Sunday, September 19, 2010

Top Desserts


Oh...stop, I know it's called Just Desserts but you might as well call it Top Desserts. Producers of the massively popular Top Chef series add another knife to their block of shows. If you like Top Chef but think it needed more of a snarky gay vibe, Just Desserts is the show for you. Let's review how it differs from Top Chef.

Top Chef
  • Hostess - Padma Lakshmi
  • Number of Chefs - 17
  • Head Judge - Tom Colicchio
  • All chefs live together in the same house
  • Two challenges per show, Quick Fire & Elimination
  • Numerous Guest Judges
  • Rotating Permanent Judge (Gail Simmons or Eric Ripert)
  • Typically one chef eliminated per episode, on occasion, two
  • Basic formula, Chefs at the living space waking up, missing the eliminated, trash talk, leaving in Pimp Mobile, Quickfire, eating of the Quickfire, judging of the Quickfire, explanation of the Elimination Challenge, shopping at Whole Foods, cooking the Elim, serving the Elim, judging the Elim, Stew Room, Removal of the Eliminated
  • Extensive use of One on One interviews to extract as much snarky commentary as possible
  • Head Judge walking through the cooking of the Elim Challenge food but not as a mentor or an adviser
  • Use of both single contestant challenges and team challenges
  • Quickfire win - immunity until later rounds
  • Prizes - $125,000 (other seasons $100,000), feature in Food & Wine, a showcase at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, and Title of Top Chef
  • High Stakes Challenge - cash prizes sometimes for Quickfires
  • Show location - changes every season
  • Shopping Location of Choice - Whole Foods
  • Elimination Catch Phrase - Pack your knives and go (PYKAG)
  • Rules - There are no rules

Just Desserts
  • Hostess - Gail Simmons
  • Number of chefs - 12
  • Head Judge - Johnny Iuzzini
  • All chefs live together in the same house
  • Two challenges per show, Quick Fire & Elimination
  • Numerous Guest Judges
  • Rotating Permanent Judge (Hubert Keller or Dannielle Kyrillos)
  • Typically one chef eliminated but with only 12 chefs, highly doubtful they'd auf two
  • Basic formula, Chefs at the living space waking up, missing the eliminated, trash talk, leaving in Pimp Mobile, Quickfire, eating of the Quickfire, judging of the Quickfire, explanation of the Elimination Challenge, (possibly shopping at Whole Foods,) cooking the Elim, serving the Elim, judging the Elim, Stew Room, Removal of the Eliminated
  • Extensive use of One on One interviews to extract as much snarky commentary as possible
  • Head Judge walking through the cooking of the Elim Challenge food but not as a mentor or an adviser
  • Use of both single contestant challenges and team challenges
  • Quickfire win - Immunity (probably until later rounds)
  • Prizes - $100,000, feature in Food & Wine, a showcase at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival, a German engineered, sport injected Buick (snort) and undetermined winner's title
  • Undetermined if there are High Stake challenges with cash prizes
  • Show location - this season, LA
  • Shopping Location of Choice - ?
  • Elimination Catch Phrase - Pack your pastry bag and go (PYPBAG)
  • Rules - I'm guessing, just like Top Chef, there are no rules
So....not so much different from 7 seasons of Top Chef. However it has the potential to be much more interesting than the most recent seasons of TC. For all of Top Chef's attempts to connect with all food lovers, there are many challenges that involve items that are just not universally known or consumed. Not everyone has tasted wild boar or eel. With Just Desserts you are better able to connect with so many more viewers. Yes, not everyone has tasted high end chocolate but I challenge you to find an American who has not at least tasted chocolate in some form. Americans consume on average, 12 pounds of chocolate a year (although 16 European countries are kicking our asses in that category) so when they linger lovingly on a luscious chunk of chocolate, you know quite a few mouths start to water.
Another reason for optimism? Call it the Project Runway Butterfly Effect. Gay men are quick witted, snarky and highly entertaining. Put them in a high pressure reality show competition and you've got TV gold and my little crack monkeys, Just Desserts is packed chock full of the gay chips.


