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Just Desserts Episode 4: High drama

Whoa, what a night. About Seth: Enough said. I wish him the best and I hope this forum doesn't turn into a smackdown--let's all leave the guy alone. Remember the Rutgers kid...
As for the drama later in the evening--what a disappointment. Malika's decision was the biggest cop-out ever, and a smack in the face to working mothers everywhere. Your kids aren't going to be scarred for life if you leave them for a few weeks, and now you'll never know if you could have done it.
Props for Zac's showpiece, even though the whole concept seems very Vegas to me. Has anyone ever seen one of these in real life?
Yearning for saffron pannacotta and smacking my head on the keyboard tonight.

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  1. I'm actually uncomfortable watching this program and I don't get uncomfortable easily. I mean it is just a TV program.

    Chefs are a little "high strung", but pastry chefs must be on a different astral plane!

    I can't even concentrate on the skill being demonstrated or the creativity it takes.

    At the end, I was surprised they picked Morgan when Heather had made the show piece and what looked like a wonderful dessert.

    I think Morgan missed a wonderful opportunity. He had already won. He should have immediately been self effacing to the judges by telling them that Heather really deserved it. They couldn't have taken it back. He would have elevated himself to the judges, to heather and to the audience.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Hank Hanover

      I have to give a big WTF on the Seth situation. What was with the rocking back and forth and talking to himself with that creepy smile on his face?? WHOA...back away from the sharp objects and chill out. Seriously~ who behaves like that? I'd have locked that loon in a walk-in.

      The only place I ever see show pieces anymore are in hotels during special events/holidays or on some silly FN Challenge show. I don't feel like that part of the challenge added anything to the episode. And, on a side note, that Cirque du Creepiness show was just plain weird.

      This show is so much more about the drama than the food. I was really hoping for some stand out talent but I think that the tests of skill are getting lost in all the chaos.

      Oh well...I'll watch again next week to see if Zac will flip his lid...or Heather will lock herself in the crapper...or maybe Yigit will challenge Morgan to a meringue off...

      1. re: Hank Hanover

        A friend was in another cooking contest with Morgan & did not have good things to say about Morgan and Morgan's ego.

        1. re: Hank Hanover

          Seth might be a bit autistic, or have Asperger's syndrome.

          Several famous pastry chefs (Gale Gand, Claudia Fleming, Emily Lucchetti) are not high strung. I think Food Network picked looney-tunes contestants for drama and/or looks, not talent.

          1. re: Claudette

            I don't know why I'm addressing this to you, but here goes. During the explanation of the quickfire when seth found out they wouldn't be making their own ice cream he said "Weak sauce, weak sauce". Does anybody know what that means? Is that a culinary pejorative phrase?

            The question I have for Seth is, you're in a kitchen with dozens of ice cream containers (Breyer's?) and you're suprised that you won't be MAKING the ice cream?

            1. re: John E.

              John E.: weak sauce: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define...

              1. re: PattiCakes

                i love learning,thanks for that,who knew?

              2. re: John E.

                No, "Weak sauce" is just common slang for "Poor, lame effort".

                1. re: Fukui San

                  Ok, I get it. It's like a mild taco sauce from Taco Bell. It reminds me of the Stallone movie Demolition Man that's set in the future where every restaurant is Taco Bell.

                  (I must be getting old).

                2. re: John E.

                  That was the first time I thought there was something seriously wrong with him. Prior to that he just seemed high-strung, but when he started saying, "Weak sauce, weak sauce" he really sounded crazy. It was like he couldn't control what was coming out of his mouth.

                  1. re: aching

                    That was my reaction also. Up to that point, I figured he was high-strung, a little odd, and maybe lacking in social skills. When he started with the mumbling it became obvious that there is something clinically wrong. Whoever said Aspergers is probably on to something. I am glad he is gone - this show was already walking the line of entertainment. Seth's performance definitely became voyeurism into a person falling apart. Not good TV.

                    1. re: Divamac

                      Seth's previous meltdown was very uncomfortable. This episode was awful to watch. As I said in another threat, a psych eval should be done on these folks, as part of the interview process. Seth was pretty off kilter.

                3. re: Claudette

                  I don't understand why so many people have mentioned Asperger's Syndrome in regard to Seth. If you know the aspects of it, he just doesn't fit the description.

                  On the other hand, he seems more Bi-polar, which would fit his hot-and-cold to the point of melt-down personality more closely.

                  1. re: cmvan

                    He could have both, but I have seen many patient's with formal diagnosis of Asperer's - high functinoning that have meltdowns just like this, also have a friend with a very high functioning who also has meltdowns just like this, I have seen him act the very same way and also be fine in most situations.

