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Offline apskip

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Top Chef: Just Desserts
« on: July 02, 2010, 09:17:00 PM »
Here is the latest announcement from the BRAVO network:

SWEET! BRAVO ANNOUNCES JUDGES FOR "TOP CHEF: JUST DESSERTS"

Renowned Pastry Chef Johnny Iuzzini Joins as Head Judge; Acclaimed Chef Hubert Keller and DailyCandy's Dannielle Kyrillos Serve as Judges; And "Top Chef" and "Top Chef Masters" Judge Gail Simmons Set To Host

NEW YORK - July 1, 2010 - Bravo sweetens the deal as "Top Chef: Just Desserts" -- a spin-off of the popular Emmy-nominated and James Beard Award-winning "Top Chef" -- adds celebrated pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini as Head Judge with critically acclaimed chef Hubert Keller and DailyCandy Editor-at-Large Dannielle Kyrillos rounding out the judges' table. As previously announced, "Top Chef" judge Gail Simmons will serve as the host of Bravo's newest delectable delight that airs on Bravo later this year. For more information, visit www.BravoTV.com. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BravoPR.

Each episode of "Top Chef: Just Desserts" holds two challenges for the pastry chefs: the first is a quickfire test of their basic abilities and the second is a more involved elimination challenge designed to test the versatility and inventiveness of the pastry chefs as they take on unique culinary trials such as working with unusual and exotic ingredients or catering for a range of demanding clients.

Iuzzini, one of the country's most celebrated and innovative pastry chefs, joins as head judge of "Top Chef: Just Desserts." Currently the Executive Pastry Chef at Restaurant Jean Georges, which has three Michelin stars, and Nougatine, Iuzzini has received numerous accolades throughout his career. In May 2006, The James Beard Foundation awarded Iuzzini "Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year," for which he was also nominated in 2003; he was named one of the Comite Colbert's "Emerging Young Artists of 2000;" earned the title of "Best New Pastry Chef" by New York Magazine in 2002; and was named one of the "10 Best Pastry Chefs in America" by Pastry Art and Design Magazine in 2003 and 2004. Iuzzini, who has appeared as a guest judge on "Top Chef," published his first cookbook, Dessert Fourplay in 2008.

Keller will be a familiar face to "Top Chef" fans having appeared multiple times as a guest judge on "Top Chef" and as a contestant on season one of "Top Chef Masters." His world-renowned restaurants, Fleur de Lys San Francisco and Las Vegas, feature Keller's contemporary French cooking accented with Mediterranean flavors. With his palate attuned to America's evolving tastes, Keller launched his wildly popular Burger Bar restaurants in Las Vegas, St Louis, and San Francisco as well as the cutting edge SLeeK Steakhouse and Ultra Lounge in St Louis. He has won numerous awards including the James Beard Foundation's "Best Chef: California" and has been elected to the Foundation's prestigious Who's Who in Food and Beverage. Food & Wine magazine tapped him as one of the ten Best New Chefs in America, and Restaurants & Institutions gave him its Ivy Award.

Entertaining expert and Editor-at-Large of DailyCandy, Kyrillos shares insider scoop with readers across the country on the latest news in food, fashion, travel, gifts and entertaining. She wrote several chapters of DailyCandy's two books, Daily Candy A to Z: An Insider's Guide to the Sweet Life and The DailyCandy Lexicon: Words That Don't Exist But Should. For the past four years, she has also helped cover the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen for Plum TV as an on-camera host.

Food & Wine's Simmons, who has been a judge on "Top Chef" for the past seven seasons, takes on the hosting duties of this highly competitive spin-off series showcasing the best of the best in the world of pastry arts. She is responsible for special projects for the magazine, acting as liaison between the marketing and editorial teams on magazine events and chef-related initiatives. During her tenure at the magazine, she has been responsible for the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, America's premier culinary event. Born in Toronto, Canada, Gail moved to New York City to attend culinary school at what is now the Institute of Culinary Education. She then trained in the kitchens of legendary Le Cirque 2000 and groundbreaking Vong restaurants, and worked for esteemed food critic Jeffrey Steingarten at Vogue as well as for chef Daniel Boulud. Throughout her career, Simmons has contributed to several cookbooks, including It Must've Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten, Chef Daniel Boulud: Cooking in New York City and The New American Chef, by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.


I think top Chef may be overdoing their exposure. Pastries pose a unique challenge and master chefs typically regard them as the one course to avoid in competitions if at all possible.


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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2010, 02:35:19 PM »
Here are blogs on the Top Chef: Just Desserts website on the judges for this new show starting soon:

Gail Simmons
    Host, Top Chef Just Desserts

Gail Simmons is a trained culinary expert, food writer, and dynamic television personality. Since the show’s inception in 2006, she has lent her extensive expertise as a permanent judge on BRAVO’s Emmy- winning hit series Top Chef. Now entering its seventh successful season, Top Chef is rated the No.1 food show on cable television. Most recently, Gail has been named host of Top Chef: Just Desserts, Bravo’s pastry- focused spin-off of the Top Chef franchise. Gail is also a regular judge on Top Chef Masters, the second season of which premiered in April 2010.
 
Gail joined FOOD & WINE in 2004 and handles special projects for the magazine, acting as liaison between the marketing and editorial teams on magazine events and chef-related initiatives, working closely with the country’s top culinary talent. During her tenure, she has been responsible for overseeing the annual FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, America’s premier culinary event. Prior to joining FOOD & WINE, Gail was the special events manager for Chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurant empire.
 
Gail was born in Toronto, Canada and moved to New York City in 1999 to attend culinary school at what is now the Institute of Culinary Education. She then trained in the kitchens of legendary Le Cirque 2000 and groundbreaking Vong restaurants, and worked for esteemed food critic Jeffrey Steingarten at Vogue. Throughout her career, Gail has contributed to several cookbooks, including It Must’ve Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten, Chef Daniel Boulud: Cooking in New York City, and The New American Chef by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.
 
Gail makes frequent television appearances on The Today Show, The CBS Early Show and Fox & Friends, among others. She has been featured in New York Magazine, Travel + Leisure, GQ, People Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Post. She also has appeared at the nation’s foremost culinary festivals including the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, New York City Wine & Food Festival, Pebble Beach Food & Wine, Kohler Food & Wine Experience, the Cayman Cookout, and the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen.
 
Gail is an active supporter of Common Threads, an organization that teaches low-income children to cook wholesome and affordable meals. She is also a founding member of the Grow for Good Campaign, an organization started by FOOD & WINE to raise funds and awareness for sustainable agriculture programs in the United States, and sits on the board of both the American Institute of Wine & Food and the Institute of Culinary Education’s Alumni Committee.
 
Gail currently lives in New York City with her husband, Jeremy.


Johnny Iuzzini
    Judge, Top Chef Just Desserts

Johnny Iuzzini is one of the country’s most celebrated and innovative pastry chefs. His interest in the pastry arts began at the age of 17 when he started working at The River Café in Brooklyn, New York. Although his primary responsibility at the restaurant was in garde-manger, Johnny frequently visited the pastry kitchen to marvel as Pastry Chef Eric Gouteyron piped chocolate butterflies. As Johnny’s fascination with pastry grew, he began assisting Chef Eric after completing his regular shifts in the kitchen. Johnny eventually moved to pastry full-time, cementing his desire to pursue a career as a pastry chef.

After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, Johnny joined the pastry department of the original Daniel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Over the next three and a half years, he mastered all of the dessert stations and became Pastry Chef Francois Payard’s right-hand man. When Chef Francois launched his eponymous pastry shop in the Summer of 1997, Johnny joined the opening team and was named Sous Chef. Shortly thereafter, he traveled to Europe where he apprenticed in some of France’s finest patisseries, including the famed Ladurée in Paris. He also completed an intensive two-week chocolate course at L’Ecole DGF du Chocolat et Patisserie.

In the Fall of 1998, Johnny returned to the US for the debut of Café Boulud and then moved to the 65th Street location of the new Daniel for its opening. Johnny was named Executive Sous Chef for the new restaurant and held that position for the next two years under Executive Pastry Chef Thomas Haas. During that time, Comite Colbert named Johnny one of its “Emerging Young Artists of 2000.”

In January 2001, Chef Daniel Boulud promoted Johnny to Executive Pastry Chef. The combination of talent and enthusiasm, and a long-standing working relationship with Daniel made Johnny the perfect choice for this position. Shortly after his rise to top job, Where Magazine awarded Johnny’s desserts “Best in NY 2001.”

In May of 2002, Chef/Owner Jean Georges Vongerichten named Johnny the Executive Pastry Chef at his famed four star name-sake, Restaurant Jean Georges, as well as its café, Nougatine. With this move, Johnny achieved much success. In November, 2002, he was awarded the title of “Best New Pastry Chef” by New York Magazine; in April 2003, he was nominated for “Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year” by the prestigious James Beard Foundation; and in June of that year, he was named one of the “10 Best Pastry Chefs in America” by Pastry Art and Design Magazine, an honor he received in 2004 as well.

