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Mr. chocolate Jacques Torres - guest judge for episode #1

Tonight was the first episode of Top Chef: Just Desserts and it’s late so I’ll just post some initial observations.  Episode one featured exploding desserts, lots of crying and offered a glimpse as to which chefs will be at each other’s throats by episode #2.  IN short, a great start to the series .

Episode #1 revealed a number of interesting personalities, such as Zac Young from New York who, in addition to wearing a bow-tie, had many great one-liners “I am sure if you took a bite out of him he would ooze chocolate” (referring to guest judge Jacques Torres.”  And Morgan Wilson, who before the season is over, will probably throw another chef through a plate glass window. Then there was head judge Johnny Iuzzini, who seemed to be taking this gig seriously and did not pull any punches in his feedback to the chefs.

The most provocative item of the show was the  ”coming attractions” for the rest of the series.  It was filled with short clips of the cast members making all kinds of threats and taunts to each other.  It really made me curious to see future episodes regardless of the cool desserts and guest judges.

[warning episode #1 spoilers ahead] The New Yorkers more than held their own in episode #1.

Seth Caro got the New York chefs off to a good start with his Steamed Malaysian Coconut Cake with Basil Buttercream and Candied Pine Nuts, which won the Quick Fire challenge and got him immunity for the elimination round.  He seemed to have a lot of testosterone and will definitely be one of the characters who will get some air time.  Seth not only won the Quick Fire but also made the top three in the elimination challenge with his Madras Curry and Chocolate Palette with Raspberry Gelee.

Eric Wolitzky from Red Hook’s Baked bakery impressed the judges with his spiced brownie with ancho chili ginger and cinnamon, but didn’t make the top three.

Finally, Zac Young from Flex Mussels established himself as the “strong personality” to beat in the competition and also made the top three in the elimination challenge with his Vanilla Bean Cupcake with Lemon Curd and Blood Orange Marshmallow.

Zac Young

When he found out he made the top three he began crying and rattled off a few good one liners including comparing making the top three with his dessert “to having a baby and sedning him off to school for the first day” – to which judge Gail Simmons (who recently actually had a baby) said “and you have a lot of experience with that?

Winner of episode 1 Heather Hurlbert

Neither of the two New Yorkers could beat Heather Hurlbert who took home the first elimination challenge of the competition for her Dark Chocolate Mousse Torte with Chocolate Grand Marnier Sauce.

The bottom three were:

Danielle – her dessert “exploded” when you tired to put a fork in it, said Johnny I. – Exploding desserts= not good!

Tanya – She knew the texture of her mousse was grainy and the chef’s agreed.  Gail liked chocolate layers but it wasn’t enough.

Morgan – Johnny could not tell what the cube shaped item was in his “Chocolate Fried Pie with Milk Chocolate Bourbon Flan” Johnny said he tried to do too much and Jacques said he didn’t focus enough on chocolate.  Danielle said something was missing.

First to be voted out of the kitchen: Tanya

Other notes: Hubert Keller did not make an appearance on the show. As I said earlier, according to the coming attractions for next week, there will be some major static between Morgan and at least one other contestant. He is shown throwing out another contestants softening butter!

For Fabio Viviani’s first take: Go here.

Go here for an interview with contestant Zac Young from New York’s Flex Mussels

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

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.

Go here for a closer look at Judge Danielle Kyrillos.

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

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