aka “Duckie Dale Don’t Live in Beverly Hills”
This week we’re down to 12 chefs and there’s a massive explosion of pink. It’s everywhere — in the desserts and on the dessert table. And you’ll never guess who wins the Quickfire Challenge with a dessert I would love to try. Hint, it’s not Bitchy!Orlando.
There’s no prelude to the action this week. We start out in the kitchen right away with a huge display of chewing gum. Aside from the fact that I don’t chew gum (TMJ’s a bitch), it’s that Extra dessert gum crap that I find conceptually terrifying. Ick. Ick. Ick. Thank goodness the guest judge is a cutie — Hugh Acheson, chef and partner in Five and Ten restaurant in Athens, Ga. I’d sample that. And right away I want to know if he’s smart or if the producers wrote his lines for him; he refers to the pile of gum as “a sticky situation.”
Quickfire Challenge — Inspire a new flavor of Extra Dessert Delights chewing gum. And a resounding “Ugh” just echoed off the walls of my living room. Desserts will have to fit in one of the tiny dishes they’ve got on display (think shot glass size although there are options including a tiny ramekin and a little sundae dish). There’s a dollhouse joke made and it’s totally appropriate. My neighbor’s granddaughter would use these dishes for tea parties.
Winner will get immunity in Elimination Challenge, their dessert flavor will be part of the vote for a new gum flavor, and they will receive $25,000. Not a bad prize for Quickfire.
They all run to the pantry. Amanda’s going for Pina Colada flavor. Craig’s going for some “awesome” pancakes with strawberries (in those little dishes? hmm). Chris is thinking oatmeal raisin cookie. We shall see.
Then Sally mentions Chris and Matthew’s bromance and this little fangirl explodes. Awww. Can I just say I would totally be the filling in that Ice Cream Sandwich? The pudding in their cloud? The cream in their Oreo? Get the picture? Now to figure out what we should call them? Christhew? Matthipher? How about Hot-n-Talented? Because despite the hotness, they are also two of the most talented people on the show.
Back to the work in the kitchen. Melissa’s going bold with bananas and something latte, which I’m not sure is the right kind of bold. She’s burning her butter (not a euphamism) and whining and Megan’s done hearing her complain. You are not alone, Megan.
Nelson’s managing his time. But is he managing to make anything? Who knows. Sally’s still in debt from culinary school and wants the money. She’s using liquid nitrogen. No idea what she’s actually making. Carlos has a gorgeous little dessert.
Time for judging and finding out what exactly they all made:
Rebecca (still the One-Armed Baker) — She apparently loves Judge Hugh and mentions that he’s a favorite from TC Masters. She’s as giddy as a schoolgirl and she’s got a tiny ramekin with raspberry on the bottom then panna cotta & linzer crust. It’s cute, but Gail says she wishes she were getting more of the gingerbread flavor.
Craig — He’s got these tiny little lemon marscapone half dollar-size pancakes with thin strawberry slices and honey marscapone cream. His presentation is actually spot-on and I would totally devour that (and want about five more). Hugh says, “Good good” and nods. This could be Craig’s shining moment.
Sally — Passion Fruit Piña Colada. Wait… I thought Amanda was doing piña colada. If you like piña colada, and losing points in the game. Just make the same thing as the next chick, and you’ll look pretty lame. If you … She’s got micro basil and rice crispies in there with toasted coconut and white chocolate. Gail gets tart, like a sour candy, which Sally wanted to come through. Gail says it definitely comes through. Not sure that’s a compliment, Sally. You may share my name, but you’re not my girl this week.
Matthew — Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Parfait. A little cream on top. “Very sweet” is the feedback. Matthew is annoyed by that. *pets Matthew* It’s okay, baby. Chris’ll stroke your … ego later.
Amanda — Yep, I was right. She’s also doing piña colada flavors. Coconut Rum Mousse, Lime-Pineapple Coulis, and Vanilla Cream. Great little sundae glass. The pineapple on top is pretty. Hugh asks where the little umbrella goes and everyone is smiling. Winner? Perhaps.
Carlos — He’s had some unique ideas the past two weeks. And this week does not disappoint. His dessert is adorable. Passion fruit gelée, coconut tapioca, and meringue. Can I just say the level of toasting on the meringue is perfect! Carlos is so quiet, but he’s so in the runnign. Hugh asks if tapioca flavor could translate to a gum? Could it come through? Carlos references gums with the specks that when you bite have a flavor burst and Hugh and Gail seem to really get it and like the idea. I get the impression this was thought out, which is nice. Another possible winner here. Hugh says it was “fun” before they move on.
