TC-JD2, Ep. 1
14 pastry chefs arrived on Santa Monica pier to meet each other. Some already knew others in the group. The Quickfire started immediately with chefs pairing up into teams of 2. Their goal was to produce the most delicious possible soda fountain treat in 30 minutes. 5 of the teams had the non-creative banana split (disguised by a variety of names), one made Captain Crunch ice cream and one another a soda combination with a pickled cherry. Here were the creations presented:
Matthew/Katzie – chocolate egg cream w/ citrus, lemon, ile flottant
Amanda/Nelson – chocolate sponge cake, pickled cherries (which she was adamant were going to be fit into their final dish), pistachios
Carlos/Rebecca – Captain Crunch ice cream milkshake
Sally/Craig – breakfast banana milkshake
Megan/Orlando – feuilletine, bruleed bananas, chocolate ice cream, chocolate syrup (which had a non-functional garnish that Johnny Iuzzini was unhappy about)
Vanarin/Melissa - micro cake, shattered banana carpaccio, white sauce
Lina/Chris – almond crispies, raspberry sauce, butter pecan ice cream
Judging was by Johnny Iuzzini and Gail Simmons. The 2 least favorite dishes of Johnny Iuzzini were Megan/Orlando and Lina/Chris. His 2 favorite were the Captain Crunch milkshake of Carlos/Rebecca and the cake and pickled cherries of Amanda/ Nelson. The winner was Amanda/Nelson and this made them exempt at the elimination challenge.
The chefs pulled books out of a cupboard to get into teams of 3 with the same book and then Amanda and Nelson could assign themselves to one of the prior teams of 3. The challenge was to make a showpiece and 2 desserts for 150 people at a masked ball. The books were classic fairy tales and here are the individuals assigned to them:
Jack and the Beanstalk – Katzie, Craig, Megan
Goldilocks and the 3 Bears - Nelson, Rebecca, Orlando, Sally
Hansel and Gretel – Lina, Melissa, Vanarin
Little Red Riding Hood – Chris, Matthew, Amanda, Carlos
The judges were the same as for Top Chef-Just Desserts 1: Gail Simmons, Johnny Iuzzini, Hubert Keller, Dannielle Kyrillos. Teams had 6 hours to prep and 4 hours more before the ball. This suggests that there was a lot of work. That gave the 4-person teams an advantage that I will label as unfair.
The showpieces had to be done by those most experienced in showpieces, which are quite a specialty. Two of the showpieces (Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the 3 Bears) were clearly superior to the other two. The beanstalk was problematical, as the sugar had broken into pieces and was glued back in a way that looked OK from the front but lacking from the rear.
The desserts presented were:
Jack and the Beanstalk- bergamot cloud, whipped lemon ricotta, sweet pea sorbet, spiced golden syrup
brown butter hazelnut cake, lemongrass stalk infused cream, passion fruit
Goldilocks and the 3 Bears-almond bar, fruits of the forest, honey ice cream
Baby bear’s oatmeal porridge, hot Rainier cherries, basil syrup, cherry sorbet
Hansel and Gretel- butterscotch brioche, goat cheese mousse, smoked pineapple
chocolate cloud, milk sherbet hibiscus apple seltzer
Little Red Riding Hood- rose scented bomboloni, coconut tapioca, red berry puree
blackout sponge cake w/ cocoa nib nougatine, poached cherries, micro basil
The judges did their thing and considered the showpiece and each dessert. They found that the two top teams were Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood. Note that Rebecca continued to be a cherries specialist. The winner was Little Red Riding Hood.
That left the other 2 teams in the judging for the worst team. The judges found that the tastes and textures of the desserts of Jack and the Beanstalk and its showpiece were better. Pineapple was viewed as a poor choice for Hansel and Gretel, which also had no candy on the exterior of its house in the showpiece. However, the true purpose was to identify the chef being eliminated, which could have been from either team. One thing which was presumably not available to the judges was the tape of what during the prep and cooking time. Lina had made a decision during that period, but at Judges’ Table she disowned it (although the judges did not know that) she had lied before them). Without that information, the judges chose to eliminate Lina.