Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

A second serving of Top Chef :Just Desserts,a double Design Star elimination and witchy warfare on True Blood

The second season of Top Chef:Just Desserts had the new crew of contenders meet up at a malt shop for their first Quickfire Challenge. They had to work in teams of two to whip a modern take on soda shop favorites,something that was harder than it seemed to be.

The winners for this round were Amanda and Nelson,who made a chocolate sponge cake served with pistachios and pickled cherries. Those pickled cherries added a nice little twang to the dish,which the judges loved,and gave them both of immunity for the first Elimination Challenge-talk about sweet!

This was another team challenge,with four groups formed to create a showpiece based upon a classic fairytale,along with two desserts that tied into the story.

All of this was to be presented and served at a costume ball for 150 people,including the full panel of regular judges(Gail,Johnny,Danielle and Hubert Keller)who dressed up for the occasion. The guests appeared to be having fun and Judge Gail looked smashing in her red cloak.

Some of the showpieces(and theme treats)worked better than others. Team Jack and the Beanstalk,however,wasn't one of them.

Craig tried to make a good beanstalk but the ladies on his team eventually took over. It looked great from the front yet once you saw the back of that things,all the flaws were exposed,much like a starlet emerging from a limo in a short dress and no panties.

The desserts they made didn't help them out any either-sweet pea sorbet sounds good in theory but apparently not in practice or on the spoon.

The best showpiece of the bunch,in my opinion,was the one made by Team Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It was artistic without sacrificing the simplicity of the story. Anyone taking an objective look at that could easily tell what fairy tale it was.

Team Goldilocks was also smart about their desserts. One was a bear based mix of berries and cake with honey ice cream and the other offered up a sweet version of "baby bear" porridge in a rice pudding style.

Rebecca was nervous about the porridge,particularly when her team mate Orlando(who worked on the showpiece)convinced her to use cut oats instead of rice. Orlando's advice was sound and so was the end result.

The win,however,went to Team Red Riding Hood who did make a very good showpiece. The sugar figurine of Little Red Riding Hood had some nice suggestion of movement to it and the overall effect was great but I still think the Goldilocks one was on another level there.

What earned that team this victory was the accompanying desserts,I suspect. The judges flipped over the bombolini that was rose scented and served with tapioca. It also came with a mini strawberry gel dispenser which added a nifty interactive element to the whole dish.

The team on the bottom and up for elimination was the Hansel and Gretel group. For some bizarre reason,Lina refused to make a gingerbread or even a candy house which is like someone saying "That Snow White centerpiece doesn't need an apple!" What was she thinking?

Melissa objected strongly to that as well as Lina's insistence on making a cake base for the showpiece and she was right,edible display items like this are supposed to be chocolate and sugar only.

Their desserts didn't make sense either. One of them had smoked pineapple and the fella who made that claimed he was trying to capture a "forest" feeling to it. Judge Johnny asked him "Do pineapples grow in your forest?" Good one there,Johnny! Lina was sent home,mainly due to her argumentative nature and for once,I'm glad to see a competition show get rid of a really annoying person right from the start.

Well,things should get even more interesting from here on out. Next week, the competition truly gets heated as a cake display challenge has to deal with warm temperatures. Hope no one has a major meltdown!

The gang on Design Star got to work on an actual person's home as their challenge was to make over several rooms in a house nominated for the network's HGTV'ed series.

Meg had the landing and the foyer to upgrade and while her row of wall lanterns down stairs was a nice touch,the upstairs looked underdone. She's a sweet gal but she does tend to get flustered easily.

Mark,on the other hand,aced his reworking of the living room and dining room. He built a small dividing wall between the spaces as well as put together a great art piece for the living room using a stack of old records that the home owner was happy to have incorporated into the design.

The big winner this week was Karl,who finally got a chance to fully strut his stuff.

The master bed room was greatly transformed,thanks to the textured headboard and window extension treatments that he did,not to mention finding a chandelier that both the husband and wife of the household would be satisfied with.

Good going,Karl! Glad to see you do well on your own here and I hope you keep raising the bar for every challenge.

Two contenders were sent home this time and the first one to go was Leslie. She had one of the children's bedrooms and the parents mentioned that the little boy who it was for liked to perform in front of others.

Leslie had a little stage built,which was nice,but the curtain put up for it appeared to have been snatched from the bathroom shower. Also,there were too many mismatched items crammed in there,giving it a chaotic effect to the room. Two year olds create enough chaos on their own without a designer cranking it up there.

Kevin joined her,due to his family room that had seating issues. The revamp to the fireplace with the homeowner's painting mounted above it was excellent but the wrap around sofa he bought for the room didn't make that area the main focal point,which it should have been.

Another odd choice was the coffee table that Kevin placed in front of the fireplace. With no proper seating arranged by it,that table made no sense in that space.

I really thought Kellie was going to leave instead of Kevin,since she loused up the other kid's bedroom big time.

Word of advice,hon: when a six year old asks for bunk beds and a locker room design,he doesn't mean "make an over-sized bed with a crawlspace and tack up some wooden crates on the wall",which you did!

You claimed that you didn't want the room to look dated as the boy got older but a smart shopping trip to a home office store would've shown you some nice mini lockers perfect for storage up to his college years. Sorry,Kellie,but you really dropped the ball on this one.

Next week,the remaining designers have to do a demo on the Nate Berkus show and hopefully by now,they have their camera personae honed down well:

On True Blood,as Lafayette and Jesus work out a Ghost Whisperer situation and Jessica gets over Hoyt by hooking up with Jason, Marnie's witches are having second thoughts about waging war on the vampires after their big confrontation.

Even Tara is reconsidering her position on the matter and tries to lead a walk out but Marnie/Antonia is deaf to any dissension in the ranks,so she locks them in the Moon Goddess shop with her magic. Sookie shows up later to rescue Eric(with a clearly devious Debbie acting as her assistant) and while she can't save Eric,Tara is able to let her in on Marnie/Antonia's next plan of action:

Marnie/Antonia intends to have King Bill killed at the big Tolerance event in town,using Eric as his executioner. Under the direction of the spell he's under,Eric manages to lure a few of the security vampires on duty away from their posts in order to be magically recruited to the cause.

As Sookie manages to make her way through the crowded room to Bill,all hell breaks loose and it's too soon to tell what bodies will be hitting the floor for good here:


THE SOUP: Even during the midst of summer reruns and limited run series,this show keeps on stirring the best of the midsummer muck. We really should be grateful,since this is way better than actually watching the likes of Jersey Shore:

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