It’s been a sweet, savory and bitter road on the first ever “Top Chef Just Desserts,” but like any meal, we’ve come to the end. But was the result satisfactory? That depends on your palate.
On the Wednesday, Nov. 17 finale, Yigit Pura enjoyed the sweet smell of victory over fellow finalists Morgan Wilson and Danielle Keene.
Their Final Challenge: A progressive, four-course dessert tasting for 12. Very kindly, they get big name pastry chefs who’ve agreed to slum it as their sous chefs. Through the magic of the Sorting Cookie Jar, Yigit gets paired with Sherry Yard (they totally vibe off each other); Danielle gets Elizabeth Falkner (and promptly puts her to work shelling pistachios); and Morgan gets Claudia Fleming (who is so not smelling what Morgan’s cooking).
But wait — here’s the twist. On the second day, the sous chefs decide they want to be judges, so the ejectees will sous it up instead. After random selection, pairing Yigit and Tim, Danielle and Tania, and Morgan and his nemesis Heather H., the remaining former contestants find out they’re going to judge as well. So that’s 17 people they’re now serving instead of 12.
Each chef’s four courses:
Yigit (Concept: Dating and romance)
1. “Gimlet” – Cucumber lime sorbet with yogurt caviar pearls
2. “Kisses in the Park” – Strawberry sorbet topped with a lemongrass, ginger and lime ice cream with a berry meringue and consomme
3. “Passion” – Five-hour braised moscovado pineapple with a coconut sponge cake and a coconut lime soup with tapioca pearls
4. “Love” – Hazelnut dacquoise with milk chocolate at the base with milk jam on the side and salted caramel creme ice cream
Morgan (Concept: Primary colors)
1. Passion fruit cannoli with mango carpaccio and taragon gel
2. Blueberry pavlova with a lemon cream, citrus chamomile broth with chamomile pearls
3. Manjari souffle cake with raspberry sorbet and cocoa nib paper
4. White pepper creme brulee with black pepper Baumkuchen and blackberry & anise macaron
Danielle (Concept: Personal flavors and tastes she enjoys)
1. Hazelnut cake with Spanish goat cheese and fig jam and roasted grapes
2. Lemon parfait, pomelo and tangerine sorbet and a moscato granita
3. Ice cream sampler: Baked Alaska, strawberry sundae with strawberry chips and root beer float
4. Chocolate pudding cake with pistachio ice cream
It’s a pretty close competition and each chef receives well-deserved praise. Danielle impresses by raising the sophistication and execution of her desserts. Morgan, the master technician, wows with his perfect Baumkuchen, but has troubles with a flacid souffle.
In the end, Yigit finally comes into his own, bringing the full strength of his ambition but tempering it with restraint, beautiful restraint. His dating concept successfully woos the judges, and in victory, he even gets a hug and good-natured praise from Morgan. Naturally, Zac is back to jump into Yigit’s arms in a frenzy of hooting and joy.
Yigit comes away with $100,000 furnished by Godiva Chocolatier and a 2011 Buick Regal.
We’re pretty satisfied with the winner. How about you?
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Photo credits: Bravo