What is it with pastry chefs and crying?
On last week’s Top Chef: Just Desserts, Seth had a tearful meltdown that totally eclipsed any of the sweet cooking he and his competitors managed to produce. This week, it was Malika Ameen’s turn to lose it in front of an esteemed guest.
On Wednesday’s episode, the pastry chef sulked and sobbed after she was unable to execute the Quickfire challenge – to decorate a wedding cake with beautiful and innovative icing and fillings – for guest Sylvia Weinstock, a renowned wedding cake designer.
“What I’ve done, it’s not anything that I’m proud of,” the chef recounted as her confection literally fell to pieces on the table. “This is definitely the worst moment for me.”
Things weren’t so peachy for Seth Caro, who despite not having an all-out nervous breakdown in the kitchen this week, decided to just not do the challenge.
“I’m going to cook my kind of food and I have to believe that’s going to make me win,” he said.
Call him arrogant, clueless or just a poor competitor, but Seth’s subversion of the challenge didn’t win him any praise from Gail Simmons or Weinstock, who lectured the chef (in her grandmotherly way): “It was a wedding cake competition,” she said. “You should have made an effort.”
Malika’s effort was rewarded with a poor review, too, prompting the chef to question her very motivation for competing. “I’m not happy cooking in this environment,” she said.
But perhaps Sylvia’s encouragement spurred her on. The guest judge reminded her that nobody died – it’s just cake!
Then, it was time for the main challenge – a bake sale for a Santa Monica high school. The chefs were divided into two teams – one which raised money for the glee club and the other for the cheerleading squad. Guests would buy dessert tickets for $1 and the winning team would be the one with the most tickets.
Baker Eric Wolitzky was planning a crunchy peanut butter bar but was stymied when Heather Chittum horded all the peanut butter to make peanut butter cookies, after her team basically ordered her to do so.
Seth brought his own kind of drama when he decided to make the decidedly un-kid-friendly financier pastry, worsened by his addition of coffee extract instead of vanilla.
Cue the pep rally. With the glee club and cheerleaders lining up, desserts were served, team spirit was put to the test and Seth dished up ice cream far enough away from the students that his penchant for profanity wouldn’t offend any youngsters.
In the end, Team Pep won, nabbing the most tickets in the bake sale, netting $250 for their team. Team Glee wasn’t too far behind, with $240 in profits. But, ultimately, somebody was going home.
Eric was named winner for his crunchy peanut butter bar, which he augmented with Nutella following the Great Peanut Butter Shortage of 2010. And, Heather C., who never wanted to make a peanut butter cookie in the first place, was forced to take one for the team.
Tell Us: What did you think of the challenge? Who did you want to see go home? And did you think Eric deserved to win?