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Top Chef Just Desserts Recap-“Death by Chocolate”


Has the importance of casting in reality TV ever been more apparent than during this season of Top Chef: Just Desserts? I can still name the top four contestants of last season and I’m not sure I can name all the current contestants still on this one.  It’s like where personalities go to die up in here.

There’s only seven people left, which I only know because Chris openly states it for me.  For the Quickfire it’s guest judge Mark Israel who owns The Doughnut Plant in NYC.  I’ve been to The Doughnut Plant and I can vouch for the quality of the donuts there; however, I constantly get the name wrong and have been known to call it The Doughnut Palace, The Doughnut Planet and OhMyGodLet’sGoToThatPlaceOn23rdStreetPapaWantsSomeDoughnuts.  The Quickfire is your basic make a create-your-own-doughnut affair; winner gets $10,000 and no immunity.  Then Johnny walks out and tells the chefs that the worst doughnut of the bunch gets it’s maker sent home.  The producers are desperately trying to insert some drama if only to keep their host and judges awake.

Katzie gets dinged by Johnny for plating a doughnut too much like a high end dessert.  Mark says Carlos’ bombolinis (what the hell are those?) melt in his mouth.  Johnny thinks that Carlos “has a lot of cream, but the cream has a lot of flavor.”  Look at me not making a joke!  Orlando makes a spicy banana beignet which just sounds nasty.  Megan makes a cake doughnut with a honey cardamom glaze; her glaze is too crunchy which she says was a stupid mistake.  Mark likes Chris’ soft churro.  Why does everything on this show sound homoerotic tonight?  Is it just because I’m drinking.  Sally’s espresso glazed doughnut is applauded for being good for dipping and stirring the coffee.  Johnny hates to say it, but Matthew’s doughnut is dry.  It doesn’t really look like he hates to say it though, cause he kind of smirks while he delivers the bad news.  Ultimately, Carlos wins the challenge and gets the $10,000.  I’m okay with that, Carlos is one of those keep-your-head-down-and-do-good-work contestants which are great in a season where the crazier personalities pop.  Hell, Yigit was one of those contestants last season and I loved him.  Maybe I’ll try to root for Carlos.  Matthew, Megan and Orlando wind up on the bottom; Orlando adds more spice to this segment than he apparently did to his bland doughnut, as he snips back when Johnny criticizes his entry.  Megan’s so going home, she’s made the least impression.  Gail quickly agrees with me and Megan gets the axe; Katzie quickly makes it about herself and monologues that her “last confidante is gone.”

Elimination Challenge!  Two teams of three will be creating a magnificent chocolate showpiece and one chocolate dessert from each team member.  The teams shake out to Orlando, Carlos and Sally against Katzie and the Bromance Brothers.  Then Gail tells them that they will be serving their desserts to the opposite team; now I know the producers are in a tizzy.  They’re throwing every reality competition trick in the book to inject some life into this episode.  Surprise elimination!  Teach challenge!  Rip on each other’s work to the judges!  They even separate the teams’ work areas so they can’t see what’s going on with each other. They should make them do it while ice-skating too. Orlando and Chris are taking point on each team’s showpiece and are convinced that this is shaping up to be a battle royale between the two of them.  If two gladiators enter an arena and you don’t care who wins, does a fight still happen?

Before you know it, the judges walk in with guest judge Wylie Dufresne.  The showpieces are revealed, and I’m kind of surprised at how similar they look.  Two tall towers of chocolate with some flowers on them; they’re both obviously excellent examples of their kind but I couldn’t call either a clear winner.  Orlando, Sally and Carlos sit down to try Chris’ chocolate brioche with chocolate cream, Matthew’s chocolate tart and Katzie’s boca negra with mousse.  Unsurprisingly, Orlando has absolutely nothing nice to say about anyone and he rips into Katzie with extra glee, calling her dessert an unappealing cube, baby food, poorly executed and essentially all around terrible.  The teams switch places and it’s Katzie and the Bros’ turn to rip into Orlando’s milk chocolate mousse with puff pastry, Sally’s manjari caramel mousse and Carlos’ milk chocolate and peanut butter mousse.  That’s a lot of mousse on one team.  Matthew makes the shockingly mature choice to keep his mouth shut and not rip on his competitors; Chris and Katzie weigh in, but nothing on the level of Orlando’s ranting.

Judge’s Table!  Both teams get called in, and Team Orlando, Sally and Carlos take the win.  I’m not really sure the reason for it, as the judges don’t tell us.  Team Bromance stays to take their lumps, and first up is Chris who is told that his brioche had a strange, unusual texture.  Katzie’s cake is deemed too large and too sloppy.  Matthew’s chocolate tart is deemed too sweet and lacking in layers of flavor.  Honestly, it doesn’t seem like the judges despised any of this stuff; we’re just getting into the nit-picky stuff.  Gail lowers the boom and it’s Katzie that gets the boot; that’s two ladies out this episode, leaving Sally alone with the boys.

And some final sprinkles on the cone:

-The clip of Matthew screaming “You really are an a**hole!” in the coming attractions last week implied drama.  In actuality it was just him fooling around with Carlos.

-“Reduced fat!  No thank you…”  Okay, that got a genuine chuckle out of me.

-Tonight’s episode of TC:JD was brought to me by a very large glass of syrah; sometimes a guy’s gotta drink his calories.