Bravotv.com: This week's Quickfire Challenge is the mise en place relay race. I know that when we ask our chefs on Top Chef, they say they sometimes have races like that in their professional kitchens, etc. -- does that happen with pastry chefs? Are these skills that every pastry chef should know how to do?
Johnny Iuzzini: Man, you have no idea what goes on behind closed kitchen doors. We are definitely a competitive bunch. A lot of times when there are menial tasks at hand like peeling a case of apples or juicing a ton of grapes we set up races and go head to head. It serves two purposes, 1) it's more fun, and 2) when you are pushing yourself to go faster the work gets done faster. This challenge had some basic skills that everyone who calls themselves a pastry chef should have a strong grasp of.
Bravotv.com: Were you surprised that some of the chefs had never rolled out strudel, for example?
JI: Strudel unfortunately is a lost art. Culinary schools spend a small amount of time on it, but in order to truly master it, you need experience doing it often. I was lucky enough to work for a German pastry chef earlier in my career and he really taught me about strudel dough. The key is really to work in smooth, gentle motions, always working with the back of your hands from the center of the dough to the outside. It is definitely harder than it looks. What is funny is that Morgan has experience with strudel dough and explains to his team how to work with it, and yet they completely shred their dough.
Bravotv.com: Onto the Elimination Challenge — Go-Diva is put together randomly. Do you think things may have turned out differently if they were mixed up with people from the other team?
JI: You know, I really wish they weren't on the same team. I think it would have been for the best for the whole group of chefs if they were separated, but as we saw during the challenge itself, Team Diva started to become unraveled a bit and started bickering. It would have been really interesting to see Morgan and Yigit on the same team -- they are both are natural team leaders, and I wonder if they had to work together how that would have panned out.
Bravotv.com: Which dishes on both sides were highlights and lowlights for you?
JI: Zac is a master of many things fried, and his doughnuts were no exception -- they were slamming. That said, the lemon verbena milkshake was bland and flat. His fennel brioche bread was tasty and made up for it. Yigit's tart had the potential to be amazing, but the crust just ruined it. The margarita sorbet was a welcome surprise that you wouldn't normally see in a pastry shop, elegant and refined. His fraisier fell a bit short for me. I worked in France for a while, and it was missing the punch of strawberry. Heather also suffered from the thick tart dough. I was really excited when i saw her lemon tart, but it just didn't deliver the flavors or textures I was expecting. The key lime bar looked like something you make in culinary school, plus the obvious finger prints and lack of key lime flavor. Her pudding was my favorite of the three, but even so, not very exciting.
On Team Whisk Me Away, as expected, Eric made a chocolate chip cookies, which no bakery should be without. Although a bit pedestrian, I also liked his big classic stacked cake, but he made it a bit more interesting with his use of the malted milk balls for both flavor and texture. The idea behind the banana loaf was great. Imean bananas, brown butter, and tangerine all sound delicious, but unfortunately the recipe was off and it ruined the cake. Danielle's pistachio shortcake was cool, tasty, delicate, and served in an interesting way. Her coffee cream pie was sweet and missing coffee, whose bitterness would had helped balance that sweetness. I liked that she did a refreshing and light float. The flavors were good, and although she used an untraditional combination of sorbets, it worked to her advantage. Morganza's pretzel really made me happy until it glazed my face with butter. His chocolate cake was awesome, great texture of the mousse, flavorful, and then having a brulee center really showed some skill. This is his second fried pie. This time it was definitely better, and the lemon flavor really came through.
I agree 100%!!! Karma bites when you are a nasty person like Heather!!! I was doing the party dance in my living room when her name was called!!
Most chefs have huge egos. It amazes me that people are actually so surprised by it. Although Team Go Diva had put out some less than satisfactory desserts is besides the point. Everyone left has been in the top and bottom. Yigit, Zac, and Heather had proven themselves as capable of creating some delicious stuff.
Personalities have nothing to do with what finished products taste like. Besides whats the point in comparing Morgan and Heather when they both have a lot of bitter qualities about them.
I love the Top Chef series because I am a huge foodie. But Just Desserts and the last few seasons of Top Chef have been focusing way too much on the drama than the actual food. Its just really disappointing.
Bye-Bye,Heather..oh you of the sullen pouts,mean-spirited slams,and cranky jibes! Obviously,stress can bring out the worst in anyone-but to be so consistently ugly in temperament spells "Loser" better than any of the little catch-phrases and names she made up for her fellow chefs.Looking forward to the upcoming episodes now that she's gone!
Heather deserved to go home. Remember when she offered to do the centerpiece, then when Morgan won (her own teammate!) she was super pissed and was all F*** this and F*** that! Get some class. Karma is what got her in the end.
