TC: Just Desserts 2.04 – Pure Imagination

aka Willy WonkaWankfest

“You can suck them and suck them and suck them and they’ll never get any smaller. Never.”

Yes this week’s episode was about porn. Pastry chef porn. And boy were Johnny and Gail, as well as all of the chefs, excited about it.

The show opens up in the loft with a letter from Gail saying the chefs deserve some time away from the kitchen so they’re being taken to the movies! Everyone’s excited, especially Amanda’s who is still not feeling well and could use the break. They all get to the theater and go to the concessions. Matthew is convinced there’s going to be a Quickfire, so he gets popcorn, candy, and a soda and doesn’t touch them figuring they’re going to be his ingredients.

But Matthew is wrong. The chefs join a group of people in the theater and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory comes on. We get to see clips of the movie as they’re watching and we learn that it’s pretty much the favorite movie ever of all of them.

Amanda will forever remember the scene of the kids entering the factory and finding that everything is edible and says that’s something she’d love to be able to do. We see Veruca Salt’s famous, “I want an Oompa Loompa now” moment and then we see Bitchy!Orlando looking happy. He’s reciting the lines along with the movie and a woman next to him smiles. In the off-scene interview he says she seemed amazed that he knew the words.

The movie ends, Gail enters, and Bitchy!Orlando says, “Time to throw up now.” Nice. Everyone is groaning though, knowing that some sort of challenge is going to be issued. Gail says all of them at some point in their lives have probably dreamed of living in the land of Wonka. Then she brings up four guests from the audience, including the lady who was sitting next to Orlando.

They’re the kids from the movie all grown up. Veruca was next to Orlando. The chefs are awed and happy. Craig has “goose bumps everywhere” which is more than I needed to know. Can I get some brain bleach?

Gail introduces Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt), Paris Themmen (Mike Teevee), Denise Nickerson (Violet Beauregarde), and Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket). Peter looks a lot like my father-in-law. It’s kind of weird. But the chefs are delighted. Gail asks them what it was like to be in the Land of Pure Imagination. It turns out that most of the stuff in the movie really was edible. The wallpaper, however, tasted like wallpaper. And on the gummy bear, only the ear was edible. These are important life-changing facts, no?

Anyone who has watched the previews from the first episode this season, knew this was coming, but not the exact details. Well here we go, folks. There’s no Quickfire this week, we’re just straight into the Elimination Challenge.

This year is the fortieth anniversary of Willy Wonka and the challenge is to create a room of pure edible imagination. They will transform the judging room as one large team. The production team will give the chefs the basic landscape, but filling it is up to them.

Veruca says they’ve been waiting forty years and it better be good. And then Sally asks her to “say it” so she puts her hands on her hips, smiles, and says, “I want it and I want it now.” Everyone cheers and then they’re off to the kitchen to start planning.

“Invention, my dear friends, is 93% perspiration, 6% electricity, 4% evaporation, and 2% butterscotch ripple.”

They have one hour to plan and everyone’s around a table, throwing out ideas; Chris wants to separate into two subteams — Creative and Production. So one side comes up with ideas and expects the other side to actually make the stuff. The Creative team will take care of assembly of display stuff, while Production does things like, you know … cook. Not everyone seems happy with this idea. Last-picked Melissa (who wasn’t last this week since there was no choosing of teams) is grumpy. Surprise!

Katzie contributes the idea of making little signs that say things like “Peel Me” to let the judges know what’s what. She’s super excited and so happy and she’s laughing and smiling and she’s making me excited, which is great, because this team dynamic is about to make me groan. I can tell already.

They all split up and I’m not really sure that everyone knows what they’re going to be doing.In the loft that evening there’s more discussion. Megan says “less is more” and is concerned that it be cohesive and that flavors work together. One-Armed Baker says she actually makes a Veruca Salt cupcake in her bakery at home and Chris immediately shoots her down, saying he doesn’t want to be in front of the judges and have them say “You gave me a cupcake” when they wanted a land of pure imagination. He’s kind of a dick about it. Okay, not kind of. He is a dick about it. Poor Rebecca, you can tell she’s hurt because she didn’t even get to say yet how she might twist the idea.

Amanda’s got a sleeve tattoo on her right upper arm that I hadn’t noticed before. (There’s your non sequitur of the day.)

Katzie’s prepared to disregard Chris and do what she needs to do to prove herself. You go girl! I’ve got super high hopes for her this week because her enthusiasm is through the roof.

