Dannielle Kyrillos

Dannielle Kyrillos explains what the judges' decision ultimately came down to.

on Oct 27, 2011

The challenge for our finale mirrored such a classic competition, and it felt like a perfectly well-rounded one. Having to prove that you’re a “complete” pastry chef is no small feat, especially in such a short amount of time, and I think Sally, Chris, and Matt all performed gorgeously overall.  Do you agree?  

The chefs are pretty passionate people anyway, but the challenge dictating that their inspiration, especially for the plated dessert, should be a loved one, upped the ante on cooking from the heart. This time, you could taste the love. You really could. I am getting misty-eyed just thinking back on the stories each of them told about their wives, children, mothers, and sisters when they served their desserts.

It probably helped with the stress to have someone very dear in mind throughout the madness. Speaking of stress, you didn’t need to hear some of the cursing we did in the unedited version of this episode to feel the immense pressure the chefs were under. Seeing Sebastien Cannone, the MOF. and co-founder of the French Pastry School in Chicago, zestily washing a sink full of dirty dishes certainly lightened the mood. That was bonkers.

So after five hours with their MOFs came a ten-hour day in which they were each assisted by two of their eliminated colleagues, one selected randomly and one they chose. This is the part that led to some of the greatest debate at Judges’ Table.  

By the way, it was our longest and most grueling Judges' Table by far. We discussed and hashed out and argued, and then did it all again. And again. It was such a close call, and a really tough decision. We each made convincing arguments for our favorites, and then heard everyone else’s equally convincing arguments, and finally, finally reached a unanimous decision.