Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Champagne is Sexy, Right?

Make Melissa's Seared Duck Breast Dish

Gail on Innovation (and George's Failure to Push It)

Make Melissa's Mom's Egg Custard

Hugh Worries About Scurvy and Foie Gras

Make Mei's Inspired Duck a l'Orange

Gail Has No Problem With Blood

Make George's Cravable Breakfast Sausage

Gail Simmons Won't Be Pushed Around

Make Doug's Winning Mussels

Tom Colicchio Answers Your Restaurant Wars Qs

Gail: It Wasn't Keriann's Day

Make Doug's Winning Braised Pork!

Gail: We Had a Tough Job This Week

Make Katsuji's Authentically Delicious Stuffing

Hugh: The Demise of Cornwallis and Aaron

Make Gregory's Winning Dumplings

Richard: Chefs Please Follow Instructions

Richard Tries Money Ball Soup

Make a Home Run-Worthy Popcorn Crème Brule

Hugh: Where There's a Will There's a Fenway

Gail: Keriann and Aaron Were Being ---holes

Make the Winning Surf and Turf

Gail: We're Taking No Prisoners

Richard Goes From Player to Announcer

Tom Talks Boston

Gail: There Was No Season 11 Underdog

Hugh Wants Nick to Be Kind to Himself

Gail: It Was Difficult to Let Go of Shirley

Big Easy to Ocean Breezy

Gail: The Final Four Are Like Our Children

Emeril Is Proud to Serve Shirley's Dish

Hugh: Enough With the Mexican Food Hate

Gail on Favreau, Choi, and Finding Yourself

Hugh on Poor Boys, Swingers and Food Trucks

Emeril: Nick's Choice Is Part of the Game

Nick's License to Immune

Hugh's Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Hugh Decides Eight Is Enough

Gail Talks OvenGate

Dookie Chase Makes Everybody Cry

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.