I predicted in thepremiere episode recap
(because, like Gail Simmons, we must always refer to it asTop Chef Just Desserts
and nothing other thanTop Chef Just Desserts
) that Princess Dexter (Seth) and Zamboyant (Zac) would prove to be powerful allies and/or enemies for Dallas' Morgan Wilson. Call Miss Cleo, I'm changing my career.
Well, at least, last night Princess Dexter proved to be both bro and con for Morgan as well as Zamboy. Like a botulized can of stew, he flipped his lid, threw around liquid nitrogen, handled a Kitchen-Aid like it was a rag doll, yelled at the peaceful guy with the name I'm still not sure how to pronounce, broke other people's shit, cried, yelled more, couldn't identify grapefruit juice, yelled more, sobbed into the shoulder of a judge and more. And Morgan was powerless to help his friend.
And we know Princess Dexter is Morgan's friend because in the very first scene of last night's episode he described their bonding as being founded in their liking many of the same chefs and both being heterosexual males. I'm pretty sure that's how all the members of the Little Rascals came to be friends. Also Coldplay.
In a not-all-that-emotional phone call home to Mom -- complete with a 555 number superimposed onto his phone -- Princess Dexter inquired about her rehab for an ambiguous ailment. You know how sometimes you get a little ache on your face and you just know that in two days -- that day when you have a big event, such as a formal event or a date with bang-potential -- you'll have an enormous zit on your face? That was what his phone call was like. For his fellow cheftestants and for the viewers at home. We knew that mother wasn't going away.
The Quickfire Challenge featured guest judge Elizabeth Falkner of San Francisco's Citizen Cake and Orson. You might mistake her for a circa 1980s Susan Powter from behind, but rest assured she's far more talented. As Zam said, "[She's] the coolest pastry chef there is. You don't even want to be her friend; you just want to be her."
The challenge itself consisted of preparing a dish that honored the penny candy. You know, red hots, fruit slices, jawbreakers, lemon drops, licorice whips, etc. The stuff for people who don't freak for chocolate.
Morgan was totally in the candy zone. His head was down and he looked focused on the task...until Princess Dexter had a complete meltdown. Both literally and emotionally. It seems PD's dessert was an homage to his mom who loves Atomic Fireballs but who is unable to eat them because of her ambiguous ailment. When he came up short on liquid nitrogen, his sorbet didn't freeze correctly and he, in no uncertain terms, started sobbing and slinging equipment around in the way he'd kick dirt if he were outside on a playground. Or like this if Paul Rudd were bawling the whole time. Time was up and everyone just stood there staring at him, waiting for him to collect himself. The judging began.
Morgan's "penny candy on a pedestal," or Chick-o-stick sable with salted, malted milk ganache and stretched banana lollipop seemed to please Falkner and Simmons, but it didn't really matter. Princess Dexter was stealing everyone's time. After his crit, he literally dropped and began sobbing that he couldn't do it. Morgan tried to console him, patting his back, working fatherly techniques every which way on this dude he's known all of a few days, but it was no use. Elizabeth Falkner had officially made her way over to the situation and my mouth dropped open.
She told Princess that she'd been there too, on Top Chef Masters, and had never won a challenge. That he needed to suck it up, Hoss, tomorrow's another day. All that shit. And he hugged her neck and cried into it: "The red hots were for my mommy."
The red hots were for my mommy.
If it's not a meme now it will be soon. I was dumbfounded. Aghast. It was at once sad, pathetic and wrong. As our own Nick Rallo commented, it was a shocking display of the modern trajectory of "reality TV" and on-screen release. As in, have we really come to the point that they left that in?! And I thought, have we really come to the point where I can't tell how much of that is real?! So I questioned my goodness and continued watching, eating store bought -- STORE-BOUGHT, I SAID! -- cookies to take away the non-existent pain. Totally works, btw.
The crew moved on to Mark Peel's restaurant The Tar Pit, where they were given two minutes behind the bar to shop for ingredients for the Elimination Challenge. Cook a dessert based on a cocktail. Serve judges and 25 peeps.
Morgan moved with swagger and ease behind the bar. He's a whiskey and Coke man, so a whiskey and coke dessert he would serve. He was in and out and home again -- single dad on a date-style.
And then Princess Dexter lost his shit yet again. He couldn't find grapefruit juice, and he wanted to make a greyhound dessert. Waaaahhhhh. So, as anyone would do, he sulked instead of thinking of a new dessert. At the last second he grabbed too few blueberries and yelled at the rest of the cast -- including Gail and Mark Peel -- for being "against" him.There was also mention of his mother and her medical bills.
It was then that Yigit told him he should not yell at them, which, of course, PD protested, and Morgan told him flat-out: "Seth, you're being an asshole!" Truth, Morgs. Truth.
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Morgan worked out a fair cola-spiced whiskey cake with Coke fluid gel and Dickel whiskey jelly, but it left Gail wanting more. Johnny Pomp seemed pleased with its simplicity and balance. Hubert Keller wasn't overly impressed.
Meanwhile Princess Dexter was doing his best impression of a whirling dervish on Adderall in the kitchen, annoying everyone and breaking a major component of Zam's judges' dishes. Then he cowered in a ball in the corner claiming he didn't do anything. Morgan just looked sad for him, later describing him during Stew Room time as "an intense person." And then Dex put springform pans on his head and told everyone to suck it.
I was so spent. It was like watching some weird high school play adaptation like Chef, Interrupted. "Mama Bear" Tim was sent home for a weird custard thing and Erika won for a Margarita bomb. No one cared. They were so tired.
Next week: Bake sale! Morgan yells. Sabotage.