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Top Chef Just Desserts - the last 2 weeks (spoilers)

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Since no one, including me, posted last week, this will cover both weeks.

Overall, I have to say that I preferred last year's challenges, They were more appropriate and not just bizarre to be bizarre. It seemed like even the judges found the "Beastie Boys Challenge" to be ridiculous. We've hardly been allowed to see what these contestants can actually do in terms of making great cakes and other pastries. Instead it's all about incorporating chicken and canned ravioli and pork & beans into a dessert. Come on, people! And by people, I mean the show's producers.

With this going on in TCJD, I can just imagine what will happen in TC Texas. Maybe they'll have to make an entree out of wedding cake...

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  1. Just read Hubert Keller's blog, and he thought the challenge was great. But then, he wasn't judging that one...

    1. I agree with you. This year's TCJD is kind of a snooze fest. I thoroughly enjoyed the Willy Wonka challenge but the other ones are so boring.

      I was rather appalled by the Beastie Boys challenge. I know chefs need to adapt but this one was a stretch.

      1. I loved the Beastie Boys challenge! Something different, waaay different. The Willy Wonka challenge was so predictable, more of just a re-creation and not forcing the chefs to be creative.

        3 Replies
        1. re: babette feasts

          I thought it was interesting, too. And, funny to hear contestants who didn't do well whine about their ingredients. Everyone had bad ingredients. It seemed the contestants who had the easiest ingredients did the poorest, though. Pizza, baked beans, ravioli, chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy all made the top. Alcohol made the bottom? While I have liked Katsie in the past, I wanted her to stop talking about how risky french fries dipped in sauce was. Risky is baked beans brownies or gravy foam on mashed potato cheesecake. Rebecca needed to go because her crying was getting annoying.

          1. re: chowser

            I just watched my recording of this episode. I cannot , cannot, cannot believe that Orlando wasn't on the bottom for using Nilla Wafers instead of baking his own cookies (and then he wouldn't even admit it).
            Katzie didn't do so well, but she did great in the last two challenges (I think her carrot cake was the only original idea in the Willy Wonka episode), so I don't understand why Sally keeps saying that she's just lucky. She seems very talented, even if it didn't show in this episode.

            1. re: mountaincachers

              Yes--using store bought cookies is a cop out in this challenge! And he did duck the question. Doesn't he realize there are cameras so whether he admits it or not, it doesn't matter?

              I agree about Katzie--I don't know why the others don't respect what she does when she is usually more creative. Sally's Willy Wonka challenge was terrible. But, I think Katzie has pegged herself as being the risky, creative one and this challenge wasn't the case.

        2. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

          I'm just going to watch the finale to see how it ends. I'm out until then.

          1. I don't understand why the Quick Fire winner often gets both money and immunity. Why not make the person choose? Maybe the top Quick Fire winner should get to choose money or immunity and the person in 2nd place would get the other. That would make the show marginally more interesting.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Jambie

              I like that idea. And maybe if they don't take it, let the money carry over to the following week.

              1. re: Jambie

                They've done that in Top Chef when Robin chose immunity over money and was widely criticized by the other contestants for not believing in herself. But, the second place person didn't get anything.

                1. re: chowser

                  I'm fairly certain that during that season Robin could have solved the debt crisis, drawn down the excess housing inventory, and reduced US unemployment to less than !% and she would have been criticized by those guys. While I didn't think she was in the same zip code as the Voltaggio bros., she sure did get a lot of flack from the lesser chefs. If she would have taken the money they would have accused her of not wanting to be there.

                  1. re: chowser

                    I think Robin chose immunity over the CHANCE to win money. She didn't turn down actual cash. I remember Kevin took cash instead of immunity.

                2. Watching last night's episode, I have to wonder why females even bother to try out for this show. Once again, one female contestant is in the final 6. I'm sure she'll be gone soon.
                  Oh, and Orlando is insufferable.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: juliasqueezer

                    What does that mean? Do you think the judges discriminate against female contestants?