              3. All aboard the crazy train!

                At this rate they won't need elimination challenges, the contestants will just do it themselves. They should just have a therapist on duty in order to keep people on the show.

                1. I didn't catch the show, except the very end where they previewed next week's drama.

                  Uh ... but is next week going to be an ode to the stiletto and shoe fetish crowd?

                  This show is sort of creeping me out a bit, and making me lose my appetite for desserts.

                  1. I think Bravo is on the verge losing an audience. I am a big fan of desserts and was looking forward to this show. I thought I would like this concept better than the regular chef show.

                    Unless Bravo can gain control of these chefs, this show won't have a next season.

                    Just from the posts tonight, you can tell we have lost sight of the food.

                    Heather, the one that came back and was brooding the entire show shouldn't even be there next week. Then they should talk to the chefs as a group without cameras and say " Have all of you got your heads on straight now? Because there is the door if you don't".

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Hank Hanover

                      None of this is taking place in real time, right? What we are seeing took place a while ago, and all of these episodes represent what the editors have put togther based on what THEY think will bring ratings. They (the chefs) can't correct their actions because it's over and done with already.

                    2. So far, this is my most "un-favorite" cooking show to date. And I don't think it's the fault of the pastry chefs. What is wrong with the producers that they can't spot people who are not going to perform well under stress? What is this, the second, maybe third episode? And to have someone self-immolate, so to speak, on camera and in front of the world is a huge disservice, not only to the young man who suffered this ignominy on national television, but it's also a total disservice to viewers because it makes "just dessert" rather insignificant. I think the producers have lost their way with this one.

                      As for Malika's request to go home, I didn't think for a moment it had that much to do with missing her children. I do think that was the palliative reason she thought would provoke the least controversy, but she was pretty clear when she said she had found she did not like cooking in a competitive atmosphere. And boy, from what I'm seeing, I totally agree with her on that count. To have that kind of atmosphere constantly being exploited by the producers for "ratings" must be a royal pain to try to deal with.

                      I can also see Heather's feeling disappointed for not garnering more recognition for taking on the show piece, but... She asked to do it. If she thinks she sacrificed making the best individual dessert by focusing on the show piece too, then she should not have asked for the job. I believe the judges chose the winning dessert on taste and presentation, and I have to believe her individual dessert fell short. Her fault. No one else's. But I do feel compassion for her having her feelings about it exploited on camera. That's a tad humiliating!

                      By definition, desserts are the climax and anticipated final act of a meal. They are expected to be special. That means they lend themselves best to individual creativity and teamwork is their enemy. So WHY are the producers pushing team competitions to this extent in a dessert challenge? I love desserts, the flashier and more creative the better. This show seems not to care about that. They want drama from the participants, not the desserts they create. That threatens to make me a looser if I continue to watch. I hope they fix that!

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Caroline1

                        I agree with your assessment of Heather. Even Morgan said that he was surprised that she insisted not volunteered to do the showpiece even though he had immunity. She took a chance that if their team won, she would receive additional brownie points for doing the showpiece by herself, and lost that bet and was angry that Morgan didn't laud her efforts and give the win to her.

                        Bottom line: if she wanted that recognition from her team then she should have laid out to them what she expected to gain from doing the showpiece. Maybe if she had voice that out loud, she would have reconsidered doing the showpiece and had the person with immunity do it and spent more time creating her individual dessert.

                        People can't read your mind and what is a clear expectation to you may not be for someone else.

                        Maybe I have had too much couples therapy...

                        1. re: septocaine_queen

                          We're all saying that Heather blew up because she was frustrated that Morgan didn't give her more credit at Judge's Table, but I just watched it again and realized that Heather got angry at Morgan toward the end of the challenge, long before Judge's Table. Did anyone understand why?

                          1. re: aching

                            maybe she expected him to tell the judges that she did the centerpiece and IIRC when he didn't she felt that she was not given due credit.

                        2. re: Caroline1

                          What I don't understand about leaving early, if indeed her intention was to go home, don't they quarantine the "auf'd" cheftestants until the end of the series, or at least when it's revealed who's in the finals?

                          1. re: marcia

                            Quarantine? No, I don't think so. They do require them to sign non-disclosure agreements before they ever start recording the episodes. No need to quarantine anyone.

                            1. re: ChinoWayne

                              Yes, I think you are there until the end of taping. Otherwise how could Heather C have come back so quickly?