In June 2005, Johnny joined Jean Georges in the opening of his newest restaurant, Perry Street. Johnny assumed the role of Executive Pastry Chef for this restaurant in addition to his responsibilities at Restaurant Jean Georges and Nougatine. Perry Street earned three stars from The New York Times. In November, Restaurant Jean Georges earned its most prestigious award to date, three Michelin stars.  It was one of only four restaurants in New York City to receive this honor.

In May 2006, The James Beard Foundation awarded Johnny “Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year.”

Johnny has appeared on Top Chef as a guest judge and makes numerous television appearances on The Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show, and Today in NY among others.

Johnny’s first cookbook, Dessert Fourplay, was published in 2008.


Hubert Keller
    Judge, Top Chef Just Desserts

Hubert Keller, a Frenchman classically trained by France’s top chefs, is now one of America’s most widely recognized and acclaimed chefs. His world-renowned restaurants, Fleur de Lys San Francisco and Las Vegas, feature Chef Keller’s contemporary French cooking accented with Mediterranean flavors. With his palate attuned to America’s evolving tastes, Chef Keller launched his wildly popular Burger Bar restaurants in Las Vegas, St Louis, and San Francisco as well as the cutting edge SLeeK Steakhouse and Ultra Lounge in St Louis. He has won numerous awards including the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: California” and has been elected to the Foundation’s prestigious Who’s Who in Food and Beverage. Food & Wine magazine tapped him as one of the Ten Best Chefs in America, and Restaurants & Institutions gave him its Ivy Award. Chef Keller has cooked for several United States presidents and was the first guest chef invited to the White House to personally prepare his sophisticated vegetarian menu for President Clinton and his family. Chef Keller is also known for his appearances as a judge on Top Chef as well as for his grace-under-pressure performance as a contestant in the first season of Top Chef Masters on Bravo. He appears frequently in the media including appearances on Regis & Kelly, Rachael Ray, The Early Show on CBS, and Extra among others. Chef Keller‘s own cooking show for PBS, Secrets of a Chef, is now entering its third season.

Dubbed a “Rebel with a Cuisinart” in The New York Times for his early championing of original, multi-course, vegetarian menus in a four-star setting, Chef Keller consistently cooks with a light hand and an eye on health. This led to his developing recipes for inclusion in Dr. Dean Ornish’s best selling cookbook, Eat More, Weigh Less. Chef Keller’s own cookbooks include The Cuisine
of Hubert Keller (Ten Speed Press) and Burger Bar, and Build Your Own Ultimate Burgers (Wiley).


Dannielle Kyrillos
    Judge, Top Chef Just Desserts

As an entertaining expert and Editor-at-Large of DailyCandy, Dannielle Kyrillos shares insider scoop with readers across the country on the latest news in food, fashion, travel, gifts, and entertaining. For the past four years, she has also helped cover the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen for Plum TV as an on-camera host.

Having helped grow DailyCandy’s brand and reach from a single edition read by a couple thousand New Yorkers to a multinational publication serving three million subscriptions, Dannielle understands what readers want when it comes to consuming media and devouring trends. She wrote several chapters of DailyCandy’s two books, Daily Candy A to Z: An Insider’s Guide to the Sweet Life and The DailyCandy Lexicon: Words That Don't Exist But Should.

As part of DailyCandy’s editorial team, Dannielle makes regular appearances on a number of shows including The Today Show, Weekend Today, Rachael Ray, CNBC and CNN. She writes a nationally syndicated style advice column for Gatehouse Media and has been quoted in The New York Times, USA Today and Time magazine, among others. Dannielle is also a frequent contributor to Isaac Mizrahi’s webcasts and appeared in the national print campaign for Liz Claiborne’s Isaac-Mizrahi-helmed re-launch, shot by Arthur Elgort.

Dannielle has had a passion for baking ever since she was a little girl. Her grandparents owned a restaurant where her great-grandmother made all the pies. Those recipes have been passed down to her, and she counts strawberry rhubarb as her favorite pie to make.

In addition to baking, Dannielle enjoys entertaining at home and flower-arranging. She currently lives in New York City with her husband.

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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2010, 07:23:28 AM »
I have been "desperately seeking Susan" in an attempt to find out the premiere date for this show. I have not succeeded, so it is time to reflect on what is likely to happen. Top Chef 7 has broadcast its 6th of 15 episodes, so it will end on Sept. 22 if it has 15 episodes as has been reported. It is logical that Top Chef: Just Desserts will slide right into the same time slot, currently 9pm to 10pm EDT on the BRAVO network. That would get is started on Sept. 29. You heard it from me first, although I reserve the right to change this prediction if proven wrong.

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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2010, 08:13:51 PM »
I've been looking for the start as well. No luck either apskip.
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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2010, 09:52:33 AM »
It has finally been announced by BRAVO:

Twelve Pastry Chefs Whip It Up Along With Host Gail Simmons, Judges Johnny Iuzzini, Hubert Keller and Dannielle Kyrillos

NEW YORK - July 30, 2010 - You may get a sugar high from Bravo's sweetest new series, "Top Chef Just Desserts" - a spin-off of the 2010 Primetime Emmy-nominated and James Beard Award-winning "Top Chef," premiering Wednesday, September 15 at 11 p.m. ET/PT, and moving into its regular timeslot of 10 p.m. on Wednesday, September 22. These chefs can have their cake and make it too as the main focus of this competition is the Achilles heel of most chefs: desserts. This time the pastry chefs will see if they have what it takes to out flambee, out frost and out fudge the competition. Gail Simmons, a series judge on "Top Chef" for the past seven seasons, takes on the hosting duties of this highly competitive series showcasing the best of the best in the world of pastry arts. Joining the judges' panel as head judge is Johnny Iuzzini, one of the country's most celebrated and innovative pastry chefs and Executive Pastry Chef at Restaurant Jean Georges. Hubert Keller, critically acclaimed chef as well as guest judge on "Top Chef" and finalist on "Top Chef Masters," and Dannielle Kyrillos, entertaining expert and DailyCandy Editor-at-Large will also serve as regular judges for the series.

Filled with delicious twists, turns and drama unlike anything that "Top Chef" has seen, "Top Chef Just Desserts" features highly celebrated chefs in the pastry world ranging from "Mr. Chocolate" himself, Jacques Torres; the "Leonardo Da Vinci of cakes," Sylvia Weinstock to Wolfgang Puck's famed Spago pastry chef, Sherry Yard and Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin pastry chef Michael Laiskonis, among others. The challenges featured will be some of the most creative and inventive yet: from timed wedding cakes and flaming desserts to chocolate show pieces and edible fashion. The series offers a fascinating window into the competitive, pressure-filled environment of pastry chefs at the highest level. Each episode holds two challenges for the pastry chefs: the first, a quickfire test of their basic abilities and the elimination challenge designed to test the versatility and inventiveness of the pastry chefs. These chefs will prove that a little sugar and spice never tasted so nice.

"Being a successful dessert chef is exacting and complicated," said Andy Cohen, SVP, Original Programming & Development, Bravo. "The results are stupendous and mouthwatering, but the process is intense - kind of like the show itself."

"Everyone expects the world of desserts to be as beautiful, fluffy and sweet as the food," said Jane Lipsitz, Executive Producer, Magical Elves. "But what we got was one of the most competitive and dramatic seasons of 'Top Chef' ever."

Added Dan Cutforth, Executive Producer, "pastry chefs need three things to work comfortably - their recipes, time and complete control. It's fascinating to see what happens when they don't have any of them."

The 12 "Top Chef Just Desserts" chef'testants will be whittled down week by week as they compete to outbake their competition. The winning chef will receive $100,000 furnished by Godiva Chocolatier, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival and a 2011 German Engineered Sport Injected Buick Regal.

To meet the cast of "Top Chef Just Desserts," visit www.BravoTV.com. Photography and bios are available at www.nbcumv.com.

Following are the 12 new "Top Chef Just Desserts" chef'testants:

- Danielle Keene, 29 - Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.; Resides in South Pasadena, Calif.

- Eric Wolitzky, 38 - Hometown: Rochester, N.Y.; Resides in New York, N.Y.

- Erika Davis, 40 - Hometown: Tamms, Ill.; Resides in Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

- Heather Chittum, 37 - Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.; Resides in Washington, D.C.

- Heather Hurlbert, 40 - Hometown: Seoul, South Korea; Resides in Atlanta, Ga.

- Malika Ameen, 35 - Hometown/Resides in: Chicago, Ill.

- Morgan Wilson, 37 - Hometown: Sonora, Calif.; Resides in Dallas, Texas

- Seth Caro, 34 - Hometown: Chappaqua, N.Y.; Resides in New York, N.Y.

- Tania Peterson, 39 - Hometown: Cambridge, Mass; Resides in Boston, Mass.

- Tim Nugent, 41 - Hometown: Alburgh, Vt.; Resides in Oakland, Calif.

