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Top Chef: Just Desserts -Season 1


anthonylee86
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A reality show contestant with a wacky personality that keeps him on the show if his product is dicey, who refuses to lower his standards to dumb challenges but makes food that impresses the judges, and who weirds out other contestants and throws them off their game as a result. Crazy like a fox...?

America wants to know, Sethro: strategy, or what?

My nefarious strategy was to cook great food and be everybody's hero. There were a lot of non-cooking-related and off-camera challenges involved in the process that really threw me for a loop.

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Yeah, looks like the Magical Elves had other things in mind... we're always talking about contestants getting the "villain edit" (Marcel, anyone?). I'm not sure you got the villain edit: instead, you seem to get the "drama queen" treatment. I'm not quite on Doodad's page, I don't hate this season (yet), but if they don't start focusing a little more on the food I may have to give up on it.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I really hate this show.

I am more or less at this point and I have not finished tonight's episode yet. I could not care less about any of these people, the desserts so far have been boring to say the least and way too much drama. I might just drop their Sundae-making party and watch 30Rock again...

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I am more or less at this point and I have not finished tonight's episode yet. I could not care less about any of these people, the desserts so far have been boring to say the least and way too much drama. I might just drop their Sundae-making party and watch 30Rock again...

I'm not a dessert eater in general, and there have been plenty of desserts I would have loved to try. I am not fond of the drama, but Drama Magnet Numero Uno left the show mid-episode, and I think the season is about to get better.

Also, we are still in the first half of the season, and weeding out chefs who probably just didn't belong there. It usually gets better in the second half, as the challenges get more serious, and more time is allotted for completing them.

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I think a big part of the problem for this show is that people have had several seasons to pick apart Top Chef and figure out all of the formulaic things about it they don't like. Those biases and dislikes have been stored away and are available to filter Just Desserts through in it's initial season. Had this variation appeared right along with season 1 of the regular Top Chef, it would be judged by much less jaded viewers. The only thing I'm not really enjoying (other than the drama edits which I accept as part of the Top Chef script and ignore) is the level of creativity from most of the contestants. I haven't learned anything, been particularly wowed by anything or felt the need to research anything I've seen so far. I want some "How the #%$& did he/she do that?" moments. I realize rule #1 in the How To Win On Top Chef instruction manual is "don't stick your neck out too far until it's down to the final 4 or 5" but I want to see some stuff that makes me want to go do some experimenting after the show.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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why the heck is breyers on top chef, i know sponsor. but have some integrity. thats the worst ice cream ever made.

No it's not. If that's the worst ice cream you've ever tasted, you didn't live on the poor side of town. :raz:

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Judging from some of the comments, I think the producers are developing a format problem if it requires people to be aware of the fact, and endure the fact, that the show is going to kinda suck until somewhere in the middle of the season, at which point those who persevere will get the payoff.

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The format, the knowing that most will be on cruise control through the majority of the first half of the season, doesn't bother me too much. I'd like to see them pushing more but I understand the strategy of "I have to get to the end before I can win". The focus on the drama moments is what annoys me the most.

Seth needs some mental maturity and discipline. He had the spoiled kid not used to hearing the word "no" vibe on the show. "They won't let me make my own ice cream for the challenge so I'm going to hyperventilate over some paper cups to make my point." Kinda like the kid on the floor screaming at Walmart because mom won't buy the toy he wants.

The whole "I want to make the showpiece, now I'm angry because you didn't make the showpiece" thing was completely ridiculous. Especially when your team won and the judges liked your dessert and your showpiece.

The "I simply can't face judges table again unless we're the winning team" was major drama queen. You got a second chance on a show that doesn't give second chances. Smile and get to work.

I thought "I want to leave because I don't enjoy cooking this way" was a legit way to feel but she knew it was a competition going in and someone else who may have wanted to compete didn't get to because she got the spot. She should have made the effort to continue.

I'm beginning to wish I'd signed up for it. I'm probably not at a level that would have a chance under normal circumstances but, the way they're all volunteering to leave or mentally falling to pieces, I might have been able to get farther than I would have expected.

Note: I don't really wish I'd signed up for it, that was meant to be funny.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I thought "I want to leave because I don't enjoy cooking this way" was a legit way to feel but she knew it was a competition going in and someone else who may have wanted to compete didn't get to because she got the spot. She should have made the effort to continue.

I didn't have a problem with this: she didn't know going in that she wasn't going to like the competition aspect. If she genuinely felt she was ruining something she loved by participating, more power to her for stepping down gracefully. It's annoying to viewers and I'm sure to the producers as well, but there is no reason she should worry about us.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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If she genuinely felt she was ruining something she loved by participating, more power to her for stepping down gracefully.

I suppose that's true. I was brought up that if you signed up to do something, you did it. Deciding you didn't like it wasn't really an excuse to back out. One of my dad's favorite phrases when I was growing up was "you don't have to like it, you just have to do it". I thought it was good for me but maybe not having the instinct to just quit if I'm not having fun is a bad thing. They liked her dessert so I suppose she can at least say she left on a high note.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I didn't have a problem with this: she didn't know going in that she wasn't going to like the competition aspect.

How is that even possible? It's a freakin' competition.

Yeah but, there are competitions like your county bake sale or even the Coupe du Monde Boulangerie, and there is competing on a TV reality show, which I think is hugely more stressful from what I've seen on behind the scenes looks at the regular Top Chef. Couple that with the assortment of characters she had to put up with on this show and I can easily see where she would want to bail

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I can easily see where she would want to bail

Me too... I'm just not sure I agree that she should have. I was sure she shouldn't have before reading Chris' reply, that made me think about it with a little more benefit of the doubt in her direction, but I'm still not sure that I think it was the thing to do. That's ok though, she wasn't doing it for me.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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why the heck is breyers on top chef, i know sponsor. but have some integrity. thats the worst ice cream ever made.