                              1. re: babette feasts

                                All reality shows keep the contestants until the end. On Fans of Reality TV, the sleuthers are out in force scanning Facebook and other places looking for signs that someone on a show has returned. For The Bachelor, they know when kicked off people return to work and reinstate their Facebook pages.

                                I don't have that kind of dedication to my reality shows, but if they didn't sequester the contestants everyone would know the outcome long before the finale.

                          2. re: Caroline1

                            I agree. To me, this show isn't so much about cooking or baking exemplary desserts, it's more about how much of everything else can be stirred up. I can't believe this is the best of the best bakers or dessert makers in the country. I feel the same about Hells Kitchen, where do they get these people?

                          3. where are all the pastry chefs to chime in and say "hey, we're not really like this!"?
                            anyone? please? lol

                            I still like the show. Makes me hungry though since we're dieting.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: skoolpsyk

                              *cue crickets* ;-P

                              1. re: soupkitten

                                Oh yes we really are like this. : ) Watching the show make me feel like I have mellowed a bit, and I am relieved that I didn't make it on because even though I think I could handle the challenges, not having any time alone would make me freak out and I don't want to be the one freaking out on TV! Yeah, moody, high strung, OCD, territorial, don't play well with others....

                                Unless you are in a really big restaurant or hotel, you are probably the only one doing pastry, maybe one assistant, definitely the minority so you get defensive, everything is fragile and you get tired of people dropping your tuiles and eating all your mise en place...

                              2. re: skoolpsyk

                                agree dat..

                                I'm taking from this show that pastry chefs are a different breed of chefs. They are moody, wierd, loners, a bit socially awkward. Every one of them!

                                1. re: dach

                                  lol, well, ok. my sister graduated from pastry school last year so I was hoping for some encouraging words, but maybe I should just write her off as a total loss!

                                  1. re: skoolpsyk

                                    Yeah best you can hope for is some pastry at Christmas. :-)

                              3. I think the show will start coming around more now that Seth is gone.. He had some serious problems going on and I'm sure the producers wanted him off the show as fast as possible.. He wasn't making good tv, I felt uncomfortable watching him.. If he stayed on it was only a matter of time until something more serious happened..

                                As for the show Todd English guy still annoys me, his presence creeps me out.. I'm hoping the top three will be Yigit, Zac, and Heather H..

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: SDGourmand

                                  When he had his first meltdown I thought 'okay, it's nerves...' the next week he had another, and it started to get old. So by the time he threw his hissyfit and walked out DH and I were both thinking 'good riddance!' Not really surprised he keeled over after that - what's surprising is that he ever passed the psychological evaluation to get on to the show in the first place. Aren't they supposed to make sure people are (relatively) stable before they throw them into the snakepit that is reality television?

                                2. I actually thought it was an exciting episode, and I'm not normally a huge fan of drama. I must say, if I were even thinking about going on a reality show (and just kill me if I think about it), I would do so much research into what the contestants go through. Come on, it's not a new concept. It's cutthroat competition in a pressure cooker, and anything you say, especially if it's stupid or mean, is going to be showcased. Any psychotic break is going to be shown over and over for your poor dying mom to see, How can these people possibly not know what they're getting into? I think Heather H will seriously regret her anger and comments. I think Seth--well, geez, I hope he's getting the care he obviously needs.

                                  As with regular Top Chef, I wish there were more attention paid to the cooking and less to the "real whatever of whatever" aspect.

                                  1. I love desserts as much as the next person, and was super excited about this show. But from the looks of it, some of these pastry chefs are cut of a different kind of crazy cloth and get even crazier as the competition progresses. These chefs are so tempermental and the excess drama make the show very uncomfortable to watch. Sometimes train wrecks are amusing, this train wreck is just painful. It seems as if it's more about the drama and not the desserts.
                                    It's nice that unbalanced Seth is gone...the competitors seem happy that the added stress of Seth was gone. Any drama after this, seems more competition-based rather than crazy-based.

                                    1. I'm just not quite feeling TC Desserts for a couple of reasons. While I have a sweet tooth, I don't like to eat desserts all the time and don't like to watch dessert shows in general. And while I'm a fan of drama as much as the next reality show junkie (Jersey Shore cracks me up), I find the personalities here to be really over the top. Seth was the most disturbing of all, and I'm glad that he's off so that the show can try to concentrate more on the food.

                                      Heather H started to rub me the wrong way from Episode 2, and she definitely got on my nerves last night. I think she will be portrayed as the "bitch" of the show. Morgan never forced her to do the showpiece. If she wants to be pissed, her anger should be directed at the judges, not Morgan. And I totally disagree with Hank as to what Morgan should have done. While it might have been nice to give the win to Heather (as Richard Blais did to the Stephanie in the wedding challenge in TC Season 4), he was under no obligation to do anything.

