Friday, September 9, 2011

Watching "Top Chef: Just Desserts" 2.3

Episode three of the current season of "Top Chef: Just Desserts" showed live on Wednesday, September 7, 2011, so you've had over 24 hours now to watch it so you can join our discussion here.  I want, no, I NEED this to be a discussion please.  I'm leaving my thoughts but I NEED you to leave your thoughts in the comments below.  OK?  Good.

After a recap of the previous week, this episode jumped right into the kitchen where the chefs found piles of Extra! Gum, the dessert line from them.  I believe we've reviewed the mint chocolate chip flavor gum before and it did taste like the ice cream.  They also met that week's special guest judge Hugh Acheson from Five & Ten, a Georgia restaurant so I've never heard of it nor been there.

The Quickfire Challenge involved making tiny desserts that fit in this range of tiny plates and bowls, a dessert that could be a good gum flavor.  Not only would the winner be safe from elimination but also get a change to have their flavor made into a gum and earn $25,000. 

I don't know about the rest of you, but these chefs chatter away and think out-loud far too much for my liking.  Yet somehow with all their chatter two people make a pina colada flavor.  Only two out of the 12 chefs made something with chocolate -- Katzie and Nelson -- so I only give thumbs up to them.

Surprisingly Craig won with his mini stuffed pancake.  This was a shock because he has seemed very weak so far, even by his own admission and by the judgement of others competing.  He got immunity and the right to chose two team captains -- he named himself and then Amanda.

The Elimination Challenge used another Bravo show, The Housewives of Beverly Hills, which I can never imagine watching because it seems even less "real" than much "reality TV" but I suppose it is easiest for a channel to promote itself in this way.    Back to the challenge, one of the husbands of one of these wives watched to have a special party for his wife so the two teams had to design a pitch presentation of what they would do.

Immediately it looked like one team had a strong start because Craig basically turned over the captainship to his former teacher, Sally, who acted like a leader and organized the event.  The other team was supposed to be led by Amanda but even after their planning time was over, that group was still debating what to do.  Craig knew he wasn't a good leader, he knew he wasn't the best chef there, so he did something simple and then helped out a lot.  Amanda let things go for some time and then on the second and their last two hours, had a chart she used to check in with everyone.

The winning team, chosen by birthday lady, Lisa Vanderpump, was "Chris's" who wasn't a team leader at all though to the guests seeing and sampling the presentations he appeared to be one because Amanda asked him to take on that role for the presentation.  I consider that a personal failure and I believe it also showed a lack of belief in herself as well as a lack of believe in women.  Isn't that weird because it the show really about the power these "housewives" really wield in many ways?  Or maybe that is just the commercials.

I'm sorry that I jumped ahead and told you who won so here is my opinion on the presentations and the real judges' reactions.  I think it was artificial to have the guests pick the winning team and then listen to them this time around.  That hasn't happened in the first two episodes where everyone was on the line no matter what we saw and heard either the judges or those eating and drinking thought during the event they prepared their desserts for.  I want more consistency.  Either it really is up to the team of 4 judges or it is up to the clients.

Secondly, I think if a team cannot be organized in the time they are given, they need to have points docked from them in the final accounting.  Perhaps they need to turn in a copy of their plan to the judges and then those plans are compared to the final results.

I was very confused by the tables.  It looked to me like both tables, but particularly the losing table, had a lot of things on them that were not offered as samples.  Why show your client something they won't be eating?  Along those lines, if the dog was to be included in the number of "people" who'd be eating, I think that should have been made very clear.  The team which won really pandered to the dog and that annoyed me.  I worry that the birthday lady picked that team because of the dog treat because listening to the comments it seemed like a draw.

Not that you would know it from the judges table.  Nope, they really ripped into everything as though it wasn't close at all.  The birthday lady said it was very close so why the torrent of negativity?  Now I agree with several of the judges comments but frankly there were misses on the other team along with lack of solid leadership.

There is an innate problem to group challenges.  Too organized and you have less flexibility and you can't see or don't feel comfortable speaking up and suggesting something else. Too little organization and you lack a vision though you can create one as you go and you may do fine... that 's more a matter of luck and I think luck really decided this third episode when Nelson was sent home.

Final question to you all: Which Chef do you think needs to check her or his attitude the most?

1 comment:

Christine's Pantry said...

I didn't watch Top Chef. Great post.