No it's not. If that's the worst ice cream you've ever tasted, you didn't live on the poor side of town. :raz:

Breyers is pretty good store-bought ice cream. I normally buy the French Vanilla to keep in the freezer even though I regularly have 2 or 3 home made ice cream flavors at any time.

As far as this show goes, that last episode was by far the worst in the history of Top Chef franchise. It was simply rediculous even though Morgan made a decent looking dessert. Really? Seth wanted his paper cups? Reminded me of my six year old when he kept saying "this is not fair...". Monica just quit because she does not like it? Sure, she "can" do that but it is unprofessional. I stopped watching Hell's Kitchen because of crap like that a long time ago. I need to remember to remove it from my DVR schedule.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Monica just quit because she does not like it? Sure, she "can" do that but it is unprofessional.

I'd argue that it is in fact the most professional behavior possible. She didn't throw a tantrum. She didn't even decide she didn't care and just make awful food. She looked at the situation and said "This sucks much worse than I thought it was going to. Not only is it destroying something I loved doing, but I just watched another contestant completely lose it to the point they had to call an ambulance. I don't want that to be me, this is not what I thought it would be, I'm outta here."

As a pastry chef, if your client asks you to do something you think is dumb, I think you are well within your rights to tell the client to find another pastry chef. You don't have to compromise your craft just because you agreed to work with them back when it wasn't clear exactly what it was they wanted.

I understand the cultural resistance we all have to "quitting," but sometimes cutting your losses is the right call.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Monica just quit because she does not like it? Sure, she "can" do that but it is unprofessional.

I'd argue that it is in fact the most professional behavior possible. She didn't throw a tantrum. She didn't even decide she didn't care and just make awful food. She looked at the situation and said "This sucks much worse than I thought it was going to. Not only is it destroying something I loved doing, but I just watched another contestant completely lose it to the point they had to call an ambulance. I don't want that to be me, this is not what I thought it would be, I'm outta here."

As a pastry chef, if your client asks you to do something you think is dumb, I think you are well within your rights to tell the client to find another pastry chef. You don't have to compromise your craft just because you agreed to work with them back when it wasn't clear exactly what it was they wanted.

I understand the cultural resistance we all have to "quitting," but sometimes cutting your losses is the right call.

You could interpret it like that I guess, but I think you are giving her way too much credit. Maybe the ones to blame are the show's producers in this case, for selecting two "duds" who melted down in the same episode. Like I said, TC Just Desserts reminded more and more of Hell's Kitchen than Top Chef.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Monica just quit because she does not like it? Sure, she "can" do that but it is unprofessional.

I'd argue that it is in fact the most professional behavior possible. She didn't throw a tantrum. She didn't even decide she didn't care and just make awful food. She looked at the situation and said "This sucks much worse than I thought it was going to. Not only is it destroying something I loved doing, but I just watched another contestant completely lose it to the point they had to call an ambulance. I don't want that to be me, this is not what I thought it would be, I'm outta here."

As a pastry chef, if your client asks you to do something you think is dumb, I think you are well within your rights to tell the client to find another pastry chef. You don't have to compromise your craft just because you agreed to work with them back when it wasn't clear exactly what it was they wanted.

I understand the cultural resistance we all have to "quitting," but sometimes cutting your losses is the right call.

She was also seriously missing her two young sons. IIRCC, she'd recently gone through a divorce as well. I read it as being a combination of all these things that finally pushed her decision to leave. Not just "I don't want to play anymore".

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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You could interpret it like that I guess, but I think you are giving her way too much credit. Maybe the ones to blame are the show's producers in this case, for selecting two "duds" who melted down in the same episode. Like I said, TC Just Desserts reminded more and more of Hell's Kitchen than Top Chef.

You may well be right about Malika: and regardless of why she left, you're completely right about the producers. It's their job to get a field of contestants who will actually compete. Their desire for drama bit them in the ass here, their casting decisions definitely strayed too far from competency as a pastry chef.

Edited by Chris Hennes
Fixed spelling of her name (log)

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Desire for drama might also have led to them allowing Malika to short-circuit the judging process. They hadn't declared a losing team, and in any case, they made it clear that she wasn't personally going to be on the bottom. In the past, we've complained that the wrong person went home; in this case, it seems to me that the right person didn't go home -- because we don't even know who it was. I feel kind of cheated.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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It was way harder than it looks.

I know hard. I know restaurant week at Nobu for lunch *and* dinner every day for two weeks. I know opening Atria during restaurant week and including our entire menu on the deal. I've plated for Frank Bruni on a 6 top at 10pm on a Sunday. I did service for the first two weeks at Perilla using a Coleman cooler filled with ice for Paco canisters. That's right, no ice cream freezer, two full turns and every critic in the city lining up to get in.

This shit was a thousand times harder. Props to every contestant who got anything on a plate, ever. That shit I pulled off in the chocolate challenge was insane, but they showed none of the work. I did what should take 2 people 6 hours by myself in 3. I cut, torched and velvet sprayed 150 pieces of palette in 30 minutes, it was ridiculous. I completed 7 component perfectly in a kitchen I'd never worked in, using mostly shitty GE equiptment. It was probably one of the coolest dishes I've ever done but who gives a fuck.

I may be a lousy person but I'm competent as hell. Questioning my competency at cooking is bullshit.

Edited by Sethro (log)
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