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Hits and Misses

Hubert Keller notices big differences between the top and bottom showpieces in the concert hall challenge.

By Hubert Keller

How to Watch

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

The second episode reveals to us the personalities of each of the chefs and lays the foundation for an exciting and vibrant Season 2 of TCJD… and it is so promising! 

Quickfire Challenge: create an original and amazing lemon dessert! 

Ah lemons, so simple, but yet, so tricky. Judged by Margaret Braun, this was a racy and somewhat intense challenge! Cooking with lemons is more than just following a recipe, the chefs had to create a dessert that was inventive but not overwhelmed by the citrus… a perfect marriage of flavors. Meanwhile, as the intensity began to build, Orlando was trying to overcome his severe lemon allergy and Rebecca was getting it done with a broken wrist; she made it happen! Have you ever tried to squeeze lemons with one hand? Bravo!

My favorite desserts were between Katzie’s lemon crepe ribbons with egg yolk and butter emulsion, Carlos’s citrus soup with sphere yogurt and olive oil powder, and Matthew’s lemon vanilla cream with mint puree and hazelnut sable. Whimsical, imaginative, and simply delicious, those three chefs definitely made more than lemonade out of there lemons!

The setting for the Elimination Challenge was so exceptional -- we were right in the heart of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, a true architectural achievement! Can you imagine, creating a three-layer showpiece for 150 guests for the opening night? That would make me a little nervous. And to top it off, the showpiece needed to be transported through Los Angeles during rush-hour traffic and moved up a million stairs… not an easy task!

The teams were set: Red, Green, Black, and Blue.

My first impression as I walked into the gala was how much the poorly-executed showpieces stood out from the well-executed ones! The showpiece that Orlando’s black team produced seemed visually disconnected and there was no reference to the building. I’m sorry Nelson, but unless Craig was going to bang the drum that he made with the symphony during their performance, it had no place making it to the showpiece! I applaud a loyal kitchen, but I expect a cohesive one! Blacks’ cake was a disaster! Maybe Craig is out of his league?   

The blue team's lack of teamwork and imperfections were disappointing, but I must confess, I did like Amanda’s devil’s food cake with raspberry gelee, chocolate butter cream, and praline feuillete. 

The green team showed true professionalism and demonstrated an exciting piece with eye-catching design! Carlos as the skillful leader had probably the two best assistants… Sally and Rebecca.

Matthew and his red team where shining stars and even under brutal circumstances did an outstanding job. The flavors were tuned up to volume 10 and the flow in their art piece seemed to be a continuation of the concert hall in the background... executed perfectly!

Until the next visual and entertaining feast…

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