TC: Just Desserts 2.06 — Sabotage

aka You gotta fight for your right to pastry

This week we’ve got non-traditional dessert foods. We’ve got two girls in one bed, two guys in adjoining beds, and Rebecca ready to jump our guest judge and do dirty things to him.  We’ve got ingredients like canned ravioli and falafel. And we’ve got a different than usual chef playing the bitchy role. Oh yeah… and we’ve got the banana game.

In the loft the eight remaining chefs are in the kitchen talking about what they’ve been required to do so far and what might be left. There’s talk of ice sculptures and the use of chainsaws. Then Sally says not to give Katzie a chain saw, that the idea scares her. She’d fear for her life. I’m rolling my eyes, but Katzie is definitely upset about it. Sally’s snarky. Whatever.

Katzie and Rebecca walk away and Katzie whines about how Sally doesn’t like her and that the others don’t think she makes real desserts. Again, whatever. Come on girl, crying won’t prove them wrong. You’ve just got to show them by doing something amazing.

Back in the kitchen Orlando changes the subject to the burgers being good.

In the other room Katzie’s still bitching. Off-scene Rebecca has a great comment about her though, that being younger let’s her be so good at the creative — Katzie hasn’t had time yet to become as jaded as the others.

It’s dessert time! In the Top Chef kitchen, Gail is waiting along with Jordan Kahn, chef and owner of Red Medicine in LA. He’s the guest for today’s Quickfire Challenge. He’s known for creative use of unlikely ingredients and crossovers between dinner and dessert.

They all have to pull a root vegetable out of a planter. Whatever they get they have to use in their Quickfire dessert.

Carlos – celery root
Chris – jicama
Orlando – radish (he’s only ever had radishes in salad, but he smiles like he’s happy even as he bitches later)
Matthew – parsnip
Rebecca – potato
Katzie – turnip
Megan – burdock root
Sally – turmeric (and she’s the only one who seems happy)

I’m actually really intrigued by this challenge. I worry most up front about Megan because she doesn’t know what her vegetable is (neither did I before looking it up).

The chef who wins will get immunity plus $5k. They have only one hour to cook. It’s a good thing they aren’t at altitude because cooking root veggies takes forever at 8,000 ft. I’m just saying. (Note: Remember that phrase for later.)

Rebecca has used some root vegetables before but is not well versed. She observes they don’t have enough time to properly cook the vegetables. See? I’m not stupid, y’all.

Carlos isn’t really sure about celery root, but he’s inspired by the idea of celery and peanut butter. Too bad there’s no celery-flavored cereal out there, then he’d know exactly what to do.

Matthew seems pretty confident because he works with savory, but he notes that Sally started in the savory kitchen so he’s the most nervous about competing with her. Others, like Rebecca, are strictly pastry people.

Sally likes to go with southeast Asian flavors that she knows and she’s definitely taking that direction this week with her tumeric. I think she’ll definitely give Matthew the toughtest competition.

The chefs are pretty frantic. And then times up, roots down.

Rebecca — She likes simple stuff like Frosties and french fries, so she’s made fries with chocolate sauce and malted milk ice cream. The plating is great and it looks yummy. She says she can’t cook to save her life. Gail points out she shouldn’t say that on national television on a cooking show and I have to agree. Self-defeating language is never good when you’re in a competition. Jordan says being a savory chef makes you a better pastry chef, which I take to mean maybe she should take a savory class or two because she’s not making the grade here.

Megan — Five-spice burdock root fritter and candied burdock root compote. It looks good. Jordan says “cool” and that he’s a fan of the root.

Sally being judgmental.

Katzie — Soy milk panna cotta with marscapone cream, caramel, and turnip chips. (Sally is “confused” about why Katzie has won two challenges. She thinks this dessert looks a mess.) The judges don’t really comment so we don’t know if they agree or not. But thanks for the unsolicited opinion, Sally!

Chris — When the judges come over he puts “last minute garnish” on top. However, by the rules, you can only do that if you’ve classified it as temperature sensitive (like something hot on top of ice cream). He’s automatically disqualified. He didn’t want his fried jicama to get soggy on top of the wet stuff. They don’t even taste it. Ooh. Snap, bitch.

Carlos — Celery root in three textures (frozen granita, pickled, and chips) with peanut butter pudding. He gets a thank you. Don’t ask if it was a good thank you or a bad thank you. It was a quick thank you, okay?

Matthew — Caramelized parsnip cake with banana purée and caramelized hazelnuts. Finally someone who did cake! You can do so much in cake with root vegetables. They’re screaming to be made into cakes, I tell you! (Carrot is not the only veggie for baking, people.) It looks great. He’s got some fried parsnip strings on top too. Jordan says “Awesome.” I agree and I didn’t even get to taste it. I want to make this.