                                      And I don't really get Malika's decision. Is she really going to see her kids any sooner because she dropped out? She was probably sequestered with the rest of the people that were kicked off until the show is over to prevent spoiler leakage. I think she just couldn't handle the pressure of the competition. The kids excuse is kind of lame IMO.

                                      This show is actually making me kinda cranky. I'll be glad when Top Chef All Stars starts to air. The only bright spot is watching adorable baby-faced Yigit.

                                      14 Replies
                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                        i don't think any of these show participants are held sequestered or "incommunicado" after they leave the competition. That would be a needless expense for the show's producers. They have non-disclosure agreements from all of the contestants prior to beginning episode production, that is all they need to insure the dropped contestants keep their mouths shut.

                                        Heather-H's sour grapes attitude put her on my shit list, just as Seth, with his behavior (whether physiological or not) put him on the shit list. It seems that many of these contestants on this show should have taken some lessons from the likes of Richard Blais, Kevin Gillespie or Rick Bayless and demonstrate some grace and class.

                                        In terms of Malika's decision, I think she was personally very uncomfortable with not just the pressure of the competition, but fed up with the histrionics of some of her competitors, that coupled with the fact that they all have to bunk together, and are away from their families, all added up in her mind that this not anything she was enjoying being a part of. No one can fault her for her decision. Hell, if I were there, I wouldn't be too happy with the crap that was going on either with some of these people whether as dysfunctional as Seth or as petty and vindictive as Heather-H.

                                        1. re: ChinoWayne

                                          They do keep the eliminated chefs around until the end of the competition. I don't know why, but they actually showed the first guy eliminated (and boy was I glad he was the first) in TC7 being joined by the woman who was eliminated second. Dreadlock John was in a hotel room alone and was joined by the blond that made the banana pudding with 2# of sugar.

                                          As far as Malika goes, she knew it was a 'competition' when she signed up. I suppose she isn't sequestered because she was not eliminated, she quit. I too wouldn't be too happy with the theatrics going on but I wouldn't quit either.

                                          1. re: John E.

                                            I could be wrong, but I think they keep the contestants until the end because otherwise all their friends and family and co-workers would know that they were eliminated, and out of all those people (who don't have NDAs) someone would post a spoiler on the Internet, and then by process of elimination, the winner could be determined before the show even aired - something like that?

                                            1. re: John E.

                                              Then I am surmising there is a financial incentive for the eliminated contestants to hang around, and that if Malika actually did leave totally, she elected to give up future financial remuneration. But was still bound by the non-discIosure from discussing the show prior to its airing.

                                              That all makes sense, and now I am wondering if they are working under an AFTRA or similar contract, just working stiffs getting a pay check every week, whether competing on camera or sitting around a hotel. Kind of takes the shine off of the entire "competition".

                                              But I know that already, after all it is just "Reality TV", unscripted, formulaic, episodic manufactured drama.

                                              I am also now surmising that the contestants are likely contracted for N number of weeks of availability as "talent", either as active contestants, or as eliminated contestants being held out of sight so that the public cannot discern the eventual winner by a process of elimination when each contestant is first seen in public again, or also to hold them as available "talent" for other promotional or programming events (e.g.blogging for Bravo, personal appearances for PR, shooting short cooking instructional episodes etc.)

                                              1. re: ChinoWayne

                                                I hadn't thought of the family and friends thing figuring out that they're home early thing. What is interesting is that they apparantly have cut all ties with Seth because he is not in some promotional video/photo shoots that they did. There are the other 11 contestants there, but no Seth.

                                                1. re: John E.

                                                  If Seth suffered some type of mental breakdown, I think he'd be in for some long term treatment. No way should he be ready to bounce back and help with promotional activities a few weeks or even a few months later. Even if he was, yeah the producers probably didn't ask him back.

                                                  1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                    No, I don't think the promotional shots were done weeks later. I think they were done to exclude him on purpose. They were likely done at the beginning of the competition and it's entirely possible he was photoshopped out of the photos.

                                                    1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                      "If Seth suffered some type of mental breakdown, I think he'd be in for some long term treatment."

                                                      Did I miss something, or wasn't it "just a panic attack"?

