Thursday, October 6, 2011

Top Chef: Just Desserts 10/5/11--"Death by Chocolate" summary

Previously on “Top Chef: Just Desserts”: root vegetables and the Beastie Boys. Poor Rebecca couldn’t hang on and was eliminated. Matthew won, because he put mashed potatoes and gravy on his dessert and it still tasted like mashed potatoes and gravy. I think that was weird enough for everyone. But apparently falafel panna cotta is too weird. I don’t know, I liked Rebecca. (click for more)

Katzie is offended that Sally thinks she’s better than what girls are left. Sally has “allied” herself with the boys. I know that Katzie thinks Sally has been rude and doesn’t respect her or whatever, but this isn’t really a show where “allies” have any purpose or use. Chris speaks of his bromance with Matthew. Or whatever other better word there is other than “bromance”.

Today’s guest judge is Mark Israel. Guest judge for the Quickfire anyway. He has a creative donut shop, so guess what? Make the perfect donut! And coffee! Winner gets $10,000. Where are they getting all this money? Gail also tells them immunity is no longer a prize. And then Johnny walks out. Orlando kind of freaks out, because he’s smart and knows something‘s up. And Johnny confirms: the loser of the Quickfire will be eliminated.

2 hours to cook. Matthew says everyone can make a donut, it’s just knowing you could go home for that. Megan doesn’t want to wait for yeast donuts and take the risk of it not working in time. Cut to Carlos saying he’s taking the risk to do yeast donuts. He talks about how he grew up in his parents’ bakeshop and how it helped keep him away from gangs. Sally wants to be able to dunk her donuts so she isn’t making them round. Orlando has his “godmother’s mother’s recipe” for beignets. Megan is futzing with her caramel glaze. She puts sugar in last minute so you know that will be important. Matthew doesn’t have time to fill his donuts.

Katzie: cocoa beignet with date ganache. She plated it, as if it was a dessert, and for some reason this irritates Orlando and possibly Johnny. No one goes home for plating if it tastes good, so shut it. Carlos: orange and lemon zest bombolinis with passion fruit cream. Bombolinis are just Italian donuts. Orlando: spiced banana beignet. In between everyone’s explanations are shots of Sally looking pissy for some reason. Megan: cake donut with honey cardamom glaze. The glaze has glued the donuts to the plates. Oops. Chris: citrus churro with raspberry jam. Sally: espresso glazed donut with caramelized cashews. Matthew: ginger beignet with caramel and whipped Jivara cream. Why had I not noticed before now that Johnny has a half-sleeve tattoo on his right arm? Anyway, Jivara is a chocolate, I think. Oo, dry donuts.

The best were Sally, the shape was good and good flavor; and Carlos, with the best texture and passion fruit flavor. Carlos is the winner! Nice. Now for the bottom. Johnny says that Megan’s donuts were glued to the plate with too much glaze. Also Matthew (eep!) because his sauces were too sweet and the cream on the side was not the same as having cream-filled donuts. Plus, Orlando’s “spiced” beignets didn’t have enough flavor. Johnny says if you say the donut is cardamom flavored, it should taste like cardamom. Orlando starts arguing, and says that he didn’t say it was cardamom flavored, that’s just one of the spices. Johnny counters with “’Donut’ is not a flavor” and then with “No spices came through anyway”. Point to Johnny. Megan goes home. What a surprise. She says she wishes she had done the stuff that made her successful at home but that’s how it goes. Katzie whines that now she doesn’t have any friends, or something.

Elimination challenge: chocolate. Teams AGAIN. One showpiece per team of three, plus one plated dessert per person. Orlando, Carlos, and Sally are Blue Team. Katzie, Chris, and Matthew are Red Team. Chris says that Katzie (remember, a person who has won 2 challenges) is the least experienced person left and may be the weak link. They will be serving their desserts to each other. That’s always fun.

15 minutes to plan. Sally immediately says Orlando’s strength will be the make the showpiece, while she and Carlos are strong in flavor. I feel like she manipulated him into doing the showpiece mostly by himself. Katzie has lots of ideas, but Chris tells her they’re too hard and would take too long and whatever. Chris wants to make a modern showpiece. Katzie says they should all have their hands in it, then, but no, if you have too many hands in it then it turns out poorly or something. You know what? If he wants to do the showpiece by himself, and also make a dessert, it’s on tape. Let him exhaust himself.

