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Black and White and Read All Over

Dannielle Kyrrillos provides some soap dish about Erika's losing plate.

Hi, everyone, and Happy Wednesday to you! I hope your week has been a cakewalk, and that you enjoyed tonight’s mid-week sweet treat, the sixth episode of TCJD. Things have really heated up in the pastry kitchen, huh?

When I talk to people about being a judge on the show, they inevitably and wonderfully tell me about their own favorite desserts, which is a conversation I like to have often and in great detail! They also like to share ideas for challenges they think would be neat to see on the show. The most popular suggestion, believe it or not, has been incorporating savory elements into dessert. It’s a trend we are seeing again and again in restaurants (spices, peppers, and most especially, bacon come to mind), but it still presents a really creative conundrum to dessert chefs. So, I hope you were as intrigued and excited by tonight’s Quickfire as I was. Zac summed up the collective panic of the chefs rather well after the savory ingredients were rolled out when he said, “I don’t cook real food…. I don’t eat real food!” Johnny Iuzzini has told me he only gains weight when he veers from his typical diet of flour, fat, and sugar!

But, they all tackled the challenge pretty marvelously, and I wish I had gotten to try all of the savory creations, especially Zac’s steamed beet cake, which looked so moist and inviting. Yigit was super-bold with his double meat elements, foie gras and bacon, and I bet it was one of those desserts you could be a bit wary to try, but after one bite would want to devour.

Do you think Zac should have tried to get more money for the immunity trade? I’m not sure what number Gail would have gone up to, but at least he bargained a little, and it seems like once confronted with the nature of the Elimination Challenge, he might have instantly regretted trading for even $10,000. Luckily for him, it didn’t end up being a real risk.

Celebrating 128 years of the Los Angeles Times was an exceptionally special evening. We got chills reading the most important headlines from throughout the paper’s history, and were reminded that it is a true L.A. institution. The guests were elegantly decked out in black and white, of course, and it was quite a swanky scene.

Now about the desserts… one of the guests said, “I don’t think we had a bad dish tonight,” and for the most part, I agree. However, it was upsetting to see Erika get so angry when I said her ice cream had a soapy taste.  Clearly, she is an extremely talented chef, and she has made some awesome dishes for us throughout the challenges. It’s not my job or my style, on the show or in life for that matter, to say anything mean or biting or negative just for the sake of it. I’m the voice of the diner, and if you had tasted that ice cream, you would have instantly realized something was wrong. I’m not sure what happened in the execution, but it was off, and that was the main reason Erika was sent home.

Danielle was certainly playful in her approach, but lacked a common thread tying the numbers together, and maybe saying “I don’t know how to cook for a palate other than my own,” might have been sort of telling.  And our most masterful guest judge, Michael Laiskonis, described Heather’s issues perfectly: she decided what she wanted to make and stuck to her guns rather than adapting to the challenge, sort of backing into why what she created was black and white “enough.” Producing a dish that meets the requirements of the challenge is akin to actually serving what you say you’re going to on the menu. The guests at the party were expecting black and white desserts, obviously.

Zac’s “Whoopie Pie on Vacation” was as fun and tasty and decadent as it looked, Morgan’s architectural columns and cubes and blocks were rich and such a smart and fitting way to attack the challenge at hand, and Yigit’s flavors were off the hook. Overall, a fitting tribute to a fine paper!

Have a super duper week and I’ll see you Wednesday, after dinner!

Follow me on Twitter @DKyrillos

How to Watch

Catch up on Top Chef: Just Desserts on the Bravo App.

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