                                                      1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                        Shrinkrap - Seth's behavior had been erratic in previous episodes and this was not his first meltdown - check out episode 2 where he was literally crying under the table and blubbering that the red hots were for his mommy. Either he suffers from something like Asperger's syndrome as someone had already speculated or he was already in an emotionally or mentally fragile state before the competition started and the stress of competing pushed him over the edge. Normal people do not start yelling and screaming just because the producers won't allow the use of certain paper cups.

                                                        1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                          Nevermind

                                                          1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                            The editing of the show makes it possible to speculate on any possible explanation. Personally what I saw was disordered thinking which makes me think Seth stopped taking his meds. But again because editing jumps from scene to scene, that's just what it looked like to me.

                                                            I think Malika should have gone home if that's what she wanted. She was right in thinking she was taking up somebody else's spot if she didn't want to be there. And because her dessert was so well thought of she went out on a high note, not because she was going to get booted anyway. I do wish the judges would have kicked off Heather C too, though maybe three in one episode is just too many.

                                                        2. re: SeoulQueen

                                                          Arggh! I hate when the reply function doesn't work!

                                                      2. re: ChinoWayne

                                                        In past TC, the eliminated contestants have been sequestered and they've shown footage at the end of the show. If contestants went home when they were eliminated, they'd show up at home and people could figure out the order pretty quickly, with how small the world has become w/ the internet.

                                                        1. re: ChinoWayne

                                                          No, I don't believe the contestants are paid. I do believe that their contract specifies that (absent health or other issues that compel their leaving), they agree to be around for the length of the shooting (usually only four or five weeks for TC). Once they are eliminated, they are sequestered, for the reasons others have stated. There have been numerous references to the sequestering over the seasons by the contestants, both after the fact and on the Bravo site, for both TC and Project Runway, which was produced by Magical Elves for its first five seasons. IIRC, in one past season, there were videos on the Bravo site from the sequestered chefs that were posted during the run of the show, where they discussed what they were up to in their sequester house.

                                                          After taping and before the episodes air, the contestants are certainly subject to nondisclosure agreements, so they can discuss neither who is eliminated when (including themselves), or the specific things that happen in the episodes before they air.

                                                  2. I'm feeling kind of mixed about this show - I liked Eps. 1 and 3 (missed 2), but 4 was pretty painful to watch. I really wasn't sure if Seth legitimately had a breakdown or if they just used his panic attack as an excuse to kick him off. I could see how as a producer you would be worried about having that kind of crazy around all those knives, but I actually enjoyed watching him work better than any of the others. And I really do not like Danielle. Plus, Malika withdrawing was really weak. I'm guessing in real life it probably made sense somehow, but the way it was edited, it didn't make any sense at all. The poor thing seemed to be having a really tough time of it, but if you're in a competition you should compete - and she clearly wasn't going to be eliminated last night. All that said, I will probably be tuning in next week...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: aching

                                                      Malika had mentioned in an earlier episode that she was also going through a divorce. I can see that stress, plus the stress of being away from her kids, plus competition stress getting to her.

                                                    2. It will be interesting to see what the ratings for this show are at the end of it. I don't know if the show's creator's budget/profit depend on the ratings, but if they do, it might not be a profitable show and Bravo will either have to pay more or they will make up a reason to not have it on again. I wouldn't be surprised either way. The show can be uncomfortable to watch. The pastry chefs sure are a high strung bunch. There aren't many likeable dessert chefs in the cast, maybe Yigit, Eric and Erika are the only chefs to even be considered 'likeable'.

                                                      I wonder how Seth is doing now? He must have been dreading for months about showing the world his mental issues. On regular Top Chef, the eliminated chefs have to hang around in hotel rooms until the end, sequestered like. I know that wasn't the case for Seth, I wonder if Malika decided the only way she could get out was to do so voluntarily. I wonder if the contract they sign allows for her to leave early. I bet it does.

                                                      1. I like TC:JD. Especially after this really poor last season of TC. I like that they started with less contestants, it was easier to get a handle on everyone so easily and that the challenges are really showing what they are capable of.

                                                        Zac's my favorite. He seems to be very talented, yet tries to help out other people when he can and doesn't jump on the negativity bandwagon. The funny thing is, you'd think from initially seeing him that he'd be the most dramatic, and that hasn't been the case.

                                                        I disagree on Malika though - I respect her decision. She left because she felt the competitive environment was affecting how she felt about her passion. I don't understand how her leaving the competition is a smack in the face to working mothers. I think her missing her children was part of it, but not all of it. I respect her more than Heather C who just keeps whining about things and producing mediocre dishes.

                                                        12 Replies
                                                        1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                                                          This is exactly what I thought about Malika, too. This is her passion and she found she loves doing it, and not being competitive about it. Why fight for something that disinterests you, when there are others who really want it. As mentioned above, I don't think they get to go home when they leave. They've shown the sequestered parts of TC in the past.

