Author Topic: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2  (Read 5848 times)

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Offline apskip

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Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« on: February 03, 2011, 02:21:01 PM »
BRAVO has announced that it is starting to cast the second season of Top chef - Just Desserts.

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2011, 03:04:28 PM »
The second season of this series will premiere on August 24 . The judges remain essentially the same with Gail Simmons, Johnny Iuzzini, Dannielle Kyrillos and Hubert Keller.

Following are the 14 new "Top Chef Just Desserts" competitors:
• Amanda Rockman, 29 - Hometown: Katy, Texas - Resides in Chicago, Ill.
• Carlos Enriquez, 33 - Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif. -Resides in Las Vegas, Nev.
• Chris Hanmer, 33 - Hometown: Costa Mesa, Calif. - Resides in Las Vegas, Nev.
• Craig Poirier, 25 - Hometown: Derry, N.H. - Resides in Las Vegas, Nev.
• Katzie Guy-Hamilton, 24 - Hometown: Worcester, Mass. - Resides in New York, N.Y.
• Lina Biancamano, 37 - Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz. - Resides in Fort Worth, Texas
• Matthew Petersen, 32 - Hometown: Dublin, Pa. - Resides in Arlington, Va.
• Megan Ketover, 31 - Hometown/ Resides In: Cincinnati, Ohio
• Melissa Camacho, 30 - Hometown: Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Resides in New York, N.Y.
• Nelson Paz, 33 - Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina - Resides in Boston, Mass.
• Orlando Santos, 32 - Hometown: St. Croix, US Virgin Islands - Resides in Pittsburgh, Pa.
• Rebecca Masson, 39 - Hometown: Laramie, Wyo. -Resides in Houston, Texas
• Sally Camacho, 31 - Hometown/ Resides In: Los Angeles, Calif.
• Vanarin Kuch, 26 - Hometown/ Resides In: Houston, Texas
The winning chef will receive $100,000 furnished by KitchenAid, a feature in Food & Wine magazine and a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Cayman Cookout. The chefs must face off in difficult and creative challenges, from fairytale showpieces and edible room decor to high-class gingerbread houses and carnival delights.  Celebrity guest judges include Beastie Boys' Adam "Ad Rock" Horovitz, The Cast of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, renowned pastry chef Francois Payard and Iron Chef Cat Cora.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 06:10:18 PM by apskip »

Offline apskip

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2011, 03:05:40 PM »
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.

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. 
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 06:11:07 PM by apskip »

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2011, 06:31:56 PM »
TC-JD2, Ep. 2

Guest chef Maria Braun, author of the book Cakemakers, posed a Quickfire challenge for the chefs, to create a sublime lemon dessert. Lemon is difficult for pastry chefs to work with. What the pastry chefs created were these dishes:

Amanda-caramel cremeux w/café dulce confit lemon segments
Carlos-lemon soup w/reverse spherical yoghurt, olive oil powder, honey, thyme
Chris-not shown
Craig-lemon sour cream pound cake w/ French meringue, coconut cream
Katzie-lemon crepe ribbons w/ egg yolk, butter emulsion, candied fennel seeds
Matthew- lemon vanilla creme w/mint puree, hazelnut sable
Megan- not shown
Melissa-lemon beignet w/ Thai basil sugar
Nelson- lemon pavlova w/ mango coulis
Orlando- coconut lemon cream cake, lemon curd, lemon fritters, chocolate
Rebecca-lemon meringue pie w/ blueberries, lemon + ginger syrup
Sally-lemon sour cream
Vanarin-lemon curd semifreddo w/ coconut brown butter streusel, blackberry compote

The 3 worst dishes were:
Nelson-- lemon and mango don’t go together
Orlando-lemon and chocolate don’t work together
Amanda-caramel and lemon don’t go together
The 3 best dishes were:
Matthew – lemon cake great
Carlos-balance of flavors and textures
The winner of immunity for the Elimination Challenge was Matthew.

Elimination Challenge
The orchestra of the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall plus spouses were receiving 150 plates of special desserts of Top Chef-Just Desserts from each team. The chefs were organized by picks into 4 teams, with Matthew getting the extra person (who was Melissa so that wasn’t necessarily a plus). Those teams were:
Team Green – Rebecca picked Sally and Carlos
Team Blue- Amanda picked Katzie and Vanarin
Team Black- Orlando picked Nelson and Craig
Team Red- Matthew picked Chris, Megan and Melissa
Teams had 8.5 hours initially to create and cook, with each team member responsible for one tier of a 3-tier cake. Johnny Iuzzini went around tom Colicchio-style to check on how teams were doing. He found that the musical instrument decorations of the Blue Team were too small would not have the intended effect. The next day teams had an additional 4 hours to cook and decorate. When they arrived outside the hall, they discovered that the cakes were displayed outdoors in the heat, which also had an impact on the cakes.