                    Orlando certainly is insufferable, though I'm sure they play that up. I always think it's funny when people complain about how other people aren't talented even as those people are winning challenges.

                    1. re: juliasqueezer

                      I was surprised that the woman who was eliminated in the elimination challenge was the one to go. It seemed as if her dessert was better than both of the men's desserts. I didn't get it, I have to say.

                    2. Is it me, or is this the showpiece season? Quite frankly, the showpiece makers get a free pass because they are the ones making them. I would venture to say that most people don't give a shit about them because you don't eat them. They have shows and competitions for that sort of stuff - leave it there. The brioche the one guy made, looked like a turd someone backed over. Daffy Duck didn't even make his dessert, the others made the components and he put it together. WTF is that?!?!?

                      Lose the showpieces. No one cares. It's a massive waste of chocolate. I think, while she may not be as experienced as the others, Katsie had some of the most creative conceptual ideas on the show.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: ladybugthepug

                        I agree about the show pieces AND the fact that the ones who make them get to slide.

                        The brioche thing was odd because at one point I thought he asked the group in the stew room if the texture of his brioche was normal or something. It seemed like he had never had one or made one before.

                        1. re: Manassas64

                          I agree that the showpieces are a waste, but I don't think they got a pass. If either showpiece had been crappy, the elimination would have been quite different.

                          Regardless, it's somewhat akin to regular TC, during restaurant wars, when one chef has to play front of the house. It's simply not what us -- the audience -- cares about when it comes to judging time. And it just skews things by taking one contestant away from what we do care about: their dish.

                          1. re: Manassas64

                            That brioche thing looked like a poorly made pop tart. You can never tell what the whole judges' discussion is like and how much is due to editing, but it seemed like Katsie's was the only dessert in that group that they said anything very positive about. I'm sorry to see her go, as I think she had some interesting ideas. I agree with getting rid of the show piece thing and focusing on the desserts. If they had, I think it would have been Chris going home. Orlando's behavior is awful (and I'm still stuck on the idea that he should have gone home the week before when his "difficult" ingredients were rum and cream. He served a totally uninteresting dessert with peas sprinkled on top and served with a Nilla Wafer...while bashing others for their work). Likewise, Sally should have gone home with the Willy Wonka challenge.

                            1. re: mountaincachers

                              I thought it was funny when Orlando said his doughnut wasn't supposed to taste of cardamom, even though he said it was a doughnut with cardamom but he called out Katzie's dessert that was supposed to have jasmine but he claimed he couldn't taste it.

                              1. re: chowser

                                Does an 1/8 of a teaspoon of anything but pure scotch bonnet juice warrant a mention in the name of a recipe? That dude must have been a real joy to grow up with.

                                1. re: ladybugthepug

                                  If I were a judge, I would have thrown him out for arguing with me every time a criticism is made. The 1/8 tsp of cardamom is ridiculous if it's listed as the chief flavoring of a spice cake.

                          2. re: ladybugthepug

                            I absolutely loathe showpieces made out of food. Whether it's pure chocolate or even rice krispie treats covered in fondant/modeling chocolate, food showpieces to me are no different than clay or paper mache sculptures, it's just a different medium to work with and have nothing to do with cooking. They remind me of the dioramas I had to make in grade school just larger and more elaborate. Ice sculptures are the only showpieces I really find interesting.

                          3. I too think Orlando is a tool. I don't really like this show like I do regular TC. I don't bake too much so I guess that's why. Orlando said he was pleased to finally beat Chris with his showpiece. Sorry Orlando, but from what I saw your team won on the desserts NOT your showpiece. On TV it sure looked like the judges liked the ahowpieces about equally.

                            Matt took good advice from his wife and took the high road. It seems Orlando doesn't have a wife that gave him good advice like that.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: John E.

