of bad health, and he wants to win for her. It’s kind a plea for pity, but his voice is quavering so I think he’s sincere.

Gail is standing with Elizabeth Faulkner in front of a wall of candy. Zac wants to be her. Today’s Quickfire: create a dish that celebrates penny candy. Heather H. mostly ate chocolate as a child. Elizabeth says it’s harder because you can’t control the flavors and colors of your candy ingredients. They can use as many or as few flavors as they want.

1 hour. They’re all eating candy and spitting it out. Hee. The ice cream machine gets turned on. Malika says she has a lot of experience, and is thinking about time management. Seth brings up his mom again. He’s making spicy coconut jam with atomic fireballs in it. Zac was denied sugar as a child, as his mother was a vegan. Danielle is making “worms and dirt”, which is gummi worms in chocolate pudding. Seth runs out of liquid nitrogen so he can’t get his sorbet frozen in time. He immediately starts cursing and bursts into tears. It’s not an Elimination. Eric says this is disruptive to the kitchen. Yeah…it seems disproportionate.

Yigit: “strawberries and cream” with red licorice and citrus. Heather H.: vanilla panna cotta with passion fruit gelee. Apparently there was passion fruit candy. Tim: orange and pistachio parfait with mascarpone and cream. It’s got all the orange candy he could find. Morgan: chick-o-stick sable with malted milk ganache and re-pulled banana lollipop. “Sable” is a French biscuit. Malika: lemon drop and strawberry parfait with yuzu cream. Heather C.: browned butter almond financier (tea cake) with strawberry and balsamic vinegar. There is no actual candy in the dessert. Oo. Zac: chocolate and sour cream Ho Ho with red hot cream cheese filling. With warm black licorice, pernot, and star anise coulis and hot tamale whipped cream. That sounds good. Eric: malted chocolate pudding and malt ball cookie. Erika: strawberry pop rocks with lemon drop cookie and sour lemon gelee. That sound good too. Danielle: “worms and dirt”, which is chocolate mousse with lemon gummi worms, malt balls, and lemon soda made out of lemon drops. Seth: Whopper chiffon cake with red hot coconut jam and passion fruit vanilla sorbet. OK, before he talks about his food, Gail asks about his issues, and he’s still on the verge of crying. Then he interviews that his mom goes through so much pain every day, and the only thing she cares about is his happiness, and he can’t do this any more, and he breaks down again. It’s 12 minutes into the episode and I’m tired of hearing about Seth’s mom. If that makes me a bitch, then it makes me a bitch. We get it. Your mom is sick and also is important to you. Elizabeth comes over to talk to him, and he says “The Red Hots are for my mommy”. I notice the other contestants are just standing around awkwardly while Elizabeth is self-deprecating and fairly awesome.

Elizabeth says that Heather C. didn’t use any candy, and also Eric didn’t explore the malted candy enough. The very bottom is Seth, but she doesn’t even say anything bad about his dish, just that he should keep going. Heather H. used her candies really well, Danielle was very playful, and Zac’s licorice sauce was balanced and tasty. He’s just glad she mentioned he did a cake, in one hour, so he can say “suck it bitches!” to everyone else. But Danielle is the winner, with immunity!

For the Elimination challenge, they’ll be taking a field trip to The Tar Pit, which is Mark Peel’s new restaurant. The challenge is to make a dish inspired by a cocktail. I wonder when they filmed this and when they filmed the “Top Chef” finale? Because it immediately makes me think of Kevin and his Singapore Sling dessert. No one looks happy though. They’ll be going “behind the bar” to shop for ingredients. They must pull their flavors from what’s there. Each person gets two minutes behind the bar, and then 3 hours in the kitchen to cook for the judges and 25 other guests. They draw coasters for shopping order. Eric is stoked to be first. He knows what he wants, so he’s doing things like taking all the pineapple. Shopping is about as exciting as shopping always is, with the added interesting facet of everyone watching each person pick out what they want. Actually they’re joking around a lot. Seth had a certain cocktail in mind, with grapefruit juice, but there isn’t any grapefruit back there. He totally shuts down, even though everyone encourages him to think of something else to do. When his time is up, he yells at everyone for being against him. Huh? They were chanting “Go Seth Go”. I don’t get it. He calls them “fucking haters” and yells some more that they shouldn’t have said anything, he’s broke and his mom is in debt from medical bills, he’s not here to have fun, he’s here to save his life. (Kmanpat: “…drama queen much?”) Yeah, dude…calm down. Yigit tells him it’s not OK to yell at anyone, and Seth is like, it’s not for you to tell me what’s OK! Well I’ll do it: it’s not OK for you to yell at them. They were cheering for you. Morgan tells him he’s being an asshole, and he interviews that he has no citrus and has to make something for $100,000 and it’s stressful. Heather H. interviews that he should have adapted.