                                                          I really wish they had edited out all the odd things with Seth and just minimized it all. I know it doesn't make for as good TV but it would be compassionate. It's one thing to watch someone full of him/herself not do well, it's another to watch someone who is obviously not well have a break down.

                                                          I like Yigit the best thus far. He's steady, out of the fray, knows what to do and where he went wrong. I think Heather H is a great technician, and liked her at first (her wedding cake in such a short time was beautiful and far nicer than the others) but doesn't seem to have much passion for it and that passive aggressive cleaning bothered me. Speak up or don't act obviously angry and not express it. Even when Morgan won, the look on her face and her body language spoke for her. I do think she should have been given more credit for what she did.

                                                          Oh, and I like the baker (can't remember his name). I never realized there was such a huge divide in the minds of bakers and pastry chefs.

                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                            You know, that's what I found interesting too. (Eric the baker!) It's kind of like the "executive chef" vs. "caterer" on the regular TC episodes. Glad to see Eric tries to bring his strengths to the table rather than be something he isn't. Zac, Eric and Erika are my favorites to date. All 3 remain true to their styles and are not nasty - they just concentrate on their work and try to steer clear of the drama.

                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              The problem with the theory about Malika not liking the competitive nature about TCJD is that it is a competition and she asked to compete. That would be like entering a skating competition and not wanting to be scored because "I just like to skate".

                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                That's what I thought too!

                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                  but if she never competed like this before, how could she know that she'd not like it? this is such a pressure cooker, where the cheftestants seem to have very little control. very different from other baking/pastry competitions where they may have time to perfect their recipes for weeks beforehand.

                                                                  1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                    Exactly--and, it's not just competing, it's the time crunch, people running all over the place crazy, no recipes, etc.

                                                                    I know a lot of skaters who started competing and realized quickly they wanted no part of the world. It's not just about skating to your heart and letting the judges tell you what they think. You have to deal w/ doing it under different circumstances, around people who are cut throat who will do anything to win, emotional breakdowns. After trying it, they decide it's not for them. I don't think it's that different from what Malika has discovered. It's not just about skating, it's not just about baking.

                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                      Competition ANYTHING is very different from doing it for recreation, or for a career, or just for the love of it. It changes the whole dynamic and it really can take all the joy out of it. Add in the enormous stress of putting yourself into a goldfish bowl of reality television, and I'm astounded that anybody ever volunteers to do it at all!

                                                                      1. re: Kajikit

                                                                        Plus they don't have previous seasons to review to get a feel for how the show is going to work. Yes, they can watch TC and TCM, but baking is a whole other kelle o'fish.

                                                                        1. re: Kajikit

                                                                          Added to which, if it's a passion of yours can quickly turn it to something that you want no part of. The smartest thing is to leave while you still love it, not wait until you resent it and decide you never want to do it again. I've seen that happen time and again, too.

                                                                  2. re: chowser

                                                                    heather h. is just not nice. i hope i don't sound racist but i wish she'd stop acting like a mean Asian mom. I say this b/c i'm Asian, and to me, she perpetuates the stereotype of Asian women who are often portrayed as passive-aggressive, competitive, and critical. As for Seth, my husband theory is that Seth seems to be coming down from roids and is having rage, a symptom of coming off of steroids. not a too far fetched theory but the aspergers seems like right on as well. this show is truly something else...

                                                                    1. re: trolley

                                                                      It never occurred to me to stereotype Heather, ethnically or otherwise. I just don't like her. She could gain from a little psychotherapy! '-)

                                                                      1. re: trolley

                                                                        I don't know if anyone here also watches Project Runway, but I was struck by back-to-back episodes (TC:JD on Wednesday and PR on Thursday) with plotlines revolving around the Mean Asian Female Contestant. I assume it was just a coincidence, but both Heather H. and Ivy are technically superior and creatively inferior to their competitors, and both came off as very mean and ill-tempered. Not a good week for Asian women on reality TV.

                                                                  3. Can't disagree more about Malika and I am a married mother of two children who could no more not breathe than not work outside the home from the time both were infants. And I'm talking full career, 12+ hour days mode. The whole point of the "woman's movement" or whatever you want to call it is choices for woman. Malika, who is clearly an excellent pastry chef, did not like the competitive aspects of being on the show and she missed her family. Her choice, to me, sounded honest and heartfelt. Bravo (pun intended.)

