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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.

DB: What was your favorite challenge on Top Chef: Just Desserts?

Close-up of Erik Wolitzky's chocolate gingerbread bundt cake

EW: The bake sale!  Come on! [Eric won this elimination challenge]  It was so much fun to work with the high school kids they were a great inspiration to us.  I also liked it when we worked as a team.  Even though we didn’t seem like we always got along we were actually pretty close.

DB: On the show a big deal was made of the fact that you didn’t you think of yourself as a real pastry chef.

EW: For me I got on the show and being the only baker that’s the title that I embraced.  I mean I was trained at the French Culinary Institute but I love bundt cakes and brownies and nobody else from the show did that really.

DB: Was the highlight of your experience when Johnny Iuzzini praised your talent and skills?

EW: It was!  I finally got to hear what he was thinking.  You know, I saw him the other day and it’s so great to have his support especially because we do such different things and for him to really like what I do and to talk about it on the show–

DB: It seemed really genuine from he viewer’s standpoint.  Zac told me he cried when he watched the show after you came back from that judges table and announced “I’m a chef!”

The Baked bakery Brookie

EW: He (Johnny) was really rooting for me – he wanted the underdog to go through.

DB: Any other validations or warm fuzzy moments from guest judges?

EW: Nancy Silverton‘s (of La Brea) support and comments, that was great for me as a baker – when she told us we were the winning team what you didn’t see was the 5 minutes of complete silence (from shock).

Eric before winning the elimination challenge

DB: Would you do it again for Top Chef: All Stars or a reunion-type show?

EW: Yes, but I would know what I was getting into.  It would be different.  It wouldn’t be “Eric turning into a chef” but “Eric the chef what does he do now?”.

DB: How has it been at Baked have people been stopping by?

EW: You know, I’m in the back and people get nervous about asking for me to come out or going in back.  You have to understand that a lot of people In Red Hook don’t have TVs – none of my staff even have TVs!

DB: Red Hook doesn’t strike me as the type of place where people fawn over a reality TV show star.

EW: No.  On the weekends we do get a lot of tourists though.  Some people do make their way back and that’s nice.

DB: I think people are  going to be surprised to learn that you were rooting for Morgan in the finale and not Yigit or Danielle?

EW: He’s awesome and very inspirirational, I mean he’s a pain in the ass to work with sometimes, and in the dessert wars challenge what they didn’t show was that Morgan didn’t wan’t to do it the way Danielle and I wanted to.  He was really opposed to the comfort food.  He really fought it, but eventually we came together and got behind it and worked as a team.   Morgan and I really respected each other and never butted heads.   We just had drinks this past Wednesday (they are both doing ads for Godiva).

Morgan not too into Eric and Danielle's idea - they won anyway.

And that was the last question I was able to ask before I was overtaken by a mob of chocolate show attendees [all jacked up on sugar and chocolate].

DB: Ok, good luck Eric!

EW: [over crowd noise] Thanks!

Eric Wolitzky is a Pastry Chef at Baked bakery in Red Hook NYC.  Go here for Eric’s first DessertBuzz  interview.

Interviews one and two with Zac Young are here.

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

Go here for an interview with Dannielle Kyrillos.

For a recap of the finale go here.

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.

2 Responses to “Top Chef: Just Desserts’ Eric Wolitzky is a chef! (part II)”

[…] delicious comfort style desserts.  See the DessertBuzz interview with Erik rom last year here and our first interview with Erik here. Eric Wolitzky's Bundt Cake at the 2010 […]

Could I get the recipe for Eric Wolitzky’s marbled citrus blackout cake that he demonstrated at the 2011 Chocolate Show. Had the recipe last year and have lost it!! Thanks.

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