                              Matt (and his wife) are to be commended. When the show is over, he won't need to look back and be embarrassed for his bad behavior.

                              1. re: mountaincachers

                                I thought it was great that he gave his wife credit for it, too.

                                1. re: mountaincachers

                                  There have been a few other TC contestants that have shown the same kind of class, Bryan Voltaggio and Kevin Gillespie come to mind. The producers really prod them to talk trash about their fellow contestants in the confessionals. While I thought the chocolate sculptures looked about equally spectacular (does anyone ever eat all that chocolate?) It was easy to see why they chose the winning team on this episode. If I had to choose a favorite to win it would be either Matt or Carlos.

                                2. re: John E.

                                  I really liked Matt in this episode. Who was worst, Chris or Orlando? Both of them were relentlessly harsh in the criticisms. I loved the look on everyone's face when Orlando went on and on about Katzie's dessert.

                                3. i like these challenges a lot more than last seasons. maybe its because theyre more understandable to me without much pastry background. its much more fun for me watching "give me your best chocolate dessert!" or "make willy wonka's factory" than anything they did last year

                                  1. I also enjoyed the last 2 challenges!

                                    (beastie boy, and chocolate...haven't watched last nights yet)

                                    I agree, the Beastie Boy one was far fetched, but it was fun, and I think, great to see what creative minds can come up with!

                                    I was loving the idea of the 3 top desserts, but was a bit annoyed that the judges didnt really descible what they were tasting, or how and why the flavors actually worked well together.
                                    How did chicken foam taste on cheesecake, how did it meld???
                                    I would love to have tasted all of the desserts to see how the flavors worked.

                                    I was disappointed about Katsies dessert because she was proved to be so creative in the past - and even my mind was coming up with ideas for potato and butter... (ok, the cheese would have thrown me, but still...)

                                    I was also annoyed at the judging for the worst dish.

                                    I think the girl with the arm cast really did have screwy ingredients, and the sweet girl had really easy ingredients. I think this should have been taken into account, yet they didnt -from what we saw -even account for it.

                                    Sweet girls idea was simple and boring, and her cake was dry. I thought the arm cast girl got gyped.

                                    I have a feeling that the judging on TCJD leans more towards eliminating who they think is not as good, as opposed to strictly who had the absolute worst dish.

                                    And it seems as my theory was proven on the chocolate episode.

                                    I feel certain the judges eliminated Katsie, only because they know they other 2 guys are technically better.

                                    I was disappointed.
                                    It sounded like none of their dishes were very good at all, and the Brioiche looked terrible.
                                    Plus, there is something about Chris makes him highly unlikable to me - bleh.

                                    I'm rooting for the Captn Crunch guy at this point...I think he has had some great ideas. (Loved the edible wallpaper!) and I like his laid back way...

                                    Anyway, liking this season much better than lasts. Even though, I agree, I don't care for the show pieces etc...

                                    Also, does anyone find it strange, that these chefs seem to have pretty good skills, and are capable of making these stunning showpieces, and yet their attempt and the Disney challenge cakes - were absolutely appalling!
                                    I mean - those cakes were a disaster, and looks so incredibly amatuerish - WTH???

                                    1. Okay, now on to last night's episode, Oct 12. No sense starting up a new thread, I figure.

                                      The one hand behind the back Quickfire was interesting, but it would have been nice to hear the reaction to Matthew's dish, even though he'd been disqualified for the 2nd hand flub. And it seemed like Carlos was the right pick to win it.

                                      I don't agree, though, that he was the right choice to lose the elimination. He was one of the only chefs to address the Carnival/Playful aspect, even if the end product didn't quite work out. I was certain they'd ax Orlando. He got so much criticism over the execution, not to mention how his dish bore no resemblance to a candy apple or apple anything, for that matter. And yet he stayed? Perhaps there was some ulterior motive to keeping him in? The "drama" that plays between him and Chris? Hard to say...