Melissa the grump– White coffee cream with honey roasted bananas & brown butter crumbs. Gail gets the coffee and bananas. Melissa points out that it’s light. Katzie says she think coffee gum would be gross to chew. I have to agree (and that’s not just my coffee allergy influencing me).
Katzie — Her cup runneth over. It’s kind of a mess. But I would eat it because chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. Chocolate cream cookie, bitter chocolate cream, and orange cheesecake. And a crunchy candy violet. Hugh’s eyes are wide as he says, “There’s a lot going on.” I think he was overwhelmed. I’m amazed at how much she put in that tiny cup.
Nelson — He thought Black Forest. His dessert has mascerated cherries, brandy, and tempered chocolate. It’s a little drink with some foam on top and Hugh and Gail knock it back like a shot of Jack. Hugh says he felt like he just ate an eyeball. Is that good thing? Creative maybe, but also a little creepy.
Okay… we only saw 9 of the 12. No Bitchy!Orlando. No Chris. And no Megan. You’ll have to check out the online photos to see what they made. I’m traveling. I ain’t got time for people being left out by the producers. Obviously they weren’t winners.
But who is the winner?
Least favorites were Rebecca (too many flavors), Melissa (idea was interesting but people might not want coffee breath), and Matthew (cookie too sweet and tasted like a granola bar).
Favorites — Craig (novel idea and flavors came through), Nelson (interesting and the flavors worked well), and Carlos (worked cleanly and the tapioca was great).
Winner — “Very Americana” was Craig. He’s the winner. Who knew he could do it? I have to admit that I didn’t. Even as I saw his pancakes and thought “Hell, yeah! Buddy and I would chow down on that! (Buddy being my pancake eating contest- winning dog.) I didn’t think it would actually happen.
Gail asks Craig what he’s going to do with the $25k. He says he was going to pay off his loans, but now he’s going shopping. He’s got a huge grin and I have to say I’m happy for him because everyone deserves a shining moment. I sense this will be his only one on the show.
The Elimination Challenge was going to wait because I had to chug my beer and board my plane. But then DIA’s wifi was not cooperating with me, so you get the whole thing late. Goody for you?
So Elimination Challenge. Two teams. As winner of the Quickfire, Craig gets to choose the two team captains. He chooses himself and Amanda. He says he’s got no “thought process” on how to do this and it shows.
Team picks in order:
Craig — Sally, Matthew (Craig says he’s going to split up the boys), Bitchy!Orlando (who says “oh great” in the off-scene camera interview and comments that Craig can’t even lead himself), Nelson, and the One-Armed Baker (or “Bandit” as Craig calls her, so I’m not the only one thinking this way — I’m not sure I like being of like mind with Craig)
Amanda — Chris (because he’s got skills that she doesn’t have, good choice), Carlos, Megan, Katzie, and then Melissa who is last pick again. (And she complains about it. Again.)
Elimination Challenge — They have a client. A Real Housewives of Beverly Hills “star” — Lisa Vanderpump. Her husband Ken is planning a second anniversary for their restaurant Villa Blanca. Each team must come up with a “dessert table pitch” for the party. Ken, along with Lisa’s dog Jakey or Jiggy I can’t understand what anyone calls the damn thing and he’s not really a dog, more of a rat. Anyway, Ken’s there to tell them about Lisa so they can meet her standards and expectations.
Apparently Lisa loves pink and Ken wants to turn Villa Blanca into “Villa Rosa” for one night. She is very meticulous, loves flowers, and her dog is the love of her life (possibly the only thing she and I have in common).
Amanda is familiar with “people like this” from her experience in a five-star hotel. She asks questions; so do Melissa and Rebecca. The guys just stand there.
Craig is a big fan of the Real Housewives and thinks this opportunity is awesome. I think it is terrifying. This is one challenge I definitely wouldn’t want to be part of.
They get 30 minutes to plan. Over on Craig’s team everyone is talking. Except for Craig. They’ve all got ideas and are just taking over. Craig knows he has no leadership experience but he gets a word in, saying he’ll make a dessert cocktail. They all just kind of nod and go on doing their thing. I love this team. They’re a real team. Except for Craig.
Over on Amanda’s team, however, they begin by fighting about color scheme. Oh noes! What shade of pink shall we choose? They scrap color schemes for dessert planning, which doesn’t go any better. They’re all talking over each other. Amanda thinks they need to “put their egos in check.” Melissa looks like she’s so over it all, then in an off-scene interview she actually says that she’s so over it and she’s “dead inside” and done with the team stuff. Wow. This is not the drama you were looking for. Move along.