I'm so upset about Erika leaving! And Danielle is still there if she can't even make an outfit out of chocolatee and won't even make any at all in some of her dishes then she is not a true pastry chef. .these judges well some of them are looking like complete idiots.... I hope she goes home soon..she is so dull!
i agree that zac and yigit can't think for themselves...they are followers...they were nice until heather lured them in...once they all got together, they became mean girls...hopefully, with heather gone, these 2 can go back to baking not sniping
I never liked Heather from the get go. I am glad that she hit the road. I cannot believe that someone with her experiece cannot make a pie crust. I hate it when they say everyone is responsible for everything - I liked that Gail spoke up and said that someone is going home. I was touched at how Eric cried when they won. It right and just that they were the winners. OliveAnne FloridaFan
"It's not Top Nicest Chef, it's Top Chef". Why are you spending so many words dissing Heather, then?
I liked Morgan in earlier episodes, but now he just seems like a bully to me. Comparing himself to Shaq after being physically aggressive to Heather was just wrong. He is a large man and she is a small woman. I don't even like Heather, but he didn't apologize (at least, not on-camera) and for that Bravo should take some responsibility by stating they do not condone violence on this show or any other.
Also, it seemed to me that Morgan has anti-gay feelings and that also disturbs me. I understand it isn't about who is the nicest, but I wouldn't eat in a restaurant where the Chef was physically abusive to the staff, no matter how great the food.
glad to see heather go and teamgodiva broken up. she was a very bitter person with a rather large dark streak. i hope to see zac go next and morganza and yigit in the final. my man morgz to take it out.
I teach high school so the Team Diva thing is horribly annoying to me as I see kids everyday who are beaten down by meanness and spite. I am glad that Heather left but for a different reason. A few episodes ago she griped to Heather about not supporting her team. Telling Zac to shut up and shut up again was definitely not an example of building up your team. I did love watching Morgan eyeing Zac's progress during the Quickfire. I am sad to see him crack under the pressure of putting up with Team Diva's show tunes night after night. As far as his comments being degrading to women, Heather H. should be happy she has never worked in a French kitchen. You leave your politically correct feelings at the door or you won't last long.
Love love love love Johnny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You give constructive criticism and look gadawesome good doing it! Let's give you some more air time shall we?
I hope this passes the moderators, it is simple Chef Johnny made a direct personal attack and I believe no matter who the person he should be called on it, it was childish and caught me off guard! He made the comment that Team Diva lost and Heather was on that team, rather than team Losers. I have a problem with it being specific.I may not like some on the show but you do not know or may be you do? all of the trash talk from most of Morgan was no better, and by some women comments made ,it seems he has a problem with women from comments he made and yes Heather did take exception with it. But you are supposed to keep the kids in hand Johnny, not act like one. Can not trust a person who has 'hidden' feelings.
Johnny- hot, hot, hot. All variations of Top Chef are awesome, but Just Desserts is one of my favorites. Thanks for making is so enjoyable to watch!
Cruel? Take a breath lady- it's a figure of speech. If someone said it was 'raining cats and dogs' is that animal abuse?
Johnny's comment was cruel but Heather's comments were just 'entertainment'. Hahahaha- yeah okay.
Get real, jojokoko. If a judge wants to call out one participant for trash talking, that seems unfair at best. As it works now, trash talking gets you air time. Top Chef Masters proves you can have a reality competition show without a bunch of trash talk and bad behavior; it would be a step in the right direction if other shows followed suit. Johnny's attitude toward Heather in this post is personal (comment about her "mama") and unnecessary; you don't see Tom Colicchio resorting to personal attacks in his thoughtful, well-written blog.
I truly enjoy your take on the competition. I also like the way you judge...consistent and with constructive criticism.
Danielle has had her issues but I have to say she took the criticism at Judge's Table very well.
I actually waited to watch the show this week until after I read your blog because I wanted to know if Team Diva won/lost so I could brace myself. I liked Zac before he became a Mean Girl...lay down with dogs and you'll come up with fleas.
As the judges have mentioned, confidence is a must but arrogance should be avoided. Heather was unwatchable...her treatment of Morgan that time their team won was cringe-worthy, watch between your fingers tv. She needs to learn how to be gracious in victory and defeat.
Hubert Keller is a Master Chef AND a Master at being gracious...Heather should watch every video/show of him and learn.
Looking forward to the rest of the season! I enjoy your insights.
