To thoroughly enjoy the glory that is Top Chef Just Desserts, we welcome Bryan Petroff and Doug Quint of NYC's Big Gay Ice Cream who will be here every week to take us through the season.
Multimedia advisory: whenever you read the name REBECCA in this recap, go to sadtrombone.com and hit PLAY.
During the opening, we have a hard time deciding if we’re watching TCJD or Jersey Shore — everyone is talking about how fun the waterslides were from earlier in the day, people are drinking while wearing towels and swimsuits, and we get to watch a few of the least gangsta girls in existence attempt to get all gangsta as the rift between Katzie and Sally widens.
Here’s a few pieces of advice for our latter-day Lil Kims:
Katzie – wearing pearls during the day does not scream “I’ll cut you!”
Sally – you’re an instructor? This is how you behave when around those “younger than you”? No wonder they seem to turn out like Craig. Then again, we find out later that original Top Cheffer Marcel Vigneron is your homeboy, so- eh. Nevermind.
Both – leave the posturing to those that get paid to do it. Lady Sovereign, reprezzent:
The editors really seemed to go into overdrive for this episode, inserting shots of eye-rolling and lip-pursing at every opportunity. Let's just remind reality-competition chefs not to act too sensitive before the camera, lest you prove yourself only fit to bake space cakes at the Sensi Cafe.
The contestants think ice sculptures might be their next challenge. While we wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case, we doubt any of them were expecting what they get: pork and beans.
Jordan Kahn from the LA restaurant Red Medicine is the guest judge. Honestly, we don’t really know who he is or his restaurant – except for the whole “outing and booting a restaurant critic” controversy they got themselves in last year. That said, based on the photos of his menu from the Red Medicine website, Jordan would be a shoe-in for Bravo’s latest spin off Top Florist:
The pastriphiles must cook a dessert using root vegetables as a main ingredient. Maybe this is not something that pastry chefs do every day, but we don't feel that it's a crazy stretch.
Our chefs descend upon a strange Chia garden that the producers have created; each digs up a vegetable. Quite a few can't quite figure out what they are holding, and so far in the series this is the one moment where one really questions the chef's general knowledge. Reverse-sphered yogurt they can do — but identify a turnip? Not so easy, apparently. Go with it, people, please. If you think this is bad, just wait for what is waiting for you after commercial break. Study before you go on TV, folks! Know your fruits and vegetables. Rebecca lands herself a potato (never go with the prettiest leaves!) If coal or an old John Deere tractor manual were root vegetables, she would have drawn one of those. Carlos pulls up celery root, and naturally he pairs it with peanut butter.
He ends up in the bottom two. Perhaps he shouldn’t have stretched too far from his repertoire and gone with this to help:
Judge Hairdo and Gail make the rounds. Chris garnishes after time is called, so he's disqualified. Rebecca blurts out "i can't cook to save my life" and is reminded that saying so while a contestant on a cooking show, is probably not a wise showing.
Every time Katzie's name comes up, we get a shot of Sally rolling her eyes. Sally pulls the win and immunity from elimination and $5000, so then we get a shot of dejected Katzie.
A man appears who is a rock star. We had to pause the TV here: Bryan knew him — that's Adam Horowitz from The Beastie Boys. Doug only knows one thing about The Beastie Boys; that his friend Dominique was in one of their videos for about .8 seconds:
The Beastie Boys reference a bunch of different foods in their lyrics, so the challenge is thus: pick two of the foods that are set out in the "Top Chef Beastie Boys pantry." Pork and beans, a cucumber, some stuffing? basically the chefs will be working with a bunch of crap.
Matthew's look sums the ingredient options up quite nicely.
Orlando ends up saying what we’ve all been hoping for — whodathunkit — they finally get to cook for themselves, by themselves. Of course nothing ever comes without a catch on these shows, and their first outing on their own is from a fucked-up pantry selection. Orlando decides to do what any sensible person would: get drunk and stop giving a shit!
But wait — there's a hitch! For reals, yo. Each chef gets to sabotage another by placing a wild-card item into their mix. For example, Orlando picks rum and coffee with cream and sugar, and is then saddled with some peas. Rebecca chooses a forty ounce malt liquor and some ham, but then Sally sticks her with some falafel balls.
Chris self-sabotages and picks pizza and pork and beans.
Let’s get to work. Sally hacks up a chicken, and Orlando dips Nilla Wafers in chocolate. For real, Orlando? Why not just open a box of Oreos?
Carlos admits to defacing public property and uses popcorn and bacon. What, no Corn Pops?
We simply don't get the point of these "cook with or inspired by garbage" challenges. Maybe if they all had to cook with the same ingredients I could hear an argument — but a wild mash of prepackaged stuff doesn't create a level playing field. This is like having an architectural competition: one person gets to work with milk crates, another with balls of cat hair.
Katzie’s idea to do French Fries with sweet dipping sauces screams, “I don’t know what the hell to do, so I’ll let the crowd figure it out for themselves.” And, Katzie, didn’t you learn anything from the Quickfire when Rebecca pretty much did the exact same thing with her potato by making French Fries and a chocolate malt? That landed her in the bottom of the Quick Fire!
This is just too much! We need a commercial break.
Wait a minute! There’s a poll, cuz Bravo needs your 99 cents. But what the hell are they asking exactly? Who is right ABOUT WHAT?? Well, if you've got 99 cents and a strong opinion, let Bravo know your feelings about this poignant topic!
We're back from commercial break, and back at the loft. There are no major revelations, except that Chris and Matthew both have kids. Two straight guys in twin beds, with this much lotion on the bedside table that they share? the whole scene is kinda peculiar. BUT ANYHOO!
Let's get back to cooking, okay? Please? Darn it — we're already done in the kitchen, and once again we are left without Johnny making rounds. That was the best part of episode five, and we can't imagine why it wasn't a part of this episode. The chefs set up their food in a nice industrial space. Katzie really did make fries and dipping sauces — her service area is a big mess of squirt bottles and shakers. She wants people to "have fun, use different sauces? do your thing" which sounds to us like "the eater should take the blame."
Marcel Vigneron then shows up, if you need something beyond Katzie's fries to help you lose your appetite.
Orlando's serves a cup of glop with peas and a Nilla Wafer dumped on top. He defends his straight-from-the-box cookie; "there's only four hours and I had to make 150 portions." Yeah, well, never mind.
Rebecca, Katzie and Megan are called to the judges, and informed that their desserts were all fairly craptastic. Rebecca kinda looses her mind and freaks out, probably because she's on national TV being called out for trying to make a dessert with what may has well have been a dead seagull.
Megan’s cake went dry, and the side of onions didn't do much for the judges. Katzie can't really defend her lame dipping sauces, and she doesn't try. The top folks are Matthew, Chris, and Sally, who seem to have made their nonsensical ingredients (chicken skin, pizza, beans and franks, etc.) into palatable nonsensical desserts. Gravy through a whipped-creamer on cheesecake with cornbread crust gives Matthew the win.
Rebecca gets bounced out for whatever it was she tried to patch together, and goes out with the most graceful exit speech yet in the series:
We never need to hear another chef say "a play on" or "a take on" (yadda yadda) again. Okay? Thanks.