November 03, 2010 08:45 PM by Lori Wilson
Week eight of Top Chef: Just Desserts challenges the pastry chefs to create edible bouquets and tea party treats for a high profile client. In the end, two chefs don’t perform up to their usual standards, while Heather’s elimination from last week has a lasting effect.
The Quickfire Challenge welcomes renowned Cake Decorator Shinmin Li. Zac notes one should not be fooled by her appearance, because while she’s “very pretty, she breathes fire.” They are tasked with creating edible bouquets, with the winner receiving $5,000 from the ever present sponsor Dawn Hand Renewal. Yigit decides to pull sugar in order to make beautifully delicate sugar vases, which Morgan accidentally breaks. Yigit doesn’t freak out about it until he can’t recreate another one, so he uses a real vase. When Gail and Shinmin walk in to judge the creations, Yigit remains confident, as he finds fault with everyone else’s bouquet.
Shinmin is blunt in her critiques of Zac, Eric and Danielle’s creations, which are her least favorites. In his aside, Eric says he loves what he did and calls Shimin just plain rude. While Shinmin loved Yigit and Morgan’s desserts almost equally, Morgan wins the Quickfire Challenge. This is a blow to Yigit’s confidence and he feels if Morgan hadn’t wrecked one of his vases, he would have won.
The elimination challenge involves the pastry chefs catering a tea party for Dana Cowin, Editor-in-Chief of Food & Wine magazine. They must create two small tea party desserts based on a celebrity couple. Gail Simmons notes Dana is a great mentor of hers and urges them not to disappoint her.
For the celebrity couples, Danielle chooses Conan O’Brien and Andy Richter; Zac picks Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards; Morgan chooses Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian; Yigit’s muse is Madonna and Guy Ritchie; and Eric zeroes in on Oprah and Stedman.
After the chefs have shopped for their ingredients at Albertsons, Johnny Iuzzini enters the Top Chef: Just Desserts kitchen to inform them they are unable to use chocolate. Zac and Danielle are the only ones unaffected, as they already planned not to use the ingredient in their tea party desserts. While Morgan and Eric set about adapting their recipes, Yigit seems to be hit the hardest with the twist, as his confidence has already been shaken from last week’s Dessert Shop Wars loss.
As the chefs begin setting up for the tea party, Eric reveals in his aside that he hates his dessert and is majorly stressed out. He just hopes his flavors are enough to keep him in the competition. He goes first and is obviously nervous presenting to Shinmin, Johnny, Gail, Dana and Dannielle Kyrillos. As they sample Eric’s offerings, the judges note his desserts are too big for a tea party, are a bit messy and are too similar.
Before Zac serves his desserts, he has issues in the kitchen with Morgan, who he deems a bully. Morgan, on the other hand, doesn’t care what other people think. Zac goes out to enthusiastically explain his desserts to the judges, which reflect roles Julie Andrews has played. The judges are very impressed with his efforts.
Danielle presents her creations next and while the judges love the idea of using jalapenos in one of her desserts, they feel her proportions are off. The judges also note the desserts don’t exactly compliment each other, but judge Dannielle thinks variety is a good thing.
When the judges move on to taste Morgan’s macaroon, they don’t necessarily enjoy the bitterness, but his other dessert’s almond flavor is called amazing. His desserts are also too big as Johnny eats one of them with a spoon.
A flustered and messy Yigit explains his desserts to the judges, who feel his Madonna dessert is too bland, while his Guy Ritchie offering is a bit too sweet. Yigit returns to the kitchen defeated, which bolsters Eric and Morgan’s confidence in making it through to the next round.
Once the tea party is over, Morgan, Zac and Danielle are called in to the Judge’s Table, as they had the best desserts of the challenge. Morgan created Shinmin’s favorite dessert of the day, while Zac’s desserts are called the perfect tea party offering and labeled a hoot. Danielle’s desserts are praised as fun and tasty and they finally showed Johnny the commitment he’s been looking for from her. Shinmin announces that Zac wins the challenge because his desserts best encompassed the challenge.
Yigit and Eric are called in next as they had the least favorite desserts. Gail points out they were both downtrodden during their presentations and the judges feel Eric and Yigit were not the chefs they know both of them to be. Eric and Yigit own up to their poor performances, with Yigit attributing his failure to Heather leaving and losing the Dessert Shop Wars. However, only one person goes home and the pastry chef who doesn’t measure up this week is Eric.
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Photo credit: Bravo