Sally — Mango pudding with turmeric and curried popcorn. She’s got Thai basil in there too. She gets a thank you. Hmm… They’re not really showing much feedback this week or else Jordan just likes to keep his thoughts to himself more than the other judges.

Orlando — Peach and radish crumble with kataifi crunch and vanilla bean sherbet. Jordan nods his head. Amazingly Bitchy!O doesn’t get noticeably upset by the lack of praise.

Jordan says overall everyone did well. His least favorites are Rebecca (the potato was overfried) and Carlos (good idea, but it didn’t translate).

Sally gloating.

His favorites were Sally (the colors were vibrant, he liked the SE Asia roots) and Matthew (most beautiful dessert today, smart choice for parsnip).

The Winner — with a nice balance of acid and sugar — is Sally!


Elimination Challenge — Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz of the Beastie Boys is here! It looks like everyone is at least somewhat familiar, but clearly some of them are bigger fans than others. We learn that Rebecca has had a crush on Ad-Rock since she was 15 years old. There is talk about sampling music vs. sampling food.

Challenge — They bring in a bunch of food that is mentioned in Beastie Boys songs. Bacon, cucumbers, canned ravioli. And a lot more. Some of it’s pretty disgusting for a pastry kitchen. Everyone has to choose two items from the shelves to use in their desserts. Gail chooses the order:

Megan – Brass monkey and Chivas
Matthew — whiskey (Old Crow) and cornbread
Carlos — popcorn and bacon (I can totally see him working these)
Chris — pesto pizza and pork & beans (I see him trying to be daring, but I don’t how that it will work so well)
Sally — cheddar cheese and prosciutto
Katzie — french fries and hot butter
Orlando — white rum and coffee & cream
Rebecca — Ham and a “40” of MGD

Gail asks if everyone is happy with their choices. Then says there’s one more thing: they each get to pick an item for someone else. Listen all y’all this is sabotage!

Sally goes first (as winner) — cucumber to Carlos
I’m as cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce — “So What’cha Want”

Carlos — a whole chicken to Sally (WTF? I can bake a chicken, but I’d never bake with a chicken. Your pastry practices may vary.)
Miller drinking, chicken eating, dress so fly — “Hold It Now, Hit It”

Matthew — a bowl of peas to Orlando
Hey could you please pass me the peas? — “Rhyme the Rhyme Well”

Orlando — Katzie says “bring it” but Orlando says the challenge is to sabotage and he’s not going after Katzie. Who is he going after? Oh wait, Katzie! Gorgonzola and provolone!
Gorgonzola, provolone, don’t even get me started on this microphone — “Shazam!”

Katzie — Onions to Megan
Mike D’s out back and he’s growing onions — “Finger Lickin’ Good”

Megan — Canned ravioli to Chris (who comments that he now has a complete meal)
Chef Boyardee cooling on the pot  — “Hold It Now, Hit It”

Chris — For his boyfriend Matt, has mashed potatoes and gravy (which he says off camera seemed kind of funny at the time). Matthew maybe says a bad word that has to be bleeped. Then Chris feels bad wondering what did he do? He could potentially send his boy home. Oops.
Like gravy on potatoes, Luke to Darth Vader — “Do It”

Sally gets to go twice. She gives falafel to Rebecca, which surprises me because I’d expected her to give something to Katzie. But I guess since Katzie’s already been sabotaged, it’s Rebecca by default.
Yo what the falafel, You gotta get up awful — “Oh Word?”

Note: The producers put the lyrics on the screen for these selections. I’ve got too much of a life to go looking them up myself (but not too much of a life to hit pause a billion times while I type that shizzle up.)

They have four hours to cook. And they’re off. Megan informs us she’s had a few 40s in her life. I would have pegged her as more of a Mad Dog kinda girl, myself. But we’ve all got layers. Like an onion. Speaking of… what’s she going to do with that onion?

While Chris feels bad about it, it seems Matthew isn’t upset at all by the mashed potatoes. He’s actually going to do cake! And then he talks about growing up and listening to the Beastie Boys and in this high-pitched voice says, “If this is going to be that kind of party, I’m going to stick my [bleeped] in the mashed potatoes.” (from “B-Boys Making with the Freak Freak”). I somehow managed not to fall off the couch while laughing so hard. I did not foresee those words (in that voice) coming out of his mouth. He’s so adorable.