                                                                    Seth seems to have serious mental health issues otherwise he'd be getting the full smackdown from me, your admonition notwithstanding. Equality for all doncha know.

                                                                    I thought I'd be bored by Just Desserts, not least because I'm not a big dessert maker or eater, but the more I watch, the more I like.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: annabana

                                                                      Malika's culture and background would make her very uncomfortable amidst strife and arguments and yelling plus she clearly missed her children. And I believe she mentioned that she wasn't comfortable with the competition. I doubt she even realized that until the competition started.

                                                                      It was probably the right call for her.

                                                                      It doesn't make me any less disappointed in this show. I suspect you will see some fairly drastic changes now.

                                                                      Even if it has been recorded for weeks or months, they pay attention to discussions like this and I assume they have a rolling focus group during taping to watch people's reactions. Television producers make a lot of money to make sure a television show makes it. They couldn't have been happy at this point in taping.

                                                                      1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                        But - not to be mean, but - no one likes a quitter, right? And every one of the previous seasons of Top Chef has had strife and conflict, even Top Chef Masters - so she should have known it would be like that going into it. Nonetheless, I still think there was probably more to that story than we saw...

                                                                        1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                          What do we know about Malika's culture and background?

                                                                      2. Personally, I think Seth was exhibiting some clear behaviors on the autism spectrum. He's very high functioning, but I wouldn't at all be surprised if he has some form of autism. If that's the case, he should have never been cleared for this competition since many people with autism cannot handle situations that have constantly changing parameters or lack order. I thought that was somewhat evident in how he responded to the ice cream challenge. He had an idea (to make his own ice cream) and when he was told that he wouldn't be allowed to follow through with his plan, he got increasingly agitated and disruptive. I don't see that as crazy but more like attributes of a person with a disorder who is in the wrong environment.

                                                                        Aside from that, I thought these chefs bring too much of that DRA-ma! and they need to leave it at home or put it aside. This entire series seems like many of them need to pal up with the Dr. Phil Housewives series and get therapy.

                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                        1. re: shan

                                                                          That's an interesting theory! Now that you mention it, it would make sense (at least based on the footage we saw). The way that he flipped out about his paper cups being taken away reminded of someone with autism.

                                                                          1. re: aching

                                                                            And the grapefruit juice meltdown. Excellent theory.

                                                                          2. re: shan

                                                                            Seth needs psychological counseling at the very least. He didn't help his career in the slightest.

                                                                            Every head chef and restaurant manager that watched this show knows he can't handle pressure. You know like you see in a professional kitchen.

                                                                            1. re: Hank Hanover

                                                                              I will put it the other way around. I feel pretty confident that Seth was Seth when he went through the screening/auditioning process for the show. *BAD* producers! Not bad Seth. He was exploited. For ratings. Sucks.

                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                You may well be right. Did the auditioning process put people under extreme pressure? Some people just can't handle pressure. The Seth we saw may not have come out under normal situations.

                                                                                If their screening process didn't include pressure this season, I bet it does next season....if there is a next season.

                                                                                Clearly somebody dropped the ball. I do feel sorry for Seth. Here is a group of people he doesn't know, doesn't care about questioning his mental health. Jeez, it has to be embarrassing.

                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                  While reading these posts I was thinking that the screening/interviewing process used for these reality shows could/should screen out people that would have problems with the pressure or are doing the show for the wrong reasons (desparately need the money for mother's bills). Then I realized that these reality shows probably choose people specifically for the theatrics that might ensue due to the pressuure put upon them.

                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                    Yes and no. I think the main reason Seth was chosen was that he was Howard's (first TC winner) pastry chef. I'll bet they were hoping he'd go really far. It's a shame - he seemed to be very talented.

                                                                                    1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                                                                                      Do you mean Harold?

                                                                                      1. re: Parrotgal

                                                                                        Tee hee! Yes! Thank you. It's been a loooooong week. :)

                                                                            2. It was hard to enjoy this episode with all the drama and angst at the outset. It was hard to get into the EC after all of that.

                                                                              I love making desserts and want to see fun ideas and chefs having fun. No one is having fun and being creative, they are all crying and losing their minds.

                                                                              I'll give it one more episode and then I think I'm cancelling the season pass.

