Monday, October 18, 2010

Top Chef Just Desserts – Imperfect Soufflés (Plus Two Disappear), Edible Dresses And Unlikable Chefs

Top Chef Just Desserts - Edible Fashion

These chefs are so much less charming than other Top Chef groups. There’s one or two to really dislike, but there’s no one to love. And they seem particularly cliquey. Isn’t it strange that a show about sweets leaves such a bitter taste in my mouth?

Sherry Yard, Wolfgang Puck’s pastry chef, is in the Top Chef Just Desserts kitchen with Gail. The Quickfire Challenge is to make a soufflé. There are no other guidelines and they have one hour to make it.

Zac makes a frozen soufflé, the rest seem to be making hot ones.
Morgan says he’s not arrogant enough to say his soufflés are the best, but he seems pretty arrogant to me. Really none of these folks is that likable. (Erika is sweet.) I don’t like this challenge. I actually don’t like this show. Let’s see if the soufflés change my mind.


Lemon And Lavender Soufflé With Blueberry Ginger Compote & Honey Ice Cream

There is no one who loves honey more than I do. I appreciate different kinds of honey, different flavors, different textures – whipped, country – but honestly I feel as if honey ice cream is one big bore. Am I wrong to think that when something is frozen, it needs a much more robust flavor than honey can offer? I don’t know why this bothers me so much. Perhaps because I can’t stand Danielle.

Plus I love lavender in my garden, but not down my throat. See? There’s something about this show that’s putting me in a bad mood.

Either Gail or Sherry comment that the soufflé looks like it rose. Sherry nods her head enthusiastically as she tastes.


Apple Crisp Soufflé Glace

Zac says some nonsense about translating the perfect soufflé to A Soufflé Parfait. Plus he “deconstructed” an apple crisp to serve along with it. Sherry asks (after tasting), “Do you make many soufflés?” “No, I, ah, don’t,” he replies. Not a terribly reassuring answer.


Lemon-Basil Soufflé With White Chocolate Raspberry Sauce

Erika thinks it needed more cooking.

Heather H.

Chocolate Raspberry Soufflé Grand Marnier & Godiva Cream

I don’t get this. Sherry says to Heather H, “The perfect soufflé is like a unicorn. I’ve yet to see it.” Huh? And she said it with a huge smile (I guess fake) on her face. That was kind of hostile.


Chocolate Soufflé With Passion Fruit & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

He looks so fresh-faced and sincere. Maybe this will be Sherry’s perfect soufflé.

Yigit starts talking REALLY fast and saying that he makes soufflés all the time and that his boyfriend loves soufflés and all his friends love soufflés and blahbedy, blah, blah. Gail says if she had a boyfriend who made soufflés she’d be asking for them all the time too.

Ok, great, but then Yigit has to go further than is necessary and he says, “Gail, if we played for the same team, I’d be hitting on you.” What a creep. Who cares who he’d be hitting on? Gail says, “A girl can dream.” Good one.


Gianduja Soufflé With Burnt Sugar Ice Cream & Raspberry Coulis

The least favorites:

Erika’s - too sweet; Zac’s had no air; Heather H’s lacked flavor. (Both Zac and Heather look mightily PO’ed.)

Wait! Where is the baker dude’s? They never showed his, but Eric is standing there in the kitchen. Weird.

The best:

Sherry says that Morgan’s had great height and flavor. Yigit’s had height, acid and sugar and a perfect balance of flavor. And Danielle’s was good too. (Shows what I know.) The winner is Yigit. That’s kind of annoying. He’s so full of himself.

Okay, WHY didn’t we see Eric’s soufflé? This is really bizarre. I’ve just rewound the tape 3 times to see if I missed it. They didn’t even show him running around the kitchen cooking. He just disappeared and then came back into the kitchen when Sherry was announcing the winner. What’s up with that? OH! And we didn’t see the other Heather’s soufflé either. WHAT is going on?

I just checked. Their soufflés are here, but for some reason they got edited out of the show.

The Elimination Challenge is to make Edible Fashion. Zac says he hoped that would be one of the challenges. Isn’t that kind of odd? Why would he have ever thought that that would be the case? Strange.

They roll in a table stacked with high heels. You would have thought Zac had won the lottery when he saw it. He was over-the-top thrilled.

He tells us that team Diva (Yigit, Heather and Zac) makes Gail show them her shoes every morning. Gail says these shoes (on the display table) are not from her personal collection. Each chef draws a number and then gets to choose a pair for inspiration.

They have to design an edible outfit that will match their shoes AND do two couture petits fours for 60 people. Oh, I guess they don’t want people chomping on the dress, so they’ll make little samples with the same flavors. Not a bad idea.

