I am glad Malaika and Seth are gone home. They were nothing but a bunch of cry babies, nobody wanted to see that every Wednesday.
Bravotv.com: For the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs have to make innovative ice cream sundaes. What approach would you have taken to this challenge?
Johnny Iuzzini: You know it is easy to say how I would take a different direction, but to be fair, I am not on camera, I am not working against a stop clock, I am not in a foreign kitchen, nor am I working with a bunch of other crazy pastry chefs running around like a bunch of nutbags. That said, I would probably take the elements of what a sundae represents and focus on changing the way in which it was presented. Break down the traditional components, ice cream, chocolate sauce or other sauce, fruit, nuts and manipulate these ingredients into an untraditional take on a sundae. I would first see what was in the pantry and depending on what ice cream flavor i pulled, try and do a vegetable version. Maybe make salty nougatine sheets. Pipe the ice cream into molds, to shape them and plate it in more modern style. Maybe some quick sweet confit or compressed vegetables. Who knows?
Bravotv.com: Seth’s time in the competition comes to an end. What was it like going in and being the one to tell the other chefs what had happened?
JI: I’m very sad to see Seth have to leave the show. He is tremendously talented, and I believe he would have shown us great technique and made really delicious food. Having been in a very similar situation a few years back when I lost my own mother, I sympathize and can relate to his emotional state. The best thing for Seth was to leave the show and to rejoin his family.
Bravotv.com: Which dishes really stood out to you (for better or worse?)
JI: Keep in mind, I didn't get to taste anything here. Just like you guys, I just watched on a monitor. I liked that Zac fried his ice cream -- you know i am a freak for contrast in texture and temperature. Erika did the s'mores with Frangelico. I am not really a fan of s'mores in general, and it just didn't seem like something that grabbed my attention or that I would order. I like the way Morgan thought out-of-the-box a bit and took the elements of a sundae with familiar flavors and did something more creative with them, including a warm drinkable component. I was a bit disappointed with Heather H.'s sundae. She has shown us that she has some serious skill, but here was a chance to get creative and I think she just played it too safe. Maybe if it were an elimination she would have done more??? Eric's sundae actually sounded really delicious to me. I was surprised the judges didn't like it, but then again, I didn't taste it. Malika made one of the more classic-style sundaes we saw, with the exception of the malted milk powder. I thought it sounded a bit pedestrian. Did she really put a canned maraschino cherry on top? Yuck! Yigit took a more plated style approach. It looked good but sounded sweet to me and there is that pesky s'mores again. Also, why does everyone need to use peanut butter so much? Danielle's sundae also sounded appealing to me -- there was a fresh-roasted fruit element. I think if she would have used a bit less honey and introduced a little acid like balsamic vinegar to help cut the sweetness and balance it, that dish would have been much better.
Bravotv.com: Can you say a little something about guest judge Gale Gand?
JI: Gale has been a big name in the industry for quite some time. She has mentored many young chefs and her style of food is very American, so this Quickfire was a perfect fit for her to judge.
Bravotv.com: For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs had to be inspired by the Lucent Dossier Experience. You seemed fairly amused with the show — what did you find most inspiring?
JI: I love those crazy theatrical performances. Was my mouth open the whole time? Ha! I find the human body very seductive, the shapes, the curves. That coupled with motion and sexuality brings me to my knees. Oops? Is this blog rated PG? Anyway, it is important to find a way to incorporate all these sensations and emotions into the dishes and showpieces. Some did it better then others.
I am glad Malaika and Seth are gone home. They were nothing but a bunch of cry babies, nobody wanted to see that every Wednesday.
It was completely unnecessary to bring in the team that didn't flame in front of you and the other judges.
It's not like they didn't flambe at all - they did. If their demonstration of the challenge wasn't up to your expectations than judge them on that. Don't bring them in front of you like a group of children to be chastised. Quite frankly, that whole segment made the judges look really silly. We all knew that team wasn't going to get eliminated. They knew after you met them at the event that you were unhappy about their choice not to flambe, and I think they would have been smart enough to realize that their decision may have cost them the win.
I've been reading blogs, articles, etc that keep bringing up the fact that the chefs in this competition seem very emotional. It seems like the judges need to chill out a bit as well.
Johnny, so glad that Seth was sent home to "Mommy" - very good of you to meet with the chefs and give them a chance to vent. It seemed everyone wanted to just get on with the contest. Now if we can get Heather C to go home for good - things will improve. What was with Yigit's team - no flame and the lame answer when you asked about it. I wish his team had not been saved by Malika. I think that when you ignore the rules someone needs to go home. OliveAnne FloridaFan
I completely agree with DGJ. Why does behavior that belongs on Jersey Shore get pity, while the mother who rationally decides to leave get scorn?
You should check out Recipes.com and do a search on"Egg-less Cake recipes" - I found a bunch of them that might help out your situation.....good luck!!
Re: Seth While hindsight is 20/20...the Seth situation should never have gone that far. Granted they are on a cooking show and not for behavior...since everyone is an adult and the judges are at the table...I think SOMEONE (or maybe they did) should have seen the trouble coming...it was very clear as a viewer of edited TV thay things were going wrong. I do want to say that Gail has been very professional and respectful through out the show and as they say in the fashion industry....One day your in and the next day your out. Let's have fun!!!!
They shouldn't have brought Heather C back, and they should have eliminated somebody whether Malika quit or not.
