Grab your kleenex
A falafel and a Beastie Boy spell the end of Houston's Rebecca Masson on TopChef: Just Desserts
It wouldn't be Top Chef: Just Desserts without an opening dose of drama, right? So since no one else has managed to break a limb, we open with jokes about an ice sculpture challenge and Sally Camacho ribbing about how dangerous Katzie Guy-Hamilton would be with a chainsaw, and Katzie not liking that at all.
Yes, we're talking about Sally, who held the hand of clumsy, incompetent Craig Poirier for four episodes, and Katzie, who for all her spastic mess won the last two challenges. So while this is a stupid fight, at least it gets us annoyed reaction shots and voiceover trash talking from the two whenever the other presents or gets positive feedback.
The quickfire challenge is to make a dessert out of some very non-dessert-like items: Root vegetables. Some of these chefs don't even recognize ingredients like celery root — Megan Ketover doesn't even know what her burdock root is after host Gail Simmons tells her. (I'm with you, girl.)
Houston's Rebecca Masson says in the voiceover that she only knows how to do pastry, but this is the woman who beat out some of Houston's best savory chefs to win the Houston Chowhounds 'Shroom Throwdown, so we aren't worried. Rebecca (with potato) makes a version of a Wendy's frosty and fries, with French fries, chocolate sauce and malted milk ice cream.
Then she tells the judges she can't cook at all, which doesn't go over particularly well. (Rebecca, save honest confessions for the confessional!) Whether its the fries or the lack of cooking knowledge, Rebecca gets called out as one of the judge's least favorites.
Then she tells the judges she can't cook at all, which doesn't go over particularly well. (Rebecca, save honest confessions for the confessional!)
Among the other chefs, Megan makes a five-spice burdock root fritter and candied burdock compote, Katzie makes a soy milk panna cotta with turnip chips, Carlos Enriquez presents a disastrous celery root in three textures with peanut butter, and Orlando Santos makes a peach and radish crumble.
Chris Hanmer gets disqualified for garnishing with his jicama after time is called, and while Matthew Petersen is close with his pretty and clever caramelized parsnip cake with banana puree and caramelized hazelnuts, Sally gets the win, $5,000 and immunity for her mango pudding with turmeric and curried popcorn. Cue the eye roll from Katzie!
For the elimination challenge, Gail introduces Adam Horowitz from the Beastie Boys and everyone geeks out. But the atmosphere gets more serious when Ad-Rock brings out a shelf full of weird non-pastry foods and liquors that have been featured in Beastie Boys lyrics — think pork and beans, peas, ravioli, Chivas and other things no one should ever make dessert with.
After each chef picks two, Gail ups the ante with some sabotage: Each chef must choose a third weird ingredient to give to another chef. For example, while Rebecca chooses ham and 40s, she also gets falafel from Sally. Great. Thanks a lot, Sally.
Chris, who randomly chose pesto pizza, pork and beans and ravioli, is worried. Orlando, who picks rums, gets a little drunk from tasting his own food.
The next day the eight chefs serve their Beastie Boys food at a street art festival. Marcel Vigneron from season two of Top Chef shows up (he's a friend of Sally's) and reminds everyone what a dick he is. Sorry, Sally, but I seriously hate that guy.
I'd heard Rebecca had someone sign her cast during filming and that Top Chef is so leery of spoilers they had the cast cut off her before she left to keep the secret.
Some of the foods sound good, and others not so much. Carlos makes a popcorn panna cotta (I've had this before and it's pretty good) with spicy cucumber air and bacon caramel, Orlando makes a coffee, strawberry and rum arfait with green peas and gets knocked for using pre-made cookies. Megan makes a Chivas whiskey pudding cake that the judges declare dry and crumbly with a Brass Monkey sorbet and caramelized onions, and Sally presents a sweet potato prosciutto cake with toffee sauce, cheddar ice cream and a crispy chicharrón that Ad-Rock goes nuts for.
Katzie makes something of a mess by serving sweet pomme frites with a trio of sauces and some sugar shakers — judge Johnny Izzuni describes it as "all over the place." Chris somehow pulls his ingredients together with a pork and bean brownie, pine nut ice cream and naked ravioli. Finally Matthew presents a cornbread and mashed potato cheesecake with whiskey caramel and a gravy foam that freaks everyone out (in a good way, mostly) with how gravy-ish it is. Richard Blais would approve!
I'd heard Rebecca had someone sign her cast during filming and that Top Chef is so leery of spoilers they had the cast cut off her before she left to keep the secret. Today we find out that it was Ad-Rock who did the signing as Rebecca geeked out and then served a falafel panna cotta with ham pecan brittle and 40 oz. ice cream. Johnny is immediately overwhelmed by the garlic in the panna cotta and Gail asks for more beer flavor.
When it comes to the judging, everyone is nervous, and Rebecca, Katzie and Megan — last week's winning team — are called out to the judges' table first. However this week that's not a good thing, and they are the least favorites. Chris, Sally and Matthew are called out as the best, and Matthew's so-crazy-but-it-worked gravy and cheesecake earned the win.
While Megan's dessert was dry and disconnected and Katzie's was easy and messy, nothing could help Rebecca overcome her garlicky falafel panna cotta. "It was nasty, yo," opined Ad-Rock, sealing the deal, and Rebecca was sent packing.
Does it suck for Rebecca to go home because she messed up on falafel? You bet. But as we learned with Amanda Rockman's departure last week, one mistake can be the end for a great chef.
And Rebecca exits like with knew she would, with class and humor and a round of applause from her competitors. "I still love the Beastie Boys but I hate falafels right now," she says.
Us too, Rebecca. Us too.
Are you going to keep watching Top Chef: Just Desserts with all the Houston chefs out of the running? Now that Rebecca is out, who do you think will win?