Sunday, September 25, 2011

Watching "Top Chef: Just Desserts" 2.5

Sorry this is late to all the show viewers but I had a lot to do plus I got a virus and lost in my fight against it.  Today, Sunday the 25th of September, is actually my birthday but I will be unable to really celebrate because I'm still on the mostly BRAT diet.   Trust me, you do not want me to explain what this is.

The fifth episode of the second season of Top Chef: Just Desserts and we have 9 challengers in the running.  At least now they all seem like qualified chefs though frankly the skills they are being asked to demonstrate appear to be beyond most of them because they all seem more specialized.  They are also being asked to do things that don't make a lot of sense for chefs with their skills such as in the Quickfire Challenge and the Elimination Challenge in this episode.

For example in the Quickfire Challenge the guest judge is Pichet Ong, owner of P*ONG & Village Tart yet they are to make a candy including wrapper and a name for it in 1.75 hours.  We see of the naming or wrapper making part of this, they just suddenly all have very generic wrappers and frankly rather silly names for their candy bars.  They hype about Ong is that he is "inspired by candy bars" in his dishes but does he have a candy bar?  Is he making and selling candy bars?  Why not have the chefs make a new dish using a group of candy bars of his choosing?  Wouldn't that make more sense?

Most of the "candy bars" don't look much like candy bars.  Sally's creation wins though I was not impressed by any of the choices I saw.  Too fancy over all and not enough like candy bars.  Complete failure as a challenge as far as I was concerned.

The Elimination Challenge wasn't much better.  These nine chefs none of whom have probably ever worked at an amusement park in their lives, are randomly placed in three teams to create a little bar to sell treats to the attendees at a waterpark.  At least one chef didn't know what a waterpark was.  Apparently many of them also didn't know that waterparks tend to be places you go when it is HOT and their desserts overall did not take that into consideration.

The all men's team of Orlando, Matthew, and Chris seemed the most perplexed about the crowds and the idea of eating with your hands or drinking as the standard treat choice for amusement parks especially from a kiosk.  If you want to sit down, you go to the little restaurants and probably watch a very cheesy but high energy show while you chow down on very overpriced less than ideal quality food.  While this was one of the least favorite teams, none of the men went home.

The all women's team of Rebecca, Katzie and Megan understood the idea of the waterpark and amusement park much better though again too many in cups food items there.  Katize I think deserved to win because something on a stick is what you want at a place like this.  However having to do a final touch to it before you hand it over that would never fly during the busy periods at a park.   You need to have things that are prepped or wrapped or super fast.  At least it only took a few seconds not a long time like the men's team where Matthew's attempt at some strawberry thing left teammates and judges bored.  How was he handing that out to people?

Finally the mixed gender time of Sally, Carlos and Amanda seemed to grasp the idea of the amusement park more than the men's team.  While funnel cake isn't a delight hard  at least it was based on something you might get at such an venue.  I think it was unfair to send Amanda Rockman home because she gave them something that got a bit hard instead of making them wait.  Yes, she should have thought it through but it was more thought out that Orlando or Matthew's offerings.  Carlos and Sally's treats were not nearly as bad as the judges acted.  If you paid attention to how the kids and adults at the park behaved and their comments, they really like Carlos' treat.

I'm seeing a trend -- the judges are not respecting the views and needs of the clients they are setting up these challenges with.  Other than the so-called "real housewives" episode, they seem to not be relying on the intended audience and the consumers who eat the products.  That is deeply disappointing to me.

I don't care what an "expert" says or a world-famous chef proclaims, at the end of the day if the buyers don't like it, they won't buy it for long.  Here on The Chocolate Cult none of us, not I for all my fancy title of Chocolate Priestess, or the volunteers who help me, claim any sort of expertise.  We are learning, we certainly know a lot more now, but like you, our dear readers, we want something that is good to eat or drink, that won't harm us, that fits our wallet, or that we can make in our busy lives.

What say you all about the fifth episode of Top Chef: Just Desserts?


Dina said...

I haven't watch it yet but have you tuned in for Sweet Genius on the food network?? I feel since there is only one judge it's kind of more biased on who wins each episode.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

I haven't seen that yet, Dina. I had to chose on show really at this time to talk about. Now if they'd scheduled them in different seasons/months, I could watch both.

Free Spirit Eater said...

Happy belated birthday! Sorry about the virus. And great review on the episode, I haven't caught up with this season yet but am compelled to after reading your post. Thanks for sharing, have a wonderful day =]

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Thanks for reading. Get caught up so we can discuss it!

Cacao-Me said...

hi chocolate priestess. i was finally able to find youtube editions of the episodes and so i am slowly catching up.

i agree with you in that it is odd that 2 of the 3 teams really had no idea what real people would want at a waterpark by way of dessert. and yes, katzie definitely deserved to win. 2 weeks in a row - but she is very gracious about it. (though i think she should shove it in chris' face!)

i also agree that there should have been more client feedback. on other food competitions, the winning group is often selected by how much money/points/coins they collect. that should have been one way to narrow down the top team and then have the judges select the winning dessert from that team, and the losing dessert from the losing team.

that would have been an interesting twist. and if that were the case, amanda definitely wouldn't have left. probably someone from the all guy's team would have left.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

I'm so glad to see this comment today. I watched this week's show and was thinking about writing the post this morning or this afternoon then thought "no one cares, why add that stress to your life?"

This made me remember that some folks are reading.

Now if they'd only enter our giveaways...

Cacao-Me said...

i'm watching and have been entering a giveaway every so often. won one too! i'll continue to be a week behind as i need to wait for the youtube channel to post-it. thanks for starting this. it's fun!

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