Anything but a cakewalk
Masson shows off her one-armed ninja skills on Top Chef: Just Desserts, but aHouston chef is sent packing
Remind me never to describe anything easy as a piece of cake ever again. Top Chef: Just Desserts might have some outrageous, outside-the-box challenges up its sleeve, but for now just the most classic of all baked goods seems to be throwing the competitors for a loop.
Anyone looking closely at the Bravo pics of Houston's highest profile pastry chef Rebecca Masson couldn't fail to notice the bright pink cast on her left arm, and this episode opened with her off-camera injury the night after the first challenge ended. I expected a cooking-related slip and fall or perhaps a case of whisking wrist, but Masson somehow hurt herself while "being a ninja," according to Amanda From Katy (otherwise known as Amanda Rockman).
Aw, methinks the booze closet strikes again. It happens to the best of us, Becky.
Who doesn't love lemon desserts? Communists and werewolves, that's who.
Wrist wrapped and ready, the next day's quickfire is all about lemon desserts. Who doesn't love lemon desserts? Communists and werewolves, that's who. Also Orlando.
Rebecca tests her injury immediately by juicing lemons for her take on lemon meringue pie with blueberries in ginger and lemon syrup, while another Houston competitor — Vanerin Kuch, pastry chef at Tiny Boxwood's — shows the judges a lemon curd semifreddo with coconut brown butter streusel and blackberry compote. Amanda From Katy whips up a caramel crémeux with café dulce comfit lemon segments.
Honestly, it looks like the leftover tea in the bottom of my mug, and it lands her in the bottom along with Nelson and Orlando. Rebecca and Van skate by the middle while Matthew gets the win over Katzie and Carlos with a simple lemon vanilla crème.
For the elimination challenges, teams form to create a tiered cake inspired by the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It must be nice for Craig to be working with Disney again, since he got his chef start as the non-rodent lead in Ratatouille.
At this point, I get a little lost because everyone is just making cakes, and it's not a very visual process. There's something about Van designing instruments out of molding chocolate for his cake and a quick concern about whether Rebecca and teammate Sally should both make devil's food cake. Van finally gets his bio reel about living the American dream, with parents who emigrated to Houston from a concentration camp in Cambodia.
It doesn't take a reality show addict to know that extra, unwarranted episode attention is — spoiler alert — not a good sign.
The teams head to the concert hall for finishing touches and judging. The red team (Matthew, Chris, Megan and Melissa) present a cake that's simply shaped and monochromatic but stunning in its use of cascading sheet music made of fondant tumbling down one side. I would describe each of the cake layers, but suffice to say they all look delicious and I pretty much just want to eat them.
The blue team (Vanarin, Katzie and Amanda From Katy) have created a tower that would legitimately belong on CakeWrecks.com, covered in musical notes, amateur-looking instruments and way, way more gold and silver glitter than I feel comfortable calling edible. In a word, it's tacky.
Black team Orlando, Craig and Nelson have designed an interesting looking work of dessert architecture, which might have been a winner if it hadn't been for Craig's shoddy detailing and certain pieces melting and falling off in the sun. Finally Rebecca, Sally and Carlos, the green team, present their pretty, abstract-ish creation, which is a little more pretty in pink than anyone originally intended.
When it comes to the judges' table, green and red teams are predictably on top. The news that she is safe sends Rebecca to tears over her survival so far with one good hand, which is kinda touching and adorable. But Ms. Masson is a bridesmaid and not a bride once again, as the win goes to the red team.
The news that she is safe sends Rebecca to tears over her survival so far with one good hand, which is kinda touching and adorable. But Ms. Masson is a bridesmaid and not a bride once again.
In the weaker teams, Nelson gets credit for good cake and interesting structure, while Craig and Orando get dinged for aesthetics and flavor. The blue team is essentially destroyed by the judges for creating amateur work and "not editing" (a.k.a. making everything gaudy and ugly). Amanda From Katy gets the sole compliment on her cake flavor (judge Hubert Keller declares it his favorite overall) but Katzie's is deemed spongy and Van is told he needs to "turn his flavors up to a nine or a ten." Yikes.
In the end, Vanarin is sent packing, but not before being reminded that "you keep saying you're a flavors guy . . . your flavors were underwhelming. Plus your design was amateurish." He gets it, Johnny, just let him go pack his tools in peace.
Poor Van, who never heard a kind word from the judges before being shown the door.
Are you bummed the first two chefs to exit are Texans? Who do you think are the chefs to beat?