Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Top Chef: Just Desserts 9/7/11--"Villa Rosa" summary

Previously on “Top Chef: Just Desserts”: everyone had to make lemon desserts, which sounded delicious, and Matthew won. Orlando continued to try to convince us of how awesome he is. Then there was another team challenge where everyone had to make a fancy cake for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Hopefully today they will do a non-showpiece challenge. Everyone was responsible for a layer of their cake. No one had very pretty cakes, but the Red team won as they had good flavors. Vanarin was sent home because his cake didn’t taste like anything. Oh, and Rebecca broke her wrist but splinted it and kept on going. (click for more)

The Quickfire looks like it will involve Extra gum. That one with those stupid “dessert” flavors. Also Hugh Acheson is there. Hugh, the cardigan/T-shirt combo is not flattering to you. They must come up with Extra’s new dessert gum flavor. For no reason other than that “make a dessert” is entirely too broad, they must also make it small enough to fit in little tiny cups and saucers. OK, there are individual ramekins you would get crème brulee in, and ice cream sundae glasses, so they’re not that small. Everyone acts like they are, though. The winner gets immunity, but also it becomes gum! Well…it will “inspire a flavor that will be placed in a consumer vote to become the new flavor”. So you probably won’t see it be gum. Oh, and $25,000. Wow.

1 hour to cook. Amanda is making pina colada. Craig is making pancakes and strawberries. He is tired of being on the bottom. Hee, I can’t hear anyone say that without thinking dirty thoughts. Matthew and Chris giggle about how Matthew is making an oatmeal raisin cookie. Sally says they have a bromance. Melissa talks about burning her butter, and Megan complains about her complaining. Nelson is working to plate on time. Looking at people plating, I was mistaken. The plates really are pretty small.

Rebecca: first she kisses Hugh’s ass, which is cute. My guess is that doesn’t happen a lot. Raspberry, panna cotta, and linzer crust. Craig: lemon mascarpone pancakes with cream and amaretto-macerated strawberries. Gail wishes she had her Barbies. Hee. It’s so cute though. Sally: passion fruit pina colada. It’s very sour. Matthew: oatmeal raisin cookie parfait. This one is sweet. Amanda: coconut rum mousse, lime-pineapple coulis and vanilla bean. Hugh wants an umbrella, which would be fun. Carlos: passion fruit gelee, coconut tapioca, and meringue. Melissa: white coffee cream with honey roasted bananas and brown butter crumbs. Katzie rolls her eyes. Whatever. Katzie: chocolate cream cookie, bitter chocolate cream and orange cheesecake. Also candied violets. Busy. Nelson: black forest dessert. This is a cherry soaked in brandy, with some chocolate.

Hugh did not like Rebecca’s, because it was too busy, and Melissa’s coffee was interesting but he feels no one wants to have coffee-flavored gum. And Matthew’s cookie tasted like a granola bar. However, Craig’s pancakes were delicious (yay) and Nelson’s cherries were really interesting, and Carlos’s dessert was clean. But the winner is Craig. Yay Craig! He says he was going to pay off his school loans with the money, but now he’s going shopping. Good for him.

So apparently “lemon mascarpone pancakes with mascarpone cream and amaretto strawberries” inspires the flavor “lemon square”. Stupid.

For the Elimination challenge, they’ll be in two teams. Craig chooses himself as a captain, and Amanda as the other. He says he just said any name. The teams shake out as Craig, Sally, Matthew, Orlando (who can’t resist bitching about it), Nelson, and Rebecca; and Amanda, Chris, Carlos, Megan, Katzie, and Melissa. Melissa is left for last again, even though she was one of the winners last week. The challenge is for one of the Real Housewives. I am tired of them. I don’t watch their shows, and I don’t think it’s too much to ask to not have to see them elsewhere. Anyway, this one, Lisa, owns a restaurant or whatever, so each team has to “come up with a dessert table pitch” for the anniversary party for the restaurant. The husband shows up, with a pointless small dog wearing clothes, which I never approve of. He says that since Lisa loves pink, everything should be pink, and also she is meticulous, loves fresh flowers and her dog. Amanda used to work for people like this, so she knows the key is to ask detailed questions so they get exactly what they want. Rebecca asks if there are any desserts Lisa would make for her daughters, and I doubt this woman cooks at all, but I guess it’s a good question. The husband seems to have an answer. Gail says each team can have no more than 6 desserts.

