Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Top Chef: Just Desserts 10/19/11--"Dessert in Disguise" summary

Previously on “Top Chef: Just Desserts”: everyone had to make pie, which was fun, but of course then they had to go make them bake with one hand tied behind their back. Whatever. Anyway, Carlos wins again, so he has a ton of money which is nice. Then everyone was forced to make upscale carnival foods, and Carlos tried to make macarons, which failed, and sadly the rest of his food failed, so he was sent home. Matthew made fried pie and it was delicious so he won. There is no one left for Sally to roll her eyes about and Orlando managed to keep his mouth shut mostly, so no drama. Although Orlando tried to make a cake based on candy apples, which for some reason included chocolate, so he got in an argument with the judges about it. Candy apples don’t have chocolate. I don’t think I’ve ever even had a candy apple and I know that. (click for more)

Chris brags about how he’s not really sorry Carlos is gone because he’s that much closer to winning. Sally says pretty much the same thing. Matthew says he was picked on in school and that he also was breaking into cars and whatnot. Oo, a delinquent.

Suzanne Goin is here to judge the Quickfire. Except there is no Quickfire today. Gail says they are going international, and says their challenge is to make a dessert inspired by the cuisine of one of the countries they have for you to choose from. Chris gets to go first, and goes with France. Pff. Easy. Orlando takes Spanish, Matthew picks Italian, and Sally picks Cuban. Someone do an Asian country! Pff. They must make a “dessert in disguise”. It has to look like an “iconic” dish from the country they picked. Interesting. Cat Cora is here to judge too. It’s the last challenge before the finale.

3 hours to cook. Chris seems to be freaking out and maybe doesn’t have ideas. Matthew gets right to work and Chris says not to start without him. He laughs and Matthew calls him out on having the most nervous laugh ever. Orlando is thinking Spain = paella. Nice. He says that in the Virgin Islands gay means transsexual (or at least transvestite, from what he says) and that he’s been ostracized. Sally doesn’t know what she’s going to make. Chris tells us it’s taken him an hour to decide on “beef Wellington”, which I am pretty sure is not French.

Johnny comes in to bother everyone. Orlando pretends to be pleased. Chris tries to convince Johnny that beef Wellington is not English but French, but Johnny is not buying it. He claims there will not be puff pastry. Matthew is making manicotti, with cake and mousse. He seems in good shape. Orlando says he’s most threatened by Chris because he’s creative and has good technique. Orlando then proceeds to shamelessly kiss Johnny’s ass and say that in order to win, he’s going to use all of Johnny’s advice. He then interviews that he’s using all his criticism to win today. This is coming from a person who said last week he’d like to punch Johnny in the face. He’s totally different now though, he promises. Sally is still not sure what she’s going to make, but she is leaning towards a Cuban sandwich. Johnny points out that maybe she should be more sure since she has only 75 minutes left to work. Johnny takes this to mean that she doesn’t want it.

With one hour to go Sally seems to finally be making a decision, which is go to with the sandwich idea. Orlando is using plums and apricots and beets to be the parts of paella. I am intrigued by his plan. Chris is still making beef Wellington. Dude. There are like, a million French dishes you could be making right now. He starts talking about how he went to culinary skill but then saw a book of pastry chef things and thought he should be making those works of art. Matthew seems to be making basil gelee, that he’s going to cut into thin strips like a basil chiffonade. Interesting. Orlando reminds Chris to check on his nuts in the oven, which prompts several jokes.

Back at home Sally gets her phone call home to her mom. She says she got close to her parents after she left, which happens to a ton of people. I like her more now that she’s not complaining about how other people are there and shouldn’t be there. In the morning Orlando gets a phone call home too. See, I would much rather have this “I really love to do this and I want to win” than “Everyone else here sucks, they should let me win by default”. It makes people like Sally and Orlando much more pleasant.