Note: Looking up “dick in the mashed potatoes” on the Lyric Wiki ( yields far more results than I’d expected and the Boys aren’t even at the top of the list. I don’t even want to know what I’d get for this on Google.

Musicians are sick, y’all. I’m just saying.

Back to the program… Chris is going to make a brownie with everything in it. He was having fun when he picked his ingredients but not really thinking about what to do with it. Now he seems a little more concerned. But what else can he do other than go for it.

Bitchy!Orlando is excited to finally not be on a team. To celebrate, he’s been drinking his rum rather than cooking with it. It’s slowing him down.

Sally’s butchering her chicken and worrying about getting the flavor but not going too savory. But she’s got immunity so she can go risky instead of worrying about going home.

Katzie’s going to go make sweet pomme frites with different sauces. We learn a little about her culinary background. Sally’s still disrespecting her. I’m waiting for a bitch fight and hoping it’s with bikinis and a kiddie pool filled with butterscotch or salted caramel pudding (although chocolate would do in a pinch).

Rebecca’s chopping ham. She reminds us of how much she loves Adam. He’s married honey. To a riot grrrl. You don’t stand a chance. Rebecca informs us that she’s worked with beer before, but she’s having problems with the falafel. I cannot even imagine trying to make a dessert with falafel. I think I’d probably focus more on the use of chickpeas as a workaround here, but no… she’s trying to fry patties and it’s just. not. working.

Orlando’s using already-made vanilla wafers as they are. Uh oh. That is Not Good. When it’s mentioned to him he brushes it off. Johnny’s not going to be brushed off on this. Clearly Orlando did not watch season one.

Carlos is working his popcorn beautifully. I’m kind of in awe when he starts doing really creative stuff. I wish he were my dad to have treats for me when I get home from school work.

Everyone is looking good except for Chris. He’s really struggling with time. And suddenly day one is over. I hope he got done what he needed to.

Did anyone else notice that Johnny never visited the kitchen? Don’t they know we live to see him in his chef’s jacket with his hands behind his back being all “What are you making and how is it not going to suck?” A girl’s got needs.

It’s Elimination Day morning. The girls are chatting from their beds about what they’re making. Oh wait! Megan and Katzie are in one bed together. I thought season one had all the LGBTQRS chefs. What’s going on?

Mattris are in their bedroom on neighboring twin beds. They’re laying opposite directions so they can gaze soulfully at each other. Then Chris ruins my moment by talking about being away from his one-month-old baby. Matthew’s own daughter is pretty young and he understands. We see pictures of her and his wife and they are lovely. He talks to his little girl on the phone. It’s sweet and adorable. Ohhhh. The little girl shouts “I love you” before they hang up. My ovaries just exploded like a smooshed cream puff!

They get to Angel City Brewery where they’re to set up and prepare for serving and judging. The space is awesome and filled with huge murals.

Then Matthew does the unexpected and amazing. He puts his gravy in a whip cream canister to make it foam. He sprays some to taste and says, “Just like mashed potatoes and gravy.”

People come in and start tasting. A bunch of people at once. Which is a problem for Katzie because she’s making fresh french fries. It’s like they learn nothing from one week to the next about a la minute desserts. Everyone thinks they’re an exception to the rule.

Marcel Vigneron from Top Chef All Stars (whom Sally is good friends with, apparently) comes over to her. He’s the one who told her to go on the show. Now he tells her that he likes that she used all these savory ingredients, but says it doesn’t taste savory. I’m not sure if that was a compliment or not. She chooses to take it as one, but…

The judges have arrived! They’ve got Ad-Rock and Danielle Karyllos this week. Jordan Kahn from the Quickfire has left the building. Here’s what people made:

Carlos — Popcorn panna cotta, spicy cucumber air, bacon caramel, and popcorn glass. The glass looks awesome. Danielle thought the cucumber would be hidden but says you can really taste it. Ad-Rock loves the glass.  People in the crowd liked the flavors and texture.

Orlando — Coffee, strawberry, and rum parfait with frozen green peas — Johnny immediately notices that the cookies all look the same (I told you!) and asks did he make them or buy them. Orlando says, “Chef, that’s a secret. I’m going to have to hold off on that one.” Wow. That’s ballsy. Then he talks about not having time to make everything from scratch. I do not see four hours of work in this dessert. He could have made his own vanilla wafers, but he got drunk instead. Danielle finds the peas/strawberry contrast to be interesting. Johnny isn’t happy. Bitchy!O isn’t winning this one.