Cooking time. Tim says they can use what they got from the bar, and also what they can find in the pantry. Heather H. says not having recipes is really hard. Eric is making pineapple upside down cake. He notices people are doing fancy things, but he doesn’t know what they are doing. Seth has come up with a new idea, which is to make something based on a gimlet, with berries. He is exhausted and wants to stay out of trouble. Tim (I think) decides to grind up all his basil, seeds and all. Malika is making a blood orange mojito cake. Yummy.

Johnny time! …still don’t like that. Yigit seems confident, as does Tim. Johnny reminds us that alcohol will affect your cooking times and freezing times. Seth has a million things going on. Erika has margaritas. Seth tears around like a crazy person. It’s actually draining everyone else. Yigit needs people to help him. Seth sprints somewhere.

Back at home, Heather H. says there is tension between Seth and the rest of the contestants. She tells him he needs to apologize to everyone, which he does. Or he admits he should, to her. He says he’ll make it up to her, but she’s still pissed so she’s like, how are you going to do that exactly? Just treat everyone like decent people. Yigit says that everyone else has issues too, not just Seth. For example, his dad died a few years ago. Seth pretty much just agrees with everyone attacking him.

Back at the restaurant the contestants have 1 hour to plate 30 desserts. The kitchen is very small, so 3 chefs will plate at a time. Eric’s never prepped for a service before. Erika is one dessert short, so she has to rethink her plating. She’s going to cut her bombes in half so you can see the inside, and give everyone half a dome. That’s a really good idea. Man, how do you get in on this so you can be a diner? I want to dress up and go to a swank restaurant and drink cocktails and eat 11 desserts. Hubert Keller is here today. Erika: margarita bombe with a lime cookie, tequila mousse and Grand Marnier crème brulee. She calls it a “Top Chef margarita” (like top shelf, hee) and says there is salt. Danielle: lime and lemon curd tart, toasted coconut, and rum sabayon. And candied kumquats. Eric: pineapple bourbon upside down cake. Erika’s bombe is subtle until you hit the salt. They really like it. Danielle’s dessert kind of fails in terms of reminding people of a cocktail. Eric’s dish had the best flavor, which includes the bourbon flavor.

Yigit is freaking out that he might not get everything on the plate, and Seth is helping him. He has to use the ice cream scoop after Morgan, so I hope he washed it. Also he couldn’t get his plates as beautiful as he wanted. Yigit: campari and blood orange agar agar with citrus vanilla panna cotta and basil ice cream. His plate looks fine, I think. Morgan: cola spiced whisky cake with coke fluid gel. Heather C.: gingerbread cake with rum caramel sauce and candied ginger. Yigit’s plate is colorful and fun. The ice cream is melted though. Morgan’s cake is lacking that one final touch. Heather C.’s dish didn’t come together the way she probably wanted.

Seth is flailing near people and he’s pissing Malika off. He’s knocking stuff around, there is crashing, he’s telling the camera people he’s going to lose. Zac doesn’t like him but he can’t watch him go down like that so he’s helping. That was nice of him. He’s really insistent that he help people, but they’re like, go over there and read off the clock. Hee. Seth: blueberry gimlet cake with lemon and lime juice, and juniper soda. The cake is really blue. After he’s done talking about most of the flavors he says “the rest is up to you to find”. That is probably not a wise thing to say to the judges. Malika: blood orange and blackberry mojito cake with white chocolate mousse. Heather H.: white Russian stack. I think it’s cake and mousse. Custard maybe? Malika’s dessert has mint but not a lot of rum or blood orange. It’s too sweet. She embraced the challenge but it was too heavy handed. Heather over thought it and kept adding to it. There is no gin flavor in Seth’s dessert. Also blue cake is an affront to pastry chefs, I guess.

