Bravotv.com": Going home for a donut?! The live poll this week was whether or not going home for a Quickfire is fair. What do you think?
Johnny Iuzzini: I think sometimes the "easiest" tasks are sometimes the hardest to get perfect. The chef's all had use of their recipes and could make whatever they wanted. Some spent too much time making accompaniments. I think a dessert should be all-inclusive with the flavors either in the topping, glaze, or filling. It isn't a question of whether it is fair. We need to challenge the chefs skills at every level, sometimes it is with a large sculpture, sometimes it is by having them create a bakery, other times we need to test their building blocks, the basics if you will. A savory chef must first master his knife skills and understand the basics of sauces and soups etc before he/she may move on to become a great chef. It is no different for pastry chefs. If you do not have a strong foundation and are a master of the basics then you will never be that strong- you will never be a master of the trade -- period.
Bravotv.com: What are the key things to remember when making a donut — knowing there are a couple different kinds.
JI: You know, I have eaten ton of doughnuts throughout my lifetime, in all parts of the country and the world. Some are light and airy, some are dense and heavy. There are many types of doughnuts -- most common are yeast-raised and cake doughnuts. There is no absolute right or wrong way to make a doughnut. The problems arise when they are not proofed properly; they can be rubbery or dense. If not cooked properly they could be raw in the center, or dry or greasy. Maybe the flavors are not strong enough or glazes, fillings, and toppings are not the right texture. A doughnut may seem simple in many ways, but it also complex and easy to over-think.
Bravotv.com: The moment you couldn’t get Megan's donut off your plate, did you know she was dead in the water?
JI: Not necessarily. There were still a few chefs to go and there were problems with a couple of the prior chefs' doughnuts as well. Megan's doughnut didn't have bad flavor. In fact, it had more flavor than Orlando's doughnut. Megan thought the glaze was too runny, so what happened was, she overcompensated by recooking more sugar to tighten it up and actually cooked the sugar so much that it became a hard crack caramel. She didn't realize it because when she glazed her doughnuts the glaze was warm and she was down to the wire. Once that sugar cooled, it was hard like glass and had adhered itself and the doughnut to the plate. In the end, this one mistake was worse then all the other chefs' mistakes simply because that hard glaze made it almost impossible to eat.