****Spoiler Alert: Don’t read the last paragraph if you don’t want to know how the show ends.*****
Last night I watched the third episode of Top Chef Just Desserts and am happy to say that it has redeemed itself from Episode #2. There have been lots of great recaps of #2, but my personal take on Seth’s breakdown is that it was hard to watch. Unlike most reality TV which seems about as genuine and real as professional wrestling, last week’s meltdown was a truly sad personal breakdown that was not edited out. It was unsettling, but I reminded myself that this was filmed long ago and figured things would get better and that there was a reason this scene was not cut.
So last night’s episode was just as entertaining but less emotionally jarring. Seth had cooled off and decided to just “be himself” and make whatever made him feel good, which in this case meant making a cupcake instead of a wedding cake during the wedding cake quick fire. The rest of the chefs had a tough time pulling a wedding cake together in an hour and a half, but managed to do so. Except for Malika, whose cake broke and made her question whether she should stay. I hope she does, because I like her. If you missed it, here’s a clip.
Actually, I’m starting to like all the chefs. Episode #1 made them appear a little flaky, Episode #2 brought out their emotional strengths and weaknesses, and this episode brought out their true colors and made me care about them despite their personality flaws. Participating in a high school bake sale made them all seem very human and relatable.
Chefs were divided into two teams which were paired up with the glee club and the pep club at a local high school. The challenge was that they had to make bake sale items. One of the best things about Top Chef Just Desserts is that there is not one thing on this show I would not eat and this bake sale was no exception. A fancy rice krispy treat won the challenge, but (almost) all the chefs did interesting twists on bake sale favorites. There was a milk chocolate ginger pudding, various cupcakes (some good, some dry), a peanut butter cookie, a chocolate chunk cookie and Seth’s coffee flavored financiers with some sort of gel on them which he called “orange creamsicle”. Despite the odd choice for a children’s bake sale, Seth’s financiers were not the worst seller. The worst seller was in fact the milk chocolate ginger pudding, so maybe Seth did turn some kids on to financiers. At any rate, he got lectured about his choice, but Johnny admitted the financiers were perfect and Seth has gone from pitiable to humorous ( though I’m not sure he’s trying to be). I’m curious to see just how long he can get away with doing his own thing. Despite Seth’s not cooking for his target audience, he’s not the one who got eliminated. Heather took the heat for her boring peanut butter cookie. I think if she’d thrown in a handful of Reese’s Pieces or drizzled the cookies with some melted caramel, she could have stayed in the game, but you can’t make a plain peanut butter cookie and expect to impress professional pastry chefs such as Sylvia Weinstock, who is known for making elaborate wedding cakes as beautiful as they are delicious. Which is not to say cookies weren’t appreciated in the bake sale. Erika made her family recipe for chocolate chunk cookies, one she’d been making since she was 8, and got compliments from the judges. Sylvia asked for the recipe. I want it to too! Hopefully Bravo will convince Erika to share it. We should start Facebook campaign. Okay, no need for that. Looks like it’s there. Thanks to Meryl for pointing it out.