The next morning, they get started and the Creative team [Mattris (my new name for our new Matthew/Chris bromance), Bitchy!O, and Megan] look at the space the producers have set up for them along with the plans they’d been given and start deciding where to put things. Megan may have bitten off more than she can chew, because she’s going to do construction and make desserts and I’m not sure how that will work. (I’m assuming they all have to make something, because they all need to plate, but she sounds overly ambitious about everything.)

In the kitchen we get the One-Armed Baker along with the rest of Production: Amanda, Sally, Katzie, Carlos, Grumpy Melissa, and Bumbling Craig. The upside is that some of the best and most creative foodies are there. The downside is they have to work around Craig. At least he doesn’t have immunity again this week.

Craig is going to make giant pate de fuille (pronounced patafwee for those who don’t speak French) gummy bears. Chris is making a chocolate waterfall. He’s starting on a six-foot foam core structure that will be covered in chocolate. Sally’s making some orange dirt.Umm… okay. She talks about being poor as a kid and feeling like Charlie. Whatever. This is her “golden ticket.” Hand me a tissue, my heart is breaking. I’m a snotty mess. Apparently I’m allergic to this emotional dreck.

Katzie is shredding carrots like a mad woman. She’s planning to make a carrot patch and beehive. I’m really excited to see what she does because she is so totally into this and she doesn’t care what Chris says or thinks because she’s got her own vision. You go girl!

Orlando is tempering all the chocolate for everyone. They’ve got access to as much chocolate as they want. Rebecca comments on the fact that Creative has a huge list of things to do to help everyone, but three of them seemed to be focused exclusively on Craig’s fountain. She’s not sure they can get everything done that they need to. She seems prepared for them to screw up. I’m right there with you, Rebecca.

Carlos asks if people think blue or pink when they think bubblegum. Orlando says blue. WTF? Matthew says pink. That’s my boy. I say pink as well. Bubblegum? First color is always pink. It turns out that Carlos is making edible wallpaper with fruit leather. He’s also making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches of some sort. Interesting.

But wait, here comes the real excitement. Craig is unmolding his first gummy bear. Rebecca’s uncomfortable with the way he’s touching the bear. Ha ha! And then he pulls off the mold and the bear falls apart. He consults Sally, who tells him what to do when he remakes it so that it will actually solidify.

Sally’s stressed that he’s taking up all her time. (If you’re wondering if the judges are noticing this, Johnny is.)

Johnny’s here for a visit and he’s smiling and happy. He goes to Bitchy!Orlando first. They’ve already gone through 125 kg of chocolate (that’s over 250 pounds!!!) and he’s got 30 kg more to temper. Johnny is amazed and he tells us he’s jealous because the chefs have so much creative freedom in this challenge.

On to One-Armed Baker who mentions her cupcake. Instead of shooting it down, Johnny asks what’s going to make it WONKA and she says she’s making the cake inside an egg to be the golden eggs and he likes that. If only Chris had listened to her earlier.

It’s time for Melissa; Johnny comments that usually she’s not so happy to see him, but she says she excited today. This is her favorite movie. She’s making whoopie pie flowers and she’s making a “donut flower” on a PVC pipe. Off-scene Johnny says he’s worried about the pipe stem when the donuts come off. Will she decorate the pipe? My guess is no.

Megan is going back and forth between teams and Johnny reminds her that this is a team challenge but she’s also in a competition. He asks what she’s doing to set herself apart. Foodwise she’s making a candy bar with bourbon which is not exactly kid friendly. This is Wonka, it should be all about children. Maybe she’ll catch a ride on the clue bus before she finishes it? Probably not. The kids on the bus chug the bourbon down, the bourbon down, the bourbon down…

Before leaving the kitchen Johnny informs them that at Judges’ Table they’ll be sending TWO chefs home. Smiles aren’t so wide anymore. Once he’s gone we see Chris saying they knew a double elimination was coming but that it’s important that no one on Creative go home. It makes me feel like he’s going to throw someone under the bus and I don’t like that. Mattris is my dynamic dessert duo and now one half is turning into a jerk. Fix him, Matthew! Please.

Chris is concerned about the Creative team having time to finish his waterfall. Yeah – he needs someone else to help him do his own dessert. Sounds like Craig. I can’t imagine what will happen if the fountain doesn’t work.

