Champagne is Sexy, Right?
Tom Blogs about what makes a dessert sexy.
When I learned that our second episode was going to take place in Mister S.'s Bondage and Fetish shop, I had my reservations. Most chefs I know take their work very seriously. Preparing world-class food is hard enough in a professional kitchen...transporting and presenting it in that kind of environment is an added stressor few chefs would welcome. But with time, I began to realize that I have had more than my share of out-of-the-ordinary experiences, where I had to think on my feet, stay creative, and accommodate oddball demands, as our chefs were being asked to do. Also, this challenge would give Katie, Gail and me an opportunity to see how our chefs would approach an 'off-the-wall' request. Would they respond with humor and wit? Tense up? Consider the task 'beneath' them? I was curious to see. The thing that became immediately apparent was that most of our chefs, despite a wide variety of cooking experiences, were not pastry chefs. While a pastry chef needs knife skills, good technique, and an understanding of ingredients, just like any other cook, they also have to possess a near-scientific respect for the chemistry of baking. There is much less room for experimentation and spontaneity (and casual measurement) than in savory cooking, but the demands of creativity, intuition and personal style are the same. Some would argue even - greater since dines take their desserts very seriously! It's the course that a diner will remember and talk about long after the meal is done. I found it interesting to watch as some of our chefs chose to interpret the idea of a 'sexy dessert' very literally, like Candice's "edible panty drawer." Others took a more impressionistic approach, like Stephen's champagne gelee - champagne is sexy, right? (We were all amazed to see Stephen cut loose and appear without his trademark necktie). And I was intrigued by Tiffani's concept of an interactive dessert - the dish required two people to participate, and the process of eating it was intended to be in and of itself a sensual act. But ultimately, Miguel's sweet threesome, with the final shot of decadent hot chocolate - won the day. That, coupled with his positive, no holds-barred attitude, made it an easy decision.