Top Chef: Just Desserts told Rebecca Masson, Houston's own dessert ninja/Sugar Hooker, to pack her tools and go Wednesday night. After weeks of watching Rebecca's wins, her near disasters and of course her hilarious commentary, CultureMap talked to Masson about the desserts, the drama and meeting a Beastie Boy.
CultureMap: I'm curious how watching the show was different from the actual experience being there. Were you surprised by anything?
Rebecca Masson: Watching it, I have to tell you there were a couple quickfires when I was so absorbed with what I was doing that I didn't see what everyone else was doing so I'm seeing dishes being made and seeing teams how reacted for the first time. Also I didn't know I was funny. I knew I was a smart ass but I didn't know I was funny. I'm glad I could see my sense of humor.
CM: What was your favorite challenge and your least favorite?
RM: I think obviously my least favorite was the falafel. Meeting Ad-Rock was awesome but feeding him a falafel was awful. I think I even told him that usually I don't suck this bad. My favorite challenge was the waterpark, being on a team with Megan (Ketover) and Katzie (Guy-Hamilton).
Megan is a lot like me, I think, organized and a great team player and Katzie amazed me every day with her creativity and passion. We made wise decisions to create an experience at the waterpark for the waterpark that was light and refreshing.
CM: You were really geeking out when Ad-Rock came out. Was he the biggest celebrity you've met or are you a big fan?
RM: I've always loved the Beastie Boys. The first concert I went to was a Beastie Boys show. They show me really freaking him out, but we had a great moment talking about the show I went to in Dallas a long time ago because I'm old. Working in New York and in the restaurant industry you get to see and meet a lot of celebrities but he is probably my favorite.
CM: Do you still have the cast he signed?
RM: It's sitting on my bookshelf. I was really scared that when I took it off that it was going to smell, but it was fine. Some cake crumbs fell out, though.
CM: The last episode really played up the drama between Katzie and Sally (Camacho), and we've been watching Orlando (Santos) play a villain all season. Could you feel that sense of drama when you were filming?
RM: With Orlando I didn't feel it at all. What they say in an interview is between them and the camera, and it was a complete 180 from how he was in the kitchen. He was a helpful person, at the end of this challenge he was helping Chris (Hanmer) with tomato and obviously he helped me with my quickfire. We have a running joke that it was a chocolate Lamaze moment. He kept telling me, "Flip it, breathe, next one, breathe ..."
With Sally and Katzie you could feel it. It was in the house, it was in the kitchen. It could be a little bit being envious of someone winning. Like I said on the show, Katzie is young in her career, she is creative and I want to spend five minutes in Katzie's brain, even though I'm sure it would wear me out.
I said something about being jaded, and it's not exactly jaded, but more like I've been doing this over 10 years and you just say "What the hell am I gonna make?" But to her everyday is a new day. I took inspiration from her in the Baked Alaska pops that I made for you guys.
I'm sad Sally and Orlando felt the need to question why she won — that's kinda bitchy. I understand, but that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.
CM: Was there anything you were hoping to do that you didn't get a chance to? What side of you did people not see?
RM: I brought the candy cap mushrooms with me. I was really hoping to use that — I think I even mentioned that at judges table, like, "I use savory ingredients!" I brought marshmallow fluff, obviously you have some ideas in your mind about what you want to make but the trick is to figure out how to fit them in the challenge, and you can't always do that.
CM: After everything, are you glad you went on the show? How has it changed you?
RM: I'm actually really glad I did it. I came home with 13 new friends, and four or five I consider close friends now. I feel like the show portrayed me in a positive manner, I think its pretty true to how I am — I am a stress crier and I am a smart ass. It gave me a little more self-confidence in what I do every day.
It's also reminded me that Houston is an amazing city. The support from people I don't even know has been incredible. I got stopped in Central Market one day, and people are going into Revival Market [where Masson has her mini-shop, Fluff Bake Bar] and telling Ryan (Pera) and Morgan (Weber) how great I am.
Obviously my friends and my family have been really supportive but it's been so much more than that, and it just reminds me what an amazing city I live in and I want to say a big thank you to Houston. But stay tuned, because you never know what could happen.