Johnny Iuzzini

Johnny Iuzzini urges Craig Poirier to step it up.

on Sep 7, 2011

Bravotv.com: What do you think the key to making a successful dessert for the Quickfire was? Do certain flavors lend themselves better to gum production? 
Johnny Iuzzini: This was all about explosive flavor in a small package. This means not too many flavors and you need to taste everything. It also should be something that people can relate to and would want to chew. You want flavors that provoke happy emotions. You also need to think about the flavors/taste, and in the end how they would affect your breath. I would think that brighter flavors and acidic flavors work best. 

Bravotv.com: Craig finally won something! Were you intrigued by his pancakes?
JI: Hooray for THE CRAIG, as we called him. He is constantly on the bottom and feeling like he is under-experienced compared to his fellow competitors. He really needed this to raise his spirits and to start feeling like he belonged in this competition. He won 25K! Damn boy. Hysterical that instead of paying off school loans that he would rather just go shopping.  His dessert flavors actually sounded really good. Simple and identifiable. Something almost everyone can relate to. Totally not the way I would have gone, but again, I am always surprised, and I am always learning from the creative minds of our chefs. 

Bravotv.com: On to the Elimination, the chefs were told many things about Lisa Vanderpump’s “likes.” What things would you have taken away from the conversation with her husband? 
JI: Ken gave some pretty detailed items Lisa likes, as well as some pretty specific keywords when speaking of what she likes and her style. He said she loves the color pink. Also that she is very meticulous and loves fresh flowers. The idea was to turn her restaurant Villa Blanca into Villa Rosa for one night only. He spoke of the love of her life being her dog, Giggy. Things can be glitzy but In good taste, pink roses, and crumble. This is pretty specific in one way yet leaves it wide open for creativity. I would say you can be playful but on a sophisticated level. This is a  pitch for a party for worldly distinguished women, not for children. I would keep it clutter-free and sharp. I would think about the ease of eating it -- no one wants to fight with their food, or in a woman's case,  take a chance on messing up their makeup. The two most important words Ken said were meticulous and tasteful. I would focus on that and make sure I had a delicious crumble to boot.

Bravotv.com: What are things to keep in mind when creating a dessert “pitch”? 
JI: You should always ask a lot of questions. Get as much detail of the customer's vision as possible. Remember, its not about creating a showcase based on your likes and preferences -- it's about the customer. They are paying -- therefore, it is up to you to give them what they want. Your creativity, skill, techniques, and experience come into play in the execution and design of those elements and how they come together in a unique and beautiful way. Give the customer what they ask for and more!