I was really glad to see Team Diva lose. Their arrogance was getting annoying. While Heather's comment has been the most straightforward and crude, both, Zac and Yigit, have also expressed that they think they are better chefs than the rest of the competitors. That arrogance is annoying. As the last challenge proved, you never know what's going to happen. Other chefs have been on the bottom more times than Heather, that's for sure, but anyone can have a crappy day, or make a huge mistake. They're only human. In the real world, Heather would have more time to prepare the dough, she'd probably taste the thing and either pull it from the menu or fix it before sending it out. In a timed competition, no one has those luxuries, so, a little humility would do Zac and Yigit good, I think. The added pressure of restricted time, makes them all equally fallible, and, as the competition progresses, the stakes will be higher, and the stress will increase exponentially, so, it will be easir to make mistakes.... any little mistake could send you home when there are less competitors around. No matter how good you think you are, you can always make mistakes. Always.
Yigit and Zac have expressed disbelief when they don't win a challenge, or when someone they think should go, stays. Yet, I've never seen them tasting other people's desserts, so, why do they think their opinion is better than the judges', who are actually tasting the food and are the expertly trained palates?
Heather has had a bone to pick with Morgan because she thinks she's better than him, and yet, he keeps getting praise. Basic envy. Ever since she decided to do that sculpture (of her own volition, mind you) and Morgan won, she's been upset with him and trying to find flaws in him. It was her own fault for taking on that task. No one forced her. I don't see the so-called macho attitude toward women she keeps talking about either. So, he got all excited about sexy shoes and kept talking about making a hot, sexy dress, well, guess what? Even though some men don't talk about that stuff the way Morgan does, they pretty much have that mentality. Playboy and Hustle exist for a reason, and it's NOT the articles. But I haven't heard Morgan saying he thinks women are less than men, less qualified, or less intelligent. I do think he's aggressive, and short tempered, and maybe that will hurt him later on in the competition, or if he opens a business, but, at the moment, all that matters is that he make delicious, brilliantly presented food, and so far, he's consistently been on top. It's not called "Top Nicest Chef". It's just "Top Chef". Someone else can always handle front of the house for him. It's not a job requirement to be nice and personable.
I actually think that Zac and Yigit just got carried away under Heather's influence. They seemed to be a lot more humble and nicer at the start of the competition. And then, as soon as "Team Diva" formed, they started to get ugly. That's a shame, as I think, from the judges comments on their desserts, that they are actually some of the most talented chefs there. Tastewise, only the judges know who's best, but Zac has certainly shown a lot of creativity and is not afraid to take risks, that makes him a serious contender. Yigit's plating always looks sophisticated and his compositions are subtly elegant, which I think are qualities the judges are also looking for in a Top Chef.
Dannielle has been worried since the very beginning, as the judges always rate several other people ahead of her. She is aware of the situation and seems to be trying to figure out what to do to get ahead. Eric has always been the underdog, because he's a baker, and not a pastry chef, like the others. He's well aware of what his weaknesses are and he's constantly trying to improve, as he showed on the black and white challenge. They don't ever think they're better than anyone else, and perhaps that is what drives them to raise above their weaknesses, and stay in the competition.
I thought Heather was talented, the judges always seemed to like her desserts, except for the last two challenges, so, I was surprised to see her make such awful mistakes as she did, which messed up, not only her dessert, but her Yigit's too. In the team challenges she always takes on too much, and then expects to have time to execute her own stuff perfectly. She's a control freak, who didn't trust a calibrated, proven machine over her own skills. Sorry, but, unless a machine is broken, they are usually more precise (and many times a lot faster) than humans can be. That's the reason people use them. As a chef, it is necessary that people learn to delegate, and to trust their team. She seems to think that if she doesn't do it herself, it won't get done the right way, but that makes her take on much more than she can chew, and that's what ultimately caused her fall. I'm not sorry to see her go, as her superior attitude, and control issues were getting really annoying. I hope Zac and Yigit are not affected too much by her leaving, as they appear to genuinely care for her.
As for Morgan, he's my favorite. He has been so since he won that challenge for his son. He won my heart over that episode. And yes, I do have a major crush on him, so, Morgan, baby, I can cook all the savory items, and you can cook all the desserts, it's a match made in heaven ;-)
So if they are encouraged to jump of the Brooklyn Bridge, will they?
His comment about "her" mother is true for ANY mother raising a child. Regardless of how hard the mother has it, single or not.
I am glad that Whisk me away won the challenge however, Danielle should have gone home for her poor service in the front of the house. I am sad to see Heather go, since i thought she should have won the Dress making challenge over Morgan's anyday. I would have rather seen Zak leave. Yigit is still someone I am watching carefully, his stratagy of flying just under the radar is interesting. I really enjoy Eric and wish Erica hadn't left. Anyway good job and I am sure glad that all the emotional crying from Seth is gone, so if Morgan woulf just take his ego home, I think were are good.