Amanda has a bunch of balloons and has been left to make chocolate cups for Chris’s waterfall. She’s also got cups to make for her own dessert. From her looks at Katzie, I’m not sure she’s actually going to make cups for Chris. Katzie sees that it’s become every man for himself and that lots of stuff isn’t done yet. However, we then see shots of stuff getting finished that we never even saw getting started which is cool. This means that when they start the judging there will be surprises everywhere.

I’m bouncing on my couch and can’t wait to see everything. I’m going to have to eat a piece of cake. Excuse me. Okay. I’m back. Freshly showered with cake in my tummy. I’m ready for presentation time!

They’ve got 2 hours left to get everything done. Katzie has two interactive scenes she’s putting together. In one spot, she throws down a bunch of stuff that is either chocolate chunks or chocolate cookie crumbles, I’m not real sure. But it looks like a bed of dirt. This is for her “carrots”!! Awesome. Then she’s back in the kitchen to finish her beehive. Orlando comments that Katzie’s a “messy trainwreck.” Orlando has no vision is what I say.

Craig is nervous. And he should be. I mean come on, he’s in trouble. He would have gone home last week if not for immunity. Now he’s got one giant pate de fuille gummy and four others that Sally helped him make. Sally’s putting down Oompa Loompa droppings. Umm… Clearly she missed my review a few weeks ago with the scat jokes. We’re done with those now. Rebecca comments that Sally’s dessert looks like poop before she knows what it is. Brilliant.

Matthew has made a bunch of profiteroles and now he has to fill them and coat them and get them on his display. He’s got 100 profiteroles and bon bons. That’s a lot to finish. Melissa has just discovered that her donut pole isn’t done, so she’s got a drill in hand to do it herself. (This is probably the scariest moment in Just Desserts history. At least it’s not a saw?) Megan comes out and helps, but it’s basically just a plain PVC pipe. No decoration. Did I call that or what?

Chris is calling on his boyfriend Matt to bring him more milk for his chocolate milk fountain. Megan is decorating more stuff for the display and then we find out she’s not yet done with her own food. One-Armed Baker is whining again about the waterfall taking 3 people 6 hours for a total of 18 hours (she did the math, not me, I don’t really care) and not being a good use of their time.

And now time is officially up. The “pure imagination” music from Willy Wonka starts and we get an overview of the room. The judges and our Wonka kids come in. They’re all in awe. Johnny is smiling and pointing and clearly happy. Megan comments off-scene about everything in the room, which is really nice. She’s clearly pleased to be part of the whole production, not just her own desserts.

In addition to the movie cast and the usual judges (including Hubert Keller), we’ve got guest judge Ron Ben-Israel this week.  He makes lavish wedding cakes that are unbelievable. We also get a big group of kids filing in and Megan has an Oops moment because she did go ahead with that dessert with bourbon.

They start with Chris’s chocolate milk fountain. There are edible chocolate cups to drink from but the fountain speed is so fast that it’s a bit messy to try and fill your cup. Gail would like a softer stream but the milk is delicious. The kids seem delighted, especially when they realize the cup is edible.

Johnny’s over at a tree covered in Amanda’s raspberry fizzy chocolates. They pluck them off the tree and they really fizz. Gail’s got Amanda’s other dessert – chocolate cups filled with almond cream and blueberry sauce. “Violet” mmmms very nicely.

Johnny finds one of Craig’s gummy bears flopped over on itself behind a rock and picks it up. Hubert wonders if it’s the one they want to taste. When Johnny gets it off the display it is headless but he takes a bite anyway. They talk about technique challenges and how it doesn’t actually taste very good. There are kids who also comment that it doesn’t taste very good. Is anyone surprised by this? After all the work it took to get the things to hold together, he couldn’t have had time to think about flavor.

Rebecca has made hanging vanilla and coffee bean moonpies. The marshmallow (homemade) is a little tough. I love a good moonpie, but it’s all about the freshness. Soft and chewy is the only way to go. She has also made her golden eggs. Except they’re not gold. They’re white and brown and pink and blue with some glitter on them. But the eggs have really good cake inside and there’s a nice salted caramel dipping sauce.

Chris is refilling his profiteroles and kids ask if they’re any good. The judges certainly think so. Chris is happy to see the kids having so much fun. The flavors are strawberry, lemon, and vanilla. The judges like the flavor and the presentation. The candy coating is bright in color and the chocolate bon bons are lovely. Way to go Chris. Much better than your boyfriend.

