Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Top Chef: Just Desserts 10/12/11--"Step Right Up" summary

Previously on “Top Chef: Just Desserts”: donuts. That part was not super exciting, because donuts look good even if they taste nasty. But in a twist someone was sent home after the Quickfire, that someone being Megan, because she used so much glaze she glued the donuts to the plate. Then everyone has to make chocolate desserts, and a showpiece, but both showpieces were random “contemporary” designs. Each team got to taste the other team’s desserts so of course Chris and Orlando thought everyone else was horrid. In the end Katzie went home for making a dessert that was too big, which, whatever. (click for more)

Sally is the last girl. She of course wants to beat all the boys. Chris gets a phone call home, and reminds us all that his daughter has a congenital heart defect and he left her at home to come on this show. He would like the money to pay medical bills with.

Gail greets them with François Payard, whom they all recognize. Today’s Quickfire is to bake a pie. Mm…pie. Oh, but that’s so easy! You should be able to do that with one hand tied behind your back! Gail says they will have to “channel your inner Rebecca” to bake pies one-handed. Heh. Of course. Winner gets $5000. Of course Chris would like some money.

90 minutes to cook. Everyone gets an oven mitt, and they just have to hold it behind their back this whole time, I guess. Orlando is irritated and says “All this for Frenchie? Yeah.” Sally helps him put a glove on. Then she has to chop up plums with one hand. Carlos uses his stomach to hold some fruit, and Orlando is slicing open a water bottle. He’s making mixed berry pie because he knows he can’t peel fruit one-handed. Chris gets Matthew to help him fill a pastry bag. Carlos doesn’t have time to set his lemon curd, so he’s using liquid nitrogen. Apparently he uses it so much everyone feels the need to make a comment about it. Matthew is torching meringue and uses his “illegal” hand to move the plate around or something. He hopes no one saw him.

Orlando: raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry pie. The meringue looks fantastic. Sally: red plum and strawberry double crusted pie with white chocolate chantilly. Chris: banana cream pie with banana caramel. Carlos: raspberry lemon meringue pie. It looks cool. Matthew: ooohhhhh, Gail knows he cheated. He’s pissed, but rules are rules.

Sally’s dough was too tough and there was too much dough? And the chantilly cream was bad? François I think just wanted pie, not cream or ice cream or anything. Chris had too much cream and not enough banana. Orlando’s pie was homey and well done. Carlos’s pie had the best balance. And Carlos wins. He’s got a ton of money. Orlando bitches that Carlos “and his liquid nitrogen” won again.

Elimination challenge: carnival! Not Carnival, which would be fun too. But a carnival hosted by Dana Cowin, which is upscale and needs upscale carnival food.

This challenge for some reason involves shopping at Sur La Table, with $400. Nice. Sally is using caramel corn for her dessert. Matthew (who was an adorable child) is making fried apple pie and is also buying pigs. Orlando has to put things back as he’s bought too much.

3 hours to cook. For 150 people. That kind of sucks. Chris has decided to make funnel cake ice cream, and vanilla as a backup, so he takes all the Pacojet things and hogs them. Jerk. That’s, like, 12 containers. Sally claims to be above petty emotions like anger. She’s talking in confessional about being a woman and how tough it is and how she’s won awards and stuff like that. Orlando grew up in the Virgin Islands and didn’t have state fairs and stuff. He’s making a thin layer cake with candy apple flavor. Carlos is making macarons, or possibly macaroons, the coconut kind. But French, so maybe macarons. I’m not sure.

Johnny comes in to bug everyone. He demands that Chris’s funnel cake ice cream taste authentic enough that people can identify it without being told it’s funnel cake. Orlando has a list of a million things, many of which are things like chocolate that don’t exist in a candy apple. And it won’t look like a candy apple. Orlando knows he maybe didn’t think about how maybe people would like to hear “candy apple“ and taste “candy apple“, but is continuing with his plan. Johnny points out that François is like, king of macarons or whatever, and so Carlos has possibly screwed himself. I mean, if he can pull it off, he’s golden, but it has to be awesome. He’s running out of time. Lots of running around today. When time is called Sally realizes that she’s left her pudding in the freezer. She says it’ll break by tomorrow morning.

