Welcome back to Top Chef: Just Desserts, where the sugar is sweet and the competition is vicious. Last week the sophisticated and *ahem* refined Real Housewives of Beverly Hills risked wrinkles and cellulite and wrapped their siliconed lips around trays of pinkity pink sugary treats in a reality television cross-over of epic proportions. The more sophisticated team won, while Nelson’s hairy lollipops got him sent home. Then the Real Housewives visited the Top Chef vomitorium sponsored by Kohler. And then THE WORST THING HAPPENED: I got an email stating that “Hugh Acheson is now following you on Twitter. This means that the man I referred to as a “unibrow enthusiast” not only reads that recap, but read it and then decided to follow me around on Twitter. Hi Hugh! You look really nice today. Please don’t throw things at me, thank you.
In today’s episode the cheftestants are breezily invited to the movies, even though that is clearly just a ploy to make them have a Quickfire with only movie theater seats and used gum as ingredients. The chefs shrug into their chefs’ whites and head off to the movie theater. Upon arrival they are offered an array of tasty treats. The wilier among the throng of contestants brace for a Quickfire and hoard their popcorn and Red Vines, while the more slack-jawed among them chomp away merrily. The chefs file into the movie theater, which is sparsely populated by some non-chefs who will undoubtedly play a role in the upcoming challenge. And for god’s sake people, quit eating that popcorn! You are going to need it and no one wants pre-masticated popcorn unless you are a baby bird and/or Hugh Hefner. The chefs take their seats, the curtain goes up and the only movie that could possibly be tied to this show starts. That’s right: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The dessert chefs all die of childhood joy relived and start reciting the lines and thinking back to their joyous childhoods on dairy farms or wherever pastry chefs are grown and their eyes glow and their cheeks get rosy and they start echoing their favorite lines from the movies. The random people staged around the auditorium obviously all glare at the chefs for talking nonstop throughout the film, because that is annoying and, this show is filmed in Los Angeles, so have some respect for the craft. Orlando, who proved himself to be a real ray of sunshine (if by ray of sunshine you mean complete jerk) last week, laughs that the woman sitting next to him thought it was hilarious that he knew all the lines to the movie. Umm, it’s probably more likely that she thought you were an ass for talking nonstop through the movie.
After a few more clips of the chefs discussing their favorite parts of the movie, the lights go up and Gail arrives. The contestants all clasp their hoarded popcorn in anticipation of whatever Gail is about to unleash on them. But then she invites a few special guests to the front of the stage. The four non-chefs who were in the theater walk slowly to the front of the stage and stand next to Gail. It takes a minute, but then the quicker cheftestants start gasping: It’s the original cast of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory! It’s strangely emotional to see these childhood icons all growed up and sporting odd facial hair and many of the chefs (including Orlando) get teary eyed. Maybe he’s just misunderstood? Or maybe last week he just really earnestly wanted to remind people that this was a competition? Maybe he just plays a **** on TV? Anyway good old Charlie Bucket, Veruca Salt, Mike Teevee and Violet Beauregard are standing up on stage beaming down at the gasping chefs. Sadly, according to IMDB, none of these child stars ever really acted again. Maybe the Oompa Loompas scared the kidlets on screen as much as they terrified the kids in the audience? When Gail starts grilling the stars about the Land of Pure Imagination, you can see the writing on the edible wall. Sure enough Gail announces that there will be no Quickfire Challenge today, but instead the entire group will work together to transform the Top Chef dining room into an edible Land of Pure Imagination. This challenge has to be a dream come true for a pastry chef, right? Heck, I’m excited and I don’t even get to help make it or eat it.