                                                                              1. Unfortunately, Seth really seems to have some issues. I think the producers made the right decision taking him out of the competition. I hope that he is ok, and gets some help. I was glad they edited out most of his meltdown. Shan, that's an excellent theory on Seth. My cousin's little boy has Aspergers and I've seen him get agitated and disruptive.
                                                                                RE: Morgan, chefs with immunity have won on TC also, so I didn't have a problem with him winning. I did have a problem with Heather H's attitude and lack of graciousness.
                                                                                I think Malika could have gone a lot farther, but she's been struggling with competing, so I can see why she stepped out. Otherwise I think Heather would have gone packing - again. Why did Zack pick her if he didn't like her? Was she last picked? I can't remember. Good point Marcia about the quarantine! The TC Cheftestants are certainly quarantined utnil the end. no reason to think TCJD would be any different!
                                                                                I'm not wild about TCJD, I'm really looking forward to TC All Stars! That said, I'll be back on the couch watching next week's episode! :)

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                  Zac got screwed with the picks. He picked 3rd and last, so had by far the weakest team. They should have let Zac pick 3rd and 4th.

                                                                                  It didn't matter at the end since he wasn't eliminated and he made an awesome centerpiece.

                                                                                  But if Zac got eliminated because of his terrible team that would've sucked.

                                                                                  1. re: dach

                                                                                    thanks dach, that would have been more fair, you're right. I really liked his showpiece, I thought his method of brown sugar molding was really cool.

                                                                                2. pastry chefs are such babies

                                                                                  but i stopped to show all my friends the scene a fe wweeks ago of seth screaming IT WAS FOR MY MOMMY

                                                                                  I would have posted about that then but chowhound blocked my account for being bad

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: celfie

                                                                                    Seth has posted a few times on egullet re: his experience... last post was around Oct. 1:

                                                                                    "My nefarious strategy was to cook great food and be everybody's hero. There were a lot of non-cooking-related and off-camera challenges involved in the process that really threw me for a loop."

                                                                                  2. So here is the cry-o-log so far:
                                                                                    Episode 1 - Tania and Zac
                                                                                    Episode 2 - Seth
                                                                                    Episode 3 - Malika
                                                                                    Episode 4 - Morgan and Heather C
                                                                                    Episode 5 - ???

                                                                                    Episode 4 was a mess - contestants coming and going all over the place. I wasn't happy that they brough Heather C back esp since she was one of the cryers on this episode - if you're eliminated, you're eliminated. They should have taken the 8 that were left and split them into 2 teams. And what's with all the team competitions? Already they've had 2 team competitions and it's only been 4 episodes, why not let them fight it out as individuals cheftestants? It just creates a lot of unnecessary drama over who took credit for what etc.

                                                                                    I hope episode 5 gets this show back to focusing on the desserts and not all the drama.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: SeoulQueen

                                                                                      I have a huge problem with people being brought back after being eliminated on every reality show. It's just wrong. The wrong-est (lol) was Next Food Network Star where they brought back Amy ("I miss my kids and don't want to be here") Finley who ended up winning and then disappeared quickly back under the rock she came out of.

                                                                                      They bring someone back because they have to have an elmination every week otherwise the numbers don't work. On Dancing With the Stars they just don't do an elimination when someone has to leave for injury or whatever.

                                                                                    2. Perhaps Bravo should rename the show "Top Chef- Personality Disorders". This show catalogs just about every psychiatric disorder there is, to the point that the food takes a back burner.

                                                                                      1. I feel sorry for heather whichever one lost again.... It would be incredibly difficult to go through it twice.

                                                                                        1. Does anyone find it strange they are shopping at Alberstons for Just Desserts and not Whole Foods? Albertsons are ok grocery stores depending on which location as they aren't all the same.. I just found it odd..

                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: SDGourmand

                                                                                            I'm sure Albertson's paid to be a part of the show.

                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                              Well, Albertsons owns Bristol Farms so why not use that? Bristol Farms is pretty much the same as Whole Foods.. I'm just curious as to why the switch, since they has been using Whole Foods for both Top Chef and Masters..

                                                                                              1. re: SDGourmand

                                                                                                My guess would be that it was the owners of Albertson's that got to choose which of their stores to feature after they agreed to pay to be included in the show.

                                                                                            2. re: SDGourmand

                                                                                              personally it's hard to find a good assortment of dessert/baking ingredients at WF. they have great chocolates and decent organic flours but other than that it's sort of slim pickings. they have expanded a bit but not enough. my local WF is supposedly a west coast flagship store and the one they shop at for TC Masters, so i would assume they would have picked that WF as well.

                                                                                              1. re: trolley

                                                                                                Where you at?

                                                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                  Pasadena, right?

                                                                                                  1. re: aching

                                                                                                    yes, pasadena. there's 2 here. one in East Pasadena and the 2nd one on arroyo pwky which is the one where TCM shops at. i've seen them filming there for TCM. very very small crew.