What's Mickey Got to Do With It?
Some chefs struggled conceptually with the symphony cake challenge.
Hello, my little french horns! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is the instrument I played in school, and it only seems fitting that I share that little nugget with you this week. (I was mediocre at best, by the way.) Before I get to this week's episode though, I want to address one comment on my blog from last week from "LAR" who said, "Uhh "pickled cherries" = maraschino cherries?" This reminded me of a very interesting (and disturbing) thing I learned about Maraschino cherries last week from one Mr. Johnny Iuzzini. He doesn't care for them actually, but I love them. However, he said that some Maraschino cherries aren't cherries at all and are made of less-than-natural ingredients formed to look like cherries! How gross is that?! So look on the back of your jar for…
OK, onto this week's QUickfire. I think I mentioned recently that I don't love lemon desserts… except for a classic lemon ice of course. A tart at Bouchon changed my mind a bit, and actually Kathy Wakile's lemon blonde dessert was exceptional too. Watch her serve her sweet treats to Gail and Johnny here:
So, I"m a convert! I thought this was an interesting challenge because I know of several people who also don't care for lemon in their desserts. The chefs rose to the challenge though, and produced some fun stuff. Although I applaud Katzie's lemon crepe ribbons, I preferred the simpler desserts presented. Even though he wasn't on top, so i'm assuming his execution was off, I actually thought Craig's lemon sour cream cake sounded simple and delicious. The thing is, if you're going to go simple, it has to be executed perfectly.
Guest judge Margaret Braun questioned the use of caramel and chocolate with lemon. I wonder if either could work! Have any of you ever had delicious desserts combinging the two? If so, I want to hear about them. In the end, Matthew won -- his first step towards his title of King of the Lemon Dessert! (P.S. Does Matthew kind of look like Harold Dieterle back in the day, or have I officially lost my mind?)
For the Elimination Chalelnge, the chefs were tasked with creating showpiece cakes for the 9th Season Orchestra of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The chefs had several things to choose for inspiration -- the symphony itself, its music, and the absolutely glorious Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by Frank Gehry. Most of the cakes seemed to combine both inspirations, except the Blue Team whose instrument-laden cake was honestly just hideous. I know that's harsh, but I said it when I watched it. They found themselves on the bottom, and Vanarin found himself eliminated.
The Black Team was also on the bottom -- their problem was a total lack of cohesion between their three tiers. I was actually really interested in hearing about Nelson's architectural history, and I thought his concept for his tier was a good one. Too bad the other two tiers didn't really match up with it. I go back in forth in my head whether or not I liked Craig's drum concept. On one hand, it was playful. On the other hand, it literally had nothing to do with the hall except the fact that the hall is endowed by Lillian Disney and the Disney family. Walt Disney. Not The Walt Disney Company. Sigh. His teammate, Nelson, defended him. I hope Nelson's kindness doesn't bite him in the arse in the end! What did you think of the drum?
On the top were the Red and Green cakes. Although Carlos had some trouble with his airbrushing, the cake was a pretty one, and apparently tasted great. Alas, Team Red won. Their cake was not only beautiful, but tasted good. I bet Melissa's layer was awesome too -- I love cardamom. I actually had a delicious and beautiful cake at my friend's wedding this weekend (Yes, on Hurricane Irene weekend! Don't ask!) I'll share the details when its creator serves as guest judge in a couple weeks.
Until then, let me know what you thought of this week's challenge, what you've been eating, and don't forget: Have a Nosh!