The next shrubbery has Orlando’s raspberry chocolate crunches. They’re a bit large but very tasty. He’s sitting in the back room looking cranky. Big surprise.

Sally’s poop and dirt pile is officially described as pistachio financiers with orange dirt and milk chocolate mousse.  The problem here is no one knows quite how to go about eating it. It’s not the best presentation and Gail describes it as a little messy.

And now to Melissa’s green donuts. They look terrible. Terrible. Veruca doesn’t want to eat it (she actually says she’d like to spit it out). Hubert is not happy at all. Lucky for her the whoopie pie daisies she also made are delightful and tasty. Off-screen Melissa is hoping her whoopie pies can save her from the monstrosity of the donuts. I cannot even get over these things. They look terrible. Like a Krispy Kreme employee went postal on St. Patrick’s Day.

Katzie’s carrot patch looks like an actual carrot patch. Ron Ben-Israel pulls up a “carrot” and it comes out nice and smooth. The cake is coated in nuts and chocolate to hold it together and there’s actually green carrot tops. There’s some green cream cheese frosting to dip into. And Ron says the cake is really good. Scrumpdiddlyumptious. “Charlie” loves that Katzie did something new that would have fit right in with the movie. He says Willy Wonka would have loved it. They move over to her beehive and pick up a piece of cake and squeeze some honey from the hive which is equally delightful.

Carlos has made macaroons that Hubert thinks are the best ones so far this season. The PB&J flavor is a different and unexpected twist, but they love it. At his fruit wallpaper, they get to taste sesame, raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, and SNOZBERRY! Ron Ben-Israel licks the wall (then politely peels off the piece he licked, thank goodness). The wallpaper is a success.

Megan’s bourbon caramel candy bars on the other hand, not as much success. Gail comments on the kid-friendly aspect but she also notes the complexity of layers which is good. They can’t taste the bourbon though.

Mr. Salt: Wonka. Butterscotch? Buttergin? Got alittle something going on the side?
Willy Wonka: Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.

Johnny’s over at Megan’s orange cream curd and lavender shortbread. The judges can’t taste any lavender. No bourbon, no lavender? What’s the point? Off-scene Megan comments about having her hand in a lot of dishes and hoping that it didn’t hurt her. Well, it hurt her in flavor. We’ll see if it hurts her with the judges.

The event is over and the judges and actors confer. Gail says that, “Overall, they really took us to a very magical world.” The actors loved it and were so happy to be there.

Back in the kitchen, Bitchy!Orlando is still looking cranky. Then in the stew room Craig thinks Katzie would make a great Willy Wonka and Orlando thinks Rebecca looks like an Oompa Loompa. Rebecca has the best line of the night though when she says the Oompa Loompas could be from New Jersey because of their complexion: “Oh my god, they’re the original Snookie!!”

Who are they going to cut?

“The suspense is terrible… I hope it’ll last.”

In the stew room Katzie’s talking about how Johnny likes technique and also things that taste good. (Who doesn’t?) But she’s scared because he doesn’t always like the same tastes that she likes. Bitchy!Orlando mutters that he wishes she’d “Shut the [pate de fuille] up.” Then Gail comes in and asks for Sally, Katzie, Melissa, Carlos, Craig, Matt, and Megan. The other three are left to stew.

Orlando and Chris look pissed they weren’t called out. I’m guessing they’re worried because so far it has always been the winners called first. Rebecca seems fine.

Since the display was done in the judging room, they’re standing on one side of the grassy knoll while the judges are on the other. It’s weird to not just have the usual plain room for judging. I’m reminded of a execution by gunfire.

Gail lets the chefs know that they made their favorite and least favorite desserts. Bet I can tell who fit which category.

Good: Katzie, Carlos, Matt

Not good: Sally, Melissa, Craig

Megan is up in the air for me. She did a lot of work, but her desserts weren’t really lauded. Not really a winner though.

Hubert begins by saying that walking in was amazing and wonderful. Then Johnny singles out Matthew as a favorite. Gail comments on his three different flavors being strong and clean. Katzie was also a favorite. Johnny liked the dripping honey from the beehive. Ron Ben-Israel liked the interactive nature of the carrot patch. And he was so impressed that you could pull the cake and not have it fall apart.

Gail moves to Carlos. She thought the PB&J macaroons were fabulous. And Johnny and Ron loved the wallpaper. Ron commented on the Snozzberries. Yay! I nailed the top chefs.