2 hours today to finish everything. Sally says confidence is extremely important in things like this. Chris is experimenting with finishing his dish, and he promised Johnny he wouldn’t use puff pastry. Mainly because Johnny acted like he was taking the easy way out and using a dish that was half pastry already. However, Chris can’t seem to figure out any other way to get his stuff done, so now he’s using puff pastry. And not making his own, either, but using some frozen puff pastry. So you know he’s going to get nailed for that. Orlando is making coconut saffron rice, for his paella. Matthew had wanted to use tomatoes in his sauce, but he feels it’s too risky. He’s using cake for his pasta, and has gone the extra step of using a knife to cut grooves in the cake, just like the grooves in the manicotti. That is a lot of work. Chris says his puff pastry looks like Wellington. Sally’s jelly is coming out perfectly, but seeing Matthew and Chris is making her nervous so she’s going to also make plantain chips and potato salad. Matthew has rolls too. It’s very cute.

Matthew is up first. There are several big wigs dining today and as Cat is a guest judge there will probably be a lot of ass-kissing. I like her though. Crème fraiche cake with mascarpone-ricotta mousse, strawberry compote and basil gelee. It does look disturbingly like cheese manicotti with tomato sauce. The judges really like it, but when they’re about halfway through they’re kind of done. It’s one-textured. Chris: puff pastry, chocolate mousse, raspberry jam and salted caramel. It’s a knot of puff pastry. Johnny says technically it’s French. Whatever. So the raspberry and chocolate are supposed to represent done vs. rare meat. They do enjoy his dessert. Orlando: coconut and saffron rice, tuile, compressed plums, and roasted beets. It really does look like paella, although yellow rice with things in it is going to look like paella no matter what, pretty much. It seems to go over well, except that someone things the beet doesn’t look like chorizo and doesn’t go with anything else. Sally: brioche, cream cheese mousse, and strawberry caramel with “potato salad”. The caramel is the “ham”, with green-dyed pineapple for pickles and the “potato salad” is pineapple, banana, and Asian pear for crunch. Everything else looks accurate but the cream cheese mousse is supposed to be pork and it’s not really working.

Commercial interlude: everyone loves Cat Cora. Matthew especially. Matthew, she’s gay. You don’t have a chance anyway.

Chris’s Wellington looked just like beef Wellington. Then they nail him on the puff pastry. Sort of. Well, they point out that he didn’t make puff pastry and everyone else made their own bread. He says that his flavors were great and it looked like an entrée. Cat tells Matthew his rolls were spot-on. Johnny calls him on the lack of tomato, and says he’s not as creative as he could have been. Johnny then tells Orlando he hates saffron, but he didn’t mind it in Orlando’s dish. Hubert says something about how he used a rice cooker to cook the rice, I guess because he had to fluff it afterwards. He should have cooked it in a pot, maybe? I think it has to do with the way the rice is in paella, which is that it’s all cooked in that pan and has a different texture. Orlando says the rice he had growing up was from a rice cooker, so he wanted that texture. Gail loved the beets. Orlando tells the judges he wanted to edit himself, so things are missing. Gail says this is the one challenge they didn’t want him to edit. He had to, he says, so that he could properly execute everything. Sally’s presentation was impressive, but the mousse was messy. She says this was her toughest challenge yet, but it brought something out of herself. Johnny warns them all that now they have to split hairs and pick a loser.

Gail admits she had low expectations for this challenge because it was so difficult. In the end, everyone was impressed. Chris’s dish looked real, but they’re all disappointed that he didn’t make his own puff pastry. Matthew’s dish also looked real, but it was all similar in flavor and he played it safe. Orlando melded a lot of flavors together, and all the final touches were perfect. Sally’s sandwich was close to perfect, but the cream cheese mousse did not work. But the potato salad looked just like potato salad.

The winner today is Sally. Interesting. Chris is also safe. After a commercial, Orlando is sent home. Well that is also interesting. He’s really upset. He feels like he disappointed himself, and he says that this has humbled him and shown him that other people’s opinions matter. Once he leaves, everyone else is thrilled to be in the finale.

Next week: Finale. Celebrity sous chefs. Chocolate show pieces? OK then.

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