Well, hello there! Wow! The first episode of the first-ever season of the brand-new Top Chef: Just Desserts is super-duper exciting for so many reasons, not least of which is that we are finally giving pastry chefs the attention they deserve. I promise I'm writing this before my daily dose of sugar; it just feels like lots of exclamation points and superlatives are in order when talking about this fantastic new show, the incredibly talented twelve chefs competing in it, and the chocolate-y first elimination challenge.
Dessert is such a big deal. Can you think of a special occasion that hasn't involved a lovingly prepared sweet treat? From birthday cakes to romantic chocolate creations to gifts of candy brought back from long trips to ice cream after a swim meet, dessert is how we celebrate. But we have largely ignored the people who've devoted their lives to making it for us.
For so long, pastry chefs have unfairly played second fiddle to savory chefs…I mean, think about it: dessert is the last bite you have at the end of a memorable meal. It's the restaurant's goodnight kiss to you, the final taste of a restaurant before you walk off into the night, and it's the pastry chef who created it. But the savory chef is the one who gets his or her name on the door and so much of the credit. You can see how this could make you a little nutty if you were a pastry chef.
I know it was the first episode, but there was too much about their personalities. I would want to discover the chefs' personality via their desserts. Based on the previous, this show will be about the drama and not the talent/skill. I'm a little dissappointed.
Oh hoorah - drama - *that's* what I want in a cooking show. Not creativity or talent - drama. Maybe this won't be my go-to show. Already Seth & Morgan seem to be the jerks of the show. Esp. Seth - really? He couldn't even applaud or clap the back of the winner? What a baby/sore loser. I'm looking forward to him leaving - no matter the skill level. Sorry-awesome is not a word I'd apply to either of these chefs - unless it's "what an awesome butthead." I was looking forward to a pastry show (& esp. Gail being a part of it), but with this hint of more drama to come... Makes me nervous.
I think that the personalities will not outshine their talent (we all know they don't equate success!) and I think this show is going to be a lot more entertaining and watchable than I anticipated. Remember Top Chef with the talented twins? Super talented and the whole season was a big yawn! I love Gail, and I am betting this show will be back foe another season. Besides which, I think desserts are a lot more challenging than the Betty Crocker box mix generation might have thought!
Please tell Bravo not to show the winning dessert in the commercial BEFORE the decision is announced.
I din't mind the personalities, and, let's face it, there's time to kill when we're waiting for stuff to come out of the oven. What I find remarkable is that the most drama is coming from the two hetero men, while the gay men are acting like the normal people (yes, even Zac) that they are. I'll be very interested to see how the whole thing plays out.
I think personality is a plus to these Top Chef shows! If you've ever worked in a kitchen, there is plenty of drama; creative people are often passionate and quirky. I love the show; I think it's going to be a big hit! Chefs aside, I love the subject. Yum! Can't wait for episode two!
I thought the savory Top Chef's were a big yawn this season and didn't really like any of them, but these ridiculous, rude, obnoxious babies take the 'cake' literally with all their high drama and stupidity. I wanted to watch some great chefs preparing great desserts but all I saw were immature, snarky children with no manners preening for the cameras----if this is what Just Desserts is all about,l will not be watching many of these episodes!!!!
I am a little disappointed that the first recipe you pose requires a $4000.00 gastro vac machine. I know commercial kitchens that don't have one let alone the family kitchen.
Maybe since you are just starting out and this is a new blog, you will read our comments. I hope so. If so, please pass on some suggestions: The reason I like Top Chef as opposed to, say, Project Runway, is because the judges show more respect towards the contestants. There is nothing I hate so much as sarcastic, snarky, mocking comments from judges towards people who are doing their best and their creations. That goes for bloggers as well. We admire and enjoy the shows that maintain a level of dignity.
Unfortunately, the promos seem to suggest a great deal of drama in the kitchen. Again, it can go overboard very quickly.
You mention the fast heartbeat from the heavy sugar load. I actually hate to see that kind of excess, so perhaps the very concept of "just" desserts is flawed. How about desserts and salads or something like that. Obviously the title is not as catchy, but think about the overweight problem in this country.