5 hours to cook. The producers have split up the dining room with dividers so no one can see what the other team is doing. Carlos tells us that since Orlando is making the showpiece, he and Sally are making Orlando’s recipes for him. Orlando and Chris talk trash at each other. Orlando seems to have a story for his showpiece, the journey from cocoa pod to…stuff. Chris has no story. As Orlando measures the height of his showpiece, he says “I like desserts like I like my men. Tall.” Well…that was unexpected. Matthew is making cherry tarts. He is trying to get done soon to help Chris. He smacks his dough (not a euphemism) and Carlos shushes him. That’s the best you can come up with? “Shush”? No spanking jokes? Nothing you could add “If you know what I mean” to? Weak. Carlos is making chocolate, peanut butter, and banana again. Orlando is excited to be going head-to-head with Chris again. Chris brags that it never crossed his mind to have his teammates make his plated dessert, because he wants to have control and make sure his vision gets on the plate. Hope you have enough time for that. Katzie makes her dessert and interviews that she doesn’t get what Chris is doing with the showpiece, even though she knows he has the skills to do a showpiece well. Orlando’s sorbet, made by Carlos, turns out gummy so they have to do it over. Orlando is realizing trusting others means maybe your stuff won’t turn out.

3 hours the next day to finish everything. Orlando knows he won’t have time to check out his dessert if he wants to get the showpiece done. Matthew is completely confident with his dish. Sally is helping Orlando with anything he needs. She and Carlos seem to have 14 components each. Carlos hopes that making Orlando’s dessert doesn’t screw him. There is a ton of last minute running around.

Wylie Dufresne! Woo! I like him. And I like that they didn’t tell the contestants he was coming, so no one made anything weird and crazy. The showpieces…look the same. They’re both tall and swoopy and abstract. Chris’s has white chocolate water lilies. I mean, they’re good. But what do you say about it? Orlando starts talking about history of chocolates, and I guess there is a lump that could be a cocoa pod, and then maybe a chocolate bar, and some other things like that. Chris says he just went for difficult techniques.

Red team will serve first. Sally says it’s weird to sit with the judges, like sitting at the grown-ups table at Thanksgiving. Wylie asks them about the other team’s showpiece, and of course Orlando starts talking about the flow and darkness and I’m not sure how a showpiece with big white flowers on it is “dark” but whatever. I’m not an art person. Orlando admits he wants very badly to beat Chris today. Chris: chocolate brioche with chocolate cream and vanilla ice cream. Matthew: chocolate tart with chiboust and caramel, compressed cherries and chocolate sorbet. Katzie: boca negra with mousse, jasmine and passion fruit curd, and whipped cream glace. Chris’s dessert is undercooked, Matthew’s tart is too sweet with too much caramel and stuff, and Katzie’s dessert was too big. Sally doesn’t think she could finish Katzie’s dessert, and all I have to say to that is: Amateur. We don’t know what the judges think, this is all the other contestants. Gail is asking what people think, but she looks irritated. Orlando goes on and on about how Katzie’s dessert sucks, and Gail and Wylie exchange amused looks. They let him talk and everyone looks bored. Even Sally thinks he should shut up.

Commercial interlude: Katzie pretends to want to know what the other team said about them, in the interest of feedback. But at least she knows that if they are willing to tell their fellow contestants things are bad, they definitely told the judges. Sally acts like she doesn’t care if everyone badmouths her dessert.

Now it’s the Blue teams turn to serve. Chris says he is bored with their showpiece. Johnny shuts him down and says Chris’s lilies are interesting, but so is the other showpiece. Maybe more interesting. Orlando: puff pastry, milk chocolate mousse, mango coulis, and roasted cocoa nib sorbet. Sally: manjari caramel mousse, spiced caramel cream with passion fruit gelee. Carlos: caramelized cremeux, milk chocolate mousse, peanut butter mousse, and caramelized banana. Matthew says he’s going to keep his mouth shut. Katzie likes Carlos’s. Chris says that Carlos’s is too sweet, Orlando’s is too much chocolate (?). Sally’s is the most balanced. Yeah, this group was nicer. The judges talk about the showpieces, and they seem to like both of them. Orlando and Chris wouldn’t stop talking.

Everyone comes to Judges’ Table at the same time. Both teams did a good job, but the winners are the Blue Team: Orlando, Sally, and Carlos. Orlando is just excited that he beat Chris at something. Chris tells the judges his dessert was just how he wanted it. The texture was weird, and he kept it simple but it was strange somehow. Katzie knows her cake was too big, and that she wanted it cleaner. There wasn’t enough jasmine flavor, but the glace was good. The proportions were off. Matthew said everything was basic, but that’s not special. The tart was too sweet. Matthew is pretty upset.

All the desserts were too sweet and unbalanced. Chris’s dessert just wasn’t delicious. It wasn’t at a high enough level, and it seems to be a failure all around. Katzie had good flavors, but the cake was too rich and there was too much of it. Johnny does point out that she at least tried to counter the cake’s richness. Matthew’s components were all good, but the balance was not right. Dannielle thinks he lied about eating a whole tart because it was far too much sugar. In the Stew Room, Matthew says he’s never heard anyone complain about a dessert being too sweet.

Even though the only dessert that seemed to have redeeming qualities was Katzie’s, she is sent home. She’s glad to have made it this far. Sally and Orlando pretend they’ll miss her. She’ll do good things, I’m sure.

Next week: a gang of random things that culminates with some random girl leaving her number for Matthew, which I can approve of.

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