The actual tiers of each cake were:
Matthew-lemon pound cake, lemon daquoise, crème fraiche mousse, strawberry jam
Megan-yellow butter cake w/ honey caramel cream, preserves, mocha praline feullitine
Chris – chocolate sponge hazelnut cake, praline jam, vanilla cremeux
Melissa – cardamom sponge cake w/ ginger cream, strawberry jam
Katzie – buttermilk cake w/ black currant jam, pistachio buttercream
Amanda – devil’s food cake w/ raspberry gelee, chocolate buttercream, praline feulletine
Vanarin- smoked salted caramel cake w/ pistachio buttercream
Orlando- vanilla sponge soaked in chambord
Nelson-vanilla and lemon zest cake w/ pistachio buttercream + white chocolate pearls
Craig- Grandma’s chocolate cake w/ caramel + marshmallow buttercream
Carlos- vanilla sponge cake, lemon cream + strawberries
Sally- devil’s food cake w/ chocolate buttercream, salted caramel, fresh raspberries
Rebecca- devil’s food cake w/ whipped caramel ganache, almond daquoise

One hilarious sidebar note was that Craig had named his chocolate cake Grandma’s and was asked by Maria Braun if it really was his grandmother’s recipe. Craig could have lied, but he just stated that it wasn’t. Sally during the wait for judging revealed that she had taught that recipe to Craig when she was his pastry chef instructor. Judges’ Table judged that the better teams were Red and Green. Black and Blue had the weaker cakes. Each member of those teams was assessed for maximum contribution to the chaos of their team’s cake. Vanarin won the prize (elimination) based on the issued with the musical instrument decorations and structural problems and flavor issues with his tier of the Blue team’s cake.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 09:22:55 PM by apskip »

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2011, 12:03:17 PM »
TC-JD2, Ep. 3

This episode started with the introduction of Hugh Acheson, a Top Chef Masters 3 competitor. The Quickfire is to create a dessert to inspire the introduction of a new Extra Desserts chewing gum (product placement) flavor. Chefs create these desserts:

Amanda- coconut rum mousse, lemon-pineapple coulis, vanilla bean
Carlos-passion fruit gelee, coconut tapioca meringue
Chris- not shown
Craig- lemon mascarpone pancake/ cream + amaretto infused strawberries
Katzie- chocolate cream cookie, bitter chocolate cream, orange cheesecake
Matthew- oatmeal raisin cookie parfait
Megan- not shown
Melissa- white coffee cream roasted bananas, brown butter crumbs, passionfruit gelee
Nelson- black forest dessert
Orlando-not shown
Rebecca-raspberry panna cotta, w/ gingerbread crust
Sally-passion fruit pina colada

The worst 3 dishes were Rebecca (too busy on the plate, Matthew (way too sweet) and Melissa (coffee flavor not appropriate for gum).
The best 3 dishes were Nelson, Carlos and Craig. Craig was the winner of $25,000 and immunity for the Elimination Challenge.

Elimination Challenge

Teams were chosen by Craig and his pick for opposing team captain, Amanda:

Craig- Nelson, Sally, Orlando, Rebecca, Matthew
Amanda- Katzie, Carlos, Melissa, Chris, Megan 
The task of each team was to provide a dessert table for a party hosted by Lisa Vanderplunk of Housewives of Beverly Hills (nasty product placement) at her rechristened Villa Rosa (for one night only) restaurant. Her husband Ken Todd and dog Giggy came to answer questions from the chefs. Amanda’s team learned that the dog likes sweet treats and the favorite dessert of Lisa’s daughter Pandora. The teams were not told to do a Showpiece, but that was a logical thing to do in the circumstances. Teams had 6 hours to create and cook initially, then an extra 2 hours the next morning to continue that and set up.

Nelson was focusing on the creation of a lollipop. Craig’s team went bananas with dishes colored pink, apparently Craig’s favorite color and referred to by the judges as “the Big Pink Wow”.

