Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Top Chef: Just Desserts 9/14/11--"Pure Imagination" summary

Previously on “Top Chef: Just Desserts”: everyone pretended there would be a new gum flavor based off their Quickfire dessert, but that was sadly a lie. Craig won, though, so he got a bunch of money and immunity. Then everyone had to work in teams, AGAIN, to make a presentation to one of the Real Housewives for their restaurant anniversary. Many pink tables and roses ensued. Amanda was supposed to be the team leader but she was slightly ill and asked Chris to do all the talking. Resulting in everyone referring to it as “Chris’s team”. But then they won, so no one cared a whole lot. Nelson was sent home for making a plain lollipop with cotton candy on it. Orlando refused to feel bad for Craig when he got nailed by the judges, so now probably everyone will be pissed at Orlando. (click for more)

On the kitchen table is a note and a pile of VIP tickets. Gail says they need to go to the movies. Field trip! Amanda is still sickly so she welcomes the day off.

Everyone gets food. Matthew gets a variety of things, because he feels a Quickfire coming and knows he can use those ingredients. Everyone else is eating but he is not. They get to the theater and file in behind a row of people. There are shots of the people, and that one guy looks familiar. Anyway, the movie starts, and it’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. The proper one, with Gene Wilder, not that knock-off Johnny Depp nonsense. The chefs cheer. Katzie loves it. They keep showing that one guy with the glasses and the mutton chops and I am pretty sure I know who it is but just in case you don’t, I won’t spoil it for you. Amanda references the room with all the candy and the chocolate pool. Orlando mentions that the woman next to him is amazed he knows the words to the movie. When the movie ends, Gail shows up and everyone groans. They know something is coming. Gail says they’ve probably dreamt of living in that world, and that also she has four special guests to explain further. So four people get up, including the guy with the glasses and the woman that was next to Orlando. Finally they recognize the people: the original child actors from the movie. Veruca Salt, Mike Teevee, Violet Beauregarde, and Charlie Bucket. What’s really crazy is that all of them are recognizable; they still look like they did when they were kids. The only one that doesn’t is Charlie, and I think I’ve seen him before as an adult, which is why he looked familiar. They talk about seeing the garden for the first time. It was all really edible. And I know that they didn’t let the kids see the set before they were ready to shoot the scene. That way they could get a good realistic reaction shot of wonder. Charlie says the lickable wallpaper tasted like…wallpaper. Hee. Then Gail says the movie is 40 years old and I feel old for a minute. The contestants will be creating “Wonka’s World”. They have to make the dining room into the garden with the trees and mushrooms and chocolate pool. This is the best challenge. They’ll all work together. Veruca says something, and Rebecca is like “Please say it once!” so she says “I want it, and I want it now!” Hee.

One hour to plan. Chris wants them to split into a couple of teams: a “creative” team, and a construction team. I think. Somehow, the creative team will still make things? But the teams will work together to coordinate? I’m not sure how to interpret what he said other than “one team will have all the ideas and the other team will do what they’re told”. Katzie says you’re silly if you’ve never thought of doing this.

Back at the loft, the contestants are still planning. Rebecca says she makes a cupcake called “Veruca Salt”, and Chris is like, “I don’t want to stand in front of the judges and they say ‘I asked you for ‘pure imagination’ and you gave me a cupcake.’” That was rude. Chris seems to be bossing everyone around, and Katzie speaks up about it, because he’s dismissed her idea. They go to bed without us seeing what the final decision was.