- Yigit Pura, 29 - Hometown: Ankara, Turkey; Resides in San Francisco, Calif.

- Zac Young, 27 - Hometown: Portland, Maine, Resides in New York, N.Y.

Www.BravoTV.com is prepped to go beyond just desserts! In addition to exclusive behind-the-scenes video, we'll deliver the inside story from the judges in their weekly blogs, and answer the question "What were they thinking?!" with exclusive extended footage from the Judges' Table. Top Chef fans can then play judge by rating each week's dishes in the "Rate the Plate" photo gallery. Or, viewers can try on the apron themselves by making each week's winning dish in their own kitchen with the guidance of this season's "Top Recipe" video host, Top Chef Masters Season 1 standout Elizabeth Falkner. If fans need even more help with their dessert skills, they can watch easy-to-follow video tips hosted by the show's judges. And while the chef'testants battle it out, viewers can also compete with games that test memory, dexterity, and other foodie skills. For a sneak peek at "Top Chef Just Desserts," go to: http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef-just-desserts/videos/drama-never-tasted-so-sweet.

Chef fans can also visit m.bravotv.com from their web-enabled phone for on-the-go access to content including blogs, photo galleries, photo diaries and videos. Fans who text CHEF to 27286 can join the Top Chef Just Desserts mobile fan club and receive behind-the-scenes dish and exclusive interactive content from the chef'testants, hosts and judges.


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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2010, 11:46:24 AM »
Thanks apskip! They sure took their time with announcing  the cast!
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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2010, 05:30:04 PM »
This is a reminder that Just Desserts is premiering Wednesday, September 15 at 11 p.m. ET/PT, and moving into its regular time slot of 10 p.m. on Wednesday, September 22.

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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2010, 07:32:18 AM »
The Master Chef 1 finale and the Top Chef 7 finale preceded the premiere of Top Chef- Just Desserts, which will move to the Wednesday 10pm slot just vacated by Top Chef 7. This series is the brainchild of Gail Simmons, who is its host and a judge when she chooses to be. The head judge is Johnny Iuzzini and permanent judges are Danielle Kyrillos and Hubert Keller, all 3 of whom seem to be highly competent. The format of Just Desserts appears virtually identical to Top Chef: pastry chefs and bakers compete in a Quickfire Challenge which frequently has some reward. then there is an Elimination Challenge that is more elaborate and will demand more of their skills.

The prizes for the winner of Top Chef- Just Desserts are $100,000 from Godiva Chocolate, a Buick Regal, the title of Top Chef-Just Desserts, a feature in Food and Wine magazine and a spot at the Food and Wine Expo at Pebble Beach?.

TC-JD1, ep. 1

There were a number of pompous statements made by some of the contestants last night. One is that pastry chefs can typically compete head-to-head on savory dishes but savory chefs have no chance at competing in a pastry competition. This may even be true more one way than the other, but as a generalization I find it too sweeping. Another aphorim is that there is a major difference between a baker and a pastry chef.

The opening Quickfire was judged by Iuzzinni. Chefs have $50 and 30 minutes to shop for ingredients, then 90 minutes to bake, cook or otherwise create their signature dish. However, after about 15 minutes, Iuzzini throws in the first twist of this season. They are to utilize the ingredients they already have to make a perfect signature cupcake. This should be interesting, particularly since the winner would receive immunity from the elimination challenge. Here were the final cupcakes:

Tania - chicory mousse and mesquite, crème fraiche caramel
Heather C. – carrot, with crème fraiche, cream cheese and small bits of carrot
Zac – vanilla bean w/ lemon curd, blood orange Marshmallow and Glitter
Danielle – chocolate, w/ mint chip filling
Eric – devil’s food w/ coffee
Tim – Pistachio Semifreddo (no cupcake)
Seth - herbaceous steamed Malaysian coconut cake with basil buttercream.
Morgan - dark chocolate souflee w/ caramel crunch bar
Monica - not plated due to meringue problems
Malika – not able to finish the baking

Johnny judged the losers' group to be Monica, Tim and Zac, the first two for not even having a cupcake completed. He judged the winners' group to be Seth, Tania and Heather C. Seth was the winner and is immune for the next task. Zac stole the spotlight with his glitter on his brownie sundae

Elimination Challenge
The goal was to create Maximum Chocolate Decadence. Iuzzini explained that chocolate can frequently be tempermental. The chefs were cooking for 50 chocolate connoisseurs including the Guest Judge Jacques Torres, Mr. Chocolate. Chefs have 4 hours to cook and 1 hour to plate and serve.

The Elimination Challenge offerings were:
Seth – a savory and sweet combination with Madras curry and chocolate palette w/ raspberry
Heather H. - dark chocolate mousse torte with chocolate Grand Marnier sauce Danielle - deconstructed “free-form” chocolate tart with hazelnut brittle and banana
Morgan – chocolate fried pie with milk chocolate bourbon flan
Heather C. – bittersweet chocolate torte w/ mini whoopie pie
Tania – flourless chocolate torte with Earl Grey tea, white chocolate mousse
Yigit – flourless chocolate genoise with custardless ice cream
Tim – chocolate cake with ganache and white chocolate cream
Malika – bittersweet chocolate layer cake with braised cherries and nougatine
Eric - spiced brownie with ancho chile, ginger and cinnamon
Erika – chocolate banana caramel crunch bar
Zac – chocolate fondant “brownie sundae”

The judges decided that the winners’ group was Seth, Heather H. and Zac. Heather was the winner.

The losers’ group was Danielle, Tania and Morgan. Danielle explained that her free-form tart exploded on the plate; it was found by the judges to be messy. The judges felt she was trying to accomplish too much. Tania knew that the texture of her mousse was way off, but she took no action to fix it. The judges found her lacking in organization and adaptation. Morgan’s chocolate flan was baked warm and rated poorly because white cube gunk from separation was on the plate. He did not see it and had no idea how it got there. So, whose rationale was accepted and whose not? Tania was judged the person eliminated.


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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2010, 11:10:09 AM »
TC-JD1, ep. 2

The Guest Judge was Elizabeth Faulkner, who was a Top Chef Masters 1 competitor. The Quickfire Challenge was to create a dessert from penny candy. There was a myriad of jars of all types of penny candy. Here are the created dishes:

Danielle – “Worms in the Dirt” Chocolate Mousse w/ lemon gummies, malt balls, lemon soda
Eric - Malted Chocolate Pudding and Malt Ball Cookie
Erika - Strawberry Pop Rocks with Lemon Drop Cookie and Sour Lemon Gelée
Heather C. - Browned Butter Almond Financier with Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar
Heather H.- Vanilla Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit Gelée
Malika - Lemon Drop and Strawberry Parfait with Yuzu Cream
Morgan - Chick-O-Stick Sable with Malted Milk Ganache and Repulled Banana Lollipop
Seth - Whopper Chiffon Cake with Red Hot Coconut Jam and Passion Fruit Vanilla Sorbet
Tim - Orange and Pistachio Parfait with Mascarpone and Cream
Yigit – Strawberries and Cream w/ red licorice
Zac - Chocolate and Sour Cream Ho Ho with Red Hot Cream Cheese Filling

Seth had a hissy fit, telling his colleagues how important it was for him to win to fund some special medical care for his mother. Did he think they were going to roll over and welcome him as the winner of this competition just because he wanted it badly? Get real, Seth! In the Quickfire, he took a risk on use of liquid nitrogen to chill his sorbets and it backfired on him. He was really surly after that.

Elizabeth selected as the Losers’ Group Heather C., Eric and Seth. The Winners’ Group was Heather H., Danielle and Zac. Danielle was the winner and received immunity as a result.

The Elimination Challenge started with an invitation for a drink at Mark Peel’s restaurant Tar Pit in Los Angeles. When Gail Simmons arrived to join them, it was clear that another Top Chef twist was underway. It was the Elimination Challenge to make an unforgettable dish inspired by a cocktail on the spot, drawing numbers to see who got to go behind the bar for 2 minutes to grab alcohols and garnishes (both fruits and vegetables) and spices. As best I could tell, the order of choice was:

1. Eric
2. Erika
3. Danielle
4. Heather C.
5. Yigit
6. Morgan
7. Heather H.
8. Zac
9. Malika
10. Tim
11. Seth

After selection of ingredients, there was an overnight break, the chefs had 3 hours to cook and plate. Final plating was done in staggered groups of 3. The judges were introduced as Gail, Johnny Iuzzini, Hubert Keller, Mark Peel, Elizabeth Faulkner and Mark’s wife Nancy Silverton was observing.

We had another hissy fit from Seth, who is despondent from his poor result in the Quickfire. He is comforted by another male chef, but his general attitude toward his colleagues was still pretty much “Fuck you,” which he actually said out loud at them.