Whine, whine, whine? No thanks, I’d rather have wine, wine, wine. Last season the unhappy chick asked to go home. Maybe Melissa will do the same. We can only hope.
The prep work is starting for Craig’s team, but Amanda’s team is still undecided. My girl finally gets firm and makes some decisions to get things moving. She realizes she has to take charge as captain and she does. You go girl!
Craig’s working on a cocktail that shouldn’t take much time, freeing him up to help his team. I’m kind of worried about that plan, to be honest.
Sally’s working on a pink macaroon. Orlando’s making a sugar centerpiece using a glass-blowing technique to create an “elegant decor” that flows with the restaurant. Bitchy!O and Elegant? Two great things that taste great together? We shall see.
Chris has the role of creating the “dessert scape” for Amanda’s team. He’s going for height. Orlando sees this and says he doesn’t want to kill himself worrying about height. He’d rather fill in the table space. We’ll see how the two designers fare in the end, because as we all know, “One day you’re in. The next day you’re out.” Wait… wrong show. Aren’t they supposed to make, I don’t know… cakes? pies? pastries? gelée? (and how tired am I already of typing those stupid accent marks?)
Katzie is making dog biscuits as an extra treat above their six desserts. Nelson is making dog-head lollipops. Umm… You know the old joke about how do you stop a dog from humping your leg? Pick him up and suck… Yeah. That’s all I can think about now.
Craig is trying hard to help everyone. He’s getting stuff in the oven and making rounds to check on everyone.
Melissa is whining, worrying about time, and remaking everything because she’s not getting things done right. The rest of the team is worried about her one dish ruining them. She’s got to remake stuff the next day. Not good for Team Amanda.
The next morning at the loft Amanda wakes up feeling sick. She can’t taste anything and she’s got a stuffy head. Not good. She can’t sample things and do quality checks.
Things aren’t much better over on Craig’s team where Nelson says he doesn’t see Craig as a leader and comments about him having immunity. That’s right. Remember the Quickfire win? Even if he blows it, he isn’t going home this week.
Back to the kitchen, Rebecca addresses Matthew as Chris. It’s cute. He corrects her but smiles like he doesn’t really mind. I’m melting like M&Ms aren’t supposed to (but we all totally know they do, they just leave your hand covered in red dye #5 instead of chocolate). They’re such a pair, those boys.
Melissa’s whining about all she still has to do, but at least she sees that Amanda’s a good leader and is doing her job. Amanda is making rounds and checking in with everyone. She has asked Chris to present their team on her behalf because she isn’t feeling well. If she’s going to hand this off, he is the perfect choice. That boy’s got ambition, baby… Oh wait, we did that one last week. Sorry.
Nelson’s making cotton candy now. He didn’t like the dog-face lollipops (thank goodness), so he’s dipping them in pink [white] chocolate and is planning some kind of side dish in pink chocolate too. Because pink lollipops are so understated, right? They need something else to make them pop. We represent, the doggy-pop guild, the doggy-pop guild, the doggy-pop guild. (I actually made up a song to this tune about the pituitary gland back in high school biology. You can get a lot of mileage with this jingle.)
Teams are setting their tables now. Craig’s going for whimsical on their team. One-Armed Baker is calling shots. Orlando is putting flowers on the showpiece to fill it out (like a preteen stuffing her bra). They’re down to the last minutes and TIME IS UP on the displays!
The judges come in and Housewife Lisa’s first impression is that it’s all gorgeous. That’s a good start. She likes it. For me, it’s like a case of Pepto Bismal exploded everywhere, but to each her own. Lisa sees the dessert that looks like Jake’s face on one table.
Back in the kitchen, Melissa’s struggling to finish plating. Looks like she’s just gonna slap that ice cream (I think) on the plates. It’s FINAL TIME!
This week we’ve got some extra guests to sample and comment:
Nathalie Pouille-Zapata — Lisa’s business partner
Kyle Richards — from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Hugh Acheson from the Quickfire
Ken Todd — Lisa’s husband (along with Jakey)
Lisa Vanderpump — Our Guest of Honor
Johnny Iuzzini — looking handsome as always
Taylor Armstrong — from Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Hubert Keller — he’s going to be a regular this season, so we’ll keep seeing him
Pandora Vanderpump-Todd — Lisa’s daughter
Before Amanda’s team presents, we find out that Chris and his wife watch the show. Poor Matthew, Chris is married. *sigh*
Chris begins by saying they wanted to present clean, simple lines to suit Lisa’s meticulousness. The desserts:
Amanda — Cava gelée with buttermilk foam, hibiscus & raspberry. Presented in a glass. It’s pretty. You can see a berry in the bottom and a fizzy berry on top. There’s cava and champagne in it, which Kyle likes. Lisa notes it’s hard to get the spoon into the glass.
