Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dessert Wars

I was wondering how they were going to adapt Restaurant Wars into a dessert only setting. I'm not sure I like it. It somehow loses a bit of the drama that chefs cooking multi-course meals usually deal with. I know they had special orders but still. Let's review. The challenge for our two teams was to prepare and stock a pastry shop. Each chef had to prepare 3 desserts on the menu and one item on the menu is required to be a bread item. The reward, aside from bragging rights to having won the first Dessert Wars, is $30,000. Nice. So off they go to shop...where nothing exciting happens but still you have to pimp the grocery store or no free access to film inside the store.
Back at the kitchen things start to get interesting. Two of Team Diva's desserts involve pie or tart crust. Simple right? A building block of every pastry chef's training. But if you work in a larger scale bakery that cranks out a lot of pies and tarts, there are machines that help you roll your dough (dough sheeter) into thin, precise crusts.
The black team has no problem using this machine. However Whiny Heather chooses to hand roll all the dough for her team. Why? Could be she's had bad experiences with a dough sheeter in the past and is uncomfortable using it. Or. It could be that she fears it will be seen as a short cut. While this is the first season of Just Desserts, the chefs have had plenty of examples of how shortcuts bite them in the ass from 8 seasons of Top Chef. So Heather rolling her own could be a wise choice....IF she rolls all of them perfectly.

Then there's the lemons.
Seems that Morgan can't find two bags of lemons. Since he can't find his two bags of lemons he bought, he claims Yigit took his lemons and on top of that, is upset that Yigit took all the lemons out of the Pantry. If Morgan's not careful the Whiny title is coming off Heather and will be slapped on his broad forehead.

Not much else of interest happens during prep except Yigit covers himself with a large bowl of whipped cream...and not in a good way.

Although as cute as he is I'm betting he could get plenty of folks to cover him in whipped cream in a good way.

Next day finds the chefs hustling to get ready and open their pastry shops. Our guest judge for Dessert Wars is Nancy Silverton, she of many awards, cookbooks and dessert establishments.

Will she be tough? Nit picky? Will the chefs be ready in time?

The black team appears to be. Team Diva?

Not so much. Now I watched closely to see if Team Diva's case ever looked as full as the black team's case and below is the best I could find.

Some stuff but just not as eye catching as the black team's display. Not a good choice. Onto the desserts.

zacs desserts


yigits desserts


heathers desserts


morgan's desserts


erics desserts


danielle desserts


The best in my opinion and the ones I'd buy if I were in the two shops? Zac's donut offering and Morgan's Chocolate Mousse, as much as it pains me to say in Morgan's case. While he might be a total dick he has a ton of talent. Zac loves to fry things and I love him for that. However over all Whisk It Away takes the title and the money.
The worst is Heather's crust for her lemon tart and Yigit's chocolate tart. Her decision to hand roll turns out to be the wrong one. Now because Team Diva lost they come in for the most criticism which they no doubt deserved. But part of me is kinda pissed that the black team put up a chocolate chip cookie and a pretzel stick as Dessert War entries. I thought Johnny's bullshit line about having something you know will sell was crap. It's Dessert Wars, I want amazing. Geez, at least make an interesting shape with the pretzel.

In the end Whiny Heather finally whines no more.


Making Space said...

I liked the episode but had no frame of reference - I've never been in a dessert shop really...

I agree with liking Zac's donut and (heavysigh) Morgan's offerings generally.

moi said...

I actually liked the challenge quite a bit and thought it was well-played. Num, num, num to the lemon creme tart and Morgan le Fey's chocolate mousse thingee.

And although I adore Nancy Silverton, I simply must wonder why the gal persists in that Sideshow Bob hairdo?

Big Shamu said...

I liked the epi too I just think it needs a wee bit of tweaking to make it more exciting.
Interesting that they didn't designate leaders of their teams nor did the judges look for any.

Melissa said...

I thought it was alright. But that pretzel stick completely reminded me of the Meat Hand Meatloaf. uhg! And I agree with that "something you know will sell" is crap. Really? Maybe at Auntie Ann's and the Cookie Factory at the Mall, but if I'm at a high-end dessert shop, it's doubtful I'm going for the pretzel or chocolate chip cookie. Unless I'm at an All-Inclusive resort, and I'm picking out 5 or 6 items! But that's an entirely different story.

Big Shamu said...

I had to google Meat Hand Meatloaf and for all those unhappy with my Halloween squash skulls, be happy i didn't know about this particular Halloween dish. It's creepy for oh so many reasons and yes, Melissa, Morgan's pretzel works on that level.

Boxer said...

It wasn't one of my favorite shows. There's no way they can put together a realistic pastry shop and I don't think the right team won. Even though I'm not a fan of the whole "Team Diva" thang, I thought their product was better. Although Morgan's desert with the square in the center looked really, really good. Heather should have been sent home for her horrible job of working the front counter. She seemed bored and un-interested. AND, her facials expressions are now bordering on needing medication.

I love all of the pictures of the desserts you have up. Hmmmm. Nearly lunch time and now I'm extra hungry.

Boxer said...

Danielle, not Heather. Oops. Low blood sugar.

Big Shamu said...

True Boxer about putting together a realistic pastry shop but I'm willing to cut them some slack since this is the first season. I have to agree about Danielle. It was as if she had delibretely censored herself almost into invisibility.
Sorry about the yummy photos. Hits your sweet spot in a way Top Chef never could, huh?

LaDivaCucina said...

Moi, all I can say is "bitch stole my comment!" Sideshow Bob or Simply Red? You decide. (I'm glad I'm not the only one snarkin' about that stuff!)

oh yeah, desserts. Who wants to walk into a dessert shop with an empty case, you want it overflowing with goodies! If I walked into that shop, I'd go for the caramel bacon corn, the kalamata brioche and Morgan's choc mousse creme brulee cake! The banana bread and the pretzel thing are just sad.

Good job on adding all the photos, Sham, my memory doesn't hold this sort of stuff....