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Top Chef: Just Desserts Recap – Cocktail with a Twist


As if having a Top Chef show based solely around desserts wasn’t making my mouth water enough, they’re apparently bringing liquor in this week.  I need to start watching this show with a dish of ice cream.

We open with Morgan informing us that he and Seth have formed a quick bond; douches of a feather, as they say.  One of the reasons he states is that they’re both heterosexual.  That seems vaguely, what’s the word I’m looking for, oh yes, idiotic.  It’s like people finding out I’m gay and then immediately telling me that I have to meet their gay friend and go on a date.  Frankly, I’m not even sure I like you yet, why in hell would I want to meet your friend?  Sexuality does not a relationship make.  Also, that apparently makes everyone else a card carrying member of Team Gay (not that that was much of a secret).

Quickfire time!  Gail waits with guest judge Elizabeth Faulkner in front of a wall of candy.  Heather C testifies that Faulkner is one of her idols, but I’m distracted because she has that odd bandage on her forehead again. It’s on in the kitchen, off in the confessionals.  I ignored it last week, but I’m starting to feel like I need an explanation.  The quickfire challenge is to create a dish celebrating penny candy; I’m of the opinion that the best way to celebrate penny candy is to save your pennies and buy some pie.  Heather H agrees with me, saying she’s more of a chocolate lover.  I’m starting to really like Heather H.

The entire quickfire is then high-jacked by Seth having a nervous breakdown about his mother’s recovery from undisclosed medical issues.  It’s seriously one of the larger crying jags I’ve ever seen on a reality competition, and frankly it’s difficult to watch.  Mostly because I feel like I can’t really make fun of him as I would like to because his mother is ill.  Luckily, my girl Heather H is there to roll her eyes for me.  Then Elizabeth Faulkner steps in to try to comfort him, and Seth lets loose with “The Red Hots are for my mommy.”  That whole sentence just sounds…gross.

Heather C, Eric and Seth wind up on the bottom.  Seth looks remarkably put together for someone who just had a nervous breakdown.  Just saying.  Heather H, Danielle and Zac wind up in the top, with Danielle getting the win and immunity.  The elimination challenge is set at 1940’s inspired restaurant The Tar Pit, which apparently has an amazing bar, as Gail informs the chefs they must create a dessert based on a cocktail.  Also, they are going behind the bar to shop for their ingredients, which I think is another good twist.  Each chef gets two minutes behind the bar; everybody handles it with a fair amount of aplomb except for Seth (shocking!) who asks the eternal question “How am I supposed to make a greyhound dessert without grapefruit?”  Um, you’re not.  To quote a certain reality show mentor, make it work.  He then melts down and yells at his fellow contestants for not supporting him.  To quote my mother, grow up.  Gail, epitome of class that she is, just looks embarassed for him.  Me too, Gail!  Let’s get a bottle of wine.

Back at TC:JD headquarters, Heather H and Yigit (apparently pronounced YEET) lay into Seth for his unprofessional behavior.  Heather tells him not to try to make it up to them, just to be a decent human being.  However, Yigit wins my respect for the following exchange:

Seth: “Please just let me know anything I can do [to make it up to you]”

Yigit: “At this point, distance would be greatly appreciated.”

I’m so Team Heather H and Yigit right now; not only do they appear talented, they seem to agree with me about everything.  Also, Heather helped Yigit finish his prep.  That’s a classy lady that Gail would not be embarassed by.

Service goes fairly smoothly, until Seth (naturally) manages to be near Zac’s plate  of chocolate squares when they fall off the table.  In a shout back to Pea-PureeGate of last season’s Top Chef, he denies all responsibility; if he wasn’t at fault he has a case against the editors.  It’s too bad, because irritating as Seth is he did at least appear to be trying to improve his behavior from the day before.  However, Zac is now fully ready to shank him, especially since he helped Seth finish his playing.  Then in the stew room Heather C and Seth get into an argument, and frankly I’m so tired of writing about his meltdowns in this episode that I don’t even want to get into it.

At Judge’s Table the top three are Erika for her margarita bombe, Yigit for his panna cotta with basil ice cream and Eric for his pineapple upside-down cake.  Erika wins and is quite charming when she announces it to her fellow competitors.  In the bottom are Malika for her mojito cake (unbalanced and incomplete), Tim for his plantation pudding (a curdled, soupy mess) and Seth for his trio of blueberry cake (unfocused, and probably flavored with tears).  When asked how the judges can be certain he won’t have another breakdown, he admits that he can’t guarantee that he won’t.  I’d be fine if he could just limit it to one an episode.

Ultimately, Tim gets the axe.  I’m again surprised, as I thought Malika would be following Tania to the great pastry kitchen in the sky.  Team Gay loses it’s first member.  I wonder how the house is going to do without Tim to make them coffee in the morning.

And some bullet points:

-Morgan is ready to rock: he’s RTR.  I think we get enough unnecessary acronyms over on Jersey Shore.

– Erika is apparently 40; I seriously would have guessed late twenties.  Girl looks good!  Also, I need a recipe for a margarita bombe yesterday.

– Anyone else notice that the editor’s threw a shot of Erika into Seth’s meltdown in the stew room, even though she had already left to receive her accolades?

– It appears that the hour and fifteen minute length was not simply because the editors needed to fit in all 27 of Seth’s nervous breakdowns; next week’s installment is also super-sized.