Carlos — Guave pâte de fruit, fromage blanc, and phyllo cigar. It’s got a mix of berries in there too. Comments are made about it being crunchy and delicious. Yay, Carlos! (He’s becoming my secret favorite. So inventive. If only he’d get in on the drama.)
Katzie – Macaron with mascarpone, strawberry jam, and mint. There’s a pipette with mint sauce for drizzling. The presentation is gorgeous. They like this a lot. It’s a neat twist on the traditional macaroon.
Melissa — White chocolate crémeux, rose gelée, and rhubarb foam. White chocolate brownie base. Melissa pretty much opens by apologizing that it’s not what it’s supposed to be. Fortunately, Lisa doesn’t seem to notice (I’m betting Johnny wasn’t so blind though). Lisa says she loved it and that it was very simple. Melissa is surprised by the good feedback. So am I.
Megan — A little napoleon: pink velvet cake with chocolate mouse, cherries and cream cheese sorbet. It’s layered beautifully and Gail notices. Hugh finds the red velvet to not be chocolaty enough.
And finally, Megan points out the treats on the buffet for Jakey and brings one over. It’s a win with the dog. And that makes it a win with Lisa.
Team Amanda’s/Chris’s plated desserts. Clockwise from top left: Amanda, Carlos, Katzie, Melissa, Megan, and Chris (tart not described)
Team Craig. We get final shots of them plating in the kitchen. Sally’s holding off until the last minute for the sorbet so it doesn’t melt on them. Once they’re out in the dining room, they just go straight to desserts. There are no opening presentation comments.
Rebecca is in awe of Lisa’s beauty. It’s both sweet and a little stalker!fangirl.
And on to the desserts:
Sally — Chocolate and rasberry tarte nouveau (better than Ye Old Tarte on the streetcorner, no doubt), ganache, and lychee sorbet. There’s fresh berry on there. It’s pretty but the sorbet is melting and Hugh doesn’t hesitate to point that out.
Matthew — Pink white chocolate cherry and pistachio entremet. Nice layers. Very precisely cut, which is not surprising because Matthew is meticulous. Clean lines, good colors. Johnny noticed the use of white chocolate on the pistachio to cut the green (next to pink) and nods in approval. And Lisa is also pleased with that because she would not have been cool with green in her pink (though she didn’t mind the green mint syrup with Katzie’s macaron).
Nelson — Passion fruit cheesecake lollipop (with a big fluff of cotton candy on top) and pink chocolate namelaka (ramalama ding dong). We get a clip from Real Housewives of Taylor eating cotton candy like she’s auditioning for Candy’s House of Anal Pleasure. Lisa looks down the table at Taylor who laughs. The plate kind of creeps me out.
Craig — Cocktail time. Pink lemonade with rose cava gelée with a sugar rim to cut the tartness. There’s a comment about trying to drink this while wearing lipstick. Even Hubert (sans lipstick) would have liked a straw.
Orlando — Well. He’s got nothing. Bitchy!O designed the centerpiece and did nothing else.
Rebecca — Chocolate beet cake, beet cream cheese, and orange sauce. Pretty. AND Rhubarb rose crisp with crème fraîche sherbert. The One-Armed Baker made TWO desserts. This second is a crumble based on Ted’s comment that Lisa would make a crisp for her daughter. Someone was listening. Nicely done. Pandora liked it and it’s Lisa’s favorite dessert of the day.
Lisa seems to really like Craig’s team; however, she does comment that the other team made something for her pet rat. Craig doesn’t seem to hear that though; he’s quite pleased with his team.
Team Craig’s plated desserts. Clockwise from top left: Rebecca, Sally, Rebecca, Craig, Nelson, Chris.
After a commercial we come back to learn a little about what Chris made. He made a tart and there’s a great little moment when Johnny says “going into your tart” and Lisa lets him know that you can’t say that in England. Especially not the “going into” part. It’s lovely. And trashy. And not so classy. Great job, Lisa. Of course, Johnny makes it worse by then saying it was a “tight tart.” I love you, Johnny.
