Top Chef: Just Desserts - Season 2, Episode 9
It's time to decide the finalists, so let's be sure to pour on the emotion! Calls home! Orlando's mom had to come to terms with his sexuality! Chris' daughter has a heart condition! Matt misses his wife! Sally comes from an immigrant family!
That dispensed with, Gail is joined in the Kitchen by Suzanne Goin for no reason, as there is no Quickfire tonight. But hell, I like Suzanne Goin, so sure, let's have her along for this announcement. Instead of a Quickfire, the chefs will have an extended Elimination Challenge. There are several nations' flags offered, and the chefs each pick one:
Now, the twist. The chefs have to make a dessert dish...that looks like a savory dish from the country they chose. Ouch. Sometimes, the twists and turns of the challenges can be a little silly, but this one is devious without being stupid or unmanageable. I like it! Matthew is sitting pretty, as he creates "manicotti" without much trouble. Orlando hits upon "paella", but doesn't think to do a rice pudding, which is odd to me. Sally dithers and second-guesses herself until she's forced to settle on making a "Cuban sandwich".
And Chris? Chris chooses "Beef Wellington", which Johnny notes is rather more English than French. The judges then bend over backwards to excuse him for it, and overlook him using store-bought puff pastry instead of making his own. Ladies and gentleman, our ordained season winner!
A large assortment of Names judges the challenge, with special guest judge Cat Cora, who looks fantastic all gussied up for the camera and not in her usual stressed-out-frantic-cooking mode. Matthew smirks to the camera that his wife better not find out about his secret crush on Cora, wink-wink. Um, Matt? Even if you were single, I don't think she'd be interested.
When it comes to judging, Sally's looks far-and-away most like her inspiration food, and she takes a much-deserved win.
With Chris automatically safe because we all know he's going to win the competition now, that leaves it between Matthew, whose "manicotti" was too safe, and Orlando, whose "paella" was kind of a mess. Lo and behold, Orlando's persnickety attitude can't keep him afloat any longer, and he's set adrift. So, we're down to our final three. Well, we're actually down to our winner, but we should probably let them have their finale anyway, right?
Overall Grade: B-