Megan — Chivas whiskey pudding cake, brass monkey sorbet, and caramelized onions — Just standing there, Gail can smell the onions. But they’re all smiling and laughing which has to be a good thing, right? Ad-Rock looks at Megan and says, “Brass monkey sorbet?” And she replies that she’s calling the dish “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” because of all the sugar. Gail says you can get drunk just from smelling it. Things are good and then Johnny says the cake is falling apart — they’re small cakes and they’ve dried out while sitting there. So… maybe not good.

Educational moment: For those who don’t know what Brass Monkey is… it’s a cocktail typically made of equal parts dark rum, vodka, and orange juice (although there are variations on that). There’s also the poor man’s brass monkey, which is to take a “40”, drink it down to the label then fill it up with OJ. shudder. In the 70s through 90s there was a premixed cocktail version available in bottles from half pint to 750mL in size. Now you know.

Sally — Prosciutto cake, chicken toffee sauce, and cheddar ice cream — This is a twist on a sticky toffee pudding. It’s garnished with a chicharrón chicken skin. Ad-Rock looks like he’s choking at first, but he’s just freaking about the chicken skin, which he says is delicious. In the crowd there are people who say this dessert is their favorite. It’s all about the chicken skin. I love me some chicken skin and could probably eat it with ice cream and cake no problem.

Ad-Rock not choking on a some chicken skin.

Katzie — Sweet pommes frites with sweet and savory sauces (hot honey butter, gorgonzola/pear/walnut, and provolone/chocolate/maple). She’s also got shakers of different sugars. She tells them to taste whatever they want for combinations, it’s meant to be fun. With the guests earlier this was a problem because they wanted more guidance. Johnny says it’s all over the place — sometimes too sweet, sometimes too salty. Some guests think the concept was too easy. Oh Katzie. I predict whining later and not because people are mad you won again.

Rebecca — She gets Ad-Rock to sign her cast. Then she fangirls him hard. It makes him a little uncomfortable. It makes me a little uncomfortable. Moving on to her dessert (which is inexplicably NOT included in the plated desserts to vote for online) — Falafel panna cotta with ham pecan brittle & 40oz. ice cream. Yes, she made ice cream from beer that comes in 40oz bottles. I kind of love her. Johnny is blown over by a load of garlic in the panna cotta. Oops. Gail wishes she could taste the beer more. Oops again. Ad-Rock seems wowed that he can taste falafel. I’m wowed by the whole idea of this dessert. And a little terrified. After the judges walk away Rebecca is pretty freaked about the garlic issue.

Chris — Pork and bean brownie, pine nut cream, and naked ravioli — Gail says “Totally weird” and Ad-Rock compares the brownie to when a dog has peanut butter on the roof of his mouth. Ha ha! But he means it in a good way, of course. And that’s how I took it because how is peanut butter on the roof of a dog’s mouth not delightful? Johnny gets the pork and bean texture, but says he’s not getting a lot of flavor. After the judges leave, Marcel (Top Chef All Star) comes over for a taste. He comments that he’s not sure it works and says, “Don’t be afraid if I don’t finish it.” Chris looks kind of pissed about that and I don’t blame him.

Matthew — Cornbread and mashed potato cheesecake, whiskey caramel, and gravy foam — They’re smiling and awed by the gravy whipped cream that really does taste like gravy. As someone who thinks gravy is gross I’m shuddering over here. But I also think it’s a brilliant idea. He made his own chicken stock to make the gravy! He made cheesecake from potatoes. His plating is gorgeous. I kind of adore him right now. Johnny says he can taste all the pantry ingredients and seems impressed.

After the serving is done, they’re tasting each others’ desserts and chatting a bit. Carlos has Matthew’s dessert and definitely tastes the mashed potatoes and gravy. Matthew’s worried about going home. Oh baby! I think you’re safe. I’m worried about Rebecca with the garlic. And Katzie who just kind of flopped.

We come back from a commercial and find out that the chefs have a little “banana game” going on. The objective: to place a banana on someone without them knowing. Carlos manages to banana Marcel’s shoulder while he’s talking to Rebecca. They have named the banana Pepe. There will be bonus points if anyone can banana Johnny (and that better get caught on camera if it happens). Better yet, I’d like Johnny to come banana me.

Ahem. Stew Room! Gail comes in and asks for Katzie, Megan, and Rebecca. I’m thinking they’ve flipped it this week and we’ve got the bottom three first. Sally thinks she’s in the bottom again because she didn’t get called. And you know she’s dying that Katzie’s out there.

But this Sally [thumb to chest] was right and chef Sally is wrong. — these are the least favorites.