Discussion with the teams from the judges. Lisa was impressed by the balance of and construction of Chris’s table. Kyle loved the colors on Craig’s table. The other housewife felt there was too much flowers on Craig’s sugar sculpture. And Pandora think Chris’s table captured her mother’s elegance better.
Johnny said they both had great desserts as well as some misses. Hubert like Chris’s table better, but Craig’s team had two of his favorite desserts. So who wins?
Lisa awards the win to Chris’s team. Which is really Amanda’s team. But I love that with the hand-off of presentation, Lisa thinks it’s Chris’s team. To top it off, Chris even hugs everyone in congratulations. Amanda’s a little upset about the whole “Chris’s team” but says they are a “team” so it’s okay. She’s a good sport.
Gail says this means they’ll need to see Craig’s team at Judges Table back at the main studio. For the cut we’ve only got Hugh, Gail, Johnny, and Hubert. I was wondering if they were going to cut people in front of the Housewives and I’m pleased to see that they’re are not doing that.
When asked why they’re there, Craig says maybe his team took too much of a whimsical approach and had too many items on the table that weren’t edible. Hubert felt they didn’t spend enough time getting Lisa’s personality. Gail points out that Lisa wanted sophisticated and elegant; it wasn’t refined enough.
Hey, Hugh just clearly called the dog Jakey. I’m going to go with that. Because it matters, right?
Now to talk to each chef about her/his work. Nelson’s first and he explains how his lollies were going to be dog heads and how he changed his mind. But the judges don’t think they worked. Gail says his dessert was too sweet.
Sally really liked her flavors and then she says she wanted to serve something that would last on a buffet. Really? You’re going with that? Gail nails her for serving sorbet which, you know, melts. Hugh wasn’t a fan either.
Johnny asks whose idea it was to sprinkle the rose petals all over the table. (This was Bitchy!O at the last minute.) Before Orlando can be named, Rebecca very seriously says she would not have done that. So Gail asks again who did it. And still without really answering, Rebecca says her vision was of a clean white table. Mr. Immunity is saying nothing. Johnny finally tells them they should have kept the white cloth to let things pop better. He and Tim Gunn need to get together and teach these guys how to make it work.
Then suddenly Craig starts talking. He takes some blame for not being a strong enough leader. And he says his drink wasn’t great. Hubert says there was no skill and Hugh says he would have fired him because he put up nothing and wonders what he did with the other 6.5 hours of time he had. Eep! Rebecca steps in and defends him, talking about how he helped with other desserts.
Gail tells Craig straight out that it’s a good thing he’s got immunity and that one of the others will be going home. Sally is in tears and really upset.
The chefs go to the stew room and One-Armed Baker says Hugh’s not her favorite anymore. Aww. Did he hurt your feelings? He didn’t even have anything bad to say about your desserts. Why are you upset, girl? You are not the one going home.
The judges start talking about Nelson’s and Sally’s desserts. Sally was mediocre and uninspiring. Nelson was a mess. They also discuss Orlando for making a beautiful sugar piece and then drowning it in flowers so it didn’t show well. For Johnny it’s down to Sally and Nelson.
In the stew room Craig is feeling guilty that someone is going home instead of him. Rebecca tells him to shut up, it’s not his fault. And she’s right, to a degree. He made a crappy dessert. But so did Nelson and Sally. It sucks for them that Craig’s got immunity, but this is a competition. You have to do your best every time.
The team is brought back out for the cut.
Rebecca and Matthew are safe — they created some of the favorites of the night. Craig is informed that he made the least favorite, but he’s safe. Johnny tells him he’d be out if it weren’t for immunity.
It’s down to Sally, Nelson, and Bitchy!Orlando.
And Nelson is packing his tools. He’s upset that it’s over a lollipop and he’s frustrated that Craig doesn’t know what he’s doing but gets to stay. I feel you, Nelson. I do. But you kinda blew it.
Back in the stew room, Orlando is upset that someone he likes is leaving. Craig starts whining about Johnny’s comments to him and you can tell Orlando doesn’t want to hear it. Dude, shut up! You’re still here. Orlando needs to walk across the room and smack a bitch. He totally wants to, but instead he calmly reminds them all that this is a competition and they’re all going to do what they have to in order to win. Then he says, “So keep your sad stories to yourselves.” Damn. What a way to end the night.
See y’all next week.
As always, tons of extra features are available on the TC:JD website at Bravo TV.
View the extended judging video.
Catch Nelson’s exit interview.
And don’t miss photos of all of this weeks desserts (and vote for best plate).