The desserts for Amanda’s team were:
Amanda – champagne and raspberry gelee
Carlos- guava candies w/ pastry cigars
Katzie – pink macaroons filled w/ marscarpone
Melissa- white chocolate blondies w/ rose sauce
Megan- pink velvet almond cake
Chris was focused on the team showpiece. Someone even a treat for the dog.

The desserts for Craig’s team were:
Sally – chocolate raspberry tarte with lychee sorbet (which melted)
Nelson – passion fruit cheesecake lollipops with cotton candy
Craig – pink lemonade drink coated with sugar on the rim to counter its sour taste
Matthew- white chocolate cherry mousse w/ pistachio
Rebecca – chocolate beet cake, rhubarb rose crisp w/ crème fraiche sherbet
Orlando had the primary responsibility for the team showpiece.

Both teams had done an outstanding job, but someone had to be picked as the loser. Commentary was provided by:
Kyle Richards and Taylor Armstrong, colleagues on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Pandora Todd-Vanderplunk
Ken Todd
Guest Judge Hugh Acheson
Regular judges Johnny Iuzzini, Gail Simmons and Hubert Keller
However, the decision on which team won and which lost was solely on Lisa’s shoulders. Her decision was that Amanda’s team (which she referred to as Chris’) won and Craig’s team lost.

That put the chefs of Craig’s team into Judges’ Table, but Craig personally had immunity. That was a good thing, as Hugh Acheson assured Craig that if he didn’t he would have been selected as the person eliminated. The judges quickly assured Matthew and Rebecca that their desserts were good enough to keep them out of consideration. That left Nelson, Orlando and Sally. They were criticized as follows:
Sally – sorbet melted; not much technical skill shown
Orlando – took a beautiful white table and cluttered it up with too many rose petals
Nelson- demonstrated low skill

The judges decided to send Nelson home.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 07:29:47 AM by apskip »

Offline coolio

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2011, 07:30:09 PM »
This season is really high stakes. I hate Craig's voice.

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2011, 02:52:25 PM »
TC-JD2, Ep. 4

This episode was only an elimination challenge, as it was a huge project that left no time for any Quickfire. The chefs were given VIP tickets to a movie, which turned out to be Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the favorite of several of them from their childhood. After the movie was over, Gail Simmons appeared on stage and invited some “special guests” from the general audience to come. 4 individuals did:Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt), Paris Themmen (Mike TeeVee), Denise Nickerson (Violet Beauregarde) Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket).They were original cast members from the movie all grown up 40 years later, as a 40th Anniversary DVD is being released. To celebrate that, the pastry chefs were going to honor the film and the actors with special sets and desserts, Create a Room of Pure Edible Imagination. They had 13 hours to cook.

The first order of business was organization of tasks. Chris had a vision which he wanted and insisted on, to have a “Creative Team” with focus on structures to be used by all(but each one of that team still to do one dessert) and a “Production Team” top do the higher volume desserts. Here were the volunteers for each team:

Creative – Chris, Orlando, Matthew, Megan
Production – Amanda, Carlos, Craig, Katzie, Melissa, Rebecca, Sally

As creation and cooking was proceeding John Iuzzini came to assess progress and he casually stated that there were would two eliminations for this episode instead of the usual one. The largest and most difficult structure was Chris’ chocolate fountain attempting to match the one in the movie. Orlando said that he had prepared 260 pounds of chocolate for use in a variety of ways by the others.

The finished products were:
Amanda - Chocolate Tulip Cups with Blueberry Sauce; Raspberry Fizzy Chocolates
Carlos - Fruit Wallpaper, Peanut Butter and Jelly Macarons, Meringue Lollipops
Craig – Giant Gummy Bears
Chris – Chocolate Waterfall, Almond Lemon Daquois
Katzie – Carrot Patch, Beehive
Matthew- Strawberry, Lemon, Vanilla Profiteroles
Megan- Creamsicle Curd with Lavender Shortbread; Bourbon Caramel Candy Bar Pops
Melissa – Green Donuts, Pudding Cup w/ Olive Gum, Whoopie Pie Daisies
Orlando – Raspberry Chocolate Crunches
Rebecca – "Golden Egg" Cakes
Sally - Vanilla and Coffee Bean Moon Pies; Pistachio Financier, Orange Dirt, Milk Chocolate Mousse

The room the chefs prepared was visually stunning, but some of the desserts had problems. Dozens of kids, a logical group of samplers, were imported from somewhere. Megan’s bourbon caramel candy bar pops were a bit too adult for them or for any teetolers. The chocolate fountain was very well received because it actually worked.

