Chef Tell: Dessert Wars vs. World Series

I'm gonna make a bold statement, people, and hope that you won't abandon me: Last night ate a dick.

See, there I was needing to recap our Dallas-centric reality shows -- including Top Chef Just Desserts, of course -- and meanwhile, not only were the Mavs winning, but the biggest thing to happen in Dallas baseball was on. So, I admit, I couldn't truly pay the attention to Top Chef Just Desserts that I normally would have liked to. And that really blew because, well, the Rangers lost Game One and last night's TCJD episode encompassed my two favorite and most popular challenges: mise en place Quickfire and restaurant wars Elimination.

Rather than giving you a full play-by-play -- because frankly, you should've gotten one last night as you watched the game(s) and you'll get another when you watch tonight's because you support, dammit! -- I'm going to break down the five best (take that loosely) parts of last night's TCJD.

5. "Stretching the strudel dough" -- My friend Marla texted me that this is best euphemism ever. Actually, it was part of the mise en place QF. Teams of three each -- Go Diva on one, our Morgan with Eric and Danielle on the other -- had to divide up with one person each preparing 12 perfect tart shells, eight perfect buttercream roses, and six egg whites separated and whipped to firm peaks that would stay upside down above the chef's head for 10 seconds. The teams then had to stretch strudel dough across the length of the table, fill it with apples and roll it. Danielle and Morgan owned the tarts and whites, respectively, but Go Diva won the competition (and $3,000) with a super fast, no-holes strudel session.

4. The big bowl of whipped cream -- In a rush, Zac placed a bowl of whipped cream precariously in one of the refrigerators. Yigit opened the door and got a pant load of peaks all over him. He overreacted a little strongly for someone who works as a pastry chef, and Zac just laughed. It was the TCJD version of You Can't Do That On Television.

3. Morgan and Heather H. relegated to the kitchen -- During the dessert shop war, the teams of three assigned chefs to front-of-house, behind the counter and in the kitchen preparing en minute dishes. Based on her heinous attitude and powerhouse efficiency, it was clear why Heather H. was shoved in the kitchen, but Morgan is usually a charmer. Except that last night, Morgan turned into a bit of a asshole stress-ball during prep time, so the team put him in lock-up so, as Danielle said, he wouldn't accidentally say something rude. Good call, too, because when a man had a special order because nut and refined sugar allergies, he didn't scoff but instead whipped up a gorgeous berry sorbet.

2. The demise of Go Diva in three easy steps -- 1.) I already mentioned the whipped cream incident. 2.) During a frenzied exchange in the kitchen, Heather told Zac to shut up. Zac didn't much care for that and asked her to never say that to him again. She told him again to shut up. 3.) Heather made the crust for two of her shop's dishes (FYI, each team had to prepare one bread item and each chef had to prepare three desserts for judging and to "sell" when the shops opened for battle). She effed that dough up something awful, and Go Diva was named the losing team. Heather was subsequently sent home, ending the season of Go Diva.

1. Whisk Me Away won 30K -- Morgan, Danielle and Eric all put out fab desserts. Morgan worked out a stunning chocolate mousse bar with a creme brulee center that was architecturally stunning -- and apparently delicious. Danielle's housemade ginger ale float made me envy the judges, and even Eric's simple chocolate chip cookie looked incredible. Danielle's sad-sack personality as front-of-house liaison was disappointing, but the display cases were packed and enticing (unlike Go Diva's empty cases of sadness). Their shop, Whisk Me Away, also had the cutest name, compared with Pastry Playground (gag). Guest Judge Nancy Silverton of LaBrea Bakery named Whisk the winners...and the recipients of 30 grand. That's a hometown win, people, and I'll take it.

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Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin

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