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Telling a Fairytale Through Pastry

Hubert Keller assesses the season premiere's disappointments and triumph.

By Hubert Keller


How to Watch

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

Top Chef: Just Desserts is back! What a night, and what a way to kick off of TCJD2!

Watching the chefs racing through the Quickfire Challenge and feeling the intensity build up to the Elimination Challenge always brings me back to when I was competing on Top Chef Masters! I honestly felt the same pressures I saw them feeling as I watched them. Having to work and deal with all the contestants, while creating the requested and finishing the requested on time was tough, but very rewarding.... I’m getting a sugar rush just thinking about it! 

Season 2 of TCJD is definitely all about professionalism, skills, tastes, and looks. You can tell that the desserts and the centerpieces in particular are raising the bar from last season! On the other hand, as a judge, that’s what I expected… and they delivered. 

For the Quickfire Challenge, I loved the idea of having to create a modern soda fountain treat! I wondered what I would do if I was in there shoes. Burger Bar offers our guests the ability to actually create many different types of milkshakes/soda fountain treat(s) and we have seen some real creativity from our diners, so I was really excited to see what this years' TCJD contestants were going to whip up! Unfortunately, outside of Nelson/Amanda’s delicious-looking chocolate sponge cake, pickled cherries, and pistachios, I was disappointed seeing that too many times bananas were used (lack of creativity) and lots of running around in the kitchen (I got dizzy just by watching them!) 

The Elimination Challenge offered the chefs a chance to tell a fairytale through pastry. This challenge really showcased the talents and artistry of some fine young chefs! Promise of these young stars shined within the amazing sugary sculptures they had to create for this challenge!As a judge, entering the showroom was magical, like stepping into a fairytale! A breathtaking set-up, vibrant with color and the smell of chocolate. The guests and judges all dressed up in costume... very cool! 

Unfortunately, not all the chefs delivered and teamwork was definitely missing. When Vanarin was describing how he captured the essence of the woods (Hansel and Gretel) by using pineapple??? I was confused! Which fairytale was he referring to? Also, the gingerbread house looked like a witch house, with no gingerbread and a front entrance path that led to nowhere! Were the chefs lost in the forest?

Now about “Jack and the Beanstock," I felt sorry for Megan and Katzie because Craig was way off, and I felt like the wrong player on the right team.

On the other hand, I loved the almond bar, fruit of the forest with honey ice cream from the Goldilocks and the Three Bears team. Sally, Rebecca, Nelson, and Orlando really nailed it. And of course, the winning team, Chris, Amanda, Carlos, and Matthew hit it really hard with an exceptional show piece!

So stay tuned, it will be a terrific season filled with fun and excitement!


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