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Just Desserts Episode 3: Sylvia for President

Wow, I'm liking this show, after nearly checking out during Top Chef DC. Like the chefs, for the most part, good cooking drama, fun challenges. Some challenging hair on the chief judge but I'm loving the guest judges so far, especially Sylvia. She needs to tackle the federal deficit next. Seth continues to disturb but I'm sure he'll be gone soon. Malika's cake disaster was really heartbreaking--have we not all been there? Cakes can be a total bitch.

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  1. yeah, for some reason tonight this show seemed to click with us; all the absurdity became hilarious instead of annoying; the wedding cake challenge was a comedy of errors!

    strange thing about the elimination challenge was that they liked all the winning desserts but none of the losers--yet they were only separated by ten of the kids votes. So if the kids chose slightly different the judges would have declared a bad dessert the challenge winner?

    3 Replies
    1. re: skoolpsyk

      They said they liked Seth's dessert but only said it was inappropriate for a children's bake sale.

      1. re: John E.

        but it would be kind of strange to have the challenge winner be someone that made a dessert they felt was inappropriate. Seems like they dodged a bullet by having the kids choose they right group, which they may not have if they girls were not enamored with the guy that made the cupcakes (not up on all the names yet)

        1. re: skoolpsyk

          Seth apparently thinks he's on the "think out of the box" gameshow. It's not a reflection of how developed your skillset is if you can't prepare a wedding cake or discern what's appropriate for high-schoolers.

    2. This was an easy to watch episode. No uncomfortable drama, but plenty of emotional pepper. Some JT proactive throwing under the bus. Interesting guest judge.

      I knew from the start they were going to award both kids teams prizes. The show isn't going to screw one group of grade-school kids.

      Unfortunately the 2 teams they split in were lopsided. And in a break from previous season TC, the dysfunctional team was much worse, from a boring cookie, dry cupcake to 2 overly exotic fussy desserts in seth and yigdt. But still the results from the kids were very close, only 10 ticket separation. I don't think ginger was the problem with yigit, it was that he made pudding. If I was still a kid I doubt I would go for any pudding in a bake sale. The slimy yogurt consistency repelled me as a kid. But as adventurous avid eater, Seth fancy dessert I'd definitely try. I'm not sure why seth was tagged as inappropriate exotic ... it looked like a breakfast pastry, and if I'm going to get to eat something from a TC, I'd want to try something different, that I'd never tried before, over a winning chocolate peanut butter krispie treat..

      Malika had a top mention for her brownies, but then said she used Tim's recipe. Still not looking good for her, she's hanging by a thread. Unfortunately for the eliminated Heather she was never in the top or bottom, but with her passive style, and bland confessionals, she really didn't seem cut out for competition. Won't miss her.

      5 Replies
      1. re: dach

        Which Heather was eliminated -- "Heather C."? If so, that is too bad; she's from the DC area so a "hometown favorite."

        1. re: Rick Azzarano

          it was the heather with the hair hanging in her face, covering some weirdness on her forehead...which drove me crazy because it distracted me every time she was onscreen

          The show seems to have hit it's stride on this episode and Sylvia was great...but the Seth situation is disturbing. If this guy was in my kitchen I would hide the knives every day.

          1. re: nolapark

            seriously it seems like Seth is on the verge of a major break down.. Guy is a mess.. I want to see him and that other girl that was on the bottom of this episode(long face) go home.. Also that Todd English looking guy acts more childish than all of them.. Taking all the butter, really was that necessary..

            1. re: SDGourmand

              "Also that Todd English looking guy acts more childish than all of them.. Taking all the butter, really was that necessary.."

              Maybe he was channeling his inner Paula Deen and was going to make deep-fried butter sticks.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Ouch, Todd English--you're so right. Gives me the same repressed rage vibe as English as well. So not attractive...

      2. Well I'm happy about the winner, but was hoping with the way the story was going that Malika would get some sorta boost. She is too hard on herself and as Sylvia told her.. it's only a friggin cake.. of course this might change if you are the one picked to design an actual cake for big money.

        My gf and I both knew who was going to win and lose (teamwise) when we heard the recipes. The winning team took the k.i.s.s. route, but made it unique. I was hoping someone else would have gone home on the losing team as the peanutbutter cookie was good but just boring. I'd rather have a good boring dessert than a bad tasting innovative one. Too bad she didn't do the whoopie pies.. They would have been solid.

        At first Id idn't hink I'd like Zac but he's been alright and I'm really happy the african american lady whose name I can never remember is staying out of it. The lady that threw Seth under the bus is just as bad as he is.. This time he didn't really doa nything horrible.

        1 Reply
        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

          "but was hoping with the way the story was going that Malika would get some sorta boost."

          She clearly doesn't have her head in the game. She's either unable to finish or just not good under any kind of pressure.

        2. Sylvia was the epitome of class. She went out of her way to be understanding and make the contestants (should I call them pastry cheftestants? Well, except Eric who'd be bakertestant) feel better about what they did. I would love to see her on the show more.