The created and served dishes were:

Danielle - Lime and Lemon Curd Tart, Toasted Coconut with Rum Sabayon
Eric - Pineapple Bourbon Upside Down Cake
Erika - Margarita Bombe with a Lime Cookie, Tequila Mousse and Grand Marnier Créme Brule
Heather C. - Gingerbread Cake with Rum Caramel Sauce
Heather H. - White Russian Stack
Malika - Blood Orange and Blackberry Mojito Cake with White Chocolate Mousse
Morgan - Cola Spiced Whiskey Cake with Coke Fluid Gel
Seth - Blueberry Gimlet Cake with Lemon and Lime Juice, Juniper Soda
Tim - Basil Pudding with Orange, Kumquat and Lime Granita
Yigit - Campari and Blood Orange Agar Agar with Citrus Vanilla Panna Cotta and Basil Ice Cream
Zac – “Benedictine Bombe” Dark Chocolate Malt Cake w/ Benedictine Crémeux + tuille

Selected comments from the judges on the dishes were:

Erika – subtlety
Danielle – can’t figure out which alcohol is in it
Eric – texture missed
Yigit – fun cocktail; ice cream melted
Heather C. – didn’t come together
Morgan – it gave desirable pops in the mouth
Malika – unsuccessful; can’t taste the blood oranges or the mojito
Seth – couldn’t taste either of 2 gins
Heather H. – way too many components, so complexity did not allow it to come together
Zac – missed placing a tuille on Gail’s plate
Tim – became scrambled eggs and soup

The Winners’ Group was Eric, Erika and Yigit. Erika got the win. The Losers’ Group was Malika, Tim and Seth, all due to inability to make needed adjustments after things had gone wrong. I was surprised to see Tim there as the visual appeal of his dish was striking, so I inferred that its taste would be equally good. Johnny summarized that each of them had resistance to changing their plans when major difficulties hit them. Malika’s dish was way too sweet and she admitted that she should have started over with a different concept.  Tim allowed his granita to turn into soup. Seth was trying to get 11 techniques onto the plate, succeeding in getting 8 on but with disjointed results.

The chef eliminated was Tim. I do not really believe he was the worst, but I think this was one of those rare times when the producers intervened to keep Seth in the mix. Seth appeared to me to be the one going home, but his controversies versus his teammates were attracting good ratings from the conflict. I think that, in the spirit of Mark Burnet on Survivor and Arthur Smith on Hell’s Kitchen, ratings-oriented decisions were made.

Offline ugot2bekidinmeny

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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2010, 12:55:00 PM »
If Seth has another melt down i think he should be asked to leave for unsportsman like conduct! :crybabe:

he's a mix up of a spoiled brat with an easy bake oven that has a broken light bulb!! :lol3:

its hard from a COUCH position to determine who should win this.  and i almost feel like i go into a sugar coma after just  watching!

I love love love top chef and thier producers  but maybe this series just wont  be the icing on the cake for thier spectacular run.
 
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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2010, 02:39:55 PM »
ugot2bekidinmeny,

the jury is still out on Just Desserts. The personalities in the Pastry Chef world are certainly more flamboyant than what we see on regular Top Chef. Whether that gives a total viewing experience that is as good as top chef is debatable at present. for me, I don't think so but it is still too early to tell for sure.

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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2010, 04:31:04 PM »
OMG!! SETH needs to GOOOO!! :lol3:  he doesn't do the challenge and still gets to stay!  in any other topchef he would have been gone!

 i know they need some "comic relief" <clears throat> personality.. but i think others will come forward once  :crybabe: is gone!

 maybe that's him  we see in next weeks coming attractiins on the floor having a panic attack... i dont want to see him go that way but  seriously i do not think what WE are being shown  proves anything but that he's an unstable guy
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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2010, 08:22:37 PM »
TC-JD1, ep. 3

The Guest Judge is Sylvia Weinstock of Sylvia Weinstock Cakes. The Quickfire was a wedding cake competition. They were given base cake rounds in various sizes. In 90 minutes, they had to decorate them, fill them and develop great taste. Immunity for the Elimination challenge was the prize. The pastry chefs/bakers got right to it, except that Seth did not know what to do (he had never done a wedding cake), so he made an engagement cake. Malika’s cake started falling apart as soon as she put a second level on it so the appearance of it was ruined regardless of how tasty it was. The cakes presented were:

Danielle - Cream Cheese Lemon Filling w/ Strawberries & Pistachios
Eric - Pistachio Buttercream + Apricot Brandy Filling
Erika - Mocha Explosion w/ Kahlúa Buttercream
Heather C. - White Cake w/ Vanilla Simple Syrup + Nutella Buttercream
Heather H. - Lemon + Orange Zest Buttercream
Malika - Coconut Custard Infused w/ Cardamom and Vanilla
Morgan - Italian Ice Cream Cake w/ Coconut, Rum Syrup + Toasted Pecans
Seth - Engagement Cake: Caramel Chocolate Mousse w/ Orange, Marsala, Absinthe + Honey
Yigit - Passion Fruit, Vanilla + Lime Soaked Cake w/ Vanilla Orange Diplomat Cream
Zac - Toasted Meringue, Fruit of the Forest Jam w/ Dark Chocolate Ganache

Sylvia named Seth, Malika and Eric as the bottom 3 cakes. Seth had not even tried to do it, Malika had failed at maintaining cake structural integrity and Eric had a mediocre execution.

The Winners’ group was Erika, Morgan and Heather H. Erika won immunity.

Elimination Challenge

The Glee Club and Pep Squad from Santa Monica Catholic High School came into the kitchen to display what they do. Both were raising money to allow the Glee Club to perform at Carnegie Hall and the Pep Squad to go to a special camp. The pastry chefs drew tokens with either Glee or Pep on it, which resulted in these teams:

Glee Squad – Danielle, Heather C., Seth, Yigit, Zac
Pep Squad – Eric, Erika, Heather H. Malika, Morgan

Their mission was to create one dessert each for a bake sale, selling for either the Glee Club or the Pep Squad. They had 2.5 hours to bake, 0.5 hours to set up and 2 hours to sell. The desserts sold were:

Glee Club
Danielle - Coconut Cupcake w/ Salted Caramel Buttercream
Heather C. - Peanut Butter Cookie
Seth - Mocha Financier w/ Orange Creamcicle Sauce
Yigit - Chocolate Caramel Pudding w/ Ginger, Hazelnut Crumble & Marshmallows
Zac - Strawberry Shortcake w/ Rainbow Sugar

Pep Squad
Eric - Peanut Butter Krispy Bar
Erika - Peanut Butter Cookie
Heather H. - Butter Cookie with Chocolate & Dulce de Leche Cream
Malika - Toffee Fudge Brownie
Morgan - Vanilla Bean & Milk Chocolate Cupcake

Comments from the judges on things that concerned them particularly were:
Coconut Cupcake – no better than one any home cook could make
Peanut butter Cookie – too dry
Financier – a complicated dessert not really suited to a bake sale
Pudding- way too much ginger

The results of the bake sale were $240 for Glee Club and $250 for Pep Squad, with one corresponding team losing to the other by a very narrow margin of $10. Top Chef - Just Desserts multiplied the results by 10 and also gave a donation to the school of $5000.

The 3 best chefs selected by the judges were:
Eric
Erica
Malika

Eric was selected as the winner.

On the losers’ group based on the comments above, Danielle was in trouble for her coconut cupcake which sold the least, Heather C. for her peanut butter cookie and Seth for his financier. In addition, Gail pointed out some dysfunctional team dynamics. Danielle did what she wanted to do by accepting the request from her team that she do a cookie when there was another cookie and her heart was not in it. Seth was similarly in his own zone, unable to live by the directions and restrictions of the tasks.

The choice by the judges was to eliminate Danielle.

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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #13 on: October 07, 2010, 03:55:33 PM »
TC-JD1, ep. 4

This episode opens with Guest Judge Dale Gand, Executive Pastry chef at Tru in Chicago, introduced. The Quickfire was an ice cream challenge to create the ultimate Ice Cream Sundae using Breyer’s ice cream as the base. Seth was acting rally strange while the competitors were waiting for the producers to finish setting up. He left the kitchen and passed out outside. There must have been production crew with him, so 911 was called immediately and paramedics came ASAP, evaluated him and sent him to a local hospital. He was judged unable to continue in the competition, which a producer announced to the other chefs. The types of ice cream assigned to each one was:
Morgan – mint chocolate chip
Yigit – chocolate chip
Danielle – Neapolitan (when I heard Neapolitan was one of the flavors, I felt sorry for the person getting it because I expected that would prove the toughest challenge)
Eric – natural vanilla (my favorite Breyer’s flavor)
Heather H. – vanilla fudge swirl
Malika – cookies and cream
Zac – cherry vanilla
Erika – chocolate

The sundaes developed were:
Danielle - Rocky Road Meets Neapolitan Sundae
Eric – Natural Vanilla w/ Sautéed Peaches, Brandy & Crisp
Erika – Chocolate Banana S'mores Frangelico Sundae
Heather H. – Vanilla Fudge Twirl Bananas Foster Sundae
Malika – Cookies & Cream w/ Malted Chocolate Caramel Sauce & Bananas
Morgan – “Sunday Snack” Oreo Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich w/ Chocolate Milk
Yigit – Peanut Butter + S'mores Cookie Dough Sundae
Zac - “Black Forest is Burning” Sundae w/ Fried Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

The losers’ group as evaluated by Gale Gand was Eric, Danielle and Erika. The winners’ group was Morgan, Yigit, and Zac. Zac’s use of panko crumbs and use of chocolate ganache were both noted as excellent. Morgan was praised for the flavor contrast of hot cocoa against mint chocolate chip. Morgan was judged the overall winner and gained immunity in the Elimination Challenge as a result. His dish was the result of a Sunday tradition he has spending special time every Sunday with his son, so his win was poignant.

