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Top Chef: Just Dessert Episode 8: CelebriTea

Well, I still want to talk about this show! Where's the wrap up thread?
: )

Whatever their perceived personality flaws, I missed our eliminated competitors this week...the remaining desserts were mostly a mess. And I think it would have been appropriate for Yigit to mention that one of his competitors accidentally elbowed his sugar glass vase. It doesn't sit right for Morgan to win a challenge when he destroyed the other potential winner. Morgan was doing an awful lot of table jiggling (and did you catch him saying STFU to Danielle when she called him on it?)

I'd prefer cumulative scoring on these things - the level of competition would be higher if the mid pack players like Danielle couldn't slip through to the end. On the other hand, I was glad that Eric made it as far as he did without spinning sugar/plating experience - fun for someone like me that goes for flavor over pretty, and couldn't plate like that to save my life.

As for the challenges...disadvantaging half the people (those who planned and shopped with their chocolate dessert in mind) and not ALL the people seems super wrong to me. Of course two of the chocolate planners were the bottom players. Okay, duh, it's a tv show and they want maximum drama, not maximum skill display. Well, I watch a cooking competition for the skill display. Make them all have to deal with the loss of their main ingredient if you want to see how they work under added stress!

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  1. I have to say I did enjoy seeing a pretty much completely drama-free episode last night.

    I do agree that the elimination process needs to change on these shows. I believe the thinking is that "one bad dish" is enough to make a chef lose a customer for life. BUT, these are such artificial situations, where a chef can not refine a dish until they are happy with it. We've seen the "Masters" make dishes that are pretty bad, but they are still great chefs.

    My solution is to start with less chefs--especially on TC where they have a ridiculous amount at the beginning; so many it's hard to keep track of--and either have some kind of point total (maybe like the way they do the stars on TCM, but have it carry over week to week) OR I'm thinking maybe something like a "three strikes and you're out" situation, where if you have the worst dish three times they are out. (or maybe a combination of the two ideas?)

    3 Replies
    1. re: skoolpsyk

      The problem with a cumulative total is that someone could have such a big lead that the last few episodes wouldn't matter.

      1. re: saeyedoc

        The only way a cumulative point system would work is if it took on a Jeopardy! model. The more points you accumulate, the more money you get as the winner. Still, it would not solve the problem of crowning the eventual winner moot; only preserve the competitive spirit of each episode.

        I like the way it is now. It's like the NCAA Basketball tournament. You can blow out your first round opponent by 50 points, but lose on a last second buzzer beater in the second round and have to go home.

        Such is life ...

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Well, the final 6 are generally the ones to watch anyway, so you could use the points to get to that point, and then go to the single elimination/sudden death they use now.

    2. If they had said no chocolate prior to shopping, I would have been ok with it, but once everything is planned and bought...totally unfair. Considering how talented Erica and Heather were, I can't believe Danielle gets the honor of being the last woman standing. I am enjoying the show much more now. Whatever we say about Morgan...that boy can bake. He is truly talented.

      1. I agree that it's a shame that Danielle has managed to make it to the top four, when she is clearly so much weaker than the last few eliminated chefs. Personality aside, her concepts seem so unsophisticated to me, and they don't look good either. However, I think there is some integrity to the idea that "you're only as good as your last dish", as Yigit put it. Although it may not necessarily lead to the best chef winning, it makes more like the Olympics or other athletic competitions where you have to perform each time you compete and can't rest on your laurels.

        That Quickfire Challenge was a hot mess - apparently, making pretty flowers out of sugar and chocolate is REALLY hard! And I thought it was interesting that they struggled so much with making tea cakes, when most of them did such a good job with the petit fours a few episodes ago. Aren't they basically the same thing?

        I stand by my statement from last week - I think Morgan's going to be the winner. His desserts have an assurance and consistent quality that none of the others seem to have.

        6 Replies
        1. re: aching

          I agree I don't really like Morgan but his dessert always come out perfectly and are very sophisticated..

          1. re: aching

            Morgan and Yigit are probably the most talented of the contestants left.

            But Morgan's got the intimidation factor over everybody else on that show -- maybe it's his heterosexulity or mere physical size -- which gives him an edge over Yigit.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Don't discount Yigit on that... think he can hold his own...

