Top Chef: Just Desserts Episodes

2010, TV Show

Top Chef: Just Desserts Episode: "Glee Club"

Season 1, Episode 3
Episode Synopsis: The contestants try to make the grade by competing in a bake sale to raise funds for a high-school pep squad and glee club. Pastry chef Sylvia Weinstock guest judges.
Original Air Date: Sep 29, 2010

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Season 1, Episode 3
Paid | iTunes
Length: 55:04
Aired: 9/29/2010
Also available on Amazon Instant Video
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Top Chef: Just Desserts Episode Recap: "Glee Club" Season 1, Episode 3

Another week, another Seth-fest, another Malika meltdown, another round of tears. And it's only Week 3!

I don't know about everyone out there in TV land, but I'm wary of this edition of the Top Chef franchise. If Top Chef Masters is the spinoff for seasoned veterans, Top Chef: Just Desserts appears to be the spinoff for big babies. It doesn't help that the episodes, for whatever reason, run a long 75 minutes.

This week's elimination challenge — a high school bake sale team competition — brought out the whining in them all. I refuse to believe that most chefs specializing in sweets devolve into bratty toddlers under pressure. I just think this might be another case of the show casting the wrong personalities. (The last, uninspiring season of Top Chef suffered from poor casting choices as well. The Emmy-winning Las Vegas edition, which was full of high-end competitors, seems so long ago now...)

But let's rewind: The episode started with Seth declaring that after half an episode of trying to be a nice guy, the gloves are off. Again. He's in it to win it. The truth is, he is talented, but he's also got what appears to be severe emotional and mental issues, no? (Throw in a whole lot of insecurity and, as an otherwise patient viewer, I'm out! It's too early in the season for this kind of time suck. He's all anyone wants to talk about.)

Enter Sylvia Weinstock, designer of fabulously over-the-top wedding cakes. She's arrived to judge the Quickfire, in which the chefs are told they have 90 minutes to decorate and flavor up a wedding cake. The actual cakes are pre-made. They just need to whip up fillings, frostings, and other cake accoutrement.

Still, nearly all the chefs panic. "Are you snorting buttercream?" asks Zac. If Zac doesn't win, he could certainly host a show for the Food Network, disco glitter and all. Heather,  of course, does not panic. She's sort of the sane version of Seth. She's been on top throughout the series, and informs us that she made her own wedding cake, because why would you entrust such a thing to a stranger? She clearly falls into the control freak variety of pastry chef. She also dumps on everyone else's cake for not being as high-end as her tiered, minimalist cake with its smattering of flowers. One of the cakes she takes issue with is Erika's "homey" creation; Erika, you'll remember, won last week's elimination challenge. I cheered when she won again, if only because Heather did not. I've resorted to this kind of rooting. Not a good sign.

But before Erika was crowned, Seth decided to ignore the rules and make a plated dessert instead of a wedding cake, pissing off the easily pissed off Danielle, and Malika had another fiasco. Her cake actually fell apart before Sylvia arrived to try it. She starts to question if she's cut out for this competition following what sounds like a legitimately rough year; her restaurant closed and she's in the middle of a divorce. That, plus no sense of time management, and I agree that she'll probably be packing up her tools soon. No surprise: Both Seth and Malika were in the bottom.

For the elimination challenge, the chefs are split into two teams tasked with making items to sell at a bake sale. One team would be selling on behalf of a high school's glee club, the other for its pep squad.

Immediately there is a war over peanut butter. Other Heather, whose team includes Yigit, Zac, Seth and Danielle,  felt forced to do a cookie because her team wants her to. She'd rather make a whoopie pie, but she gives in to peer pressure and decides to make a peanut butter cookie. The Top Chef  kitchen only has a few jars of the stuff, which sends Eric, the baker, into a tizzy because his rice crispy treats need peanut butter and Other Heather got to it first.

Morgan, who is crazy in only a slightly less irritating way than Seth, decides to exact revenge by hoarding all the butter in the kitchen to avenge his teammate. He and Eric are working with Heather, Erika and Malika. Eventually their drama fades, Other Heather finds she can spare a jar, and Eric finds that he can also use Nutella.

Over in Seth's corner, screws are again coming loose. This is, perhaps, the way he works: frantic, messy, and somehow able to pull everything together in the end. His offering ignores the rules once again. For the bake sale, he's making a mocha financier (a cake that, on its own, is not that complex), with a orange creamsicle sauce.  Danielle, who is the most irked with Seth, will probably continue to complain about him until he's booted off. If he's ever booted off. This would be more acceptable if she had created something to impress us. So far? Her product has been unmemorable.

The two teams head to the bake sale, and while there are no true failures, Morgan, Eric, Heather, Erica, and Malika outsell the competition. And everyone has been uplifted by the students, who are cheering both teams  on throughout. Bravo, of course, awards both the glee club and pep squad money (because who wants to see the other kids go home with nothing?) Eric's peanut butter-Nutella treat is voted the day's winner.

Everyone's feeling fine until the dysfunctional losing team meets the judges — and then they all revert back to being big babies, reminding me that this show is 75 minutes each week. (Why 75, Bravo? Why?) Danielle immediately throws Seth under the bus because, well, she'll never not be annoyed with him. Did he actually cause her cupcakes to come out dry? No. I can't blame her for hating on Seth, but it's not something I want to watch for the next several weeks either. Zac, who might be the most tolerant of the contestants, attempted to defend Seth to Danielle and the judges, even after Seth accidentally ruined his desserts last week.

Seth keeps asking that the feuding stop so they can "do this honorably."

Other Heather starts to complain that she was forced into making boring snoring peanut butter cookies, but Yigit won't have that. He cuts her off, floored that she'd have the nerve to complain at all when they should be pretending that they've been a solid unit this whole time.

Seth again pleads that they "do this honorably." (Preview for next week's episode features an ambulance and a shadow that appears to be Seth on the floor. Did this guy have a history that should have tipped off producers? We'll find out soon enough.)

If I haven't talked much about what they made, it's because none of it looks appetizing. Maybe because I'm too distracted by antics of the chefs.

Here's the rundown of how the bottom screwed up: Johnny tells Seth his financier is perfect but that he needs to stop trying to educate his clients and start making them the food they ask for. Sylvia says Other Heather's cookie is "ordinary... an everyday cookie a housewife could knock out." Ouch. It's also overbaked. Danielle's coconut cupcake is dry, a sin for something as simple as a cupcake. Sylvia says Zac's strawberry shortcake is "delicious" but Johnny says the biscuits are so dense he needed a knife to cut through it. Yigit's ginger chocolate pudding with homemade marshmallows had too much ginger and ranked as his team's worst-selling item.

Who goes home? Other Heather, for her lack of creativity.

So what do you think of this batch of cheftestants? Are you rooting for anyone at this point in the game? Do the contestants annoy you as much as they annoy me so far? Or am I the one being a whiny baby? Sound off below.

 

 

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Another week, another Seth-fest, another Malika meltdown, another round of tears. And it's only Week 3!

I don't know about everyone out there in TV land, but I'm wary of this edition of the Top Chef franchise. If Top Chef Masters is the spinoff for seasoned veterans, Top Chef: Just Desserts appears to be the spinoff for big babies. It doesn't help that the episodes, for whatever reason, run a long 75 minutes.

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Premiered: September 15, 2010, on Bravo
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (13 ratings)
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Premise: Pastry chefs compete in dessert-preparation challenges in this 'Top Chef' spin-off. Each episode features two challenges---a quick-fire heat that tests basic abilities and an elimination round that assesses versatility and innovative prowess. The winner earns $100,000.

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