Top Chef: Just Dessert Recap – Ben and Sylvia’s 61st
Eight down, three to go before we crown the winner of the stellar inaugural season of Top Chef: Just Desserts. The final four get ready and we find out that Yigit has a bad feeling about his upcoming challenge; stop being defeatist, Yigit! Danielle has to be going home tonight, right? Morgan feels empty and lonely, because none of the other chefs like him. It’s not just the other chefs, Morgan.
Quickfire! There’s a giant pile of Godiva chocolates in the kitchen, and I’m extremely glad that the “don’t use chocolate” nightmare of last week is over. It’s a dessert competition, people. You should be eliminated for NOT using chocolate. Francois Payard is the guest judge; he’s Morgan’s old boss and a “tough cookie” according to Zac. He’s also almost completely incomprehensible. They’re called subtitles, Bravo, and they’re very helpful. The chefs have to tell their life story through four chocolates that they will create; each chocolate must represent a milestone in their lives, and one must rise above the others as the “golden moment.” The winning chef gets their chocolate produced by Godiva, and distributed nationally.
The chefs go on to speak extensively about their “golden moments,” and the urge to make a “golden shower” joke here is growing almost too much to bear. Morgan’s “golden moment” is the birth of his son. Yigit’s “golden moment” is when he fell in love with his boyfriend. Zac’s “golden moment” is his parent’s 35th wedding anniversary. Danielle’s “golden moment” is when she opened her business. Thank god, there’s only four chefs left for this challenge, one more and my head would have exploded. Payard judges the chefs, and poor Yigit doesn’t finish his in time and has to present only three chocolates; Payard doesn’t even bother to offer him feedback on the three he did complete. Yigit, my man, I need a deep cleansing breath from you, you’re better than this. Morgan winds up winning the challenge, and gets one of his bon-bons produced nationally. I don’t like Morgan, so I’m not going back to figure out which one; instead I’ll head back to Eric’s shop, Baked in Red Hook, and have another salty/sweet brownie. Cause they’re awesome.
Elimination challenge! Each chef must create an anniversary cake for Ben and Sylvia’s 61st anniversary (hence the title). Ben walks in is completely charming when he tells the story of meeting his wife on the beach in her yellow bikini. The winner receives $15,000, and the chefs will be judged by the overall look and flavor of their cake. Um…duh. This challenge seems far too straightforward, I’m guessing there will be a twist. Like not being able to use frosting, or flour, or eggs. Sorry, still bitter about the whole “no chocolate” thing last week. Sure enough, as soon as the chefs return from shopping, Gail walks in to announce the twist: the Sylvia who is celebrating her anniversary is Sylvia Weinstock, the cake queen from the third challenge. She tells the chefs that she and her husband like, among other things, chocolate, lemon and sex. I love a feisty guest judge.
Morgan is commenting on Zac and his certainty that Zac would sabotage another contestant in the final, when Eddie Munster walks in! I thought he was fictitious! Oh, wait, no that just Johnny Iuzzini. He’s happy that Zac is going outside of his comfort zone. He’s proud of Morgan for listening to Sylvia’s advice that last time. He’s worried that Yigit is making his cake too complicated. He doesn’t appear to have any opinion on Danielle either way except that she wants to be in the finale and this is her chance. Again I say um…duh.
Judging time! Morgan’s cake gets high marks from the judges, both for his impressive cake topper: a miniature piano, filled with pink roses with a yellow bikini top on the bench. It makes sense if you heard the whole story, and I have to admit it’s pretty cool. Danielle’s cake gets high marks for flavor, but low ones for her battleship grey frosting. Zac’s cake frankly looks like it was decorated by a kindergarten class that was being encouraged to color outside the lines. Even he admits it was a visual “cake-astrophe.” He gets middling marks for flavor; Zac’s in trouble. Yigit gets high marks for presentation, but Iuzzini proves precognitive and he gets dinged for being too complicated.
Judges table! All four chefs get called in at the same time, and it looks like Francois Payard is the guest judge as opposed to Sylvia Weinstock; this is upsetting as I enjoy her and I can’t really understand what he’s saying. The judges are playing it very close to the vest and giving everyone middling reviews. Zac goes overboard defending himself and tries to call Morgan out for…well, I’m not really sure what. Not being excited enough at his wins? Sounds like sour grapes, Zac. Morgan comments that it’s not in his nature to “sing show-tunes” and “freak out like a little girl.” Um…bad color on anyone, Morgan. Gail is so taken aback by the nastiness that she actually almost chokes on her dismissal of them to the stew room. Gail is not accustomed to such displays.
I’m not even attempting to predict the loser here, because I’m really really afraid it’s going to be Yigit, and even if it isn’t Yigit it’s going to be Zac. Okay, and in the “Didn’t See THAT One Coming” category, Danielle wins! I’m okay with it…I’m actually just glad Morgan didn’t, and what’s so wrong with gray anyway (okay, it was ugly). Ultimately, Zac gets the axe, which sets up the finale between Good, Evil and…the Court Jester?
And some coconut whip cream for your ice cream sundae (seriously, just had some coconut whip cream the other night…so good!):
- The phrase “proper bon-bon technique” struck me as completely hilarious. Not sure why.
- Morgan’s son’s name is Dorian Zen, which means “golden gift of peace.” Must. Not. Mock. Child. Oh, and I have two nephews; they’re golden gifts and all, but peaceful is the last thing I would call them. And please stop using the word “golden.”
- Say what you want about Danielle (and I do) but she has certainly mastered the art of commenting on the other’s dishes without coming off as nasty. Zac saying she looked like Marilyn Manson and Morgan’s constant implications of Zac being a little girl aren’t nice moments for either of them. Yigit seems to generally not participate in the nastiness, but Danielle actually has good-natured fun with it. Her idea that Morgan’s winning quickfire chocolate should be a picture of him frowning made me laugh, as did her exasperated “Good grief!” at his constant dourness.
- I love how when Gail walks into the kitchen, she strides in like a model on the runway. She gets excellent hair movement, like she’s walking into a lightly blowing fan. Tyra would be proud.
- “I’m scrambling to bubble-wrap my cakes.” If I had a nickel.
- Finale next week! Then one week off and then…Top Chef: All Stars! Hootie!? Hoo!!
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