Top Chef Just Desserts Episode 3

****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.

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  1. says

    I meant and knew it was Weinstock on FB. Anyway, great show. Nice review, Anna. And there’s the recipe!
    I want to look up the rice crispies, too.
    I like Malika, too.

    I also don’t personally like the good-looking heterosexual guy (I’m horrible remembering names). In the first episode, I thought I liked him. Some of those people are ruthless–like taking all the butter. Fun to watch, though.

    What will they have them make next? 😉

  2. says

    Oh my goodness. Meryl, thanks for pointing that out. You don’t know how happy that makes me.

    I should have just looked it up but I assumed they wouldn’t have posted it yet.

    Katrina, that is Morgan. I like him because he’s from texas. Also, the high school girls liked him so he can’t be that bad.

  3. stephanie says

    Has anyone made the cc cookie recipe yet? THey looked amazing. I’m hoping she didn;t leave out any special tweaks. The recipe looks pretty basic. I’ll have to try them out soon.

  4. says

    Stephanie, I’m going to make them today or tomorrow.

    I like how the recipe is pretty off-the-cuff and not professionally written, but of course that means we have to figure out the finer points. Technique really does make a huge difference in how cookies turn out.

    I’m guessing she doesn’t cream the butter and sugar very long and I suspect she uses salted butter since she only put 1/4 teaspoon in the dough.

  5. stephanie says

    Looking forward to your expert touch in trying out the recipe. They didn’t really showcase her making them, so I can;t go back to watch anything. I did notice her kind of kneading the dough, but that’s it. They looked pretty big, maybe a 1/4 cup of dough & the oven temp is odd: 345.

  6. says

    I completely agree with your review! And yes – Seth’s breakdown was really uncomfortable to watch – it’s hard for me not to feel bad.

    But yes – it really seems to be getting better and I’m excited for things to come!

  7. says

    Stephanie, I noticed her kneading in the dough as well. It’s possible she was just blending the chocolate chips, but maybe she was kneading it a little to build the glutens in the flour and make the cookies a little sturdier. I normally try to avoid that, but maybe a little kneading helps chocolate chip cookies? Or maybe they just thought that move would look good on camera.

    Stacie, I’m glady you agree it’s getting better and are going to hang in there.

    Krista, we just record it on the DVR. I’m not sure wh at hulu is, but I’ll look it up.

  8. says

    I’m going to be honest, my respect for Seth has gone. I think that he is selfish and downright mean. Well, him and Morgan, but Seth has proven himself unworthy of my likes. From his ridiculous breakdown last episode to his holier-than-thou attitude this episode. He has been in the bottom twice, I seriously think that he needs to go.

    I mean, I would have totally dove into the wedding cake challenge, he didn’t even CONSIDER trying. Oh goodness, my reviews never turn out in Seth’s favor.

    I like Malika too, I think that she is a little down on herself a little bit too much, but there is something about her that i see. Its merely the beginning of the competition, and I see myself in her. She’s just breaking out of her shell, she became excited and creative during the Pep/Glee Bake Sale challenge and pulled it off with flying colors. I think that she will get better once she gets more excited. Kind of like me when college first started, my first two weeks were ‘I just want to go home…’ and now I’m like “Oh BOY! Still lifes!!”

  9. Pam says

    I’m not finding any redeeming qualities in Seth — he comes across to me as exceptionally immature but with a HUGE ego. It bugs me to watch him running around the kitchen like his hair’s on fire every week.

    I thought they sent the wrong person home last night. The one who went home didn’t do anything very creative with her cookie, but it was a good seller and was a good bake sale choice after all. I think she could have been more outspoken about why she made such a basic cookie and that might have helped her.

  10. says

    “The red hots are for my mommy!”

    That was painful to watch, for sure.

    Anyway, the cookie recipe seems pretty basic, one thing, the directions say the prep time (to the right of the photo) is 3 hours, but then the total time is an hour.

    It also doesn’t give a bake time on the cookies. I’d guess around 12 minutes, but it’s really hard to judge how big they really are, so if they use a 1/4 cup scoop would it be more like 15-18 minutes?

  11. Melissa says

    I made the cookies today and they turned out really good. more “cake” like than my normal recipe, prob due to using more flour. I ended up cooking them for about 12 mins, just using a teaspoon as a scoop. The color was also a lot lighter than my normal recipe.

    But the hubs gave two thumbs up so this is a keeper!

  12. says

    Melissa, mine were almost cake-like, but not quite. They were dense. They were even denser after being frozen and thawed.

  13. Susan says

    I don’t understand what’s wrong with the vetting of the contestants of Top Chef Just Desserts. Several of the contestants seem emotionally unstable and Seth seems to be suffering from serious mental illness. I actually don’t enjoy watching people who are obviously not emotionally stable competing. Very unpleasant and seems exploitive.

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