Johnny you are so adorable and I think you are fair in your observations of Heather, Danielle, Eric, and even my favorite Morgan. Danielle kicked butt when making the tart shells but was low energy and leaning on a judge's chair while presenting the desserts. It was so weird.
On Heather, I do believe in Karma and it always circles back to you. Individually Team Diva is very talented but when united they fail. Interesting.
I loved the QFC and the EC. It was actually as much fun to watch as the Shoe Challenge.
I was glad to see Heather go home last night! Finally! I really think her deserts have been consistantly sub-par, and she has consistantly been in denial about their quality and her own ability. Maybe being too obsessed with the Morgan-hate to really show what she was capable of creating. That said, it will be a relief to watch the show without her listening to her, she was really getting annoying. I don't think Danielle is even on the same level as the other 4 chefs, so, I really look forward to the 4 guys really kicking it up!!! I think they all have incredible talent, skill, and determination. And they all seem to have different strengths, it should make for a spectacular finish. I would absolutely make the effort to eat at any one of their shops in the future!!
Johnny, I couldn't agree more. Heather seemed not very likable and a bit meanspirited. I hated her "team loser" comment. I also hated the comment she floated in her exit interview. "I wonder why out of the three of us I was the one chosen to leave." She seemed to want to make viewers believe the decision was somehow unfair. So seeing her leave before the underdogs was my own guilty pleasure.
Why the hostility toward Heather, Johnny? In case you're not familiar with reality competition shows, participants are *encouraged* to trash talk their competitors. If you take issue with that, perhaps you should talk to the producers of Top Chef Just Desserts and suggest they not air those kind of comments. Given that Heather has spoken about how hard her single mother worked to raise her, your own comment about her "mama" seems downright cruel.
Johnny, there should be a contest where you spoon feed the winner a dessert (made by you of course).
I am married so I wouldn't enter but I am sure lots of folks would.
Johnny, I knew Team Diva (which I liked) would lose the moment the crust was deemed too thick. I also predicted HH would be sent home. She & Morgan displayed severe anger issues in the kitchen. Heather won't be missed. However, from the comments made by the judges: it really was neck and neck as to the highs and lows. Eric seemed to have problems remembering his recipes. Therefore, his offerings end up lacking. Danielle's hosting demeanor was lazy and dull. Morgan's pretzel looked terrible (too dark, aka burnt).
I agree with you Sheila, unlikable group of people all around, except Eric and Maybe, Danielle. Everyone else left seems only interested in trash talking. Johnny, I can't believe you called Morgan, Morganza! Ha!
My thoughts due to what I see; I agree with so many about Danielle's still being there but you send Erica home. Judges, you need to right that wrong, it appears as if you make the rules as you go, conviently satisfying yourselves. Come on Danielle hasn't been able to adequately meet the challenges for lack of true effort, due to laziness, and or lack of knowledge.
I was also taken aback by such negativity on Heather's part and also her thoughts of her own superiority above her competitors and even above the Judges. Go-Diva is the culmination of three vain people that decided to lift themselves to a level beyond others, yet all three had not accomplished consistent wins. They are still in the mist of a competition. To Go-diva "guys lets wait till the end to see who will be the real diva (winner)".
And Heather, it was about time you went home. You were even the downfall for Yigit's with your decision to flatten that pie crust.
Great episode, I may have missed it, but it would have been interesting to see if Team Diva ever had a fully stocked display case, and how fast it got depleted prior to the judges' arrival.
I too thought it would have been more interesting if Team Diva had been broken up, but with the ladies swapped. Heather and Morgan on the same team probably would have changed the outcome of the Quickfire (but might have led to a riot), and could have seen Danielle sent packing. She has stayed longer than her skill set would indicate, and I predict will be the next out the door on an individual challenge. Of course, by the producers opting to show us Heather's comment about Team Loser, it was pretty clear she'd be the one to lose.
I also wonder at the many clips Bravo chooses to air wherein Morgan verbalizes physical threats or displays his violent aggressiveness. While he may in fact make some of the tastiest desserts, his ugly attitude and clear disdain towards the ladies makes him the least palatable of the contestants.
Johnny - you are as delicious looking as some of the desserts that these contestants are making ;)
I'd love to see what you look like fresh out of the shower with your hair au natural......*sigh* :)
I'm glad Team Diva lost...they are making this season almost unenjoyable with their attitudes. They are coming across as truly unlikable people, can't wait to see Zac go home...