home Archive Top Chef: Just Desserts – Ep 5 – How Can You Go Wrong With Funnel Cake?

Top Chef: Just Desserts – Ep 5 – How Can You Go Wrong With Funnel Cake?


Just Desserts is just working over my television viewing emotions this season. They send a Real Housewife our way. Boo! Then a Willy Wonka themed episode. Yay!! And now, oh man, it’s just too hard to talk about. Don’t they know who they’re dealing with here? I don’t ask for much in my reality shows, but one thing I want is for the best looking woman to last all the way to the end. I am a simple man, with simple needs; I am not ashamed to say it.

But no. Just Desserts had to go and send home Rockman this week. I know, I know, they tried to even it out with some bikini shots and the revelation that she’s of Russian heritage (I am an unabashed Russophile), but that’s it for my Just Desserts babe. And worst of all, she was done in by something unrelated to cooking or baking. She was done in by passiveness.

At the water park challenge, Rockman had the risky, and yet correct, plan to make funnel cakes. These tasty and wildly fattening treats are a theme park staple. No one else was willing to take the chance and use the fryer at the park, as things could go wrong with the tricky devices. Rockman also made a fruity variation on the cake which could have been very effective. However, teamed with Carlos and Macho, she did not interject when the judges went to the other two first, leaving Rockman with chilling cakes. They slowly got colder, and harder, and less edible. She should have asked to go first. At the bare minimum, she should have asked the judges to wait as she made some new plates for them. Either way, choosing to timidly wait her turn, something which seemed totally out of character for Rockman, led to her demise.

Personally, and not because of her hotness, I thought the axe should have fallen elsewhere. I understand why it was Rockman, the way it was described, those cakes were like rocks. However, as mentioned earlier, it was a good idea doomed by inaction rather than execution or concept. It was also a dish appropriate for a water park, some of the others made no sense whatsoever. Hot strawberry shortcake served on demand? Crazy. A super thick, super sweet bar which Gail described as a hunk of foie gras? Disgusting. A root beer surprise where the surprise is that there is no root beer float to be found? Confusing. I’m not losing my mind over this one, but I though either Matt or Orlando were going to go. Or for karma purposes, Carlos. He hogged the ice cream machines, forcing Katzie and others to scramble. Carlos had no problem with this. However, when Hammer used a liquid nitrogen tank he prepared – tanks they all shared – it was a criminal offense. But, alas, it was the tattooed, hot Russian lady. Not good.

Other than that, it was a fairly non-descript episode. Nothing really all that awful happened, but I guess it was inevitable for the show to have a letdown following the superior effort last week. Both challenges were rather good, and in all seriousness, there were no crimes in the choices for wins and defeats. It was just kind of like a sugary treat, pretty good at the time, but really no lasting effects.

I am starting to come to the realization that Just Desserts will always be the JV squad of Top Chef. I worry that they will start running low on ideas for good and effective challenges. Make your own candy bar is great, but at some point, how many times are they going to be asked to make a candy bar? With Top Chef: Classic covering all aspects of cooking – including desserts – they are open to a wealth of options. The problem with making a spin-off show which has a distinct niche to work from is that you are painting yourself into a corner long term. I look forward to seeing how the show addresses this problem, but for now, there are still some good options left.

Quickfire – Gail and world famous pastry chef Pouchet Ong give the nine chefs remaining instructions to make their own candy bar. My thoughts instantly shoot back to my youth and the Reggie Bar. Man, that was delicious. Chefs get one and three-quarters hours to cook, which seems rather random to me. You have 105 minutes. Go.

The big development here is where Carlos and Rebecca collide and Rebecca’s injured arm gets hit. This could have been a factor as Rebecca later dropped her entire dish on the floor. Stunningly, season-long villain Orlando stepped forward and offered to help her make a dish, any dish. Everyone was stunned – the other chefs, viewers, Rebecca, Orlando, people not even watching the show, and even the recently deceased. And, they made a good dish – to the point where Rebecca wound up in the Top Two.

Other interesting things – Macho wisely tailored her candy bar to the judge by making an Asian inspired bar. Matt ran out of time and had to glaze the bar with chocolate, thus leaving the bottom side free of chocolate. Carlos seems to have a banana obsession – he even had one tucked in his shoulder pocket, and Hammer made what I thought was the best, with a milk and white chocolate bar.