Rest in Peace, Coco Chanel

Yigit Pura wishes Katzie hadn't over-accessorized her dish.

Sweetest Top Chef fans… sorry to be MIA for two weeks, but I’m back!

Alliances are starting to form in the house now that seven people are left. Bromance continues, and apparently Sally is gravitating towards the guys too.  

Mark Israel is the guest judge for the Elimination Challenge. I love this man. Have you ever had his tres leches in NYC?  When I used to lived there; it was a hop away from my apartment, and I used to fall victim to this fried goodness all too often.

The contestants have to create the ultimate doughnut, and apparently this fried dough can either win them 10K or get them eliminated. Good morning, chefs. It’s like serving a heart attack with that French press. I’m sure their nerves are wrecked. I only wish we had had this challenge during Season 1. I can guarantee Zac Young could win this. Hands down! He is the fryer queen! Carlos and I apparently had a similar upbringing in pastry. Pretty much when I was in high school I was bound to my parents' bakery as well. It saved him from gangs, and my teenage years were just purely awkward as the foreign kid in America. How cruel teenagers can be.... Back to the frying challenge at hand.

I worry for Megan. She’s making a cake doughnut, which by nature is more dense then a regular yeasted dougnut, and she’s making a hard caramel glaze. This can be really dense. Also, some contestants are making a fancy plated dessert out of doughnuts. I think, given that they are serving it with a press coffee, I’d go for a really delicious indulgent doughnut.

I love Carlos’ idea because he made bombolonis, which I make very often. It’s pretty much a yeasty, buttery doughnut that is fried, then filled with cream. Can you go wrong? NO!

I am writing this as I’m watching the episode, and I’m hungry. Now watching Sally’s doughnuts I’m really hungry. A girl who uses cashews often is a girl after my own heart. Sally can you ship me a box please...?

Carlos wins 10K and Megan goes home. GOD that’s rough to go home for a doughnut. Sorry Megan, best of luck to you. Get a box of doughnuts and a bottle of vodka and celebrate that you made it this far!

The Elimination Challenge is CHOCOLATE!  Seems easy enough, but chocolate is a beast. It’s one of those mediums that if you have no creativity you can fall flat, but if you have the love of pastry, it’s a very creative medium, be it a showpiece or in flavor!Katzie is talking smack about doubting Chris’ skill and what his end product is going to come out as, but I’d love to know if she can build a showpiece. Maybe just be thankful someone is doing the work for you. At this point, I’m betting on Sally’s team because they seem to be gelling together the best. However both the teams seem to think they are going to beat the other. Guess time will tell!

When both the showpieces are revealed, my hat is off to both the teams! Those are absolutely gorgeous, and clean. 

First team presents their dishes, and I have to say from the sound I’m not too crazy about them, especially Katzie. Coco Channel is turning in her grave. It’s like she took the dessert, and when it was done, she walked through the pantry and added more accessories to it. How many ingredients and flavors did she list off???

Sally’s team’s desserts look far better off the bat, and weather they planned it or not, the flavors seem to play off of one another too. I want to taste Carlos' dish; it sounds really intriguing. And Sally honed in on the natural acidity of the Manjari and paired it with the tropical flavors. Love it!

Sally’s team wins, and I’m not surprised. Talk about SWEET victory! 

Katzie goes home, and I saw that coming. Visually, it just wasn’t clean. Coco Channel can rest in peace.

Next week is another week of sweet’s served!

Twitter: @YigitPura


Best in Show

The final three chefs compete for the ultimate title of "Top Chef: Just Desserts."

Bonjour, mes petits amis! Well, we made it. It's finale time, and wow, was it a nail-biter!

The opening of this episode gave me the chills -- the finalists were greeted by Jacques Torres and his fellow MOFs, Sebastien Cannone and Stefane Treand. I've actually heard the term "MOF" before, but I didn't know much about it. Gail recommends watching Kings of Pastry, and discusses it in her finale blog. You can actually watch it streaming instantly on Netflix -- I plan on doing so this week!

Chris, Matthew, and Sally were issued their finale challenge -- a Meilleurs Ouvriers de France-style challenge where they'd have to make a bonbon, bread, a showpiece, and a plated dessert, truly testing many different pastry skills. Each of the chefs consulted with the culinary legends, as they prepared their desserts. They were also given actual sous-chefs later, in the form of their former cheftestants. They each chose and drew some of the best competitors of the season. I was wondering if anyone would pull Craig (sorry, Craig!) and how they would utilize him. But that didn't happen. Sally seemingly pulled the best pick in Orlando, who executed her showpiece for her -- more on that later!

This challenge was also interesting in that the chefs' plated desserts had to be personal and they presented a story to the diners along with their dishes. This was the first time the judges and their guests really got to get a taste of what everyone was fighting for, what was driving them this whole season. Le's start with Matthew.

I've been saying all season how smart Matthew is, but, unfortunately he sort of faltered this time around. I thick in a lot of ways Matthew was my front-runner going into the challenge in that he always makes smart decisions, satisfying the challenge and the judges, while staing true to his style. First the showpiece. He used sugar. I honestly don't know enough about showpieces to know what was wrong with his because it looked pretty amazing to me. But, the judges seem to think that he should have used chocolate. His bonbon was well-received, and his bread, though tasty, seemed to be too simple. Then came his plated dessert, which looked abstract and messy all at the same time. Although the dish was beautiful in a way, it wasn't composed, and much like Katzie's Beastie Boys challenge dish, the diners didn't know how to eat the components. Matthew has a stunning future ahead of him, regardless of whether or not he lost. The same can obviously be said for Sally. Sally's bonbon went over well and her bread seemed to be the most well-received that evening. I would eat the s--- out of that thing! But her plated dessert, while tasty, was sloppy (she ran out of time), and her showpiece was done completely by Orlando. There was an interesting debate at Judges' Table about this, and honestly, I see both sides, but I'm glad Dannielle stood up for Sally, saying that Sally simply utilized her sous-chef. That's what they're there for, and it was completely within the rules. You can see more of the judges' discussion in our Extended Judges' Table footage.

Finally, we have Chris. First off, congrats Chris!!! Obviously Chris' showpiece was exceptional, despite some falling pieces, and he threaded his concept of industrialization through all of his dishes. His bonbon was polished and flavorful, and his bread was decent. But I really think it came down to this plated dessert, which people loved. It sounded yummy, for lack of a better word. And so, Chris got the money, and I couldn't be happier that he now has the funds to take care of his daughter. He had to step it up that day, and he did.

All I have left to say is that this session was such a pleasure to watch, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!

On a sidenote, I had the pleasure of visiting MOF Jacques Torres' wife's, Madame Chocolat's, shop this past week in L.A. and she, well, spoiled me rotten. Now these are bonbons!


Here's my friend Gina and I with Hasty!


Look at all the loot I ended up with! I'm going to turn into a bonbon!


If you've never had Jacques or Hasty's chocolates, you're missing out, so you should definitely stop for some next time you're in either L.A. or New York City. 

I'll see you all next week for the Top Chef: Texas premiere, Until then, Have a Nosh!