Zac is counting plates when there is a big crash and he starts freaking out. Seth was doing something nearby and all of Zac’s chocolate squares are on the floor. Seth swears he has no idea what happened and says he wasn’t moving. Zac is pissed, especially because Seth decides now is a good time to clean up the stuff off the floor. As Zac tries to move around him, Seth is like, go ahead and step on me. Sigh. Zac misses a tuille on one plate, which of course heads to one of the judges. Zac says he went out of his way to help Seth and it bit him in the ass. Zac: Benedictine bombe with dark chocolate malt cake and Benedictine cremeux. He says it’s based on a Jager bomb. Ha! Oh, in my head there is a story about too many Jager bombs and a drunken hookup. There is lime and a tarragon tuille. Tim: basil pudding with orange, kumquat, and lime granita. Zac’s dish is maybe not cooked through, but is a good idea. Tim is making too many things in bowls and it’s a mess. Zac is worried the judges won’t get the full profile of his dish because it was incomplete, although he wisely did not tell them what was missing in case it wasn’t a problem.

Commercial interlude: Seth is antsy and can’t sit still in the Stew Room. He’s futzing with spring form pans, putting them on his head. Some people laugh, but Morgan and Yigit are super annoyed.

Erika, Yigit, and Eric are up first. Seth immediately starts freaking out and Heather C. reminds him that he doesn’t know if these are the top or bottom. Seth insists he tasted Eric’s dish and it was great. I’m pretty sure she’s trying to get him not to be so fatalistic but he’s now offended that he was speaking his mind and she judged him. Heather H. asks him to let her talk, because he’s interrupting the other Heather, and now everyone is so hard on him all the time. Now he’s getting angry. Everyone is like, seriously dude? He says he made himself vulnerable and now they’re taking advantage of it. Heather H. speaks for all of us when she says she’s over this. Yeah…calm down, Seth. He says he was stronger before he was a nice guy so now he’s going to go back to being an asshole. Everyone looks like they have a headache.

Of course Erika, Yigit, and Eric are the top 3. Erika wanted clean and simple. It was beautiful and well balanced, and her sauce was clear which was cool. Eric’s cake was moist and the pineapple was caramelized perfectly. Elizabeth tells him he might have to step it up, and Eric admits he’d never plated anything before. Yigit had a colorful plate that was still cold, which made the cocktail connection really obvious. The winner is Erika! Yay!

Malika, Tim and Seth are the bottom 3. Tim’s final dessert was what he wanted. It was a mess when everyone ate it, and he says it was bruleed but that probably didn’t work. Johnny says Tim has one of the sharpest palates there, he just can’t put things together. Seth made too many components and he messed some of them up. He admits this himself. This causes the judges to tell him he’s hard on himself, although Johnny does tell him he’s trying to do too much, too fast. Gail asks him why he couldn’t focus, and he says it’s from his breakdown during the Quickfire. Elizabeth is like, well, how do we know that won’t happen again if you stay? He says he can’t promise that. Well, good for him to admit it. Malika knows her dish lacked the balance of flavors. It was very sweet and the center wasn’t tart enough. She ran out of time, again, this time because she took a while trying to figure out what was wrong with her dish.

Seth did 11 things, maybe 8 made the plate. Plus it was all scattered. Tim has great flavor combinations, but his custard collapsed and it was unappetizing. Hubert doesn’t think he would stand behind it if he was in his restaurant. Malika’s dessert was too sweet and didn’t taste the way it should have. She’s having trouble adapting to the challenges.

Johnny is a hard ass. He’s just not as imposing as Tom though. It comes off more bitchy than disappointed. Tim loses. He says he’s going to stick to his style. Everyone is sad. He says the experience is overwhelming but in the end he ahs no regrets.

Next week: cheerleaders and a bake sale. Everyone is pissy. Seth can’t interact with children.


Kristy said...

Very good recap! And-WOW Seth was annoying! It really seemed like he needed to be on some meds or something. I get that it's a lot of pressure and all, but I liked the example of how Zak (Zak?) handled it when ALL his chocolate square were knocked to the floor: he was obviously annoyed and frustrated, but immediately went on to improvise his dish w/o them. As in, he sucked it up and acted like a 'Top Chef'! I was surprised Tim went home. I figured it would be Malika. Seth, while annoying, just brings too many ratings to go home this early. We shall see! :)

Anonymous said...

i made the las week this classic duck whit orange...

the orange juicer save me for a very long nigth of squeez..