Moving on to the failures. Craig speaks of himself in the first person and jokes about his lack of success. “Craig had a rough day,” he said. Sally (me Sally, not show Sally) wanted to reach through the screen and punch him in his smiling face. Ron liked that Craig tried to make something from the movie, but the whole panel laughs because his attempt was so unsuccessful. And when Craig laughs at himself, Hubert calls him out that this is really isn’t funny.

Melissa’s next. She complains about misunderstanding what the creative team was going to do to dress her green “donut cactus” and that that’s why it looked so sloppy. They were supposed to dress it with a flower. I guess that was supposed to be the clue it was a cactus? I don’t know. Johnny calls her out on the quality of the actual donuts, saying they’ve got “deeper issues” if she tasted one and still put them out. She claims she didn’t try one. Which is the right answer here, but not good because chefs should always be tasting what they make.

They did like Melissa’s whoopie pie flowers and Hubert wishes she’d served only those and left the donuts in the kitchen..

Johnny turns to Sally’s dirts — not enough flavor. Ron found it unappealing and notes there was no clear way to eat it. Johnny is disappointed because she’s so talented. He asks where she spent her time and she admits to having helped Craig some. Her time with others cost her.

Gail asks Megan what she thinks went right and wrong with her work. She says she kept simplifying her own treats because she was working so much with everyone else. Gail was disappointed with the bourbon pops because you couldn’t taste the bourbon, but also because she’d used alcohol in something targeted for kids. Johnny’s problem, however, was with the lavender cake that didn’t have enough flavor.

Carlos and Katzie both defended Megan for helping out so much with everything involved in putting together the actual display. He said, “Because of her, other people are going to have very successful dishes.” That was nice, but Johnny points out that this is a competition and she needs to evaluate her own work and how that fits. Something he told her earlier during his visit to the kitchen. That said, I hope they don’t send her home.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

Megan spoke very beautifully (through tears) about the importance of her to create a vision that would make people happy and how good it felt to see the reactions when people walked in. It’s possibly the first emotional moment all season that has moved me. It moved me off the couch to get another piece of cake.

Mmm. Cake.

Gail says they achieved their goal of making people happy, but reminds them that two will go home. They’re sent to the stew room while the judges confer and make their decision. Chris wants to know what was said and was clearly annoyed he wasn’t in the top, that no one is going back out.

Judges’ discussion. They’ve clearly got a favorite. They go straight to the problems. Sally gave no thought to her delivery or combination of flavors — it didn’t make sense. Craig was a mess and “then made fun of his own failure” which Hubert does not like at all. Johnny thinks Craig’s outclassed compared to the others.

Megan’s desserts didn’t work and she didn’t put herself first. Melissa’s donuts. Oh my god. They even have to say anything else about the donuts. Decision made.

Be sure to check out the Judges’ Table extended version where Johnny tells us he’s hung, Melissa’s donuts are called pathetic, and Craig’s gummy bears are described as slimy (maybe he should come back for a Nickelodeon episode).

In the stew room Sally thinks she’s going home. Orlando tells her to think positive. Wow, that’s almost nice of him. Are little chocolate pigs flying through the night sky?

Decision time. Katzie is the winner!!!!! She truly embodied the spirit of Wonka. Yay, Katzie. She was so fabulous this week. I’m really happy to see her creativity rewarded. The top three leave the room.

In the stew room Matthew tells everyone that Katzie won and they all clap but then Orlando looks down with furrowed brow and Chris has an almost frown that seems to be his attempt to smile and pretend to be happy for her.

Get over it boys. I love chocolate milk, Chris, but I like to be able to actually fill my cup with it. Orlando’s dessert wasn’t the worst and he’s not going home, so he should be happy. Good grief.

“If you’re not greedy, you will go far.
You will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa Loompa doopadee doo”
— Oompa Loompa song

 So who’s cut?

First — Craig, pack your tools.
Second — Melissa. Time to roll your donuts on out of here, girl.

“Well, well, well, two naughty, nasty little children gone.”

(Okay, they weren’t nasty, but the oven timer went off weeks ago on these two.)

Craig and Melissa walk out together and both are actually pretty okay about it. Craig feels that he proved to himself that he could “hang with the big boys.” *shudder* No you cant, Craig.

Melissa’s exit interview and Craig’s exit interview.  

As always, you can see all the plated desserts plated at (and rate them if you like).

And catch still photos from throughout the episode here.

Quotations above are all from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.