These people are so dysfunctional that the show has been more about personal drama than cooking. They are embarrassing their profession. Let them go as quickly as possible so the real contest can get underway.
Love the show. I see the top three as being Heather H, Yigit and Erica. Why did Morgan's sundae win the quick fire when he made an ice cream sandwich?
Hopefully a dessert or pastry chef will respond to you with other ideas, but if you want to make a cake without any egg products do a search on vegan cake recipes. There are many and most of them are really simple using common ingredients. No eggs needed. Since you and your granddaughter are not vegan, you can always substitute milk back in for the soy milk in these recipes.
I love Morgan and I think overall he has the skills to become the Top Chef for desserts.
Malika is just going through a really hard time in her life and I hope she gets the strength to get it together. Life is tough at times for all of us but you just cannot give up and do nothing. I never would have thrown this opportunity away.
I sure did get miffed when they didn't start the fire. In some strange way, it is a lot of fun to make a flaming dessert in front of your guest. I made them in the past and I could not imagine NOT DOING THIS.
I love the show and continue to be amazed at all of the talent!
PS: Love you as a judge. It is nice to see Top Chef mixing it up.
CALL IT WAS IT REALLY IS!! This is a competition that requires your complete focus on the tasks presented. Surely these contestants have watched the other shows and know the intense pressures that can come to bear as you compete. It's alot of money at stake and it's requires creativity, knowledge of pairing flavors, and quick thinking/preparation. Heck, everyone probably misses their love ones, but they knew upfront the duration time of the challenge. So with that said, I find that many of the excuses are just "lame", and initiated to not complete the challenge. Did they not think the challenge would he nard? Please, give me a break. This is the nature of the beast because these situations can present themselves in many restaurants all the time. The challenge is to put your knowledge to work to overcome these problems and move on. As Morgan stated Seth lacked the maturity needed for this or any type of competition. He's blamed his failure to thrive( so to speak) on his Mom, fellow chefs, missing cups,etc and then pouts like a 2 year old. So it comes as no surprise to me that he would leave the show and not for his cooking. He consistently caused havoc to the point of distracting the other chefs which btw may have been on purpose. Seth's plan was predetermined from the onset. If he felt he was losing ground, then he would bail out with this "faux, I can't breathe" Bullcrap. He needed to leave and good luck. Malika and Heather probably are good cooks, but cannot handle the pressure of competiton. This is a challenge, not your grandma's kitchen. There is no room for timid or uninspired cooking. The other Heather showed how immature she was because she didn't win the challenge. She didn't listen to why Morgan won. Ultimately, it will always go back to the food. The is not "Top Scuplture". It was just a theme for presentation, and Morgan food tasted good. She talked about Seth, but I see no difference in her behavior than his. Good luck to these who are left and please leave the childlike attitudes and whinning to those who didn't get an opportunity to compete for 100K. Please post, I'll be a first.
I'm not one of the pastry chefs but I think I can help.... just look up recipes for "vegan cakes" and you'll find lots without eggs.
I've been looking for a way to contact you and the contestants, but can't find it. I have a rather unique problem and would LOVE some help. My granddaughter is turning 3 in December and I would love to make her a birthday cake. The challenge is...she is severely allergic to eggs. I wanted to know if you could tell me what to use for a binder other than eggs or mayonnaise. I've emailed many chefs and none have ever answered. As pastry chefs, I thought you or the contestants might have some good suggestions. PLEASE help me.
One Question... when contestants leave due to homesickness, isn't it true that they still have to wait out the competition in the "eliminated contestant's home" as we see on the funny weekly TC videos on bravo.com? Of course that's to protect the integrity of the show's surprises (if someone turns up home early, people know they didn't last), but doesn't it also prevent Monica from getting to see her sons she misses so much? Is it just more phone calls allowed or what? Can someone shed light on this for me?
By the way, thanks for the informative blogs, Johnny!
I am a chef to be specific I am a pastry chef, I came over from the hot line to work with desserts when the restaurant I was working at lost the pastry chef. I have always thought that Top Chef was a pentacle to reach for in life. I don’t watch TV much but I never miss an episode. I have found that this competition was the purest form of the culinary arts. I have tried for many seasons to get on the show, and have not been selected. Up till now I still have been a fateful viewer , until the Just Desserts episodes. I was so excited to see pastry chefs show cased for a change, now I am embarrassed to be pastry chef. After watching such a group of whiney, miserable people. All I see is I can’t cut it I have to go home, what can I do I’m so confused. These people have the opportunity of a lifetime and all they can think about is their children or going home. I think they should have screened the contestants better, because some of us would love the chance. For god’s sake a baker is surpassing the pastry chefs. You have got to be kidding eliminate yourself, please some times you have to sacrifice every thing to be the best. Where would we be in this industry if we gave up when it gets hard or rough. If I was the Chef back at their restaurants I would take a second look at employing them, or having my restaurants name associated with some of these whiners.
I don't agree with your condescending explanation of Malika's decision to leave the competition. You literally pictured her as having no commitment, not able to "cut it" in competition, not able to take criticism, lacking "fire in the belly", and taking things too personally.
I believe that she made, after careful consideration, a rational, adult decision that was true to herself and thoughtful of the others.
On the other hand, you seemed to have some mental block or amnesia about Seth's behavior and reason for leaving. That situation was a disaster waiting to happen and went on way too long. You all were lucky it didn't end tragically.
Certainly wish him the best, but Seth was a serious distraction in the competition and took the fun out of watching. Hope he is able to get to a place where he is comfortable and safe.