October 7, 2010 | 11:20am
It was all stressy-stress on last night's Top Chef Just Desserts.
At the start, Princess Dexter was shaving and talking about his stress. Zamboyant was concerned about the Two Faces of Dex and his stress. Malika the sad divorcee was again discussing her hatred of cooking under stress. Because no chef ever cooks under a time crunch.
Gail Simmons was waiting to tell the chefs that the Quickfire Challenge was all about ice cream and guest judge, the lovely, talented and positive Gale Gand of Chicago's Tru. The kitchen was covered in Breyers packaging and the chefs were to make the ultimate ice cream sundae. The Gs wanted to be "amused" and "over-indulged."
Princess Dexter asked if they got to make their own ice cream and the answer was -- obviously -- no (although, Gail had every right to answer with "Um, no, assclown, Breyers is clearly the sponsor here, so why would you even ask such a question"). And, so, like any sane and respectful person would, he began repeating "weeeeak saaaauce" for no apparent reason, pacing and huffing.
Top Chef -- Just Desserts or otherwise -- never shows the cast waiting for crew to set up, so when it showed the chefs filing into the Stew Room for a meeting with producers, it was clear something crazy was coming down the proverbial pike.
P-Dex volleyed back and forth with a producer about what ingredients were deemed "pantry items" and how he'd thrown out something he brought from home because of a past determination. It was confusing, but Dallas' own Morgan
explained that Princess had brought some paper cups and that, since the tossing of the paper cups, he's been obsessed with their existence. Morgan was clearly over the cups. Then PD blew an somewhat unintelligible gasket ("I was born at night, but not last night, and I'm not gonna throw myself on a cross and go home just because you guys threw away my equipment.") and disappeared. Yeah.
That's when the ambulance came.
Princess Dexter had suffered an anxiety attack and passed out. And without producers' clearance to continue on the show, he was carried away to recover and make everything he ever wanted to make with paper cups.
But back to the challenge. The chefs drew scoops to determine what flavors of ice cream they'd work with. The winner would gain immunity for the Elimination Challenge.
Morgan drew mint chocolate chip -- his son's favorite. Inspired by Sunday snacks with his wee boy, he worked up mint ice cream and cookie sandwiches with hot chocolate milk and a mint syrup. He got a little teared up explaining it. My frozen heart found it fairly adorable.
Morgan, Zam and Yigit made top three and Morgan won the immunity. "Cooking for my son and having somebody like it as much as I hoped he would...that's...that's awesome." Then he wiped away the tears and composed himself.
FYI, Because Princess Dexter left in a waaambulance, Heather C. (cut last episode) returned to the competition.
The top three from the Quickfire were named captains for the Elimination Challenge: Morgan chose teammates Heather H. and Eric the Baker, Zam chose Malika and Heather C., and Yigit chose Erika and Danielle.
The challenge was to create a flaming dessert inspired by the Lucent Dossier Experience (a performance art troupe that Heather H. described as "Mad Max meets Cirque du Soleil") and a 2-foot showpiece for the service station, plus each chef had to create an individual dessert that echoed the showpiece. Confused yet?
It was a lot to do, I'm sure, but it was also a helluva lot to take in. In fact, for like 10 minutes, I wasn't sure what all they were trying to get done. Perhaps the goal was to successfully mimic the beautiful chaos of the Lucent Dossier performances, but the planning session and cooking process looked more like goo, tragedy and strife.
At the Lucent Dossier studios, Morgan served up a mango panna cotta with acai fluid gel, passion fruit sorbet and chocolate crescents to mirror the shape of the LDE aerialist's suspension device. The judges praised him for his attention to presentation and his effort in the face of immunity. Heather H. presented the chocolate showpiece (why she fought so hard to create it when Morgan had immunity and could've taken the hit if anything went wrong is beyond me) as well as a chai tea chocolate mousse torte, while Eric offered a lemon caramel roulade. Their flaming offering was a cherry cream flambe.
Gotta give Morgan props, too, for surviving the most socially awkward interaction of the night:
Heavily made-up and costumed Lucent Dossier Guy: "Tasting these desserts, I was like, I wonder what I taste like."
Morgan: [Laughs] "Absolutely. Well, pardon me if I don't taste you."
The other teams presented their pieces to the judges for tasting and then stood back, half working the crowd and half craning to see if they could get a read on what was being said. The other teams had some hits -- like Malika's saffron panna cotta with ginger -- but it seemed like Morgan's team was the only clear three for three.
Heather H. was huffing and puffing around the service station. As he is wont to do do, Morgan inquired if she was upset. She denied anything was wrong and remained standoffish. Certainly, whatever it was would come up at or around Judges' Table, but at the time it just seemed like she was kicking dust and waiting for him to beg her to tell him her inner-most. I found it childish and assumed she must not have gotten the attention from the judges she'd desired.
The judges called Morgan's team first and named them the winning team. (I was so right!) JohnnyPomp told Morgan his dessert was his best effort so far and from texture to presentation he'd be happy to see it in a restaurant. Hubert Keller praised Heather H. for her mousse and Gale Gand gave Eric the baker compliments for his plating efforts. Even with immunity, Morgan took home the big win.
Heather H. was super pissed and when they returned to the Stew Room, saying, "You're welcome, Morgan" before turning to the others and comparing all her challenge duties to his one. "Fuck him. Never again. I'm not going to carry anybody anymore." Right, Heather. Because he begged you to make that showpiece. And it must be really hard to have the judges compliment the hell out of your food. You were so mistreated.
She carried on about how making the showpiece sacrificed her individual dessert, but Morgan had it right when he said that she should be mad at herself and not him. His logic is as healthy as his hair.
And as if that whole fiasco wasn't irritating enough, when it came time for her team's critique, Malika interrupted amazing praise from Gale Gand so she could ask to be eliminated. She got what she wanted. That's right, she left without hearing the rest of what could possibly be the most credible praise she'll ever hear. I wonder if she hangs up phones before people even finish speaking. Oh well, I wish her good lu...
Next week: Morgan loves women's heels. Possible catfights. Something ugly-gooey.