The judges included the usual Iuzzini, Simmons and Hubert Keller plus Ron Ben-Israel, owner of Ron Ben-Israel Cakes. They left 3 chefs (Chris, Orlando and Rebecca behind) and asked the other 7 to come visit them. Nobody knew what to expect because that group was too large to be either the winner’s group or the loser’s group. It turned out that it contained both. Katzie, Carlos and Matthew were in the winner’s group and Katzie got the nod for best dessert. The loser’s group was Melissa, Sally, Craig and Megan. Here were the comments:
Melissa – green donuts poorly executed
Craig – did not demonstrate much skill level
Megan – balance of flavors in her bourbon pops
Sally – presentation of orange dirt was poor
Two of the group of seven spoke up to say that Megan had helped them a lot. John Iuzzini said that should not matter if she failed to get her own dessert to a suitable level.

The axe fell on Craig, who was overdue, and Melissa, who had also not done well in earlier episodes as well as this one.

Offline franxaverian

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2011, 04:39:40 AM »
As I promised in the AGT thread...I will try giving some additions if needed.

Sally's dessert didn't utilize enough skills expected. If somehow Mellisa only serve the Whoopie Pie Daisies, I can see the teacher-student going home in one night.

@Apskip: Did you watch the 'what to expect in this season' on the end of episode 1? If I'm not mistaken, they somehow reveal the top 6 contestants (similar to how the NASA task in TC 7 was shown and how we know the top 5 by episode 1).

I'm rooting for Matthew to win this season..

Offline apskip

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2011, 10:21:18 AM »
I have not identified favorites yet, but these pastry chefs seem to be doing well:

Megan (despite her troubles this week)

I am going to wait a bit before projecting them as the Final 4.

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2011, 09:25:38 AM »
TC-JD2, Ep. 5

The guest judge is Pichet Ong, a renowned New York City pastry chef. The Quickfire is to create a candy bar in 1 ¾ hours. The candy bars presented were:

Amanda – Earl Grey chocolate ganache w/ caramel
Carlos – Choconana-peanut butter crisp w/ fudge cake, banana pudding, chocolate Pop Rocks
Chris – white candy bar; black candy bar
Katzie – Caramel Cove- brown butter, caramelized banana curd, jasmine ganache w/ dark chocolate bar on top
Matthew- hazelnut feuilletine praline w/ orange vanilla chocolate crème anglaise
Megan – ginger buckeye blast
Orlando- Berry Blast - blackberry port jam w/ chocolate
Rebecca- granola, panna cotta, orange marmalade, white chocolate
Sally – peanut butter, chocolate, cocoa nibs, chocolate ganache

Pichet rated the loser’s group to be Matthew’s unfinished chocolate glaze and Katzie’s “mess on a stick” even though it wasn’t on a stick. The winner’s group was Rebecca and Sally. Sally was the winner of immunity for the Elimination Challenge.

Elimination Challenge
This was to create an innovative dessert treat for people eating at the  Water Park. There was a nominal grouping into 3 sets of 3 chefs, but it was solely an individual competition:
Green Team – Rebecca, Megan, Katzie
Blue Team – Carlos, Sally, Amanda
Black Team – Orlando, Matthew, Chris

There was 12 hours to cook and another 1.5 hours at the Raging Waters water park to set up. A major issue became who got priority over scarce ice cream machine time in the kitchen. Chris gave up on the possibility of using it and substituted a pacojet system with liquid nitrogen to freeze his mix. Another issue was Chris “borrowing” Carlos’ liquid nitrogen container.  It appeared to be a hot day, although the real production date was probably in early May. In any event, some of the presented desserts were not holding up well over time, particularly for those judged in the final group, which was the Green team:

Carlos- Cap'n Crunch ice cream bar that is sprinkled with Fruity Pebbles and, once again, include pop rocks
Sally- berry smoothie w/ rice crispies
Amanda- funnel cakes w/ coconut sorbet
Orlando- chocolate vanilla ice cream sandwich/root beer float combination
Matthew- shortcake concoction with warm strawberries
Chris- passion mixer w/ginger fizz, cilantro infusion served through a mini- ice sculpture
Rebecca- lemon snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich
Megan- strawberry soda float with a white peach and basil sorbet
Katzie- Baked Alaska using spumoni ice cream on a stick