They go shopping. Zac buys two toilet plungers.

They get back to the kitchen and they each have mannequin to work with. Then we see a basket full of lingerie. I have no idea if that’s for all of them or if someone bought that in the supermarket. This is odd.

Heather H. is blowing around luster dust or something. Gross. Didn’t we learn that was a no-no in a previous week?

We also learned that Heather was adopted from South Korea when she was eight. Zac makes boob covers out of chocolate using the plungers as forms.

Johnny comes in and tells the chefs to stop what they’re doing. He says the winner of this challenge will get $20,000. I won’t even say what Yigit says in response. It’s a reference about what’s in his pants because he’s so excited. Ew.

Heather complains (to us) about Morgan and how he talks down to women. I agree. He refers to his mannequin as a sexy bitch and he makes too big a point about what a man he is. He finishes early because all he did was glue chocolate disks to the form. Heather and Zac definitely think his dress is laughable. Eric’s looks like a kindergarten project.

Heather C’s dress is soooo hideous that I can’t believe it. She has dried-up turnips sewn on the bottom of the dress and greens wrapped around the shoulders as a shawl. Eric’s dress is also a complete disaster. His chocolate isn’t sticking. His cookies aren’t working.

The next day they set everything up. Their mannequins have their own pedestal by a station with each chef's name on it. The fashionista guests come in, followed by the judges.

Here are all the petits fours and other desserts they made.

I’m not completely getting if the petits fours have to be the exact same flavors as the dresses. Sherry says Erika’s petits fours are not bite-sized, which is the first rule of petits fours. I think a bunch of them failed at that as well. Erika’s dress is trimmed with popcorn, but I don’t see any popcorn in her petits fours.

Zac’s looks like a gladiator dress. His petits fours look like pasties and little makeup kits. They’re cute actually.

Sherry likes the texture of Zac’s cookie. Johnny (whose hair has so much product on it that it looks like a molded plastic helmet) says the ganache leaves a sandy texture on the tongue. Doesn’t that mean it was overheated?

Dannielle (the judge) is hesitant to say how much she hates Eric’s dress. And one of his petits four is just a big piece of chocolate cake. Johnny says it was poorly executed. That’s one way of describing a complete embarrassment of a project.

Heather C’s dress is a true monstrosity. The skirt is big leaves of romaine lettuce. The belt is glued-on pink peppercorns. And the top is leeks. What was the assignment? Wasn't it to make EDIBLE fashion? This isn't THAT. And it's totally ugly. The petits fours look like molded chocolates. Johnny points out that the only pastry technique on her dress was a smear of royal icing to form the belt. WHY did they bring her back? They absolutely should have given Tim another chance.

Yigit is really annoying, but his dress is made of lovely white chocolate feathers, with blue ones along the neckline. It’s much prettier than his inspiration of Bjork’s swan dress.

Morgan is impressed with himself as he shows off his chocolate disk dress to the judges. He did have a really clever idea for one of the petits fours, though. He made one look like a jeweled cocktail ring. (If Morgan tells us one more time that he’s a heterosexual male, I personally will get him a subscription to The Advocate.) The judges are impressed and they don’t say anything about his dress being too simple.

Heather H’s dress looks great and her accompanying macaron looks flawless. Dannielle is super-impressed with her chocolate draping. But Johnny says Morgan’s macaron was much better.

Danielle did a vegetable dress too. It looks like the savory version of a Carmen Miranda outfit. I take that back. It’s nowhere near as nice.

The skirt is made of leeks. Johnny remarks that this is the second chef who’s “applied“ vegetables rather than pastry products to their dress.

Luckily, that was the last one.

On to Judges’ Table. They want to see Yigit, Zac and Morgan. They’re the top three finishers. Sherry announces the winner and it’s Morgan. Ohhh, Heather is going to be mad. He wins $20,000.

I’m sure the two vegetable girls will be called it. Yup, Heather C, Eric and Danielle go in. Eric says this challenge was incredibly difficult for him.

Heather C. makes a feeble excuse that everyone else was doing chocolate. Johnny: "Didn’t you think the dress was lacking a little bit of pastry technique?” She basically says at least it wasn't boring chocolate. Johnny says there wasn’t ANYTHING sweet on it at all. They didn’t like her petits fours either.

Danielle’s dress had the same problem. They were both equally horrific and both chefs seem clueless that vegetables ensembles were inappropriate for a PASTRY competition. Sherry did like the flavor of Eric’s petits fours, even though they were too big.

And the loser is…Heather again. She STILL says, “I like what I did” and that the dress reflected her. I wouldn’t have admitted that.

