Thursday, October 7, 2010

Top Chef Just Desserts – The Ranks Are Thinning And A Jab At Gail…By Me

Top Chef Just Desserts - Lucent Dossier

Do the producers of TCJD (remember we agreed on that as an abbreviation for Top Chef Just Desserts TCJD?) not understand that Seth is a BORE?!!

We’re 6 minutes into TCJD and Seth has already had 2 meltdowns. First, he was unhappy that they were using Breyers ice cream in a challenge and not homemade. Heather – the good one, the other one was booted off last week – said (somewhat disingenuously) “I LIKE Breyers”…yeah, sure she does…when the cameras are on.

Seth’s second hissy fit was worse, because it involved interactions with off-camera producers. We’re not supposed to see that stuff! THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE REAL!

Anyway, Seth got po’ed because, first, the producers said they could use stuff they brought from home and, THEN, they said they couldn’t. So unhinged Seth THROWS OUT his items (we don’t SEE this, we just hear about it) and then later the producers change their minds. He’s really mad now that he doesn’t have his stuff for the challenge.

But what exactly are the specialized ingredients or pieces of equipment that is he being forced to do without? PAPER CUPS!!! Yes, that’s what I said…PAPER CUPS is the source of Seth’s freakout.

I’m reaching my Seth limit. PLEASE don’t make me watch Hording - Buried Alive instead of TCJD. But, honestly, I would rather see piles of old crap and moldy rats than watch this nonsense with Seth again. I’ll give it another few minutes.

Oh good, he’s stormed off.

Well, well, well, my commenters from last week were right. Sirens go off, Seth is lying on the ground and the medics minister to him. Then in his after-the-fact interview, he tells us he had a panic attack and fainted.

Honestly I feel sorry for the guy, but mostly I feel sorry for ME! THIS is not what I signed up to watch! I don’t want to see this debacle documented by cooking show cameras. It’s making me feel yucky.

Seth says he feels like a crazy person. FINALLY, HE’S MAKING SENSE.

Oh good news. He tells us he’s not cleared to continue competing and, whether they take him away in their LAPD red ambulance or he leaves some other way, I think the era of Seth is over. Yay.

Johnny goes to the stew room and gives the other chefs the news that Seth is not returning. No one is too broken up by it.

The chefs go back in front of Gail and Gale Gand. They each get a different flavor of ice cream and they have 30 minutes to make an ice cream sundae. Now THIS is why I’m watching – to make me run to the freezer and binge on a month’s worth of ice cream calories!

Zac has a very clever idea. “Black Forest Is Burning” Sundae With Deep Fried Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

Honestly, unless it’s executed horribly (which this isn’t), how could he lose?

Erika’s sounds pretty awesome too.

Chocolate Banana S’mores Frangelico Sundae

I think it’s pretty hard to make a misstep with ice cream. I take that back. Morgan’s looks dreadful. It looks like melted chocolate ice cream in a martini glass.

Morgan gets weepy as he tells the Gails (Gales) that he gets his son on Sunday and so he made this SUNDAY thinking of his son. That’s great, but it looks like he mushed oreos and mint chocolate chip ice cream together to make a drink. OH! Sorry, that’s chocolate milk in the glass, which goes WITH the sundae he made.

Whatever…I detest mint with chocolate. It belongs in tea poured from on high in a carpet kiosk deep within the souks of Marrakesh…And in juleps too.

Heather H.

Vanilla Fudge Twirl – Bananas Foster Sundae

Eric

Natural Vanilla With Sautéed Peaches, Brandy & Crisp

Malika

Cookies And Cream With Malted Chocolate Caramel Sauce And Bananas

Even though I could do without the bananas in ALL of them, Malika’s looks the most sundae-like. It’s got a big head of beautifully whipped cream and a cherry on top. I’m not seeing anything wrong with most of these.

Yigit

Peanut Butter & S’Mores Cookie Dough Sundae

Yigit’s looks like a s’more with the ice cream NEXT to it, not as part of the dish.

Danielle

Rocky Road Meet Neapolitan Sundae

Uck, I HATE Neapolitan ice cream and hers looks dark and murky and kind of sludge-like.

The worst:

Eric, Danielle (good!), and Erika’s because Gail had told them they didn’t want nuts and bananas and that’s what Erika gave them. I thought hers looked awesome, but whatever.

The best:

Zac (KNEW IT!); Yigit (really?) and Morgan

The winner is Morgan. He’s going to get all doe-eyed, because he made it for his son. Sniff sniff.

The Elimination Challenge is going to be 3 teams of 3, but because Seth left they’re bringing someone back. Let it be TIM! And it’s…Heather. DARN!

They pick teams and the Elimination Challenge is create desserts inspired by the Lucent Dossier Experience. That sounds like either a software company or the name of a French spy.

The chefs watch a performance and, after seeing it, Heather H. describes it as a cross between Mad Max and Cirque de Soleil.