The judges selected Rebecca, Megan and Katzie as having the best individual desserts (Katzie won the honor of best) and all 6 of the rest as the losers’ group. The “what went wrong” discussion highlighted these issues:
Orlando- Gail said is wasn’t refreshing
Matthew- Pichet liked it if in restaurant; Dannielle said it was warm on hot summer’s day
Chris- Johnny criticized drink for leaving a syrupy sticky residue in back of his throat
Carlos – sweet dessert with not enough acid
Sally – Johnny criticized her strongly for not accomplishing much during cooking time
Amanda- Dannielle called it “a pretzel” in a derogatory fashion
On the second round at Judges’ Table, Matthew, Sally and Chris were excused. The second round comments were:
Amanda- funnel cakes were OK originally, but deteriorated over time; they can only be made fresh

Amanda was deemed the worst and eliminated.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 05:26:44 PM by apskip »

Offline franxaverian

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2011, 10:48:25 AM »
Hey Apskip, just a correction:

second group of elimination:
The chefs excused were Carlos Matthew, Chris and Sally.

Offline bbjunkey

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2011, 03:34:04 PM »
I think the wrong person got eliminated last time!

Offline bbjunkey

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2011, 05:04:01 PM »
too clarify my last post -- the last eliminated player on Top Chef --desserts was Amanda-- I don't think she should have gone home.  Seems to me other "treats" missed the mark more than hers. JMO

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2011, 05:28:17 PM »

Thanks for saying who you meant. I think that the only chef who performed worse than Amanda was sally. Since Sally had immunity, she could not be eliminated. I don't think either Carlos or Sally had worse desserts than Amanda, but maybe you do.

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2011, 05:48:33 PM »
TC-JD2, Ep. 6

The Guest Judge was Jordan Kahn, who is known for using unusual ingredients. The task for the Quickfire was to pick one root vegetable from the TC-JD garden and use it to make a dessert in 1 hour. The winner would get immunity plus $5,000. The picks on root vegetables were:
Carlos – celery root
Chris - jicama
Katzie - turnips
Matthew - parsnips
Megan – burdock root
Orlando - radish
Rebecca - potato
Sally – turmeric

The desserts created were:
Carlos – Celery Root in 3 Textures w/ Peanut Butter Pudding 
Chris – jicama watermelon jam with pannacotta and jicama salad
Katzie – soy milk pannacotta, mascarpone cream caramel, turnip chips
Matthew – caramelized parsnip cake w/ banana puree, caramelized hazelnut
Megan – five spice burdock root fritter and candied burdock root compote
Orlando – peach + radish crumble with Kataifi crunch, vanilla bean sherbet
Rebecca – French fries, chocolate sauce, malted milk ice cream
Sally – mango pudding w/ turmeric, curried popcorn, Thai basil

The verdict from the guest judge was that Rebecca (over-fried potatoes) and Carlos (not well executed dish) were in the Losers’ Group, but Chris was disqualified because he added a tiny garnish to his dessert just before judging, which is not allowed by the rules. The Winners’ group was Sally and Matthew. Sally won immunity and $5,000.

Elimination Challenge

This was quite unique, as the individual helping Gail to introduce it and serving on the judging panel was Adam Horowitz of the Beastie Boys, aka Ad-Rock. He”brought” with him the Beastie boys food pantry and there was limited choice by the chefs. Each one in turn got to choose 2 items and then another chef would choose a third item. Here were the choices on those items:
Carlos – bacon, popcorn, cucumber
Chris – pork and beans, pizza, can of ravioli
Katzie – French fries, hot butter, gorgonzola and provolone cheese
Matthew – cornbread, whiskey, mashed potatoes and gravy
Megan – Brass Monkey, Chivas Regal, onions
Orlando – coffee, sugar and cream; white rum; peas
Rebecca – ham, 40 ounce beer, falafel
Sally – prosciutto, cheddar cheese, chicken

The chefs had 4 hours to turn their ingredients into a dessert inspired by the Beastie Boys pantry. They would then be served at a street art fair.  The desserts created from these ingredients were:
Carlos – popcorn pannacotta, spicy cucumber air, bacon caramel, popcorn glass
Chris – pork + bean brownie, pine nut cream, naked ravioli
Katzie – sweet pommes frites w/ sweet and savory sauces
Matthew - cornbread + mashed potato cheesecake, whiskey caramel, gravy foam
Megan – Chivas Whiskey pudding cake, Brass Monkey sorbet, caramelized onions
Orlando – coffee, strawberry, rum parfait /w green peas
Rebecca - falafel, pannacotta and beer ice cream
Sally - prosciutto cake, chicken toffee sauce, cheddar ice cream

The judges (Ad-Rock, Gail Simmons, Johnny Iuzzini and Dannielle Kyrillos) rated Megan’s cake as too dry. Orlando lost points by using cookies already present in the TC-JD pantry on top of the parfait. Sally’s dish was rated delicious. Rebecca’s dish had way too much garlic. Katzie’s sauces provided way too many conflicting flavors.