          Heather C was a whiner and I'm glad she went. She might have felt forced to make a cookie but there are so many ways to doctor that up, even as Zack (is that his name) suggested, dipping it in chocolate--can you imagine the kids eating that up? Dip it in chocolate, roll in ground up/crushed reese's pb cups. Maliki was given compliments for adding toffee to brownies, a doctored up pb cookie could have done well.

          9 Replies
          1. re: chowser

            Did anyone else find it strange that they didn't make there own peanut butter? It's one of the easiest things to make and yet they were fighting over the processed nasty stuff..

            1. re: SDGourmand

              Perhaps they didn't have several pounds of shelled peanuts at hand? And not everybody finds commercial peanut butter to be "nasty."

              Nutella is mostly sugar so it's nasty by MY standards but it's a treasured favorite of many.

              1. re: ferret

                I guess.. It's just when that one guy was complaining that all the PB was gone why not just go and make your own, or make a different type of nut butter.. Hazelnut butter with nutella would have been interesting

                  1. re: ferret

                    Yeah they rather be overly dramatic than actually thinking about how to fix the problem..

                  2. re: SDGourmand

                    seriously? Natural nut butters and processed pb are two totally different things and behave quite differently. It would be much more difficult, regardless of the ease of making pb from scatch, to figure out how to sub it w/o a recipe.

                    1. re: tastycakes

                      Hey, I'm not into pastry. I don't even eat dessert just figured you could substitute one for the other.

                1. re: SDGourmand

                  Probably because the recipe they know uses the processed stuff and there is a huge textural difference between skippy and natural and less difference between skippy and nutella. It would have really impacted the resulting product.

                2. re: chowser

                  Totally agree. When it was decided she was making p'nut butter cookies. The first thing that came to my mind was Nutter Butters. Bouchon bakery makes a super delicious version of this. 2 cookies sandwiched with peanut butter creme filling. Sweet, crispy, chewy, slightly salty-Yum!

                3. i enjoyed it as well! i so wanted to try several of those desserts. especially Morgan's cupcake! I did think, however, that the guest judge looked a little like Mr. Magoo with those big round glasses! She did seem very sweet and down to earth.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: jujuthomas

                    she looked like Edna from The Incredibles

                    1. re: dach

                      having never seen the incredibles I can't comment on that one, I'll have to google her. ;)

                      1. re: dach

                        "she looked like Edna from The Incredibles"

                        Now that you pointed this out, I totally see it!

                        1. re: dach

                          That is exactly what I said.. though older and definitely out of the costume business...

                            1. re: dach

                              I thought the same when I saw the glasses, so I was kinda taken aback when she was so nice ;-)

                              1. re: dach

                                I recall the Edna character being structured around someone specific. So, I went and looked it up. Edna is an homage to Edith Head, a fashion designer. But you're right; there's a resemblence.

                                On this episode, I thought Sylvia judged appropriately and provided the best feedback to date.

                                Seth is a train wreck (solely based on the editing) and he really needs to get over himself. I thought his bake sale item looked good but wasn't appropriate.

                              2. re: jujuthomas

                                She needs her own show! She had a priceless combination of niceness and no bull. I'd love to see her and Bourdain hit the road together and get in some scrapes.

                                1. re: jujuthomas

                                  She reminded my of the Tootsie Pop owl. "Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? Let's find out. A One, a two, a three. The world may never know".

                                  1. re: John E.

                                    Yeah but the Tootsie Pop owl was a just a jerk.. I didn't say eat my lollipop fool!

                                2. Top Chef really needs to replace LeeAnne. I went to the website to get the cookie recipe (chocolate chip and walnut) and looked at the cookie that Heather H. made. It's some sort of butter cookie with chocolate filling (similar to a Milano). Anyway, her recipe is in grams and actually calls for 1-1/2 egg yolks. What is 10x sugar anyway?

                                  14 Replies
                                  1. re: John E.

                                    Leeanne is no longer with top chef from what I remember.. She stopped after the Vegas season..

                                    1. re: SDGourmand

                                      That was my point. The recipe I described is unusable to home cooks without a lot of work.

                                    2. re: John E.

                                      10x sugar is confectioner's/powdered sugar.

                                      1. re: momjamin

                                        Yeah, I knew that, I was trying to be sarcastic. It's not a term that is typically used in recipes meant for American home cooks.

                                        1. re: John E.

                                          Um, actually, I have seen this term in recipes quite often. If you like to bake (target audience for a cookie recipe), you know what 10x sugar is.

                                          1. re: gaffk

                                            I wonder... how did confectioners sugar come to be called 10x? is that a reference to how it gets turned into powder?

                                            off to the google to find out. :)

                                            1. re: jujuthomas

                                              I'll save you the time:

                                              10X refers to the number of times the sugar is processed to produce fine powder.

