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Top Chef Just Desserts “Mr. Chocolate” 

Photo Credit: Bravo

I’m happy to watch this show in any iteration they want to give it to me: the original, “Masters”, and now “Just Desserts.” I will admit to giving up on the Washington DC edition of Top Chef after Kenny was booted. And it’s not that I think he would win or deserved to win. But at least two – maybe more – of those chefs deserved to go home before Kenny. I’m sure Big Daddy’s ok but I was pissed. And how do I feel about their Emmy? Pretty good. It was about time for someone to deal a blow to the jagernaut that is The Amazing Race (even though I love it). Spread the love!

Anyone who read my ANTM post knows I left my notes at home (double curses). Let’s see what I remember.

The Quickfire: Host Gail Simmons (more on her later) asked the cheftestants to create their signature dish for the judges in just 90 minutes. Fifteen minutes into the challenge they were asked to turn it into a cupcake. Judging from the near hysteria in the kitchen, all the chefs were feeling the heat. I, as an occasional baker, feel like it would be easy to make a cupcake in 75 minutes. But I get to use a recipe and don’t have to present it for anyone to judge, so what do I know? Malika ran out of time and couldn’t plate all her elements so she had nothing for the judges to taste. Tim didn’t really make a cupcake and Head Judge Johnny Iuzzini called him on it. Seth was the challenge winner with a Strawberries with Basil Brioche cupcake and received immunity.

For the elimination challenge the chefs are asked to make a decadent dessert for 50 chocolate lovers and for Mr. Chocolate himself Jacques Torres. Can you guess the mystery ingredient? Chocolate.

I guess now is as good a time as any to meet the chefs and the judges (cribbed from bravotv.com). The impression are all mine:

Zac Young, 27.

Executive Pastry Chef, Flex Mussels

Dramatic, flamboyant. I love it.

Yigit Pura, 29.

Executive Pastry Chef, Taste Catering & Event Planning

He’s from Turkey. I didn’t get much of a read on him.

Tim Nugent, 41.

Executive Pastry Chef at San Francisco’s Sir Francis Drake Hotel

Brother of Ted. Even though Johnny called him out on the quick fire, I still liked where he was going there. I can’t wait to see more.

Tania Peterson, 39.

Executive Pastry Chef, Max Ultimate Food

A Jewish atheist? What? I love it. She’s different and interesting.

Seth Caro, 34.

Pastry Chef

He’s an insomniac and makes a plea for his own room in the house. He’s gonna be trouble – in more ways than one.

Morgan Wilson, 37.

Executive Pastry Chef, The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas

He comes across as competent and self-assured. After he finds himself in the bottom three after the first elimination challenge, he comes across as a dick.

Malika Ameen, 35

Pastry Chef

She just closed the restaurant she co-owned with her husband because they’re going through a divorce. Even though she couldn’t present anything to the judges for the quickfire, I’m rooting for her.

Heather Hurlbert, 40.

Executive Pastry Chef, Cherokee Town and Country Club, Atlanta, GA

She talks a big game and I really like that about her. She’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

Heather Chittum, 37.

Pastry Chef, Hook/Tackle Box

What is up with that huge band aid on her face? It distracted me whenever the camera was on her.

Erika Davis, 40.

Executive Pastry Chef, Ponte Vedra Inn and Club

She seemed a bit worried about having to work without a recipe on the elimination challenge but she seemed to do just fine without one.

Eric Wolitzky, 38.

Pastry Chef, Baked

He calls himself a baker and seems a bit intimidated by his competition.

Danielle Keene, 29.

Pastry Chef and Owner, Bittersweet

She told Zac she wanted to throw up after she tasted his dessert. Not nice and not acceptable. I’m keeping an eye on her.

The Host:

Gail Simmons

I’m really not sure I can sing her praises highly enough. I’ve always loved her on “Top Chef” and “Top Chef Masters” as a judge and when I met her in person she was delightful. And gorgeous. I’m so happy they chose someone so knowledge about good to host this show. 

The judges:

Johnny Iuzzini

I don’t know much about the world of pastry chefs and I’ve never eaten at Jean Georges, Perry Street, or Nougatine, so I’d never heard of him before. I am, however, very impressed with his James Beard Award and the three stars he received from the New York Times. I like that he’s a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. Or is it country? What is he trying to say with that hairstyle?

Dannielle Kyrillos

I like the way she talks about food and I’m a subscriber to Daily Candy. She’s a great addition.

Hubert Keller

If I ever meet this man there will be a scene. I think he’s kind of a genius. I loved him on the first season of “Top Chef Masters” and I’m glad he did so well. I was disappointed not to see him in this week’s episode but I’m waiting – with bated breath – for his first episode.

And who was in this week’s top three? Even tough he had immunity, the judges were impressed with Seth’s dessert. Joining him in the top three are Zac and Heather H. Was it just me, or was Seth a complete and total sourpuss about Heather’s win? Up until that point I liked him. And I think Zac learned his lesson about blowing on the food. Um, it’s a no-no.

I was sad to see Tania go home. She seemed like a such an interesting and cool person. She had to take a break from trying to make a baby when she got picked for the show but if you read her bio, you’ll see that she’s currently pregnant. Good for her. Her mistake – not having enough time to remake the mousse – sent her home. I would have preferred to see Morgan depart. What a horrible attitude! He doesn’t seem like the person you’ll love to hate. You’ll just hate him.

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