Yes Zac is cuter than a bug's ear. Let's review - Pros of Just Desserts: Gail Simmons, my favorite judge looking yummier than ever, a whole show about desserts with enough food porn to make the network censors blush, Gay Drama, and the first season of any new Bravo show is always the best. Cons? Well it's a carbon copy of Top Chef and we all know how sick I am of that format, Johnny's sideburns, and the constant reminders that pastry chefs and regular chefs are different. Here's hoping that one of those three gets severely shaved as the season goes along. Let's hear what you thought of episode one and what sort of challenges you hope to see down the road.

14 comments:

Syd said...

No. I refuse to watch this.

Top Appetizers would be more interesting. We already have cake OVERKILL on the Food Network. I don't want to see any more God Damned desserts.

Please don't make me watch it. You ARE going to make me, aren't you?

Big Shamu said...

Yes, yes I am. My advice to you is to stop watching the Food Network all together. It's rotting your mind.

I would LOVE Top Appetizers. Or Amuse My Bouche.

Making Space said...

Syd. LOL

Zach "Bathroom Issues" Disco-dust blower is enough to keep me watching (I watched the first episode twice and shrieked about the "bathroom issues" both times).

And then there's Morgan. Ah, Morgan. I've never watched a cooking show where there was a good chance the cast of "Cops" (cue "Bad Boys" theme music) stood a good chance of raiding the kitchen.

Come on. Sugar, gay boy drama, and free-floating psychotic violent threats. WITH CHOCOLATE.

Syd, Syd, Syd. How CAN you resist? Plus, Zach looks like the kind of

Making Space said...

Um, continuing from an apparent lapse in cognition above...

Zach seems like the kind of elf you pat for good luck. Happysigh...

moi said...

As an amateur baker (that distinction is getting pounded into the ground as well), I admit I'm hooked. Gail is a major draw for me, since she not only has oodles more personality than Padma, she is also more articulate in her assessments and she dresses better. I'm also sick of the fact that every latest and greatest "cutting edge" chef that's paraded in front of us looks like they just graduated the Stray Cats School of Style Tips for Rebels Without a Clue. Get another look, guys.

Big Shamu said...

Bwhahahahahah Moi. I keep expecting Johnny's head to start jiving back and forth every time he speaks.

Boxer said...

I'm hooked too. I'm a baker, not a cook or chef so this appeals to me on many levels. I hadn't realized how bad Padma is until I saw what GOOD looks like; Gail.

I didn't have a problem with "Squiggy" the judge because the contestants seem to like him. But looking at him made me seem old and Moi's description made me nearly spit my coffee out. Word.

I agreed with one contestant that said baking without recipes is difficult and I agree. I've always thought it seemed easier to make a stew than it does a good muffin or cupcake.

Big Shamu said...

Now is Boxer being hooked a direct result of the lingering effects of her recent sugar rampage....

Dani said...

Damn, I missed it!! Gonna set it to record now, so I don't forget again.

Big Shamu said...

DANCE Sugar Monkeys, DANCE!!!!

intuitive eggplant said...

I was pleasantly surprised by the first episode of Top Desserts. I really like Gail in the hosting role. There are a number of contestants I’m already enjoying, and I’ve got a lot of respect for the level of talent. Overall, there just seems to be much more energy with this show than there was with the last season of Top Chef. You’re right too, Shamy, that the first season of many of these shows is often the best. They’ve not yet gone stale and formulaic, and it’s interesting to watch them unfold.

P.S. I would totally watch Top Appetizers

Aunty Belle said...

Gail outshines Padma hands down--

Thas' all I got on TV food--what I'd like to see is food program that is about how we can eat more real food, not GMO, CAFO, plastic food--where the chef's use grass fed beef, organic cheeses, locally grown veggies--would that be boring? not enough drama?

Food Criminals on Back Porch.

LaDivaCucina said...

I thought these were the bitchiest contestants yet! It made me think, "ooh yeah, can't wait to see someone get bitch slapped" and you know it's gonna happen!

Our friend Sandee Birdsong (Season 3 Top Chef contestant) is now one of the culinary producers on the show, so I'm really happy for her and hope it's a hit.

I have to agree with Moi's comments, as per usual. It will be interesting to see how this show "pans" out!

Aunty Belle said...

Oooooh! Shamy, I wuz surfin the organic sites fer thangs to do wif some organic goat cheese, an looky heah at this recipe fer chevre, arugala and mushroom lasagna!!

http://organictobe.org/2010/09/16/organic-recipe-lasagna-with-chevre-arugula-and-crimini-mushrooms/