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Civilized Conversation

Dannielle Kyrillos relished the chefs' critiques.

Hello, marshmallows. Hope it’s been a good one. I apologize that since I’ve been feeling a little less than my peppy self this week, this blog post is a day late and a couple donuts short. But to me, this episode was pretty thrilling and warranted at least a little commentary. So here goes…

How to Watch

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

1. Before we dive mouth-first into donuts and chocolate, thank you for all the passionate comments about last week’s Beastie Boys challenge. I agree that it is frustrating to see talented pastry chefs sent home because they have to work with unfamiliar, savory ingredients, and even some of my chef friends texted me while watching the episode that they thought it was super, duper tough. But each week, all the contestants, while competing individually, are challenged as a group -- everyone is dealing with the same constraints and variables and frustrations. And every week, some chefs rise to whatever craziness is at hand, and some fall short. I, too, was sad to see Rebecca go, but such is the nature of Just Desserts.

2. It is scientifically impossible to watch Mark Israel talk about donuts and inspire the chefs to make the perfect donut, and the chefs coming up with seven different mouth-watering donuts, without being really, really hungry for a donut. If one is in New York when watching this, one seriously considers calling the Doughnut Plant, begging them to stay open a little late and racing over at break-neck speed, with or without changing from the insanely mismatched loungewear one had been wearing.3. Truly the most shocking and impactful Quickfire in Just Desserts history. Not only was $10,000 on the line, someone was going home. It seemed pretty clear from Mark, Gail, and Johnny’s reactions that there was little question from first taste which donuts fell on the good side and which on the bad side.  And, I think all the chefs, save ever-humble Orlando, knew which side they’d be on going in. It felt like even as Megan was sent off, it didn’t seem quite real that someone was leaving during the Quickfire.

4. Eyes on your own paper, Chris. As each team privately crafted its showpiece, why was Chris so worried about and consumed by what Orlando may or may not have been doing behind the screen? We all know the best results most often come from focusing on your own work.

5. Both showpieces really elicited genuine “wows” from everyone who saw them. They were gorgeous.

6. Chris’ dessert, while he continued to sell it as “simple” and exactly as he intended it, was just kind of flat and un-delicious. It wasn’t bad, but there was something just “eh” about it.

7. It was a fantastic treat to get to sit and spend civilized, nice time with all of the remaining chefs. It’s so rare we get to hear what’s on their minds in real-time. Orlando had even more to say than what you saw. Now don’t get me wrong -- it was good you got to see people really holding forth with their opinions. It is often frustrating for me watching the final show, and knowing how much more we all thought and argued and spoke about, well, everything. But such is the magic of television.8. Of course we never, ever even think about the chefs’ personalities when judging their desserts, but watching this finished episode, how lovely and uplifting are Matthew’s comments? Really solid of him.

9. Matt’s cherries on their own were magnificent, but together, the overall dessert missed the mark.

10. Sadly, Katzie’s boca negra was just a mess. It was big, it was sloppy, and the proportion of flavors was confused.  The most delicious and successful flavors were underused, and we were left fighting our way out of a morass of less tasty notes. I’m sad every week when someone has to go, and this was no exception.

Take good care and I look forward to talking to you all next week.  If you care to check out my column on or follow me on Twitter @DKyrillos, I would be honored!




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