30 minutes to plan. Craig is worried about leading, while Sally says she knows what to do. They seem to have a lot of pages of sample colors and desserts? Amanda’s team is all talking over each other and not making any decisions. Melissa says she is “dead inside”.

6 hours to cook. Amanda’s team still has to make decisions on what to make. She says she learned in the last challenge to speak up, and that if it’s not right it’s her head on the line. Craig is making a lemonade cocktail, which he knows is not as labor intensive, so he’s planning to help everyone else out. Sally seems hesitant to let him do her macarons but she eventually leaves to go help Orlando make a blown sugar centerpiece. Chris seems to have bamboo and raffia and a chandelier of some kind. Orlando says something bitchy, shut up Orlando. It’s not even funny bitchy, it’s just smug superiority. Melissa and Katzie are making dog treats. Cute. Nelson is making dog lollipops. Rebecca says Craig did a good job of trying to be team leader. Melissa has to remake a ton of stuff. She works while the rest of her team stands around and talks about her.

Amanda wakes up feeling sick and congested. Nelson doesn’t think Craig is a leader. He randomly solves a Rubix cube as everyone gets dressed. Weird.

2 more hours to cook. Someone makes a dog out of frosting. Melissa knows she has a ton of work to do and that Amanda has done all she could to lead. Amanda, meanwhile, still feels sick, so she asks Chris to do all the talking, on account of he’s a good speaker and also cute. Nelson is making chocolate lollipops with cotton candy. But these are too simple so he starts making a side dish. Everyone starts setting up the tables. Craig’s table is a big sugar showpiece, glass jars of candy and of roses, flowers, etc. Rebecca is trying to keep it from being too much. Amanda has made a big bamboo fishing pole looking thing, with a big bunch of roses hanging from the end. It looks pretty good, actually, very rustic. Both tables look good. Melissa is freaking out in the kitchen because her stuff isn’t setting up like she wants. Orlando finds some flowers just lying on the table so he starts spreading rose petals around.

Amanda’s team goes first, and they’re serving them all the desserts at once. Amanda: cava gelee with buttermilk foam, hibiscus, and a fizzy raspberry. Someone says it’s a fattening day. Duh. Carlos: guava pate de fruit, fromage blanc and phyllo cigar. Katzie: macaron with mascarpone, strawberry jam, and mint. The mint is a sauce put in a plastic pipette that is sticking out of the macaron. Melissa: white chocolate brownie, white chocolate cremeux, rose gelee and rhubarb foam. She admits the cremeux didn’t set up properly. I think she should have pretended it was a sauce. Megan: pink velvet almond cake with chocolate mousse, cherries, and cream cheese sorbet. It’s very pretty. They also give the dog the treats they made, which he eats, although generally dogs do not refuse treats. (Kmanpat: “But you said when you bought my dogs ice cream they weren’t interested.” Me: “Well, your dogs are weird.”) Amanda thinks their team did really well.

Sally is waiting until the last seconds to plate her sorbet because she’s afraid it will melt. Sally: chocolate and raspberry tarte nouveau, ganache, and lychee sorbet. It’s melting. Matthew: white chocolate cherry and pistachio entremet. It’s got gorgeous layers of cake. And apparently he covered the pistachios in white chocolate so the green wouldn’t ruin the look of the cake. Nelson: passion fruit cheesecake lollipop and pink chocolate namelaka. Namelaka is a ganache-type construction. The housewives do not seem to understand the concept of cotton candy. Or how to eat it. Or something. Craig: pink lemonade with rose cava gelee with a pink sugar rim. One of the housewives pretends she never has drinks with sugar rims. Please. Orlando did the entire centerpiece, which is very impressive to everyone. Rebecca: chocolate beet cake, beet cream cheese, and orange sauce. Someone makes a face, but it tastes good. Rebecca also made rhubarb rose crisp with crème fraiche sorbet. They love it. But the team does get called out on not making anything for the dog.