I thought it was closer to the kind of nightmare you’d have after eating sardines on top of ice cream.

Their assignment is for each team member to make a dessert plus a flaming centerpiece AND a flaming dessert. Oh, wait, that last thing IS the flaming centerpiece…I think.

They all get busy. The best part is when Zac MAKES A MOLD OF HIS FACE OUT OF CHOCOLATE. Okay, this is a wow!

It looks like THIS is how he did it:

Zac started with a rectangular stainless steel container full of brown sugar.

He covered the sugar with waxed paper.

Then Malika pushed Zac’s face right into the sugar. He TOLD her to, she wasn’t having a fit. And, of course, his face was covered with the wax paper.

Then he removed the waxed paper (after removing his face) and he poured melted chocolate into the indentations left in the brown sugar.

When it was all hardened, it became a mask of Zac’s face.

SO interesting. Zac rinses it off under cold water. THAT is cool.

Heather C., by the way, should never have come back. She’s freaking out, she can’t do anything on her own and she’s making drama for everyone else. Not Seth-sized drama, but immature drama, nonetheless. Oy!

At the house Heather H. is fed up with Heather C.

The chefs go to the Lucent Dossier place and they set up their big showpieces. The campy performers arrive as the chefs are finishing setting up. I’m wondering what would happen if aliens suddenly arrived and saw the leather–bound contortionists and fire-flaming depraved dandies. What they would think?

Johnny is looking on, highly approving the scene in front of him.

Zac’s team has the most out-there display, which certainly seems the most appropriate for the occasion.

Gail comes in and introduces the judges – Gale Gand, Hubert is there (he’s French, so this type of thing probably happens in his house all the time) and Johnny.

The dishes are all here.

The first group shows off its desserts to the judges. Gail asks them to describe how each relates to the showpiece, which Heather H. created. It’s a bunch of different geometrical shapes, covered in chocolate, on top of each other. There may have been some chocolate feathers in there too.

Morgan says the chocolate crescent in his dessert is echoed in the room. Eric and Heather just name their desserts with no mention of WHY they made what they did. (Incidentally, Morgan’s “acai fluid gel” sounds vaguely disturbing…I guess it’s perfectly appropriate for the place.)

The judges liked the first group’s showpiece and everything but the flaming dessert. Johnny got a piece of star anise in his serving. Eric complained earlier that it was so dark that he couldn’t see to take out all the whole spices. Uh-oh.

Zac’s team theme of naughty and nice was carried over very well in their dishes. The judges liked the glamorous showpiece, but they didn’t like Heather C’s dessert. They loved Mailka’s saffron panna cotta and Zac’s sticky, gooey black forest cake.

The last team’s theme was sexy, sultry and sassy. (Did the first team even HAVE a theme?) They talked about how their desserts related to the theme. WAIT, there’s a HUGE problem. Yigit’s team didn’t flambé their dessert in front of the judges. Johnny is particularly is miffed.

As they’re finishing up, Morgan says Heather H. is acting moody. Why? She won’t say.

Back at judges’ table, Morgan, Heather H. and Eric get called in first. They are the winning team. And the winner is Morgan…again. Heather H. looks kind of mad. Ohhh, here it comes!

Heather is mad that Morgan did only one dessert and she worked on the centerpiece AND a dessert. Ew, this isn’t pretty. Anger is so not sweet. Morgan says (to us) she volunteered to make the showpiece so she should be angry with HERSELF, if anyone.

The other two teams get called in individually to explain some stuff to the judges. Johnny is really fed up that Yigit’s team “neglected to present the judges with a flaming dessert”. He really wanted to see that fire.

Hubert is kind as he explains that to be fair to the other two teams, who did flame it up for the judges, that THIS was an issue. Clearly on TCJD this week, the flamers have an advantage.

The last team gets called in. They liked Zac’s dessert, mostly. Just as Gale is saying that Malika’s dessert was one of her favorites of the night, Malika interrupts to ask if they would consider sending her home tonight.

Gail asks Malika if that really what she wants to do and Gail tells her again that her dessert was the best they’ve seen her do.

Malika says she doesn’t want either of her teammates to go home, when they really want to be Top Chef. She’s a weirdo. Gail doesn’t argue and tells Malika to go to the kitchen and pack up her tools.

What is it with these pastry chefs? Are their psyches so much more delicate than other chefs?!! And how did these people get this far and what did they expect would happen?

Basically, then, Gale Gand’s visit was a complete waste. She got to watch several melt-downs and have a few bites of dessert.

In Malika’s after-interview, she says the two most important things to her are her children and cooking. She said that she doesn’t “enjoy cooking in a competitive environment”. WELL, WHAT DID SHE THINK TOP CHEF WAS?!! GIRL SCOUT CAMP!