The Elimination Challenge was really complex and difficult. It was designed to test innovation, creativity and teamwork. The judges were Johnny, Gail, Hubert Keller and Gale Gand. This was designed for 3 teams of 3, so the producers decided on the spot to bring back Heather C. in place of Seth. How much will a second chance do for her? We will have to wait and see.  3 teams of 3 were created by having the 3 top finishers in the Quickfire act as team captains and chose the rest of their teams. Zac chose Malika and Heather C.  Morgan chose Heather H. and Eric. Yigit chose Erika and Danielle. Each team had 2 strong players and one weaker one. The teams were sent observe the Lucent Dossier Experience, a special show somewhat like Cirque du Soleil which had characters, costumes, smoke and magic, but most of all fire. The mission was to do a special presentation structure called a showpiece, create 3 desserts consistent with that showpiece and one flaming dessert, all for a group of Lucent Dossier special guests. Teams had 4 hours to create and then 2 hours to setup.

The ultimate dishes and structure presented by each team were:
Morgan - Mango Panna Cotta, Açaí Fluid Gel & Passion Fruit Sorbet
Eric – Lemon Caramel Roulade with Pomegranate Sauce & Candied Kumquats
Heather H. - Triple Chocolate Chai Tea Mousse Torte
Almond Cream with Spiced Cherry Flambé (Team Exotic- Morgan, Heather H., Eric)
Zac - Banana Crème Fraîche Cake with Red Curry Frosting
Heather C. – Black Pepper Pineapple with Chocolate Sherbert & Meringue Shards
Malika – Saffron Panna Cotta with Feuilletine Crunch & Candied Ginger
Chocolate Cake with Flambéed Cherries (Team Naughty & Nice- Zac, Heather C., Malika)
Yigit – Crème Fraîche & Sweet Lime Bavarian with Vanilla Bean Sorbet
Erika – Almond Ice Cream Bar with Roasted Pineapple
Danielle – Chocolate Mousse Cake with Basil Ice Cream
Almond Mirliton Flambéed with Bourbon Peaches (Team Sassy, Sexy, Sultry-Yigit,  Danielle, Erika)

The showpieces were varied and interesting if you like that sort of thing (I don’t, as I do not like to see the focus taken off the food; it’s like ice carving, which is visually appealing but will do nothing for your palette). Morgan’s team showpiece (created exclusively by Heather H.) was judged as the best creative achievement. Morgan’s pannacotta, gel and sorbet flavors were judged superb, which won him individual honors over Heather H. and Eric.

Yigit’s team failed to present a flaming desert to the judges. Yigit defended this by stating that the other diners had received it, but he had a lame excuse for why he could not do one for the judges right then and there. The judges were clearly ready to punish him for this decision to not even try it for them. They stated that it did not meet the requirements of the challenge.

The final team rating was that Malika had an exceptional dessert of spot-on creamy pannacotta with exceptional crunchiness. However, Malika had had enough of Top Chef-Just Desserts. She told the judges that she wished to withdraw so that one of her teammates could be saved. She said she did not enjoy the competitive aspects of TC-JD and just wanted to go home to return to a more comfortable environment. Malika was told that she was not in any jeopardy, but she insisted on withdrawing and leaving.


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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2010, 09:23:56 AM »
ahh Seth Seth .. :groan: you knew you were emotionally not right way before this panic attack :iok . dont try and say  that you never had one before.  I'm no Doc. but looks to me you stressed yourself out  before since you talked to ur self many times about calming down.

 I'm glad that he left.  unfortunately  it was due to the panic attack., i hope he's doing way better now.

 Bringin back another contestant seemed like the right thing to do however i think they should have  pulled a name from a hat instead of bringing the last person eliminated. the whole time Heather C  didn't seem  like she was 100% there

i get why malika left . i think she's happy now. 

 she's right some people loose thier passion when they have to compete with  and in something they get more joy out of JUST doing.

Congrats on Morgan being a double winner last nite!

I'd ratehr see more of the actaul work than the manic chaos which ensues in the last 5 mins of the challenges.

 I wonder how tey can make this a better show ???
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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2010, 08:30:52 AM »
The random choice (name out of a hat) approach might have worked if those earlier eliminated chefs were nearby in sequesterville. However, i think what the producers did was the fairest, to take the individual who had progressed farthest and bring them back.

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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2010, 03:59:55 PM »
TC-JD1, ep. 5

The Guest Judge was Sherry Yard, Executive Pastry Chef for the Wolfgang Puck restaurants and a James Beard award winner. The Quickfire was to create a soufflé in 1 hour. The chefs used a variety of ingredients in their souffles, including lemon, fig and herbs,  but several did garden variety chocolate souffles. Zac went against the grain with a frozen soufflé that didn't quite reach the level he desired.

Here are the souffles presented:

Danielle - Lemon & Lavender Soufflé with Blueberry Ginger Compote & Honey Ice Cream
Eric - Fig Soufflé with Brandy
Erika - Lemon-Basil Soufflé with White Chocolate Raspberry Sauce
Heather C. – Chocolate Souffle
Heather H. - Chocolate Raspberry Soufflé, Grand Marnier & Godiva Cream
Morgan – Gianduja Soufflé with Burnt Sugar Ice Cream & Raspberry Coulis
Yigit – Chocolate Soufflé with Passion Fruit & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Zac - Apple Crisp Soufflé Glacé

The 3 worst souffles were Erika, Heather H. and Zac. The 3 best were Morgan, Yigit and Danielle. The winner was Yigit due to excellent flavor and a significant rise.

Elimination Challenge

This task was to design an Edible Outfit based on a provided pair of high-heeled women’s high fashion shoes plus Two Couture Petits Fours accessories in 8 hours in the kitchen plus 2 hours setup. The competitors drew a number to determine which pair of shoes they received. $200 was provided to shop for 30 minutes at Albertsons (no doubt a new sponsor or maybe I missed it). Each competitor was given a mannequin or fashion model form to mold their ingredients to. With 3 hours left Johnny Iuzzini came to announce a “twist,” but it really wasn’t. The winner would get $20,000 cash. Heather C.’s turnips dried up overnight and had to be replaced with other ingredients. Eric had difficulty with his molding chocolate not sticking to his form. As the room was first available to the competitors, someone said that “it looked like a fashion show” because the audience looked like real fashion people. Why not, given the task? Heather C. needed help at the end and Morgan, who was done, gave her what little that time allowed. Zac stated that the many petits fours were not designed for a single bite experience and larger ones were not really petits fours. The judges clearly knew that too, as you will hear later.

The Edible Outfit titles were:

Ericka – Business woman to Fashionista
Zac – Burlesque Warrior
Eric – Flirty Homemaker
Heather C. – Vegetable Dress
Yigit – Ice Warrior Princess
Morgan – Little Black Dress and Clutch
Heather H. – Chocolate Dress
Danielle – Vegetable Dress

The petits fours creations presented were:
Danielle – Red Velvet Whoopie Pie "Purse", Roasted Banana Ice Cream Bonbon "Watch"
Eric - Cherry Cheesecake "Pendant" & Chocolate Cake & Banana “Clutch"
Erika - Raspberry Jelly & Pistachio Mousse "Earrings", Lemon Milk Chocolate Ganache & Apricot Jam "Purse"
Heather C. - Chocolate Caramel "Clutch" with Maldon Sea Salt Chambord Fleur De Lys "Hair Pin”
Heather H. - Lemon Curd Macaron "Purse", Almond Cake with Raspberry Cream & Passion Fruit Caviar "Brooch"
Morgan – Spiced Raspberry "Ruby Ring" Bonbon, Red Hot Cinnamon Macaron "Earring"
Yigit – Olive Oil & Citrus Cake "Brooch"; Raspberry & Pinot Noir Ice Cream "Hair Pin"
Zac – Chocolate Passion Fruit and Lemongrass Pasties, coconut/black tea and pineapple “Makeup Kit”

Judges’ comments during the eating phase were:
Ericka – petits fours too big but Gail liked it
Zac - Johnny said ganache had sandy texture; Sherry said crunch was really good
Eric - Danielle the judge did not like it
Heather C. – caramel was OK but could have used more salt
Morgan – red hot macarons interesting
Heather H. – had macarons too spicy
Danielle – too sweet, not enough acidity
Yigit – dress works really well, looks great, but flavors somewhat flat

Winners’Group was:
Yigit - delivered chocolate in a spectacular way
Morgan - had an amazing creative, technical, and flavor success.
Zac – looked like a woman staying up all night dancing
Morgan won the $20,000 from Dawn Hand Extender.

