Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Top Chef gets their Just Desserts,a TAR couple is lucky in more than love and who will be the Next Iron Chef?

For the last challenge of this first season of Top Chef:Just Desserts,the Final Three were tasked with making a four course tasting menu. On Day One of their prep,they had to choose a sous chef from three well known ladies in that field-Elizabeth Faulkner(who had guest judged during the Seth Red Hots meltdown episode),Sherry Yard and Claudia Fleming.

Danielle wound up with Elizabeth Faulkner and Yigit had Sherry Yard while Morgan ended with Claudia Fleming,who he was rather dismissive towards despite telling all of them that he had their books on his shelf. After that initial day of set-up(that went well for at least two out of the three finalists),former TC:JD contenders were called in to be selected for active duty.

Tim was picked via cookie pull for Yigit and so was Tania for Danielle. Morgan's luck of the draw granted him Heather H,not one of his biggest fans. The remainder of the Not Ready for Prime Pastry Time players got to join the other guests and judges out in the dining room to taste the array of hopefully spectacularly sweet treats.

Danielle added a goat cheese plate to her round of desserts,wanting to offer up a palate cleanser in between sugar courses. She served it with hazelnut cake and fig jam that she made herself. It really went over well,better than even judge Johnny expected.

Johnny also had some doubts about Danielle's "ice cream sampler" during the prep but that plate truly knocked some socks off there.

The baked Alaska had Judge Gail swooning in delight,plus the strawberry sundae and root beet float along side it made everyone extremely happy. Danielle has not been the most consistent chef in this competition but she certainly made a strong showing for the finale feast.

Morgan's plan was to have a color theme for his desserts,which worked out for only half of his plates. His opening serving of passion fruit cannoli with mango carpaccio and fluid gel with tarragon jelly was a nice display of yellows that also tasted pretty good.

His big trouble arrived midway,as the manjari souffle cakes on his third dish(served with cocoa nib paper) kept collapsing. Even tho the judges received souffles that were intact,it was hard not to notice the soggy mess that the rest of the party were given.

That paved the way for Yigit to take it home;one of the stand out desserts that he made was a strawberry sorbet with lemongrass ginger ice cream and a berry consomme. The level of sophistication in such a simple dish really rallied the judges to Yigit's corner.

The true triumph of Yigit's menu was his muscovado coconut and pineapple cake. It was incredibly moist and delicious,which earned him the win. I was happy to see Yigit become the first TC:JD champion-while he get a little too big for his britches at one point,eventually Yigit settled down and did produce a number of quality desserts throughout the competition.

Danielle was mostly off course for most of the challenges and a tad dippy as well but she did get it together by the end. Morgan did have the strongest run in terms of quality but his constant grim mouthed behavior was really off-putting as things went on. Not only was he obnoxious to Claudia Fleming during their kitchen time together(he didn't even bother to give her a proper goodbye when they were done),his sidebar comments about former contender Zac were uncalled for.

Yes,Zac was rather over the top at times and I can easily see how he could get on your nerves but calling him "an annoying fairy" and still expressing the desire to punch him in the face(well after Zac was eliminated from the finale)was beyond the pale. Plus his general condescending attitude towards women and lingering resentment about his divorce that kept popping up at odd moments,Morgan struck me as a rather repulsive sour ball of a human being.

Now that I've gotten that bitter taste out of my mouth,congratulations to Yigit on his win and best of luck to him with his culinary career. Top Chef:Just Desserts was not bad for it's debut season but I do hope that the next batch of pastry chefs are ready to bring the baking more than the drama.

Coming in early December is Top Chef All-Stars,which brings back a number of former favorites for a second shot at the brass ring. That promises to be quite the range of seriously sizzling showdowns-can hardly wait!:

It was a real surprise to see celebrity chef Ming Tsai be taken out of the running for The Next Iron Chef last Sunday,along with Celina Tio. The next to last round had Seduction as it's theme but Tsai's plate of lard laced pork was extremely unsexy to most of the judges.

So,now it's down to Chef Canora and Chef Figione for the final battle this weekend.Frankly,neither one of them made much of an impression on me but I am curious to see how they handle Kitchen Stadium and whatever the secret ingredient will be,so I'll be watching the finale despite not having a dog in this hunt. Good luck,guys,you're going to need it:

Things were getting off to a rocky start for Chad and Stephanie on The Amazing Race,as the two of them overslept and were late to begin the newest leg that sent everyone to Oman.

Their mojo changed for the better as Chad chose a very scenic spot to propose to Stephanie who happily accepted(he had his mother's ring on him the whole way,a sweet touch there).

The two of them managed to stay in first place for most of this leg and by a sheer bit of luck(plus a penalty wait assigned to cranky couple Jill and Thomas),Chad and Stephanie were Team Number One at the Pit Stop as well. They've been somewhat argumentative for awhile but this instant engagement seems to have been a real shot in the arm for Chad and Stephanie,which could bode well for them for the rest of the race. I also hope that renewed energy extends over to their marriage plans,too:


THE FASHION SHOW: This second season of Bravo's attempt to reclaim the fashion runway has undergone some major renovations. Instead of individual competition,the designers have to work in teams as part of a "fashion house" and Iman is now the host,with Isaac Mizrahi in mentor mode.

This show is only two episodes in and we have one guy who crashed and burned already,leaving his house before their presentation and another who has incurred the wrath of Iman during judging twice. The best change here is in letting Iman take over as She Who Must Be Obeyed-her diva power is awe inspiring,to say the least or as Calvin would say,oh here hell come go:

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