Rebecca — Why do you think you’re here? She says she was thrown by the falafel. Johnny brings up the garlic issue and Ad-Rock says the ice cream didn’t taste like beer. Rebecca comments that being judged on these ingredients sucks and Gail reminds her that they’re judging everyone on crazy ingredients. Danielle just looks disappointed. Rebecca cries. It’s kinda sad in that it’s boring.

Megan — She had some unusual ingredients and she thought she could tie it together. Johnny asks why the cake was so dry and Danielle points out that she was calling it a pudding cake, so there was an expectation of sticky and moist and “it just crumbled”. Ad-Rock found the onions on the side to be weird. Megan doesn’t really have a defense.

Katzie — Now she’s got a defense. She says she took a risk that didn’t pay off. Johnny said she should have focused on fewer condiments (although he actually “less condiments” which is wrong. Come over Johnny and I’ll show you how fewer is finer and less is more.) because some flavors ruined other flavors if tasted after and there was no direction. It was hard to glean flavors from all the different combinations.

They go back to the stew room and let them know they’re the least favorites. Everyone’s confused and some are maybe a little angry at the change up. I’ve been waiting for this for a couple of weeks, I don’t know how they don’t see it coming.

The judges now want to see Matthew, Chris, and Sally. Carlos and Orlando are left out. I’m sure Bitchy!O is pissed, but the cameraperson spares us his face. Better safe than out, right?

These three are the absolute favorites. Matthew’s so freaked:

Matthew: I’m gonna go throw-up now.
Gail: You’re not allowed to throw-up because you didn’t eat what we ate.
Everyone: laughter

Ad-Rock apologizes for the pork & beans and the chicken. Apparently he was the advisor on the selection of foods.

Sally — She messed up Ad-Rock for the rest of the day because all he wanted was more of the chicken skin. The salty, crunchy, creamy combination worked for Danielle.

Chris — Ad-Rock says he makes a good brownie. Johnny liked that he intentionally sabotaged himself, but it all came together and worked.

Matthew — Gail says, “Gravy on the cheesecake.” They’re all smiles. Johnny was impressed at how well he controlled all the flavors.

Gail turns to Ad-Rock to be the decision maker. Matthew! Yay! That’s what I had hoped for because I feel like he got the most creative and fun, but still serious about it. In the stew room they all seem happy for him, which is great.

Back at the judges table… Gail thought the combos that should have been the easiest were the worst. These aren’t the people with pork & beans or gravy to work with. (Although Rebecca did get falafel, which is pretty ridiculous.)

Katzie’s dessert didn’t seem risky to them (or to me):

Ad-Rock: And she made french fries with dipping sauces. [shrug] Not a pork & beans brownie.  I’m just saying.
Johnny: You’re just saying? [grin and nod]
Ad-Rock: My culinary standpoint is, I’m just sayin’

Can he come back every week? Please? Because he’s maybe the best judge ever.

"I'm just saying"

Moving on to Rebecca…

Ad-Rock: Again, my culinary standpoint. She f***** up.
Danielle: Yeah [trying not to laugh]
Ad-Rock: It was nasty, y’all. Come on.
Gail: [nodding]

Johnny says it was a garlic bomb.

Moving on to Megan. It was smart that she took two bottles of booze, because that’s easy. But she didn’t really do anything with it and the onion jam didn’t connect to the rest. The onions reminded Johnny of how your mom puts something on your plate that you think isn’t supposed to be there because she wants to make you eat it. I love you, Johnny. Never change.

In the stew room Megan knows that the onions didn’t work. But they don’t know which of them is going home.

Katzie’s whining (surprise!) about how much work she put into her dessert and how she doesn’t want to go home. She’s stuffing he face with something (M&Ms??) and Rebecca says she needs to stop stress eating. She says it really nicely, but Katzie gets all upset. “Thanks for pointing that out.” *sigh* Oh sweetie, get over yourself. Poor Rebecca apologizes and says she wasn’t trying to be mean and she wasn’t.

It’s decision time. Who’s packing up her tools and going home? Rebecca. She goes to the table and shakes hands with everyone. In the stew room she jokes about running away and eloping with Ad-Rock then she tells them that she loves all of their hair and hopes they all win. She leaves still loving the Beastie Boys but hating falafel. I love her and will miss her, her hot pink cast, and her crying. Really, I will.

Next week is all about chocolate! I love chocolate! Not just to eat, but to work with and to see what pros do with it. I hope they get Jacques Pepin Torres (wrong Jacques, not that they aren’t both amazing) to judge. There’s no one in the world like him when it comes to chocolate. I predict major bitchiness from Orlando and Sally saying two mean things about Katzie. See you next week.

As always, check out the extra features on including:

Extended Judging
Rebecca’s Exit Interview
Photos of plated desserts