            2. re: aching

              What is the purpose of those sugar flowers? None of them looked that appealing to me. Has anyone seen the guest judge's work or been captivated by a sugar flower? Another thing I don't really get is fruit/veg carving. Yes, they look nice but what a waste of time and edible food.

              1. re: aching

                Wow, google search sugar flowers and check out some of the bakeries out there. People are nuts.

                1. re: newhavener07

                  I looked at a LOT of bakery websites in the course of wedding planning a couple years ago, and I also concluded that people are nuts. While I can't help but admire the artistry, why would you WANT a cake that looks like a bouquet of flowers (or a cigar box or a pan of paella or a hat)? What's wrong with having a cake that looks like a cake? It all made me think of the armadillo cake from Steel Magnolias - gross.

              2. I admit that I fell asleep in the middle of it ...

                Who got the boot?

                3 Replies
                  1. re: aching

                    Oh, too bad. I liked him.

                    I hate Morgan, Zac is grating on my nerves and Danielle should have been sent home a ong time ago.

                    So I'll root for Idgit (i know i misspell t)

                  2. re: C. Hamster

                    Related to that, I wish they would run the show at 9 instead of 10. It IS hard to stay awake for the whole thing!

                  3. In the QF, I thought that Eric's cupcake thing looked like something that you'd see at a supermarket bakery and Danielle's bouquet looked like a craft project we would have done in my girl scout troop. Yigit's made me think of an artificial flower arrangement my parents had in the 80s.

                    Is it me, or was this episode just a dud. It seems like they're running out of dessert ideas. I was actually looking forward to the no chocolate thing because I'm not much of a chocolate person and I was excited to see what they could come up with.

                    I didn't think the celebrity couples thing really translated to dessert all that well, or maybe it was just boring to me. The competitors didn't seem terribly enthusiastic about it either, except for Zac. Maybe they're just getting tired.

                    1. I finally caught this. Am I the only one who kept thinking Tea Party, every time they said tea party? Ugh. And, the first couple to my mind was Bristol and Levi--that would have been a fun one to do, along the lines of Madonna.

                      I like Yigit and am glad he didn't go. Though he's under his game, he is confident but I don't find him arrogant (but I'll freely admit it could be because I like him). I thought the challenge w/out chocolate was interesting and it showed, clearly, that none of them are moms with young ones at home. "I need a baked dessert for school tomorrow" when it's 10:00 at night and, as you start putting together brownies, you realize you don't have chocolate, or flour, or brown sugar, or whatever, and you have to improvise to come up with something.

                      I thought it was unfair that Morgan could knock over Yigit's vase and still win. He wants to win, without any sportsmanship--he doesn't care that he wreaks havoc with the others, as he said in his interviews. Eric deserved to go in this episode, though. I liked him but he couldn't do the pastry chef part of the contest, and he froze under pressure too much.

                      13 Replies
                      1. re: chowser

                        If Yigit's vase was that fragile, he should have put it somewhere safe, not right next to where Morgan was working. It's his own fault it got broken.

                        1. re: cigarmedic4

                          All the contestants have said Morgan is like a bull running around the kitchen. They're in tight quarters and working side by side. There isn't a lot of space so it takes everyone being considerate of others.

                          1. re: chowser

                            Unlike a lot of the other "scandals", we actually saw tape on this one, and to me, it really did look like an accident. Plus, Yigit himself broke the other one, right? I don't think that Morgan won because of that...

                        2. re: chowser

                          They only way it would have been bad is if he didn't say anything to Yigit about breaking it.. It was a complete accident and he did the right thing by telling him right away... Like someone else said Yigit ended up breaking the rest of them anyway, so it didn't really make a difference..

                          1. re: SDGourmand

                            I agree w/ you and aching that it was an accident. It just seems unfair that one contestant could ruin another's and then win, whether it was an accident or not.

                            1. re: chowser

                              The problem for me is that he didn't seem to be the least bit sorry. Because he wasn't. One of the Top Chef contestants said in the last season that she wanted to beat people at their very best, or something like that. Morgan just wants to win, and he'll be just as happy winning by someone's misfortune. That's just bad sportsmanship. I kind of hope that he doesn't win the whole thing, because it just sets the wrong tone for this kind of competition for me. I will say, his desserts seem to be consistantly the best, so if he were a bit more humble, it would be easy to be happy for his wins....