The Losers’ Group was:
Heather C. – no evidence of pastry chef effort, lacked technique
Eric – dress looked horrible, petits fours too big
Danielle – no evidence of pastry chef effort (vegetables too easy), petits fours too big; accessories did not go with the dress
Both of the women were criticized for essentially limiting their efforts to "slicing and stringing vegetables" when a technically challenging sweet dish was obviously desired. Heather C. was eliminated from TC-JD for the second time and “last time.”
« Last Edit: October 21, 2010, 05:08:03 PM by apskip »

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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2010, 01:20:47 PM »
TC-JD1, ep. 6

The Guest Judge was Michael Laiskonis, executive pastry chef of Le Bernardin (Eric Ripert’s world-class fish restaurant in New York City). The Quickfire was to incorporate a savory element into a dessert dish in one hour using only one pot and no blenders, mixers or ice cream machines. Since Zac wanted a sorbet, he had to use Liquid Nitrogen, which he had never tried before. The dishes presented were:

Danielle - Avocado w/ Candied Tomatoes, Basil Anglaise, Caramelized Corn
Eric - Couscous w/ Milk, Apricot, Fig Compote, Prosciutto
Ericka – Blue Cheese Milk Chocolate Soup
Heather H. - Sour Cream Corn Custard w/ Roasted Beet Berry Compote, Mascarpone Cream
Morgan – Sweet Potato Risotto w/ Golden Beet Sorbet +Ginger Infused Carrots
Yigit – Chocolate Cremeux w/ Bacon & Caramelized Foie Gras
Zac – Steamed Beet Cake w/ Sweet Goat Cheese Cream + Lemon Thyme Gremolata


The Losers’ group was Danielle, Eric and heather H. The Winner’s Group was Morgan, Yigit and Zac. Zac won immunity for the Elimination Challenge, but Gail offered him $1000 to give up that immunity and compete in a regular manner. He rejected that but accepted $5000, a much more appropriate sum for the risk involved, from Dawn Hand Extender.

Elimination Challenge
This was to create a dessert incorporating black and white colors and no others. The chefs had 30 minutes and $200 to shop for ingredients for 200 desserts at Albertsons. Then they had 4 hours to cook and 1 hour to set up. The event they were catering was a reception for the 128th anniversary of the Los Angeles Times.
The dishes presented were:

Danielle - Lemongrass + Ginger Truffle, Peppercorn Meringue, Chocolate Sandwich Cookie
Eric - Mississippi Mud Cake w/ Earl Grey Whipped Cream, Hot Fudge Sauce
Ericka – Lemon Poppy Seed Ice Cream w/ White Chocolate Pavè, Blackberry Crème Brûlè
Heather H. - Spicy Chocolate Gingerbread Torte w/ Frozen Crème Anglaise,  Blackberry Compote
Morgan – Chocolate Date Cake, Banana Anise Cream, Coffee Kahlua Jelly
Yigit – Chocolate Cake w/ White Chocolate Mousse, Berry Compote, Almond Milk Ice Cream
Zac – Deep Fried Whoopie Pie w/ Passion Fruit Cream & Asian Pear infused w/ guanabana

Comments from the judges while eating were:
Ericka – her ice cream has a soapy flavor; she had too much non-black/white color
Yigit – a lot happening on that plate but individual components sound and it worked 
Zac- really sweet; passion fruit flavor has not come through
Morgan – anise banana did a nice job of preventing it from too sweetness
Heather H. – gingerbread was not but she disregarded Johnny’s advice about red color from pomegranate and cranberry bleeding
Eric – his plating skills were clearly improved
Danielle – her dish looked like petits fours only; didn’t really meet “black and white only” requirement

The Judges Table comments were based on calling in the 3 women first. They were informed they had the least favorite black-and-white desserts. Individual comments were:
Heather H.– gingerbread flavor was really good but you did not attempt to meet the challenge of no other colors; it was harvesty
Ericka – ice cream didn’t taste right; blackberry flavors claimed were missing; no lemon taste
Danielle - 3 components didn’t go well together; did you eat your 1/2/3 in order and force diners to eat them the best way

The Winners’ Group was the four men. Commentary on their desserts was:
Zac – Whoopie Pie on Vacation fun and tasty; beautiful and creamy with great flavor; ice cream held up against the chocolate
Morgan – structural columns, cubes and blocks really interesting as a construction project and taste was delicious
Yigit – technically complex and great skill demonstrated
Eric – layering of textures great and organization of the layers masterful

Yigit got his first Elimination Challenge win.

Final comments on the Losers’ Group were:
Ericka – one of your star components was bad; ice cream unappealing and flat; you forgot about flavor in an effort to overthink what you are doing.
Danielle – this is not the first time you are here; judges had a lot of issues with your dessert
Heather H. – you did not do the challenge but sabotaged yourself by fixing on what you wanted to do regardless of the challenge; not interesting to eat or inventive to look at

Ericka was eliminated because “her dessert did not measure up. The soapy taste to Ericka’s poppy seed ice cream was the main reason for her elimination. She had performed very well in early episodes, but had been slipping lately

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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2010, 08:46:03 AM »
TC-JD1, ep. 7

We start this episode with half the original competitors remaining. Morgan, Zac, Yigit, Heather H., Danielle and Eric are left. I think the Final 3 will be Morgan, Yigit and Zac and I cannot predict which of them will prevail.

The Guest Judge is Nancy Silverton, pastry chef/co-owner of restaurant Campanile, baker/owner of LaBrea Bakery and owner of Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza, all in the Los Angeles area. The Quickfire is that Top chef classic, the Mis-en-place Relay Race, with these segments:

1.   fill 12 heart shaped pastry shells, with the top neat
2.   place 8 rose petal shaped pastry globs on a tray
3.   whip egg whites to a consistency where when turned upside down the bowl will not release them
4.   roll dough out to cover an entire countertop, fill it with cut and sugared apples, then close the result into a wreath of apple strudel

Teams are supposedly the result of a random draw that comes out with Team Diva Heather, Yigit and Zac as the RED team vs. Morgan, Danielle and Eric as the Black team. The pairings for each segment of the race were:

1.   Heather vs. Danielle – Danielle achieved a large lead
2.   Eric vs. Yigit – Yigit brought it back to near parity
3.   Morgan vs. Zac – Morgan had a 4 second lead
4.   Teams – RED team worked steadily while BLACK team had holes in their dough which had to be repaired; RED won
Gail had announced that there would be no more immunity for the remainder of TC-JD1 but there was a $3000 each prize for the RED team.

ELIMINATION CHALLENGE

The RED and BLACK teams stayed together for this competition, the equivalent of regular Top Chef Restaurant Wars. Each team got half of an empty bakery retail space with several waited tables each and was allowed to bake 3 items per person, one of which would be bread, for choice by a stream of customers. The Black team chose a name of Whisk Me Away for their space while RED chose Pastry Playland. They chose décor first and then the menu. The RED team did the opposite, which to me was a sounder approach. Teams then had the usual time and money at Albertson’s for ingredient shopping. They then had 2 hours to bake/create. RED had Yigit as Front-of-House (FOH), with Zac floating and Heather in the kitchen. Black chose Danielle as Front-of-House, with Eric with the customers and Morgan in the kitchen. The menus were:

RED – Heather H.
Frozen Key Lime Bar
Milk Chocolate Pudding Cup
Lemon Cream Tart
            Yigit
Fraisier with Raspberry, Strawberry & Hibiscus Gelée
Chocolate Tart with Peanuts & Caramel
Margarita Sorbet
             Zac
Caramel corn with bacon
Fennel Seed & Kalamata Brioche with White Truffle Butter
Donut with Wild Blueberry Jam, Lemon Verbena Milkshake

BLACK-Danielle
Ginger Ale Float with Raspberry & Tangerine Lime Sorbets
Pistachio Shortcake with Lemon Cream & Strawberries
Coffee Cream Pie with Hazelnut Brittle
               Eric
Vanilla Malted Cake with Chocolate Buttercream
Chocolate Chip Cookie
Banana Loaf with Brown Butter Tangerine Icing
               Morgan
Fried Lemon Pie & Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Pretzel Stick with Mustard
Chocolate Mousse Cake with a Crème Brûlée Center

Teams had 5 hours to prep and then 2 hours to finish cooking and setup in their retail space. Heather decided not to put the dough through a machine because she didn’t like the results; she hand rolled it for all 3 of her team instead, a major undertaking that may have left her short of time to do well on her own specific items.