I assume the show has already been filmed and so my comments will mean nothing. But please pass them on for next season if you don't mind. Best wishes.
This episode seemed to take the worst elements of Top Chef and blend them with the contrived histrionics of the Real Housewives series to make for a truly banal and forgettable premier for the show. At this point I am not sure if Dannielle Kyrillos's hook, "Trust me when I say, all the hints of drama you saw tonight only get bigger and nuttier." Is an incentive to tune in next week or a warning that it is figuratively speaking "time to pack my tools and go".
The strength of these shows is often about trusting the judges, and that should be established episode one. The first episode should also be one of the easiest eliminations- and you don't send home a contestant that is clearly talented, over other contestants that seem out of their depth. Everything else was heavy handed and there wasn't enough excitement about the desserts themselves. Pass.
I can not believe the way the contestants talk to each other. It is very disappointing and disrespectful. It shouldn't be allowed. The contestants should be setting an example for each others talent. The behavior displayed should be grounds for disqualification.
I am so disappointed. I am going to be a new (non-traditional) student in a school in Philadelphia for Baking and Pastry. Thought I would see a respectable profession and learn something. This is horrible; no learning to be had; no skills or talent to be appreciated. What are we coming to when all we do is get entertainment out of negative, vicious, and disrespectful human interactions. Very sad.
Congratulations to Gail Simmons on the new show. I always enjoyed her fair and credible comments on Top Chef and looking forward to the same here. Please just remember to respect your audience and focus on the food!!
The loft is awesome! Who designed the loft that the contestants stay in and where did those big modern paintings (slice of pie and cupcakes) come from? I can't find that info anywhere. Please help!
Yay! No Padma!
Gail, you are a wonderful host. You are warm, you have requisite knowledge, and you have a sense of humor. I wish you would also host Top Chef. Please blog!
Danielle, thanks for the enthusiastic blog. I'm comfortable with savory; not at all with sweet, so I'm looking forward to learning enough to at least get over the intimidation of sweets. As with all these type of shows, I too would like less drama and more instructive-type shooting.
I am trying to get into Just Desserts. Since I am not a baker of desserts, it is a little hard. Do enjoy the chefs. Zac is a hoot. I will hang in there and give it a chance, since I am a huge TC fan. OliveAnne FloridaFan
All that sugar and chocolate? No way! Dessert is warm apple pie (with cheese), the apples neatly sliced (with no core) and a crust that is light and flaky. Having eaten the best (until I left home), I will be happy to give my expert opinion at the judges table.
I love Top Chef and had high hopes for the pastry format. I think Gail is doing a wonderful job. I am disappointed that the show is being edited to showcase the unprofessional drama, rather than the food. Seth shouldn't be crying on national TV about his 'mommy'. It's embarrassing. It's not fair to the other contestants, and frankly it bores me as viewer. I want to see expert professionals showcasing inspiring food. That's why I watch Top Chef...for the food.
Why was someone who is so clearly emotional unstable as Seth allowed on the show? It was painful and embarassing to watch his breakdown, and his reversion to childhood - and, most importantly, it had nothing to do with cooking or creativity. I would appreciate (as I believe would many viewers) more informantion about food and its preparation, and less about the personal foibles of the contestants. That said, Gail is so hot, that all you can do is watch her most of the time :-) More Gail!
I didn't mind the first episode at all, although Seth's breakdown, or rather, breakdowns, on the second episode traipsed into the land on inappropriately tacky. Thank you for such an insightful blog Danielle, I shall look forward to reading it as the show progresses. I think Gail, Johnny, and Hubert are also doing a great job, especially to Gail. I'll continue watching. Be it talent or the sweet nectar of schadenfreude towards the elimination of chefs who are this point more hot air than souffle, I look forward to seeing crazy dessert challenges. I just hope this show doesn't devolve into a Food Network-esque cake/pastry/baking challenge. Those things are incredibly boring to watch, and I hate to partake in a show where the most exciting part that occurs is the transporting of the finished product from one table to another versus the final product itself and how it is enjoyed.