                              1. re: jeanmarieok

                                Exactly. I think it was Tiffany who said that in the last Top Chef. I think that kind of attitude made her the fan favorite.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  sadly there's really no one that's a favorite for me in this run of TC. eric was a fave but now that's over. i feel like there's too much TC now and no break. i could voluntarily take a break but it's hard to stay away. on a off topic note, i saw danielle walking down the street yesterday. she was walking with a guy and talking and of course making a really odd crazy face!

                                  1. re: trolley

                                    That's just funny about seeing Danielle. She really should be gone by now, and she's just been lucky for the last couple of weeks.

                                    1. re: trolley

                                      I can't watch her without waiting (not long) for one of her goofy expressions. How does one make her face *do* that all the time?

                                      1. re: trolley

                                        I wondered if she'd see herself on TV and realize how many odd faces she makes when she's talking. Her baby talk and expressions have been bothering me, not as much as her lack of skill and luck of getting through, though. I'm surprised at the number of things she has no idea how to do, considering she's a pastry chef.

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          Oh, I don't think anyone can pull faces like that with such regularity and not be aware of it. I'd bet she's known for it among her friends. There was an interstitial sequence where other contestants laughed appreciatively about it. No, I'd say Danielle is completely aware of it, and probably enjoys the attention it brings her. Class clown, if you will. Well, it would be a serious shocker if she's not out this week, and makes it to the finale.

                                          1. re: chowser

                                            hate to say she doesn't belong there but she's quickly turning into the Lisa (season 4?) of this TC. I feel like erika was a far superior pastry chef and would probably like to eat eric's desserts over danielle's any day but i'm not there to taste any of it so who really knows. but her crazy face is just as crazy in person even tough i only saw it in passing. that's why i looked over at her in the first place then realized it was danielle from the show!

                              2. The complaint that Danielle should already be gone is a complaint that happens with every season of Top Chef. Somebody skates along that seems to have fewer skills than others, yet someone else will make a bigger culinary mistake and be sent home. Instead of blaming Danielle for surviving, the ones sent home should be criticized for making the errors that allowed her to hang on. (Robin in TC 6 comes to mind).

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: John E.

                                  People who are excellent in their fields generally take risks, which can result in the occasional failure. If you keep eliminating people based on a single failure, you wind up rewarding risk adverse mediocrity, eg. Danielle.

                                  By the way, Danielle's top 3 placement last week was a crock. I'm sure she was #3 out of 5, which means she was technically top 3 and bottom 3 simultaneously. Instead of making a top 2 and a bottom 3, they made a top 3 and bottom 2. That doesn't make sense. This week, they'll do either top 2 and bottom 2, or top 1 and bottom 3. If they had a final 2 instead of final 3, at final 3, they would do top 1 and bottom 2. In every scenario, the number in the bottom is greater than or equal to the number in the top. For that reason, last week should have been top 2 and bottom 3, thereby placing Danielle in the category in which she rightly belonged.

                                  1. re: dump123456789

                                    Excellent point. I think the editing is funny when someone barely makes the top, or bottom. Had she been in the bottom three, there would have been comments about how poor her food was, not how wonderful. It's like that in the Restaurant Challenges, too, where the judges will say it's such a close decision, there's so much to talk about, etc. but when you see the comments, the losing team gets slewed while the winning team gets raves.

                                    1. re: chowser

                                      It is a game, and TCJD (and TC as well) can set the rules how they want. However, it does not make sense to me that the chef eliminated in team challenges is always one on the losing team. That having been said, I'm not sure Danielle's food was worse than Heather's last episode - it was kind of hard to tell. Her food overall, however, has been pretty uninteresting, suggesting that there is some inherent flaw in these shows that allows certain mediocre middle-of-the-road contestants to persist well past their due dates.

                                    2. re: dump123456789

                                      You could be right about the risk thing, but I'd have to have a specific example of it to agree when it applies. For instance, Robin outlasted Mike Isabella on TC 6 but the dish that got him sent home (leeks) wasn't particularily risky, just badly executed.