So dumb, I feel as if we wasted every second we spent watching Malika. What was the point if all she was going to do was bail? This is irritating, especially since it means we’ll be subjected to Heather C. for another week. Thanks a lot, Malika.

She’s a nitwit. Sorry, but really.

Why is it that every episode of Top Chef Just Desserts leaves us disappointed? What is going on? Shouldn’t we be thrilled by the yummy richness and delightful whimsy of delicious desserts. I started to get that feeling during the Quickfire, but then these nutty chefs do stuff so ridiculous that it takes all the fun away.

Malika should have read this before she signed on. It’s actually amazing how many of these things apply to Seth.

I had to see what Gail said after this episode. She said absolutely NOTHING of any import. When asked what she thought about the whole Seth thing, THIS was her answer:

Seth is a super-talented pastry chef, and I wish him all the very best for his future.

Oh, puleez! There would have been so many better ways to answer that question than that namby-pamby response. It reminded me of CNN’s “We wish him well” remark about Rick Sanchez.

I would have said: “IF you’re ALREADY insane, BEFORE you come to Top Chef, be aware that you’ll probably be driven further over the top before you’re asked to leave…or you beg to leave.”

OR Gail could have taken a middle ground and said:

“I don’t think people realize what a highly stressful situation Top Chef is. It’s a fast-paced, sleep deprived, think-on-your-feet environment that’s very challenging and nerves get frayed.” And NOT “I wish him the best.”

I ragged on Padma a bit this season, but I can’t see her EVER making a statement like that. I love Gail (who doesn’t?), but this is the same thing as when she literally looked away when Seth was raging in the bar. Show a few cojones.

Johnny’s answer showed a bit more insight, although I disagree with one thing. Read this first from Johnny’s blog:

“I’m very sad to see Seth have to leave the show. He is tremendously talented, and I believe he would have shown us great technique and made really delicious food. Having been in a very similar situation a few years back when I lost my own mother, I sympathize and can relate to his emotional state. The best thing for Seth was to leave the show and to rejoin his family.”

No! The best thing would have been if Seth had never been on the show in the first place. He was clearly too fragile to take the stress and it certainly doesn’t seem as if he did himself any favors with his truncated appearance.

5 comments:

Emily said...

Oh man - you're right. This episode was hard to watch, just like the others. So far this show isn't doing it for me. I'm going to continue watching for now, though. I think.

I wished we could have watched more Gale Gand and less of everything else. I love her!

I think maybe it will get better now that Seth got kicked off. What a nutcase! To think I actually thought he might win in the first episode! Ha.

The good Heather is a little scary, no?

I think Malika was planning on quitting this whole episode. Don't you think? That made me mad. They shouldn't allow people to do that! It was a waste of my time to sit there and watch.

Tom said...

I wonder if the exactness of most baking, and maybe by extension all dessert making, makes pastry chefs a little more prone to freak out when things are out of their control? A little more of this or that and you can really ruin a dessert, while that rarely happens in cooking.

Sue said...

Hey Em,
You're right, I would have liked a lot more Gale Gand action. Heather H. is a little off the wall. And, actually, I think Malika wanted to leave last week as well.

Tom,
Yeah, that's true. When you don't have control of all the elements, I guess it could drive you batty. It seems like many chefs are just angry, but pastry chefs are CUR-RAZZEE!

astheroshe said...

HOOOLY CANOLI!

I finally watched last night. That was a train wreck.

My husband said, "I thought you were going to stop watching"", but i was sure Seth was gonna pass out , so i had to see.

Sure enough, this time he did not disappoint me :) When that whole CUPS thing was going on, i was so confused. I had no idea what they were doing or talking about! It was the perfect reason for the producers to rid him from the show. Anyone else, and they would have allowed a medical workup, then allow them to return. I can never see him getting a job anywhere!

And why was he shaving in the KITCHEN!!!?? Although i have to say his most redeeming quality was his nice body and cool tattoo on his back. I wish i knew what it read. :)

Malika.. I could slap her silly. When i think they put this girl on here, and not my friend Never mind the hundreds of other CHEFS who would die to be on there.

Ditto for Heather 1, and 2. I could not believe how pissed she was she lost swearing at Morgan!

and the other one..such a cry baby. She is worthless. I am a better Chef than her!

and Morgan,..nice to look at. I hate when people play the "child ""I miss my family card""..It has only been a few weeks! Loser!

Still love YIT..and i love his tattoo too, from last episode. Please show more of him ..LOOL

Amy said...

They are all freakin' insane!

You know the producers just wanted him gone, otherwise they wouldn't have shown what happened in the stew room. Now we know their secrets! They get time to think of what they're going to make in the quickfire, it's not immediate!

Heather fancy-pants was really bitchy. She had no one to blame but herself. She wanted to make the showpiece herself. She took all the credit for it. So your dessert wasn't good enough. Suck it up whiney.

I want to stick my kids' faces in brown sugar and make chocolate molds for their birthday party!