The three chefs who were rated lowest by the judges were Megan, Katzie and Rebecca. The person eliminated was Rebecca for using an inappropriate amount of garlic in her dessert. The Winners’ Group was Matthew, Chris and Sally. Matthew was the winner for this episode.

Offline apskip

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2011, 07:36:04 PM »
TC-JD2, Ep. 7

This episode was jam-packed from start to finish. The Guest Judge was introduced for the Quickfire, Mark Israel. The chefs were told that the winner gets $10,000 but no immunity AND there will be an elimination of the worst chef in the Quickfire. Whoa! That got the attention of the chefs instantly. There are 2 hours to create the perfect donut. Here were the donuts presented:

Carlos – orange and lemon zest bombolinis w/ passion fruit cream   
Chris – citrus churro w/ raspberry jam
Katzie – cocoa beignet w/ date ganache
Matthew - ginger beignet w/ whipped caramel jivara cream
Megan – cake donut w/ honey cardamom glaze
Orlando – spiced banana beignet
Sally – expresso glazed donut w/ caramelized cashews

The best donuts as rated by the 3 judges present (Johnny had joined Mark and Gail) were those of Sally and Carlos. Carlos won because his texture was outstanding and the passion fruit flavor was really good. Considered for worst were:
Megan – too much glaze for the amount of dough
Matthew – too sweet, needed acidity
Orlando – no hint of the promised cardamom and  supposedly spiced donut 
Megan was eliminated.

The Elimination Challenge was a Chocolate Showdown. A random draw determined 2 teams of 3. The Red team was Katzie, Chris and Matthew, which I would regard as the less experienced team except for Chris. The Red team was Orlando, Sally and Carlos. There was 15 minutes to plan and 5 hours to cook, followed after an overnight lull by another 3 hours to cook. The focus for each team was allowing a Showpiece by Orlando and a Showpiece by Chris to take center stage. To accommodate that, Orlando’s dessert recipe had to be handled by Sally and Carlos and I commend Orlando for his willingness to delegate that to them so that he could exclusively concentrate on the Showpiece. Chris made his own Showpiece without help and also made a fairly simple dessert. Orlando made the remark while at work that “I like my showpieces like I like my men – tall.”

The judging team is Johnny, Gail, Dannielle and Wylie Dufresne. The Red team is doing a 15 minute finishing cooking and the Blue team will be dining with the judging and commenting. The dishes were:

Katzie – boca negra cake, mousse, jasmine, passion fruit curd, candied violets, whipped cream glacee
Chris – chocolate brioche, chocolate cream, vanilla ice cream, cocoa nib tuile
Matthew – chocolate tart w/ chiboust, caramel, compressed cherries, chocolate sorbet

The Blue team, especially Orlando, ripped the Red team’s dishes apart but the judges ignore it as posturing.

The teams switch and the Blue team is doing the 15 minute finish and the Red team eating.  The dishes were:

Orlando – puff pastry, milk chocolate mousse, mango coulis,
roasted cocoa nib sorbet
Sally – maniari caramel mousse, spiced caramel , passion fruit gelee
Carlos – caramelized cremeux, milk chocolate mousse , peanut butter mousse, caramelized banana

The Red team, especially Chris also ripped the Blue team’s dishes apart and it too was ignored. Both chris and Orlando were big talkers. Why did the producers bother with that absurd behavior? What did they expect?

The judges, as well as any TV viewer, found both showpieces compelling. They rated the Blue team as the winner, which excused Orlando, Sally and Carlos from Judges Table. Comments from the judges aimed at specific chefs were:
Chris – texture was unappealing; Johnny said there was something off
Katzie - not enough jasmine or curd to offset the overwhelming flavor of the boca negra cake
Matthew – tart was overwhelming in sweetness, not a distinguished dish

In the final commentary by the judges, here was what they said:
Katzie – boca negra cake too rich, lacked elegance and finesse
Matthew – lacked balance
Chris – not up to normal standard
It was Katzie sent home.