A few observations were made by the judges (Nancy Silverton, Hubert Keller, Johnny Iuzzini and Gail Simmons) as they entered the retail space. The display case that was prominent for each team was almost empty for RED. Danielle as FOH was fairly laid back and low energy, while Yigit was high energy. Zac joined Yigit in the front of the house while Eric was a roving ambassador talking to customers. This left negative Morgan, who had a bad day during the prep, and Heather H. in the kitchen. Morgan did get into a verbal altercation that almost came to blows by accusing Yigit of stealing two bags of lemons. Yigit parried that by pointing out that they lemons were in a box and he did not appreciate being accused. Heather was feeling the stress when Zac did something that caused her to tell him to shut up. They reached an impasse on this and moved on. After the judges came through, both teams received a number of “special requests” that appeared to be set up to test each teams’ ability to handle them, which was polite and determined to fill them (even at the expense in Morgan’s case of delaying finishing items slated to be sent to the judges. He responded to criticism of this by stating “I don’t care if the judges are coming. We need to beat Team Diva. I don’t work at the NO factory.”

Comments made by the judges during the eating phase:
Zac - doughnuts were no excellent fried food; lemon verbena milkshake was bland and flat; fennel brioche was tasty
Yigit - tart crust (note - from dough made by Heather) ruined an otherwise fine dish; margarita sorbet was elegant and refined; fraisier lacked the punch of strawberry
Heather - suffered from her own thick tart dough; lemon tart looked good but flavors and textures inferior; key lime bar had obvious finger prints and lack of key lime flavor; pudding just OK
Eric - chocolate chip cookies classic and tasty; classic stacked cake; malted milk balls had interesting flavor and texture; banana loaf concept better than its execution as Imean bananas, brown butter were not in the correct proportions
Danielle - pistachio shortcake was cool, tasty, delicate and served in an interesting way; coffee cream pie was sweet with insufficient coffee to have helped balance that sweetness; float refreshing and light with good flavors and unusual combination of sorbets
Morgan - pretzel OK but too much butter on outside; classic cake awesome, great texture of the mousse, flavorful, brulee center showed skill; fried pie OK with the lemon flavor really registering

The judges quizzed the pastry chefs/bakers of each team, with these observations:
Décor – the décor for Whisk Me Away was particularly appealing
Display case (vitrine) – this was nearly full for Whisk Me Away and almost empty for Pastry Playland
Front of House – Yigit got high marks; Danielle too laid back and low energy; she said that matched the food but Johnny told her that high energy service is always appropriate
Eric’s food – cookie nice, cream rich, banana loaf problems
Morgan’s food – highly sophisticated and wide ranging, particularly the cake
Danielle – there wasn’t enough coffee flavor present to offset the inherent sweetness of the dish
Yigit – pastry filling was great but dough was awful (Heather acknowledged that this was her work); great sorbet; fraisier so-so
Zac – doughnuts and brioche great; milkshake uninteresting
Heather – fingerprints were visible on key lime dish; also its key lime flavor was not enough to offset the chocolate flavor

The winning team was Whisk Me Away and each of them got $10,000. Pastry Playland’s defeat meant that one of Team Diva was going home. With the comments, it was obviously not going to be Zac and almost for sure not Yigit.

There were some additional comments at Judges’ Table with only Playful Playland present:
Zac – verbena milkshake bland; caramel corn inconsistent
Heather – lemon bar unpleasant and dough was a disaster
Yigit – pastry dough for tart bad (Heather’s responsibility); fraisier fell short

The final judgment was that Zac and Yigit made their mistakes, but the least skill was shown by Heather, who was eliminated.


The winning team was BLACK and each of them got $10,000. RED’s defeat meant that one of Team Diva was going home. With the comments, it was obviously not going to be Zac and almost for sure not Yigit. Heather H. was eliminated.

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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2010, 10:46:00 AM »
TC-JD1, ep.8

The Guest Judge for this episode was Shimkin Li, an expert in design, art and baking. There are 5 chefs remaining. The Quickfire was to create an edible bouquet of flowers. The idea was to test artistry, not flavors.  The cooking time was 3 hours. The winner would get no immunity but would get $5000.

The concepts presented were:
Zac – a chocolate arrangement on a bud vase
Danielle – fresh fruit to resemble flowers
Eric- a large white cake on a brioche mold, with edible flowers on top
Yigit – originally a glass vase, but his first try broke because of fragility and his second was inadvertently destroyed by Morgan; intricate leaves in edible bouquet
Morgan- bouquet of chocolate flowers, an opportunity to showcase pulled sugar technique

The dishes were:
Morgan- chocolate flowers w/ edible pulled sugar bow
Danielle – candied orange zest, sugar cookies, marshmallow hydrangeas
Yigit – tropical roses and leaves made of tempered cocoa butter + Luster Dust
Zac – chocolate disco flowers and leaves
Eric – giant cupcake with gum paste and butter cream flowers

Shimkin rated the 3 worst as Eric (base called for larger structure), Zac (piping) and Danielle (back of structure not finished and contrasting textures taken too far). She rated Morgan and Yigit as best. Morgan won the $5000.

The Elimination Challenge was to cater a tea party for 60 people invited by Dana Cowin, Food & Wine editor-in-chief with the theme of Celebri-tea. It was to use a celebrity couple as the inspiration for a dessert served at a tea party. Two different desserts were to be created to each mirror a concept of one half of the couple. 100 portions must be prepared, with $300 and 30 minutes to shop at Albertson’s. The judges were Johnny Iuzzini, Danielle Kyrillos, Gail, Shimkin and Dana.  The celebrity couples chosen were:

Danielle – Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter
Zac – Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards
Morgan – Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian
Yigit – Madonna and Guy Ritchie
Eric – Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham

The initial concepts were:
Danielle – Strawberry Oatmeal cookie w/ jalapeno
Zac – Spoonful of Sugar + pink
Morgan – citrus cake
Yigit – contrasting chocolates
Eric – brownie ganache

3 of the 5 chefs were using chocolate in their dishes, but Zac and Danielle had no chocolate planned for theirs. On arrival back in the Top Chef kitchen, Johnny Iuzzini came to throw them a huge twist. The bins normally overflowing with chocolate were marked “Temporarily Out of Stock” and he told the chefs to proceed without using any chocolate in their recipes.

Eric’s final dishes were:
Oprah – rosemary shortbread w/ apricot compote
Stedman – Pecan Shortbread w/ Caramel
Judges’ comments while eating were Oprah dessert messy and compote delicious.

Zac’s dishes were:
Julie -Pink Pavlova w/ Grapefruit Curd + Meringue, Mascarpone Cheesecake w/ Cap'N Crunch & Tarragon Sugar
Blake - Pink Pavlova w/ Grapefruit Curd & Meringue
Judges’ comments while eating were amazing and perfect.

Danielle’s dishes were:
Conan – Strawberry Jalapeňo Cake
Andy – Oatmeal Cookie with Buttercream + Orange Blossom Water
Judges’ comments while eating were leavening problem with cake due to wrong proportions, good range of flavors between cookie and icing.

Morgan’s dishes were:
Reggie – Almond Sponge w/ Apricot Coulis + Citrus Buttercream
Kim – Bittersweet Citrus Macaron
Judges comments while eating were macaron not one bite, but almond flavor amazing.

Yigit’s dishes were:
Madonna – Citrus Yogurt Cake w/ Baked Honey Flan, Brown Butter Sable w/ Dulce de Leche + Calvados Gelée
Guy – Brown Butter Sable w/ Dulce de Leche + Calvados Gelée
Judges comments while eating were bland, needs heat, great flavor, very sweet.

The Winners’ Group was Danielle, Zac and Morgan. Zac won the Elimination Challenge.

The Losers’ Group was Yigit and Eric. Both of them had great difficulty in refocusing from their original chocolate-based concepts to alternatives. Their end products both were substandard compared to anything they had done previously. The judges expressed great disappointment in the final products of Yigit and Eric. Eric was criticized for his shortbreads being of different thickness when he recommended placing one on top of the other. This was attributed to his baking skills not being used in this episode. Yigit was credited for attempting the concept (which they said Eric did not). However, Danielle Kyrillos ripped him apart for not knowing that Madonna does 3 hours of workouts every day and having a sloppy presentation that does not match Madonna’s tight body. I found this particular critique absurd, as I had no idea that Madonna does that and how would someone who spends most of their day in a pastry operation know petty details even of celebrities they admire. Danielle Kyrillos needs to get real! Johnny criticized Yigit for having a bland and boring honey mousse. That’s appropriate criticism.

The summary provided by Johnny was that Eric’s shortbreads were not appropriate for a tea party and Yigit’s desserts being substandard. Eric was eliminated by Gail’s admonition to “Please pack your tools and go.” Yigit stayed alive in this competition because his desserts were more creative, more elaborate, had more layers of flavor and he was more innovative in terms of the celebrity story. Eric stated that the Just Desserts competition had transformed him from a baker into a chef.