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: cmvan

                                        >No sense starting up a new thread, I figure.

                                        Not that I care much about inadvertently finding out who got kicked off, but I'd rather people start a new thread so that those of us who watch on Tivo or on demand can be careful about which threads we read.

                                        1. re: DGresh

                                          I thought I didnt care, so I read through the latest posts.
                                          But actually, I ruined it for myself.
                                          I tried to watch it, and found I had no interest in it, knowing who got eliminated....

                                          oh well...

                                          1. re: NellyNel

                                            Sorry. We'll make sure this week's episode gets s fresh thread.

                                            1. re: cmvan

                                              no worries,
                                              its not like I wasnt warned...I choose to read thought them...

                                              I find it interesting, how uninterested I was in watching in - knowing who got eliminated..weird..
                                              I guess it's like watching a baseball game where you know the outcome - someone, it's not nearly as exciting...or even watchable.

                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                On some shows I still find it interesting to watch, even if I know who won/got eliminated. But this show simply isn't compelling enough for that!

                                      2. I just read the blogs on Bravo.com, and Gail clarifies that Carlos' errors in execution (such as that, in not using the macarons and making angel food instead, he created a texture that fell apart in your hands, and made churro fries that were cold and fairly tasteless) were what sent him packing. Orlando didn't really meet the need for his dish to taste like what he said it was based on, but his execution was better than Carlos'. Still, I'd rather have seen Carlos move on than sourpuss Orlando.

                                        13 Replies
                                        1. re: cmvan

                                          Was so hoping that Orlando would get sent home, sorry to see Carlos go.

                                          And yeah, they should have eaten Matthew's dish. On Top Chef I recall someone getting DQd and being told that they would have won if no for the DQ. We still want to know how good his pie was!

                                          1. re: LurkerDan

                                            In her blog on bravo.com, Gail says they did eat Matthew's pie (just didn't show the footage) and it was quite good. She didn't say he might have won, though.

                                            1. re: LurkerDan

                                              Richard Blais went too long in TC All Stars but they said he had one of the best dishes, they did not say he would have won if were not ineligble.

                                              1. re: John E.

                                                There absolutely was a time where someone was DQd and they said that chef would have won. It was a woman. That's all I recall.

                                                1. re: LurkerDan

                                                  A quick google search reveals that Antonia was DQd last season in a quickfire, judged by Paula Deen, and Paula said Antonia would have won.

                                                  It was the famous "chicken oyster" quickfire, where Isabella stole Blais' idea.

                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                    I forgot about that one. She did not plate enough dishes but I don't remember what it is she made.

                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                      Fried shrimp. I think she only plated one, and she needed two for the judges.

                                            2. re: cmvan

                                              Sorry, for me the idea and intent wins every time over someone who completely ignores the challenge and does whatever the hell they want. Eventually Orlando's hubris has to catch up with him. (If not, there's going to be a lot of pissed off viewers.)

                                              1. re: ladybugthepug

                                                I agree. Orlando's dessert didn't meet the requirements of the challenge, bore no resemblance to the reported inspiration, and wasn't well executed. He should have been sent home.

                                                1. re: mountaincachers

                                                  Agreed. Especially since it's the second time he's been dinged for making a dessert that doesn't reflect its inspiration -- remember the rootbeer float?

                                                2. re: ladybugthepug

                                                  I agree. It happens time and again that those who follow tough challenges lose and those who ignore it win because they didn't follow the constraints. Orlando could easily have done a candied apple cake with the texture. I have to say, the idea of chocolate mousse and baked apples doesn't sound good.

                                                  I love the dessert idea that a thin slice of apple is an apple carpaccio. It's just a slice of apple! I'm going to start calling my carrot shavings, carrot carpaccio.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    We have been putting carrot carpaccio on salads for years ; )

                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                      Would that be carrot carpaccio served over lettuce carpaccio?;-)