13 hours to cook. The space is a good size, with a path and fake grass and fake trees. And some fake mushrooms. And a chocolate fountain. Amanda says she’s on the “creative team” with Chris, Orlando, and Matthew. She’s going to make her dessert, but also construct things. The production team is going to make their own desserts, and then help make things for the room. So what it sounds like, is that everyone has to make a plated dessert. Then they have to set up the room. The “creative team” has taken over the room, and the “production” team has been banned from having any input on what happens in the room. Production team members have to make their own stuff, and only then can they help with the room, and then only “help” and do what they’re told. It smells like Chris decided to be in charge, and didn’t trust some of the contestants to have good ideas. So he banished them to the other team. Craig is making giant gummy bears somehow. Chris is making a chocolate waterfall, even though I am pretty sure I already saw a fountain. It will be 6 feet tall and coated in chocolate. And functional. Sally is making orange dirt. She compares herself to Charlie. Katzie is grating carrots and says bringing thoughts to life is what she excels at. Orlando tells us he is responsible for tempering all the chocolate, and he explains how that works, but I’m guessing if you are interested you already know how that works. Rebecca notices that three people are working on the fountain, which Chris is going to claim as his own item. Carlos is making the wallpaper out of fruit leather. Nice. Craig’s gummy bear doesn’t set so it’s a giant blob. I don’t think he knows what he’s doing. Sally says he’s taking up all her time.

Johnny shows up to bother everyone. Orlando says he’s gone through 120 kilos. Johnny translates to pounds for everyone who doesn’t think in metric. That is 250 pounds. Johnny apparently is very jealous because he says nothing is holding them back except their creativity. Rebecca brings up her Veruca Salt cupcakes, because she’s apparently decided to do it anyway. She’s going to bake the cupcakes in chocolate eggs. Oo, that sounds good. Melissa is making whoopie pie flowers. Hee. And donut flowers. Johnny announces that two of them are going home tomorrow. Everyone freaks out.

Chris is worried about the waterfall. He says it’s because of time, but if I was Chris, I’d be worried that everyone was freaking out about the double elimination and no one would have time to do my work for me because they’re making sure their dishes are good. It seems that Katzie thought Amanda was making chocolate cups for her, but in fact Amanda is just making her own cups and Katzie will need to figure things out for herself. Amanda smiles and says it must have been a miscommunication. Katzie is pissed, but she just says that lots of things aren’t done, so if it’s something you need, best make it yourself. Running around and working.

Judgment day. Katzie is running around all crazy. Orlando is irritated at the crazy, but I get the feeling he’s always that way. Craig has one successful gummy bear. Something looks like poo. Matthew has to fill all his cream puffs and put them on sticks. Melissa had planned to put her donuts on pipes, but she finds that the creative team didn’t drill holes for the PVC pipes. Megan helps her drill. Matthew thinks they bit off more than they could chew with the waterfall. Rebecca says that Megan is struggling to get her own dish done, because she helped Chris so much.

OK, so now I have to try to describe this room. There are trees with things hanging off of them. The mushroom with the cream spots is somewhere. Bushes with cake pops sticking out. Gail almost bites it on the little bridge. Orlando notices everyone is agape. They really are. Johnny seems the most excited, pointing out things to Gail. But the cast members are thrilled too, which is very cool. Actually it’s very impressive. Ron Ben-Israel is the guest judge. He’s a fancy wedding cake designer. Then Gail says she has some “special guests” and a whole gang of kids shows up. Aww! Megan quietly freaks out because there is bourbon in her dessert. I think it’s Megan. I’m really sorry, but I have a hard time telling Megan and Amanda apart.