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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2010, 09:08:48 AM »
TC-JD1, ep. 9 “Ben and Sylvia’s 61st”

The Guest Judge is Francois Payard, owner of Payard Patisserie and Bistro pastry shops worldwide. He once employed Morgan, who was not looking forward to this as he worked in Brazil and met and married a Brazilian woman at that time. The Quickfire is to create 4 chocolates which represent different stages of your life, with 2 hours to create. Those stages were:

Yigit – not stated as not relevant , moving from turkey to America, Buddhism, Golden Moment meeting current partner
Morgan – Culinary School, failed marriage, Top Chef, Golden Moment with son
Danielle – Family vacation in Hawaii, Niece, Baseball with her father, Golden Moment
Zac – Childhood with sister and brother-in-law, Best Friend, “South Pacific”, Golden Moment

The chocolates were:

Yigit – broken (none offered in this empty slot), Milk and dark chocolate ganache w/ apricot pâte de fruit, Coconut milk and chai tea bonbon, Almond praline + caramelized honey ganache
Morgan – Passion fruit + milk chocolate bonbon, bittersweet truffle - Acai rose water jelly on bittersweet ganache, mendiant, Green tea + white chocolate butter ganache
Danielle - Coconut ganache w/ pineapple jam, Milk chocolate w/ roasted banana filling, Milk chocolate w/ caramel corn + peanuts, Almond/marshmallow milk chocolate nougat
Zac – Peanut butter + wild blueberry milk chocolate bonbon, Rolled truffle w/ green tea + lemon, White chocolate w/ lemongrass, lime, ginger filling, Dark chocolate ganache w/ pretzel + feuilletine.

Francois stated that Yigit could not be judged, which I found appropriate. Zac’s chocolates were too sweet. Danielle had very good flavors. Morgan’s chocolates were too sweet, but otherwise was top notch and he won the Quickfire.

Elimination Challenge

Into the Top Chef kitchen walked an old man named Ben with a compelling story. 61 years ago he met a young lady who wanted company in the ocean while part of a group on the beach. He volunteered and they ended up “under the grand piano,” whatever that means. It is now time for their 61st wedding anniversary and they want the Top Chef candidates to handle the desserts for this occasion. So, you have to ask what was the twist going to be? It turns out that Ben’s last name is Weinstock and his wife is Sylvia Weinstock, proprietor of Sylvia Weinstock Cakes and already a Guest Judge for episode 3 above.
If you want to create fear in a pastry chef, just tell them that not only will they be judged by individuals at the pinnacle of their profession, but also they have to cater the desserts for a special occasion for a luminary.

Sylvia came to the set to show photos and indicate that she wore a grey dress (it looked blue in the photo) and carried pink roses. The reception was to be at the Beverly Hills home of friends of the Weinstocks. The chefs had 30 minutes and $200 to shop, then 10 hours to create and 2 hours to finish. During that finish everyone except Danielle was showing problems. Zac’s interface between top and bottom cake layers was piped with small pink roses, but not done well enough to hide everything it should have. Zac fell apart and so did his concept, proving too complex to execute and causing Zac to retreat and try Zac’s magic disco dust to solve all the problems. Yigit’s cake crumbled on attempting to serve it.

The final cake designs were:
Morgan – a grand piano filled with pink roses on top of a stark, simplistic cake; using butter cream, not fondant in honor of Sylvia’s criticism in episode 3
Danielle – a staircase of piano keys accompanied by roses on grey color icing; chocolate cake w/ sour cherry jam and buttercream
Yigit – a lemon cream cake and a chocolate mousse cake were falling apart
Zac – a caketastrophe of three brown cake layers joined by ice cream

The Judges’ Table included Payard, Hubert Keller, Gail and Johnny Iuzzini, although I bet one of them talked to Sylvia for her observations. Comments were:

Morgan – texture of yellow and chocolate cakes off
Danielle –cake moist, flavors excellent, grey color a poor choice for icing
Yigit – butter cream elegant, too competitive, overthought, cake fell apart on cutting
Zac – clearly a mess, layers of cream and genoise were good

Final judging comments were:
Yigit – need to learn the art of restraint
Morgan – played I too safe
Zac – too much Zac in the cake for this more formal occasion
Danielle – won $15,000.

The question was who would be eliminated, not able to compete in the final 3. Zac was eliminated, so it will be Yigit, Morgan, and Danielle in the Final 3. Danielle did poorly at the beginning of TC-JD1, but she has been very steady in recent episodes. I predict Morgan will be the winner.

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Re: Top Chef: Just Desserts
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2010, 09:10:41 AM »
TC-JD1, Ep. 10 Finale

So it has come down to a battle for primacy between Danielle, Yigit and Morgan. They were told that the assignment was to create and execute a 4 course progressive dessert tasting menu. They were given the night off but directed to go to a café. When they arrived there Johnny Iuzzini awaited them. He invited them to have some beverages and 3 really good desserts. They so were exceptional that the question of who made them came up. The answer was soon revealed, as Elizabeth Falkner (Citizen Cake), Sherry Yard (Spago) and Claudia Fleming (Gramercy Tavern, owned by Tom Colicchio and Danny Meyer), 3 world-class pastry chefs, appeared. They were going to be the sous chefs for Danielle, Yigit and Morgan. By drawing names from a fishbowl, the assignments of celebrity pastry chefs to competing pastry chefs were:

Danielle – Elizabeth Falkner
Yigit - Sherry Yard
Morgan – Claudia Fleming

The chefs had $400 and 45 minutes for ingredients, then 7 hours to cook, followed by finishing the following day. Danielle had Elizabeth shelling pistachios for an ice cream-based sampling of desserts. Morgan was using Primary Colors as his theme and involved the use of yoghurt beads made from combining sodium alginate with calcium carbonate. Yigit did not appear to have a theme, although he was also using alginates. On the second day the competing chefs returned for the finishing work, but their sous chefs were not there. In their place was all eliminated Top Chef-Just Desserts 1 chefs. Choices were made through a fishbowl draw, which could have been terrible news for Morgan since he had several of the others who did not like him as a result of their earlier interactions. He was praying that he did not draw Zac, but he did draw Heather Hurlbert, with whom he had a number a run-ins. Danielle drew Tania. Yigit drew Tim. The 5 other chefs not selected were allowed to be diners, lucky them!

The actual menus were:
Yigit #1 Cucumber Lime Sorbet w Straus Yogurt Caviar Pearl
         #2 Strawberry Sorbet + Lemongrass Ginger Ice Cream w/ Berry Meringue +
              Consommé
         #3 Muscovado Braised Pineapple + Coconut Cake 
         #4 Hazelnut Dacquoise, Milk Jam + Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Morgan #1 Passion Fruit Cannoli w/ Mango Carpaccio, Fluid Gel + Tarragon Jelly 
         #2 Blueberry Pavlova w/ Lemon Cream in Citrus Chamomile Broth + Pearls 
         #3 Manjari Soufflé Cake w/ Raspberry Sorbet + Cocoa Nib Paper
         #4 White Pepper Crème Brûlée, Black Pepper Baumkuchen + Blackberry Anise
               Macaron
Danielle #1 Hazelnut Cake w/ Spanish Goat Cheese + Fig Jam
          #2 Lemon Parfait, Pomelo + Tangerine Sorbet + Moscato Granita
          #3 Baked Alaska, Strawberry Sundae + Root Beer Float
          #4 Chocolate Pudding Cake w/ Pistachio Ice Cream

The judging panel was distinguished. In addition to the regular judges of Johnny Iuzzini, Gail Simmons, Danielle Kyrillos and Hubert Keller plus the 3 celebrity sous chefs, it included:
Ron Ben-Israel
Scott Wheatfill
Susan Feniger
Suzanne Goin
James Oseland

Judges’ comments during dining were:
Danielle #1 – the balance between her sweet and sour were good; this dish appeared simple but was really quite complex
Yigit #2 – contrast of lemongrass against the strawberry striking
Danielle #2 – really good
Morgan #2 – sauce worked
Morgan #3 – his soufflés were breaking, but Heather saved him as much as possible; there was at least one broken one served and it received “a mess” comments
Danielle #3 - Baked Alaska great
Danielle #4 – not elegant
Morgan #4 - Baumkuchen was a masterpiece

Judges’ Table comments were:
Danielle – beautiful use of lavender, ganache did not develop full flavor
Yigit – lovely, sophisticated and surprising, got multiple crunches, good hot/cold balance, ripe pineapple flavor excellent
Morgan – “you promised no more macaroons, but the one you did was excellent”, baumkuchen superb

Further comments were:
Danielle – progression or courses good; you showed a new level of sophistication
Yigit- showed mastery of several different techniques; you found your balance
Morgan – elements of brilliance and passion, but breakdown of soufflé unfortunate; you push yourself hard to obtain excellence.

The judges were not giving much away there, as is always the case in Top Chef finales. The winner was Yigit (he did have the fewest negative comments). Yigit won the package of prizes, including $125,000 and a Buick Regal, a feature in Food and Wine magazine and a spot at the Food and Wine Expo at Pebble Beach. Most importantly, he won the title of Top Chef – Just Desserts.


 

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