                                              Powdered sugar, 10X sugar, confectioner's sugar (0.060 mm), or icing sugar (0.024 mm) are equivalent to one another.

                                          2. re: John E.

                                            Sure it is. You should see some of my grandmother's abbreviations. 10x is a lot easier to write on an index card than "confectioner's". She still writes "oleo" for butter.

                                        2. re: John E.

                                          I actually think that Lee Anne's absence is the reason that Top Chef DC was so bad. The challenges just seemed to be really poor all around, and they didn't increase in difficulty as the season progressed. I think it is a whole different team for Just Desserts, regardless, but I am a long time lurker of all T.C. threads, and am surprised this is the first it has come up.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            I would guess that the recipe has been scaled down to home-cooking quantities and sometimes that will give odd measurements like 1.5 eggs.

                                            1. re: John E.

                                              And anyone with a scale can measure in grams nowadays so I don't see what the big gripe in the measurements. Most baking items should be in oz or grams.

                                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                My point was that most home cooks do not cook or bake using recipes with grams instead of units of measurement such as cups and ounces by volume. I would guess that most people do not have scales with the tare weight feature. How about 1-1/2 egg yolks?

                                                1. re: John E.

                                                  Yeah I've seen that in maybe one recipe. It's hard enough for some people to just separate the yolk and white.. never mind something as cohesive as the yolk alone. Tare weight feature? Again I may be misreading what you wrote. Tare just zeros out the scale even if you are using a scale that has ounces... I'm showing my naiveness. Do most scales (digital) not have a tare function if they only measure ounces?

                                                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                    My point was that most people don't have kitchen scales like that. I have an old spring loaded scale. My other point was that Top Chef misses having a chef around to work with the contestants to make their recipes workable by the masses. It was my understanding that Lee Ann did some of that in the past. I'm not much of a baker, I can bake, I just don't do it often. I certainly won't mess with that recipe.

                                            2. I think that these challenge shows are very stressful, and some kind of psychological exam should be performed on the participants. Seth is not handling this very well.

                                              1. What is with all the crying on this show? It's only been 3 episodes yet we've already have Seth and Malika crying during a quickfire challenge. A quickfire challenge!? It's not even an elimination challenge so what's the worst that can happen? The guest judge says your dessert was bad. Big deal.

                                                I really hope they start to eliminate all the people who are so emotionally fragile they can't handle a quickfire challenge so early in the competition. I'd like more shots of the desserts and less shots of people having emotional meltdowns. How about ramping up the stress through the baking? Create the utlimate fantasy cake or bake a pie featuring an unusual flavor profile like mango? pineapple? durian????

                                                12 Replies
                                                1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                  From the previews, it appears Seth breaks under the pressure of the competition and is hauled away in an ambulance. Right now, if I had to choose a favorite, it would have to be Yigit.

                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                    Heather (now the only remaining one, thank goodness) is also really good.

                                                    I had Seth as a strong contender until his freak-outs.

                                                    1. re: dach

                                                      Yeah but her attitude stinks. She had no business throwing Seth under when he made the best dessert even if it wasn't appropriate for the competition. I guess we will find out tonight who winds up going in an ambulance. It may be more for dehydration than nerves.

                                                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                        I think you may have the wrong Heather in mind. Did the Heather that's left (she's Korean) throw him under the bus?

                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                          Oh no I thought the pissy girl on his team was the other heather. I'm bad with names of the contestants usually I assign them character names like Keving Gillespie was Chewbacca or Yukon Cornelius for me... I only remember Zach and Seth because I think they've gotten the most soundbites.

                                                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                            I've got substitute names for most of this cast -- Zac -> Kayne from Project Runway, Eric -> Dale Levitski, Erika -> Tiffany Derry...

                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                      Something tells me the ambulance will be called in because someone gets a bad knife cut requiring stitches or falls really ill and they will have the person stay overnight in the hospital but then be back in the competition the next day. I don't think it will be a case of someone really losing it so they are permenantly removed from the competition/the ambulance is taking them for pyschiatric evaluation. .

                                                      1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                        It would be great tv to see seth being taken out in a straight jacket with the hannibal mask on..

                                                        1. re: SDGourmand

                                                          SD . . .LOL, I think Seth is a bit cannibalistic (or hannibalistic).

                                                          I don't care how Seth goes--eliminated at judge's table, taken out on a stretcher, taken out in a strait jacket--just as long as he is taken out.

                                                        2. re: SeoulQueen

                                                          I would be great if this was in Singapore and they shared a room with Angelo..

                                                          1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                            The description that TV Guide provides partly reads, "...but one culinarian feels the heat of stressful competition and must leave teh contest."

                                                            That's why I thinks it's Seth. That line and the fact that the promo for this episode show him laying on the floor.

                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                              Oh yes.....that's what the Magical Elves would have you believe. What you may see in the promos may or may not be true. We have more than one cheftestant who is not totally there......

                                                              I'm with you on Seth though; he's a train wreck (or is shown to be one, thanks to the editing).