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #16 on: October 15, 2011, 07:52:04 AM »
TC-JD2, Ep. 8

The Quickfire Judge (staying on for later) was the famous Francois Payard. The challenge was to create an excellent pie with one hand tied behind the backs of the chefs in 1.5 hours. The winner would get $5,000. This meant that normal things like opening a bottle of water and peeling fruit was not possible. These were the pies presented:

Carlos – raspberry lemon meringue pie
Chris – banana cream pie w/ banana caramel
Matthew – disqualified for accidentally touching plate with his left hand; not sampled
Orlando – blueberry/raspberry/blackberry/strawberry pie
Sally – red plum and strawberry double-crusted pie w/ white chocolate chantilly

Payard judged that Sally (too tart, too much dough) and Chris (too much ?, not enough banana) were the worst. The best were Orlando and Carlos. Carlos won for his effective combination of lemon and raspberry flavors.

The Elimination Challenge was to create an upscale dessert for a Carnival being hosted by Food & Wine magazine Editor-in-Chief Dana Cowin for 170 guests at the Los Angeles River Center and Gardens. The initial cooking time was 3 hours, with an additional 2 hours the next day. The chefs also had $400 and 30 minutes to shop for display equipment. Carlos had a macaroon at the end of the initial cooking time, but he failed to protect it overnight and it dried out, making it unservable. Carlos decided to substitute an angel food cake as something he could accomplish in the remaining time. Sally had a corn pudding in the blast freezer when the initial time ran out and had to reprocess it from a frozen state the following day. Chris hogged the Paco-Jet freezers so that nobody else could use them.

These were the desserts created:
Carlos – sesame angel food cake “burger”, churro “fries”, strawberry-lemon cake
Chris – funnel cake ice cream, sable Breton, strawberry funnel cake, mint foam
Matthew – fried caramel apple pie w/ apple carpaccio, vanilla ice cream
Orlando – candy apple flavor infused into a chocolate entremets, apple sorbet
Sally – white corn brown butter cake w/ corn pudding, peanut ice cream

The judges were Gail, Johnny, Francois and Hubert. Dana Cowin had input although she was not on the formal judging panel. Criticism of those desserts from the judges followed. The winners group was Matthew and Sally. Matthew won for having a balanced, clean and simple dessert. That left Orlando, Chris and Carlos in the losers’ group. Comments were:
Orlando – apple flavor overwhelmed by chocolate in the entremet; layers of the entremet not well executed
Carlos- angel food cake texture poor
Chris – agar jelly hard for guests to eat, too complicated, lacked refinement

While waiting for the final judgment, the chefs labeled Chris as Paco-Jet Man, Carlos as Nitro Man and Orlando as Chocolate Man.

Carlos was eliminated.

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2011, 01:01:03 PM »
TC-JD2, Ep. 9

The Guest Judge role was identified as Suzanne Goin was introduced. However, there was no Quickfire for her to judge as a diabolical Elimination Challenge started. It was a variation on the Top Chef 7 episode where the chefs were supposed to disguise their dishes so its appearance led to the conclusion that it was something different from what its taste indicated. IN this case, the pastry chefs had to disguise desserts to look like savory dishes from an iconic entrée from another country. The countries chosen were:
Chris – France
Orlando – Spain
Matthew – Italy
Sally – Cuba
The best iconic dishes were not immediately obvious to all the chefs, but here is where they wound up:
Chris – Beef Wellington (most would think this is a classic English dish, but Johnny researched it and determined that there was enough French background for this dish for it to be acceptable
Orlando – paella
Matthew –manicotti
Sally – Cuban sandwich

The chefs had 3 hours to cook day 1 and 2 additional hours day 2. Chris used purchased pastry dough to save time. Orlando cooked his rice in a rice cooker. Matthew was painstaking in putting stripes down the long dimension of his pasta. Sally tried to hedge her bets and make two different items so she could decide which one to finish later, but she eventually chose to do the Cuban sandwich. The detail work was painstaking to get the dishes to look authentic. The diners who were commenting were Suzanne Goin, Michael Cimarusti, John Sedlar and Soon Yoon. The judges included Iron Chef Cat Cora, Hubert Keller, Johnny Iuzzini and Gail Simmons.

