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Top Chef: Just Desserts – Ep 7 – Death By Chocolate…and Donuts


What’s with the shows I watch this week doing random, nonsensical double eliminations? First, the Amazing Race breaks with form and eliminates a team for not finishing in last. Now, Top Chef takes out a chef near the end of the competition during a Quickfire. Not that there isn’t precedent for a Quickfire elimination, but to have to take place near the end is unfair. This is not how the show is built. Sure, it is dramatic, and unexpected, but that doesn’t make it good.

If I were Megan, I would not be too pleased that I went home on a Quickfire. These sudden challenges, with very limited time, are loads of fun and a great test for the chefs when immunity and other prizes are on the line. Not their show life. Unexpected twists are fun, and they add to the show’s difficulty and appeal, but they should not subtract from the core formula of the show. The person with the least votes should leave the tribe, or stop singing. The last team to the mat stops racing. The designer with the worst clothes stops designing. The chef, who after cooking for several hours, with the worst dish stops cooking.

That’s fair, and that’s what works. It’s just not very fair and I’m disappointed for Megan. Would I have been disappointed if it were Orlando? Well, maybe not as much, but I still think it would have been a BS twist.

Just Desserts added four chefs to the mix this season, up from the 10 last season. They did so without adding episodes, so double eliminations were needed. The first one was during the Real Housewife challenge, and the second this week. As much as I don’t really love the concept of the double elimination, I can live with it early in the season. Plus, the first one had the chefs leaving based on the longer Elimination Challenge. I say, stick with 10 chefs, add episodes, or figure out a better way of axing your chefs.

The second elimination came off of the head-to-head, three-on-three chocolate battle. Randomly, buddies Hammer and Matt got teamed with Katzie, while Mean Girl Macho and Mean Boy Orlando added Carlos. Hammer and Orlando were tasked with making the chocolate showpiece – isolated from view of the other team. Each chef had to make their own dish as well. Hammer decided to do it all himself, while Orlando wrote out his recipe for the other two to make for him. I thought Orlando was in trouble for that, but as it turned out it was his plan that was more effective.

As a result, Team Hammer wound up on the bottom. The judging twist was that old Top Chef standby- each team would cook for the judges and the opposing team. This gave chefs the option of – a) being honest, b) being respectful, or c) being super bitchy. Of course, almost all of them seemed to take choice c. Except Matt, who wanted to keep his mouth shut. Orlando was the biggest offender of choice c – to the surprise of no one.

Katzie took the brunt of the criticism from the other team, but based on the editing of previous episodes, it was hard to discern if it was legitimate critique or Katzie bashing. I hope it was the first, but I felt it was the second. Based on Judges Table, the criticism for Katzie seemed less severe than the boys, and yet she was the one who went home – seemingly for making the cake too big. I’ll miss the goofy giant – she had a great midseason run, but seemed to slow down the last couple of weeks. The youngest competitor held her own, but leaves just a few steps from the end.

And once again, Top Chef is in danger of continuing its sausage problem. Eight regular Top Chef seasons, three Masters and one previous Just Desserts has produced just one female champion. I am starting to wonder if the judges have a gender bias, or if the nature of high-class kitchens simply lends itself to male domination. I don’t want to think that the judges have this innate bias, I just think the industry in general is extra hard on women. Many people, me included, didn’t know how nutty these chefs were until these shows started to feature them. The really unexpected thing was the amount of unbridled testosterone which seems to permeate these kitchens. It has translated into the Top Chef results over time. It is up to Macho – someone I have a hard time rooting for – to join Steph as the only ones to break the glass ceiling.

Down to five chefs, there are two episodes left before the finale and the kickoff of Top Chef: Texas. I can really see any of the five winning at this point – unlike last year when Danielle and Zac just seemed outclassed by Yigit and Morgan. I am rooting for Matt – mainly because he is based in my region and I can taste his desserts if I wanted to.

Selfish, I know. But I do what I do.


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