Top Chef: Just Desserts - Season 2, Episode 5
Now that poor, unloved Melissa is off giving donuts the stinkeye somewhere else, it appears that the remaining chefs need someone else to be offended by. The spinning wand comes to rest on Katzie, who now is on everyone's nerves for no apparent reason.
For today's Quickfire, the chefs are tasked with making their own candy bar for Gail and guest judge Pichet Ong. Yum! Orlando starts off as supercilious as ever, but when Rebecca's broken hand causes her to drop her desserts all over the floor, he redeems himself by spending his free time helping her get a new batch ready. Chris is fast becoming the overachiever of the group, and works hard to make not one candy bar, but a duo. When time runs out, Mathhew's unfinished bar sinks to the bottom of Pichet's list, along with Katzie's goopy, liquidy bar. Sally appeals to him with Asian flavors, and is joined in the top by Rebecca, who makes sure to thank Orlando for his assistance. Sally wins the challenge and immunity, which feels good after all the time she's spent at Losers' Table lately.
For the Elimination Challenge, get ready for a shock... The chefs are split into teams. TEAMS! Can you believe it? What's that you say? Every single Elimination Challenge so far has been a team challenge? Oh. Well, that's kind of anticlimactic, then. Seriously, it's time to let these people work individually. Anyhow, the teams are chosen randomly, and shake out to be:
The challenge is to create refreshing treats for the crowd at a nearby waterpark. Naturally, this leads to a lot of ice cream and sorbet plans. Minor drama breaks out when Carlos hogs all the available ice cream machines. As befits the theme of this season so far, it never gets beyond some impatient sniping before everything is resolved into an organized list of whose turn it is next. As a group, I'm really enjoying these people's attitudes. Plus, Carlos gets his comeuppance when his machine hogging leads other teams to turn to liquid nitrogen that he desperately needs.
As with last week's edible room, this is one of those challenges that I wish I could attend as a guest, because the park's patrons obviously love augmenting their waterslide fun by getting nine free gourmet summer desserts. The judges work their way down the line, and manage to coin yet another annoying Catch-22, bringing the total number up to about six. In this case, Johnny rails against Amanda for preparing her funnel cakes ahead of time, because the taste and texture suffer, and she should have made them to order. He then takes Mathhew to task for taking two whole minutes to make his desserts on the spot, because oh my God he's been waiting two whole minutes for it. Criticizing chefs' mistakes is one of the tenets of this show, but when you pick a complaint, perhaps you should wait more than thirty seconds before arguing for the diametrically opposite point.
At Judges' Table, the Megan/Katzie/Rebecca team gets top marks, with Katzie winning her second Elimination Challenge in a row for her impressive spumoni. Huh, that sounds a lot more sexual than I intended. Everyone else is called to Losers' Table and each of them gets their own little personal critique before Amanda is axed for those pesky funnel cakes. Well, it's shame in the sense that she seems like a cool person, but as I'm the only citizen of America who detests funnel cake, it's nice to finally have some ammunition for my lonely battle.
Overall Grade: B-