Chris: chocolate fountain with chocolate milk. There are also chocolate cups, but the stream from the fountain is so strong that everyone is having a hard time getting chocolate milk without splashing it everywhere. It’s delicious though. Amanda: raspberry fizzy chocolates, which are discs glued to one of the trees. Also she made chocolate tulip cups with blueberry sauce. Craig: giant gummy bears. Sadly it’s fallen in a pile in the grass. Johnny takes a bite out of the side, and says that the flavor kind of sucks. Some small child finds a bright blue thing, but whispers to Mommy that it doesn’t taste that good. Rebecca: vanilla and coffee bean moon pies, with strings so they can hang off a branch. The marshmallow is tough. She also has “golden egg cakes” which are chocolate cakes inside a gold egg shell, that you can dip in salted caramel buttercream. Veruca says she wishes the cake was golden. Matthew: strawberry, lemon, and vanilla profiteroles, stuck on sticks and then stuck into one of the topiary bushes. Lovely. Orlando: raspberry chocolate crunchies. Giant ball things on a bush. There’s no more explanation than that but they are tasty apparently. Sally: orange dirt, pistachio financier, milk chocolate mousse. So you have to pick up a cake, and then dip it into the mousse and the dirt. Melissa: green donuts. They are stacked on a pipe and are not the most appetizing color. Ohh, Veruca wants to spit it out. Bad. Melissa also made whoopie pie daisies, and those are much better. To her credit, Melissa knows the donuts suck. Katzie: carrot patch. So it’s like a garden, and you pull on what looks like grass, and you get a Twinkie-sized piece of carrot cake. Awesome! That is a very good idea. And the cake is good. Katzie also made the beehive. It’s a beehive with spun sugar on it, and a plastic tube at the bottom so you can squeeze honey on some cake. The marzipan bees, or whatever they were made out of, did not survive. They’re melting. Carlos: peanut butter and jelly macaron. Hubert thinks this is the best macaron they’ve had. Carlos’s edible wallpaper is discs of different fruit leathers stuck to a wall. Megan: bourbon caramel candy bar pops. They’re little purple pops with popsicle sticks. Gail notes the booze. There are a lot of layers, and they are very sweet. Gail says she can’t taste the bourbon. Some kid puts it back. Megan also made orange cream curd and lavender shortbread. No one can taste lavender. Just orange.

Commercial interlude: Craig thinks Katzie would make a good Willy Wonka. Orlando tells us that “Rebecca looks like a damn Oompa Loompa”. Rebecca says Oompa Loompas have the right complexion to be from Jersey. “Oh my God, Oompa Loompas are the original Snookie!” Ha!

In the Stew Room, Katzie talks about how Johnny still intimidates her, and Orlando sits in the corner and says “I wish she’d shut the fuck up.” Gail collects Sally, Katzie, Melissa, Carlos, Craig, Matthew, and Megan. Weird. They’ve left the garden set up for Judges’ Table. These are the best and worst chefs today. Just like Project Runway! Matthew is in the top. They loved his cream puffs, which had strong clean flavors and were pretty to boot. Katzie had a great concept with her beehive, and the fact that her carrot cake didn’t fall apart was amazing. Carlos’s macarons were fantastic, but the wallpaper really impressed Johnny. Craig…oh Craig. He says he’s not surprised. The gummy bears in the movie were not completely edible, just the ears, so he wanted to make them “completely edible. Ish.” Everyone giggles but Hubert says it’s not funny. Melissa throws the “creative” team under the bus, as she felt her donut “cactus” would be “dressed” by the creative team, but since it wasn’t she had to scramble. But in the end the donuts sucked. She never tasted them. The whoopie pies were good though, so that seems to have helped her. Sally’s cake and orange dirt didn’t have a ton of flavor and just kind of failed. Johnny wants to know what she spent her time on, and she says she made the candy canes and helped Craig. Megan kept simplifying her own items to help the team. Gail brings up the booze, in a room full of children, but I would like to point out they didn’t know children were coming. But in the end both of her desserts didn’t taste right. Carlos and Katzie pipe up and say that Megan did so much work for them and for everyone else, that neither of them would be in the top if not for her. Johnny says she should have planned better. Megan starts to cry and says that she was so excited to make the garden, and so much of what she does is to make people happy, and so that’s why she made her choices.

Back in the Stew Room, Chris is super confused that no one else is being called to the Judges’ Table. He can’t seem to wrap his head around the fact that the seven people called included the top. The judges decide on their favorite without letting us know, so they can concentrate on the bottom. Sally’s presentation was poor, Craig didn’t take responsibility for his failure and Johnny thinks he’s outclassed, Megan didn’t balance her flavors properly and Johnny thinks she forgot it was a competition, Melissa’s donuts sucked and she should have tasted them. Sally thinks she’s going home. Orlando encourages her, which pisses me off because he’s been such an ass to other people who are complaining. Either be nice to everyone or be a jerk to everyone.

Katzie is the winner! Then we quickly get down to business and send Craig packing. And then Melissa is sent home right after. She’s really upset about it, and ashamed of her donut thing. Craig seems glad to have made it four episodes in.

Next week: someone drops things on the ground, Rebecca gives up, one team hogs the ice cream machines, water park, funnel cakes.

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