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Glass Half Empty?

Yigit Pura breaks down the gum Quickfire Challenge, and elaborates on Craig's almost-elimination.

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Hi sweets, 

Another whirlwind episode for our chefs this week, and the complaining gets more and more intense. Happy up people, trust me, if you let people get to you, it will get to you.

This weeks Quickfire Challenge was to design a a flavor for a stick of gum, correction, a $25,000 stick of gum. Talk about motivation. As with working from a retail perspective, in designing a flavor for a national client you need to think about what will be creative enough, but can still appeal to a massive audience.

Craig, Craig. Pancakes remind you of carbs, and getting fat. It’s not what you want to be chewing on. Or maybe that’s just me -- I really can’t stand pancakes. I’m a French toast guy.  

Melissa, we chew gum to get rid of coffee breath. Automatically, it seems like a backwards effort.  

I really like the pina colada approach and Carlo’s coconut-passion fruit tapioca idea with the textures of flavor in the gum to reflect on tapioca…. My favorite however was definitely Sally’s with the Passion Fruit. Tart, fruity, and sweet. I’d buy that in a heartbeat. But what do I know, Craig wins with his breakfast of champions, and good for him. I think this competition has been rough for him so far, and I’m sure a 25K is a great win for his spirits. I mean, imagine the things he can buy when he gets back home. I’m channeling my sister Zac Young right now -- I know exactly what he would say.

Now for the actual challenge. To design a concept for the Lisa Vanderpump. Again, let’s keep our client in mind. Clean, chic, and feminine, and I assume she doesn’t want to put anything in her mouth that makes her obviously aware of how many calories she’s consuming, so mask the heavy cream and the butter well guys….Nelson says he has trouble with timing, and this automatically brings back flash backs for me. To this day I still have moments, often in dreams, where I feel the panic of that ticking timer upon me. I wake up thinking, "I could have, should have." Nelson, haven’t you learned from my mistakes? But I love his concept. I’m a big fan of innovative foods that can be a “pick-up” item. And I love the use of cotton candy, but with white chocolate I fear it’s going to be a sugar bomb.

Melissa says she is dead inside from this team shit. Being a chef is all about being a leader and working in a team, leading your sous-chef and your cooks, and it’s not always a walk in the park. As chefs it’s our job to suck it up and make magic happen. Not to mention it’s a competition, so working in a team has two huge advantages. First, you see your competitors in action, to see their strengths. Second, if you watch closely you can actually pick up a few tips and ideas along the way. Glass half full!

I commend Craigs attitude in this. He says he doesn’t have a lot of experience in leading, but he’s giving it a valiant effort. That’s a huge part of it. If this kid doesn’t win this competition, I sure hope he does well in his efforts in the future. Though sometimes I don’t get his point of view, I think his heart is in the right place.

I really loved the showpiece Orlando and Sally put together. It’s really clean and beautiful. Amazing craftsmanship with the sugar. But overall I think Chris and his team understood their client better. It looks more feminine, modern, and Los Angeles. Also, by not over-cluttering their buffet, they’ve allowed the desserts to shine as well. THIS IS PASTRY!!! Desserts are the artistic masterpieces of the room. Let them sing. 

Chris’ team wins, and good for them.  Though they say it was a close call, I know that if a team is on the bottom, the judges will go blazing in to their souls, and they sure do!Nelson's lollipop: I really liked the look, but you can tell it’s going to be a sugar bomb, but I’m still surprised he’s going home. I was really looking forward to seeing more from this guy. I honestly was curious to see more of his technique and artistry. Good luck, buddy.

I could see Craig already feeling like over-whipped cream as he was leaving the table, but Johhny makes a point of telling him he would have been the one to go home if he didn’t have immunity. Poor kid. But I can’t say I disagree. I feel like he could have taken the lemonade concept into a “dessert.” I hope he can bounce back from his feelings of guilt. Next day is a new challenge, and trust me there is not time for remorse.

Then Orlando opens his mouth, and if it wasn’t obvious before who the villain is in this season, I think he wanted it to be absolutely clear. Yes, it is a competition, but there is a means to do it with love and some sense of friendship. You don’t have to state you are willing to mow people down in the process. I also don’t think it’d hurt for you to learn to take some criticism. That’s how a chef grows. Glass half empty???

I personally forgot to mix a cocktail before starting to watch this episode. Next week I’ll know better.


Twitter: @YigitPura

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