The boys play “I Never”. Well, Carlos, Orlando, and Matthew. Matthew says he hopes it doesn’t end up on TV, and then laughs because he knows he just guaranteed he’ll be on TV. Orlando says something about being handcuffed to a bed. Carlos says “Never have I ever wanted to punch Johnny in the face” and Orlando drinks. Matthew is like “Oh, OK”, as if this is nothing.

2 hours to cook. Orlando claims to not be hung over. Sally’s corn pudding is rock hard. Carlos’s macarons are rock hard and terrible. He doesn’t have time to make more so he’s making angel food cake. Sally has to defrost the pudding and re-puree. Everyone wants to go home to their wives and families. Matthew talks about being almost there and that worries me because I like Matthew.

1 hour to set up. The gardens look cool. Chris is the first table by the doors, and even though there’s a line, he’s got funnel cake, so it‘s better if it doesn‘t sit. Matthew is babbling about pigs. He says he’s raffling off the clay pigs he bought at Sur La Table, and some random woman says she put her name in, and her phone number. Atta girl!

Dana is here to judge along with Hubert. Sally: white corn brown butter cake with corn pudding and peanut ice cream. The pudding isn’t super sweet but Sally wants it that way. François is here too. Carlos: sesame angel food cake “burger”, churro “fries”, and strawberry-lemon soda. It’s playful. Chris: funnel cake ice cream, sable Breton, strawberries, funnel cake, and mint foam. A sable Breton is like a shortbread cookie. Boo, foam. He claims no one minds waiting for him to plate his complicated dish. Matthew: fried caramel apple pie, apple carpaccio, and vanilla ice cream. The apples are still tart. Orlando: chocolate apple entremet with apple sorbet. Remember this is “candy apple”. Dana has to ask what his inspiration is. They want a crack of candy. This is a man who made a “root beer float” and got nailed for making a warm brownie, and apparently didn’t learn from that. Matthew auctions off his pigs and girls are all giggly and excited. “Who doesn’t love pig?” Hee.

Matthew and Sally get called up first. They are the top! Matthew’s pie was well cooked and everything was well balanced. Sally’s dessert showed corn in multiple dimensions, plus peanuts in the ice cream. Matthew wins again. He’s feeling like he can win the whole thing.

The other three are the bottom. Orlando didn’t have enough apple flavor, because he insisted on including chocolate. Johnny asks him about it, and Orlando says he likes chocolate in desserts and also he thought the chocolate would enhance the apple. Huh? Chocolate doesn’t really enhance anything. Tastes good, though. The layers in the cake weren’t perfect either. Carlos tells them he refused to serve the crappy macarons he made, which probably won him some points, but the angel food cake was sticky because of the weather, and it had a weird texture when trying to eat the “burger”. And the churros were cold. Oh, boo, cold churros. It was fun and carnival-like, but the execution failed. Chris says he thinks he did a good job. Most of the guests didn’t like the strawberry agar jelly. He had a lot going on. Chris also claims that once he told people the jelly had seaweed in it, they said that was cool.

Carlos gets back to the Stew Room and claims he won and Matthew lost. Heh. Orlando had a chocolate dessert and claimed it was a candy apple, which irritated everyone. The judges feel that “I like chocolate” isn’t a good enough reason to make something with chocolate, and also the layers should have been perfect. Carlos had a lot of problems, and he had too many things to do for 150 guests. Chris’s funnel cake ice cream didn’t taste like funnel cake. He also should have cut back on the number of components. Gail and Johnny think cold macerated strawberries in mint syrup would have been better than warm sautéed strawberries and mint foam.

Commercial interlude: Sally thinks the final five should open a pastry shop together. She has named them “The Fantastic Five” and stereotyped them into nicknames. Carlos = “Nitro Man”, Chris = “Paco Boy”, Orlando = “Chocolate Man”, and Matthew is “Master Foamer” which sounds super dirty. Chris says Sally is a team of one because she works alone, only he says it in a vaguely racist accent.

Carlos is sent home without fanfare. Aww. He won a ton of money though. He’s upset he didn’t win. Everyone seems choked up about it.

Next week: I have no idea what is going on. Other than that it seems like someone decided to make something simple, and they made it perfectly, but it’s too late in the game to play it safe.

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