This was a really bad episode. This show is not doing it for me. You?

Maybe the problem is that underneath all the posturing and bravado are a bunch of people that I don’t particularly care about. Seth ruined the beginning of the show and gave me such a low threshold for patience that I don’t really want to stick around.

Gail is perfectly affable, but not strong enough to take control when it’s necessary. Dannielle is lovely and knowledgeable, but the two minutes she’s on camera don’t give her much of a chance to shine. And Johnny hasn’t asserted himself a lot either. The show seems kind of rudderless and the chefs aren’t extraordinary enough (either personality-wise or talent-wise) to carry it.


Anonymous said...

I agree, I don't really like it, but I keep watching. They're all kind of insane. And too cliquey, and I wanted to slap "Team Diva". Shut the eff up.

I thought it was weird that they didn't show Eric and Heather's souffle, although until you mentioned Heather I couldn't remember who else they'd skipped. I also didn't understand the unicorn comment to Heather. I think that it was probably part of a larger conversation, and that they edited it to make it seem as though Sherry was telling Heather her souffle was crap, since she wound up on the bottom.

While Morgan's dress may have been simple, I think Heather was disingenous to slam on him so much, when Yigit's was basically the same, only the chocolate was free-formed, which I'd think if you're a trained pastry chef would be easy peasy to knock a ton of those off. And it's funny, that again Heather spent so much time on her "showpiece" that her desserts fell short.

Sue said...

Hi Amy,
That last comment about Heather is a really good point. She's so concerned about the BIG picture or big item that she doesn't concentrate on what the judges are actually tasting.

I don't know why, but she also hasn't connected with any of the challenges in a particularly meaningful way. She's one of the most accomplished chefs there, but week after week, they say the flavor of what she makes is not that great. Maybe her not-so-sweet personality is reflected in her baking.

Emily said...

I didn't really like this episode that much. Haha they didn't show Eric's souffle! I hadn't noticed that. Good eye.

LOL molded plastic helmet...

The challenge to create a centerpiece dress was kind of ridiculous, I think. What else was ridiculous was that two of the contestants chose to use vegetables instead of sugar and chocolate.

I completely agree with you about the show... I'm losing interest fast.

Sue said...

WHY do we keep watching?!!

astheroshe said...


OK let's chat!..

I am SUPER UPSET at TPJD! There was an uber famous pastry chef in the crowd. Stephan Treand, MOF at the chocolate dress show. He was the guy with the blue sweater and soul patch. They kept calling him a "fashionista". ARE you f''''ing kidding me?? He desereves way more respect than that. He is a world class sugar and chocolate chef. He won the title as MOF in FRANCE! That title is what the movie "KIngs of Pastry "is all about. It is very rare and special to win that title! DAMN them.

I actually like Morgan. I can't help myself. Maybe it is he looks :/. BUT, His work is very good! I loved his dress, and even though it looked simple. It was very shiny. All that chocolate was tempered perfectly. NOT easy. and that ring.. was clever. And making a perfecrt macaron..also, not easy! Yes, he has some issues, but also who knows how they edit.

I still like Yigit..I thought his banter with Gail was funny, but i do not like Teanm Diva, as a whole. They are too cliquey.

On regular TP everyone supported each other. Here everyone is tearing each other down. NOT professional , at all.

Baking pastry is made to share. It is such a giving thing. But everyone on this show seems so selfish. I think this is why it is not so fun to watch.

Heather is from Atlanta, and i know a chef who knows her. He did not give me much insight into her personality, but she did win the Sugar artist showpiece competition at school ( i think when she attended it) . So maybe that is why she focuses so much on her big pieces, vs her desserts. She just may be more comfortable making them.

as for the rest of them, dulls-ville. No one seems to have a genuine quality about them ..maybe that is why we are all having issues with the show.

Looking foward to tonight.. I will keep watching....

Sue said...

Hi Astheroshe,

“Finally”?!! Just kidding, you’re so right, it takes me ages to write about this long-winded show.

It’s funny, I totally missed Stéphane Tréand. I was probably spreading marshmallow fluff on a stale graham cracker at the time – that’s how inspired this show leaves me.

Morgan has been coming up with good stuff, so I guess I like his “product”, but, c'mon, he IS a real dirtbag. His cocktail ring was amazing, literally good enough to wear.

Yigit looks like a sweet choirboy, but then he opens his mouth and trash comes out.

I thought Heather would be doing better. On paper she’s so accomplished, but for whatever reason she’s just not connecting with the challenges.

I agree that because they’re supposed to be making such wonderful, sweet things, it’s surprising how poorly the chefs treat each other.

Emily said...

I don't know. Why do we? Boredom?