Welcome back to Top Chef: Just Desserts, where Katzie is in a full tizzie Actually, her name Katzie, sounds like the what someone’s mom would call a temper tantrum. “Oh don’t mind her, she’s just having a katzie because I wouldn’t let her eat Red Vines for dinner.” So as the show starts, Katzie is having a katzie because she thinks people (Sally) are talking about her maybe? Or don’t respect her or something? Or don’t take her seriously because of her age and maybe because she has her little katzies all the time? Anyway, who cares, am I right? No one. These opening salvos are typically so obnoxious that it is usually a relief when we get to Top Chef Kitchens sponsored by GE. In the kitchen today is Jordan Kahn, a so-called (by Gail) pastry wunderkind (pretty sure someone had to teach Gail how to pronounce that because she says it very un-Germanically). The guy is chef/owner at Red Medicine in Los Angeles and is known for his wildly ambitious and original savory integrated desserts. So if you want a mushroom cappuccino (which I was a served once much to my chagrin at a very respected restaurant) he is probably the guy to do it. He may be a pastry chef, but he’s dressed like a member of The Strokes with carefully sloppily structured Nate Archibald hair. Hopefully he wears a hair net in the kitchen is what I’m trying to say.
For today’s Quickfire Challenge, the chefs have to integrate traditionally savory items into their desserts. To choose their savory items, they must dig a root vegetable from a fake garden that was wheeled into the kitchen by Oompa Loompas that are still loitering around after the Willy Wonka challenge. In turn, the chefs dig up celery root, jicama, burdock root, turmeric, potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, and other things that don’t normally go in desserts. Then they are given an hour to cook and a $5000 prize to spark their creative juices. Rebecca and her potato are not impressed with the challenge. You can see in her eyes that she is mere moments away from saying, “This is Top Chef Desserts, not Top Chef Potato!” Sally and her desire to cook with East Asian flavors are excited to have dug up a turmeric root. Megan isn’t especially excited about her carmelized burdock root, but what the heck else do you do with a burdock root? Make a burdock banana split? Even if you could make that, you probably shouldn’t.
The chefs’ hour is up and Gail and Jordan begin to make the rounds. Rebecca made itty bitty curly fries with chocolate sauce, and malted milk ice cream, but then commits the ultimate sin of getting all humble and low self-esteem-y and explaining to the judges that she “can’t cook to save her life.” Gail and Jordan scold her and it’s a good thing she didn’t say that in front of Judge Johnny because there would have been words, ya know? She’ll be in the bottom for that, for sure. Megan made a five spice burdock root fritter and candied burdock root compote. Jordan claims to be a big fan of burdock root in desserts. He even runs the Facebook fan page for it. But seriously, just cross him off the dessert list for the potluck, okay? Katzie made a soy milk panna cotta with turnip chips, which sounds very… er, nutritious. Then: DRAMA. Chris garnished his jicama sorbet with his jicama fries AFTER TIME. As he is weeping and rending his clothes and donning sack cloth and ashes, Gail explains that he is ineligible to win the challenge. Apparently there is some rule that only temperature sensitive items can be plated at the last minute and the fries didn’t count even though he was really worried about them getting soggy? Whatever. As he pulls his hair out quietly in the corner, we move on to Carlos who made a rather unfortunately beige celery root in three textures with peanut butter pudding. It looks like an ugly appetizer and an even worse dessert. I guess if it was a soup it would be okay, although the judges would mark it down for being downright homely. Basically he can’t win with the dish. Also, it’s beige. Also also, who the **** puts pickled celery root in a dessert? Eesh. Matthew made a carmelized parsnip cake with hazelnuts while Sally made a mango pudding with turmeric and curried popcorn and Thai basil. Orlando made a peach and radish crumble with vanilla bean sherbet and a Kataifi crunch Kaitaifi? Gesundheit. Actually I googled that and it is a pastry of Middle Eastern origin that pretty much looks like Shredded Wheat. Guest Judge Jordan chooses his least favorite desserts: Rebecca’s of course, because there’s nothing like fries, chocolate, and self-deprecation to leave a bad taste in your mouth. Also gnarly? Carlos’ putative dessert because, ew. Favorite desserts? Sally’s vibrant fresh flavors of mango and turmeric and Matthew’s parsnip cake. The winner? Sally. She gets immunity and money and Katzie hates her even more now.