The dishes presented were:
Chris – “Beef Wellington” (Chocolate Mousse, Raspberry Jam & Salted Caramel)
Orlando – “Paella” (Coconut Saffron Rice, Compressed Plums & Roasted Beets)
Matthew – “Manicotti” (Crème Fraiche Cake with Mascarpone-Ricotta Mousse, Strawberry Sauce & Basil Gelée)
Sally - “Cuban Sandwich with Potato Salad & Plantain Chips” (Cream Cheese Mousse, Passion Fruit Mustard and Strawberry Caramel)

Comments while dining led me to the conclusion that Chris and Sally were going to finish in the top while Orlando and Matthew were going to be on the bottom. Judges’ Table summary comments were:
Chris- beautiful, but questions about the pastry not being made in-house
Matthew – beautiful presentation; flavor variation lacking; he had promised Johnny tomato in the dish and did not deliver that
Orlando – use of fruit to mimic seafood was good; rice cooker did not give a paella type texture; technique lacking; taste lacking; his use of beets was questionable
Sally – “you fooled us all”; white mousse was a problem as it oozed out with minimal pressure; Asian potato salad was exquisite

The winner was Sally. Chris was excused to guarantee his place in the finale. It was between Matthew and Orlando on who would get the last spot in the finale. Matthew did and Orlando was sent home.

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Re: Top Chef - Just Desserts 2
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2011, 04:35:59 PM »
TC-JD2, Finale

This was not structured the same as any prior Top Chef or Top Chef-Just Desserts finale. The 3 pastry chefs were stunned by the offer of help from these Meilleurs Ouvriers de France:
Jacques Torres (Mr. Chocolate)
Sebastien Canonne (co-founder of the French Pastry School in Chicago)
Stephane Treand, owner of The Art of Pastry

Those 3 were not assigned to any of the competing chefs, as they rotated and helped all of them within the 5 hour time frame of day 1. The next day there was 10 hours to cook but so much to do, so TC-JD2 provided 2 sous chefs from the eliminated ones. The first was assigned by random draw. Sally got Van (out at the 2nd episode), Chris got Rebecca (out at the 6th episode) and Matthew got Megan (out at the 7th episode). Then Sally got to pick Orlando, Chris got to pick Amanda and Matthew got to pick Carlos. Needless to say, the second round picks were better than the first round.

The Challenge was to create the following within those time frames:
A Showpiece
An entremets
A savoury bread
A bonbon
A plated dessert inspired by someone who has a close relationship to you
Chris and Matthew were each inspired by their wife and young child. Sally was inspired by her mother and sister. Sally designed a showpiece but left the much more experienced Orlando (in showpieces) execute it for her. Matthew and Chris did their own showpieces.

The dishes created were: 

Entremet: Chocolate Mousse, Vanilla Crémeux, Raspberry Jam
Bread: Brioche with Bacon Maple Butter
Bonbon: Coffee Infused Ganache, Caramel
Plated Dessert butter almond cake w/ mango sauce, banana ice cream

Entremet: Hazelnut Dacquoise, Passion fruit Gelee
Bread: Focaccia with Olive Oil, Maldon Salt & Fresh Thyme
Bonbon: Key Lime Ganache, Speculoos
Plated Dessert: Chocolate Chip Cookie, Raspberry Mousse, Pecan Praline, Ice Cream

Entremet: Chocolate Mousse, Mango Vanilla Cream, Caramel Cremeux, Lime, Almond Sponge
Bread: Parker House Roll with Bacon, Onions, Gruyère
Bonbon: Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate
Plated Dessert: White Chocolate Espresso Mousse, Chocolate Crémeux, Cashew Nougatine, Ice Cream

These restaurant industry notaries assisted the judges (Johnny Iuzzini, Gail Simmons, Dannyelle Kyrios, Hubert Keller):
Valerie Gordon, Valerie’s Confections
Ludo Lefebvre, Ludobites
Hasty Torres, Mrs. Chocolat
Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of French Pastry /School along with Sebastien Canonne
Jordan Kahn, owner of Red Medicine

The feedback on the showpieces was:
Chris – generally very good, except a few minor parts had fallen off
Sally – excellent, but was it really hers?
Matthew – generally very good
In a very crass moment while explaining his total package to the judges, Chris directly criticized Sally by making a reference to his own creation and execution of a showpiece. I think he was way off base there, since what was Sally supposed to use Orlando for? Orlando’s best use was to do the showpiece, where he has a history of being highly competitive with Chris. Some judges supported Sally on this, but some did not.

The rest of the presentations met a high standard of excellence. Chris apparently earned a slight edge based on flavors and having no obvious glitches. Sally was solid but not everything was the same high standard. Matthew did well but had less clean flavors.

The judges had to make a decision. I hoped it would a win for Sally, but that was not to be. Chris brought it home with his consistent performance and wide range of skills.