Top Chef Just Desserts: Dessert in Disguise

I think last nights episode of Just Desserts was one of the coolest episodes yet!  If you missed it, read through and look at the pictures below.

Lets start from the beginning, shall we.  I couldn’t stop laughing when Chris and Matt were pouring out Captain Crunch for Carlos. So silly!  I liked how Matt and Chris were eating cereal and then Orlando and Sally were making a big gourmet breakfast.  Yum!  I wish I had chefs to cook for me every morning.  Anyways throughout this episode we got an even more in-depth look at the cheftestants lives pre Top Chef.  Apparently Matt used to be a “bad” boy who used to break into homes and steal cars. Wow!  I can’t picture that at all, but if you say so.  I hate to admit it, but Orlando grew on me a little in this episode.  It probably had something to do with the story of his family when he came out, but he lightened the story when he talked about liking “hot dudes walking down the street.” HAHA!

On to the challenge.  No quick-fire this week.  Instead they jumped right into the elimination challenge.  First they rolled out a little cart with different flags on it.  Each chef picked a country that they wanted to make a dessert from.  Of course it couldn’t be that easy!  Gail throws them a curve ball when she says they have to create a dessert that looks like a savory dish from that country.  Sally looked defeated the second Gail announced the real challenge along with all of the other chefs who could not think of anything to make.  After playing around with some ideas and working frantically, everyone finally settled on a dish to make (even Sally who still didn’t know what she was making half way through).

Matt chose Italy and decided to make manicotti.  The manicotti consisted of crème fraiche cake with mascarpone-ricotta mousse, strawberry sauce & basil gelée.  He also put some cute little Parker House Rolls for dipping in the strawberry sauce.  I thought his looked the best, but that’s all I can judge it on.  I wish I could taste all of these desserts, but I can’t. 🙁 Unfortunately, the taste did not measure up.  The judges thought there was no variation in the textures and they could only take a couple bites.  At least it looked pretty!

Orlando went with Spain because he has traveled to Spain before and he decided to make paella.  I thought he cheated a little bit by using actual rice in the dish.  Since it is one of the main components I think he should have come up with something that was a little more creative.  I guess he did make more of a sweet rice though.  He used a coconut saffron rice with compressed plums and roasted beets.  I loved the presentation of his dish, but the judges were not impressed.  They said the rice was mushy and he didn’t include enough “mussels”.

Next, Chris served up “beef wellington” inspired by France.  There was a big debate on whether or not his dish was English or French, but it looks like Johnny did his research and found out that it was actually inspired by another French dish.  Chris’ dish looked amazing too!  Lets face it they all looked amazing!  The beef wellington was composed of chocolate mousse, raspberry jam, and salted caramel all wrapped in a puff pastry.  Yes, he used puff pastry even though he told Johnny he wasn’t going to and since he decided to use it at the last minute he used store bought and did not make his own.  He is lucky that worked out for him because many chefs have been sent home in the past for using store bought components.

Sally chose Cuba and after making parts of 2 different dishes she finally settled on making a “Cuban sandwich.”  The sandwich was made of cream cheese mousse, passion fruit mustard, strawberry caramel, and pickles made out of pineapple.  At the last minute she decided she didn’t have enough on her plate, so she made a side of “potato salad” and plantain chips.  The potato salad was sweet, but looked exactly like potato salad.  That must be so weird to eat!

In the end, Sally was the big winner.  The judges loved her potato salad and only had one minor complaint about her Cuban sandwich.  Unfortunately, Orlando went home.  Just when he started to grow on me.  Oh well!  The judges did not like his mushy rice.  Sally, Matt, and Chris are all moving on to the finale next week.  Usually at this point in the game I have a favorite, but I really can’t decide between the final 3.  Any predictions on who will win next week?

I watched Top Chef late last night and could not think of a quick and easy dessert that looks like an entree (give me a break the chefs got hours to make theirs).  So instead take a look at this pepperoni pizza I found.  I bet this one tastes just as good as it looks!

Is that pizza or a lemon sponge cake?!  If you guessed lemon sponge cake, you guessed right!  Take a look at The Barefoot Kitchen’s blog to find out how she made this amazing “pizza”. And don’t forget to use Kelapo coconut oil instead of butter in the recipe!


– JR

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