October 19, 2011 08:50 PM by Lori Wilson
Only four chefs are left in week nine of Top Chef: Just Desserts. Chris, Matthew, Orlando and Sally vie to get one step closer to the Bravo reality show’s ultimate prize, but the last elimination challenge before the finale throws the remaining cheftestants for a loop. Keep reading to find out who is heading to the finale and who goes home.
In the Top Chef: Just Desserts kitchen, Gail introduces the four chefs to renowned L.A. chef Susanne Goin. She then explains they are skipping the Quick Fire and going right to the elimination challenge where they must create a dessert disguised as an entrée from a country of their choosing. Matthew picks Italy, Sally opts for Cuba, Chris grabs France and Orlando goes with Spain.
Chris is flustered feeling he is way outside his comfort zone, but Matthew immediately and confidently decides to go with Manicotti as his dish. Meanwhile, Orlando chooses to create Paella, but Sally doesn’t know what she’s going to make. Chris chooses Beef Wellington as his inspiration, but when Johnny stops by, he notes Chris is pretty shaky on this challenge. When Johnny gets to Sally, she admits she’s tired and explains that she is making components for two dishes because she’s not sure what to make. Johnny walks away with the feeling that Sally is a bit melancholy and doesn’t really want it. Sally ultimately decides to make a Cuban sandwich.
The next day, Sally seems re-energized and feels more confident, but slowly grows insecure thinking she hasn’t done enough based on everyone else’s creations, so she whips up something to look like potato salad. Chris doesn’t have time to make his own puff pastry dough so he uses the dough from the pantry. At the same time, Matthew and Orlando seem to be having no trouble creating desserts disguised as savory food.
Gail and Johnny are joined by several renowned chefs including Suzanne Goin, Hubert Keller and Cat Cora, the first and only female Iron Chef, and someone from Top Chef: Masters. First up, the judges taste Matthew’s “Manicotti,” made with creme fraiche cake with mascarpone-ricotta mousse, strawberry sauce and basil gelee. They love all the details he put into his dish, but feel it’s lacking something and needs more complexity. Next up is Chris’ “Beef Wellington,” made with chocolate mousse, raspberry jam and salted caramel. The judges are impressed. Orlando’s “Paella,” made with coconut saffron rice, plums and roasted beets, is next. Orlando is nervous serving Cat Cora, who feels his presentation is wonderful. Some judges like it noting he chose a steep hill to climb, while others aren’t sold. Sally’s “Cuban Sandwich,” made wtih cream cheese mousse, passion fruit mustard and strawberry caramel, is the final dish. The judges feel the look of it transports them, but the cream cheese is a little messy.
Johnny and Hubert tell the chefs they all did an amazing job and their creativity really came through. However, they learn Chris didn’t make his own puff pastry, which disappoints them. Matthew is told he executed the look of his dish well, but he wasn’t very creative in the flavors. Johnny tells Orlando he hates saffron, but he enjoyed it in his dessert. On the flip side, Hubert informs Orlando his idea of rice was off, but overall the flavors were great. Sally’s presentation is largely praised, but she is criticized for the messiness of her dish. In the end though, Sally is the overall winner of the challenge because she really embraced the country she was representing. Unfortunately, the judges still have to eliminate someone and it comes down to Orlando and Matthew. Orlando is told his flavors were wonderful, but his presentation was sloppy so he must pack his tools and go home.
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