Commercial interlude: we actually get to see what Chris made, which is an almond strawberry tart and a rose ice cream push pop. Johnny says “Going into your tart--” but he gets cut off, because that is inappropriate. Then he finishes by saying it was a tight tart. Hee.

The judges discuss how Craig’s team had a nicer table, but the other team had better desserts. It’s telling that Lisa keeps calling it Chris’s team. There is a lot of discussion of the look of both tables, and who had better desserts overall, and whatever. Both teams come back out, and Lisa says one team embodied what her husband said, so the winners are “Chris’s team”. Amanda is disappointed they didn’t acknowledge her as the team leader, but she’s trying to remember it’s a team challenge and the whole team won. I’m kind of surprised Gail let them go the whole time calling it Chris’s team when she knows perfectly well who the team leader is.

Judges’ table. Craig thinks they maybe were too whimsical and had too many things on the table. Hubert tells them they heard “pink” but didn’t match it to a grown woman who is elegant and refined. Nelson explains how he was going to sculpt dog heads from his lollipops, but he ran out of time. Hubert wishes you could eat it in one bite. Both his dishes were too sweet. Sally says something about making a dessert that would last longer on a buffet table, but then she made sorbet. Hugh says it was a petit four with melted sorbet. Johnny wants to know who put the rose petals all over the table, and Rebecca pipes up and says “I would not have done that”. Maybe wait for someone else to admit they did it, possibly. She keeps talking, though, and says Orlando probably did it on accident, just seeing a flower lying on the table and thought that was how it should be. He basically says that, but she continues to talk as he’s explaining himself. They should have left it clean, like Rebecca wanted. Hugh says, “Dessert Hoarders”. He’s like the Michael Kors of this show. Nelson agrees, and then Craig starts talking about how he should have been a stronger leader, and did they cut out the part where the judges asked them questions? Is this team really just volunteering their faults? Craig continues to talk about his drink kind of sucking, and Hugh says he would have fired Craig because he put up nothing. He wonders aloud what Craig did all day, and Rebecca defends him and says that he helped everyone out. But Craig has immunity, so he’s not going home anyway. Sally gets really upset, and she says all of them are good at what they do. Gail admits that it’s hard sometimes.

Nelson’s lollipop was bad, and it wasn’t enough. Sally’s dessert was “mediocre”. Orlando made a beautiful showpiece but smothered it in flowers. Hubert is impressed by the sugar, though. Johnny says in his mind it is between Sally and Nelson. In the Stew Room, Sally thinks they’ll excuse Craig before they actually eliminate anyone, and Craig says he’ll use that time to go vomit and cry while someone else goes home. Rebecca tells him to shut up because it wasn’t his fault. He really feels responsible. It’s weird. I mean, how often does the team leader take so much responsibility for someone else’s dish?

Rebecca and Matthew both made delicious desserts and are safe. Craig made the worst dessert of the whole challenge, and Johnny tells him if he didn’t have immunity, he’d be going home. Ouch. Nelson is sent home. He interviews that he is disappointed to go home for lollipops, and that Craig doesn’t know what he’s doing. The Stew Room erupts in a fight after Orlando says he’s sad someone he likes went home, but then Craig starts yelling about how Johnny messed with his head by saying he should have gone home instead. I thought at first he was yelling because Orlando had said something. Anyway, Orlando says they’re all there to win, they’ll do whatever it takes, so he doesn’t care about anything anyone says, keep your sad stories to yourselves. Yeah, everyone’s going to love you after that one.

Next time: the original cast of Willy Wonka. The good one, not the Johnny Depp one. They transform a whole room into the candy room with the chocolate pool from the movie, which is a very cool challenge. Two people will go home.

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