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Archive for the 'Top Chef' Category

Johnny Iuzzini's Crispy Godiva Chocolate and Praline Pop with Cranberry

Earlier this month I attended the New York Food and Wine “Sweet” event, sponsored by Godiva.  One of the star attractions was Top Chef Just Desserts judge and Executive Pastry Chef of the three-star Jean Georges restaurant in New York.  His booth was mobbed all night with people asking for photos and for advice about their desserts.  I heard at least one person tell him about his crazy-ass dessert business ideas.  I have to give Iuzzini credit, he accommodated each and every visitor and listened as intently as an Upper West Side therapist.  See the video after the jump… (more…)

Breaking: Bourdain like’s Fabio’s cheesecake!

Posted by Niko on January 19th, 2011

Fabio making his "excellent" Cheese Cake

Last night on Top Chef Anthony Bourdain finally loved something Fabio made and said so on the show.  And fabio doesn’t even really like making desserts.    He didn’t win, but he came close.

See Part I here: Fabio discusses Top Chef: All Stars  and a life-threatening pie craving!- coming soon!  Read Part II  here.

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Eric Wolitzky's Bundt Cake at the New York Chocolate show

Last week at the New York Chocolate Show DessertBuzz caught up with Top Chef: Just Desserts contestant and pasty chef Eric Wolitzsky for a follow-up interview.  He was in the main kitchen theater about to make a chocolate gingerbread bundt cake for a standing-room-only crowd.

DessertBuzz: The last time we spoke I never even asked you how you became a pastry chef.

Eric Wolitzky: I was actually in the World Trade Center on 9/11 and after that, after I escaped, I decided, I had to embrace what was in my heart so I enrolled in the French Culinary Institute.  That’s basically, how I became a baker. (more…)

Top Chef Just Desserts finalists - Yigit, Morgan and Danielle

The season finale starts off provocatively with  Morgan calling Zac a “Fairy”.  Later, he calls Danielle an idiot for having pastry chef Elizabeth Falkner shell pistachios.  If he wins, he will have definitely bucked the karma trend.  Go here for this episode’s official theme song.


Zac Young showed attendees of the New York Chocolate Show how to make his Oreo dessert

Top Chef: Just Desserts’ Zac Young sat down with DessertBuzz at the New York Chocolate Show after just missing the final three last week.

DessertBuzz: So you have to be  one of the contenders for fan favorite and the $10,000 that comes with it.

Zac Young: I don’t think I am!

DB: Come on, who else would they vote for?

Zac Young of Top Chef: Just Desserts and Flex Mussels

ZY: Yigit!  He takes his shirt off!  Nobody wants to see me with my shirt off!

DB: Don’t be so sure.

ZY: There are a lot of great people on the show who could win it.  I voted for Eric for fan favorite actually.

DB: He really came off as being friends with everyone.

ZY: Eric also had a great progression too.   In his last episode, when he came back and he was like “I’m a chef! I’m a chef!” – I was watching that episode and I was crying all over again – Eric just has the biggest heart in the world.

DB: Were you happy with your TCJD outing?  Would you come back for the All Stars or something else if they invited you?

Yigit with his shirt on

ZY: I would definitely do it again knowing what I know now.

DB: For example, let’s say in January they say they are going to do another show– what would you do differently to prepare?

ZY: I would start memorizing my recipes now!  And maybe brush up on my cakes! [loud laghter].

DB: So there’s this big practical element to the competition, memorizing recipes, that most viewers probably never think about?

The non-chocolate version of Zac's dress.

ZY: Yeah, my strategy going on the show  was to memorize a lot of  bases.  So I had a base mousse, a base ice cream a couple of base cake recipes and then I just kind of flavored them all as I went along.

DB: Do you think the TCJD experience added to you as a chef or as a person?

ZY: Oh definitely, everyone had so many different styles – and we  did so many different things.  I picked up tricks and learned from every single contestant, I even picked up some stuff from Seth.

DB: Can we expect to see some of this new stuff on the menu at Flex Mussels?

ZY: Yes of course!

DB: Are a lot of people stoping by at Flex Mussels to meet you?

ZY: People are stopping by! They’re stopping me on the street, talking to me during dinner!  It’s weird man!   I mean, I cook!  As I said in my extended exit interview, it’s nice to know that people like me and that I can cook.  Going into the show I wasn’t sure if I had gotten to where I am because of my personality or because I’m good at networking or becasue I actually had something to back it up.  And I think the result of the show has shown that I can cook.  I think initially the other contestants thought “he’s just here for his personality” then after the first elimination where I was in top three, people said “crap, he can cook too!”

DB: What’s next for Zac Young–anything new in the works?

ZY: The next step is a donut shop.  We are opening a donut shop as part of the Flex Mussells franchise.  There will be more on that soon.

DB: Erik said he was rooting for Morgan.  Who are you rooting for in the final?

ZY: I’m rooting for Yigit.  My brother.

DB: Well, best of luck with the fan favorite–

ZY: - It’s being announced on my birthday!

DB: Wow, that’s pressure.

ZY: I know.  It’s really the only thing I want for my birthday – maybe that and a pony.

Follow Zac on Twitter.

Zac Young is the Executive Pastry Chef at Flex Mussels.  Go here for Zac’s first DessertBuzz  interview.

Fabio Viviani’s take: Part I is here.  Part II is here.  Part III is here.

Go here for an interview with contestant Eric Wolitzky from New York’s Baked bakery.

Go here for an interview with Dannielle Kyrillos.

For a recap of episode 9 go here.

For a recap of episode 8 go here.

For a recap of episode 7 go here.

For a recap of  episode 6 go here.

For a recap of episode 5 go here.

For a recap of episode 4 go here.

For a recap of episode 3 go here.

For a recap of episode 2 go here.

For a recap of episode 1 go here.

Go here for a look at Johnny Iuzzini.

Official Bravo Bios for the judges: Johnny Iuzzuni – Executive Pastry Chef Jean Georges, Hubert Keller – Owner/Chef Fleur De Lys, Gail Simmons – Food and Wine Magazine, Dannielle Kyrillos – Daily Candy

Go here for the DessertBuzz Top Chef: Just Desserts preview page.

Danielle puts the finishing touches on her cake

Quickfire: The chefs had to create  4 unique chocolates to represent 4 milestones in their lives.  Francois Payard is the guest judge.  Morgan worked for him in Brazil.  And of course Johnny worked for him in New York.  It’s a small pastry chef world.

After watching the first 10 minutes of the show – the DessertBuzz review team agreed that all 4 remaining chefs were being kind of obnoxious.  Interestingly, Danielle is the least obnoxious of the group during this period.  Will that be a sign that she has matured? (more…)


This week’s guest judge was Shinmin Li – she’s got some beautiful cakes and was very well spoken on the show.  What I like about her most  was that she really gives it to the contestants, telling them exactly what she liked and didn’t like.  She seems tough but honest.  The contestants have to make something with candy flowers.  Eric and Morgan think they have a good chance in the quickfire and start talking smack to the camera. Danielle says she “doesn’t do sugar flowers”.  Morgan “accidentally” destroys one of Yigits edible vases.  Shinmin was very tough judging these.  Even with her favorites. Morgan wins the quickfire. (more…)