Last night we got not one, but two, classic Top Chef challenges: the mise en place and dessert wars, a spin-off of the mothership’s popular “restaurant wars” (a.k.a the standard signal that a season is finally getting meaty, and that the finish line is finally coming into focus).
So how fitting then for a bakery shop vs. bakery shop challenge that the two cliques—Team Go Diva and Team Et Cetera—went head to head? There was Yigit, Zac and Heather (Team Go Diva/the red team), on the one side, shanking the competition with their painful exclusivity, inside jokes, and songs about their Korean princess (Heather). In the other corner was Morgan, Eric and Danielle (the black team), who, by default, were forced to band together and try to beat the odds. I know Morgan and Danielle weren’t happy, but with Eric, I just couldn’t tell. Was that a smile? A sad face? A moment of reminiscing about the simpler times of brownies in Brooklyn?
It just so happened the factions split up so plot-pleasingly for the Quickfire, the aforementioned mise en place relay race.
The tasks were: Mold 12 tart shells (Danielle-winner vs. Yigit), pipe eight buttercream roses (Eric vs. Heather-winner), separate and whip six egg whites that would hold for 10 seconds while upside down (Morgan-winner vs. Zac), and stretch strudel dough (black team vs. red team-winner). The black team (Morgan, Eric and Danielle) got off to a quick start when Danielle surprisingly nailed her tart shells, but with some gentle tugging and pulling, the red team (Team Go Diva) stretched their strudel to a Quickfire win—and a cool $3,000 apiece.
The enemy lines remained in place for the Elimination challenge, which was the aforementioned dessert wars! The parameters were a bit different than restaurant wars, but the gist was as follows: Both teams had to create a dessert shop; each contestant had to make three items; two items overall had to be à la minute; and one had to be a bread.
Who’d have thunk it?! The black team served as the epicenter for much of the drama. While the red team forged a solid plan to create an adult candy store called Pastry Playland, the black team was in disarray as soon as they started. Morgan earned the day’s golden pacifier award for responding to Danielle’s sensible leadership direction with “Yes, chef!”, echoing a different cooking show that Just Desserts‘ drama reminds me of. (Morganza had talked at length about not being able to get laid; maybe one quick roll in the self-rising flour would loosen him up a bit?)
Much like their approach to the strudel rolling, the red team started off at a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race pace, but not without a few tablespoons of trash-talk. “I have no idea what their plan of action is, but I’m sure ours is better,” Yigit said. And Heather added that it was “Team Diva vs. Team Losers.” I love Zac and Yigit, but have we ever seen Heather be nice? Korean Disney princess she is not!
But it began to look like Heather would pay for her crimes against good cheer when her team fell victim to its day-one snail pace. They were either stressed (Zac), running around (Yigit), or both (Heather). You just knew it wasn’t going to end well when Heather took on preparation (by hand!) of all the dough.
NEXT: The offending parties stay in the kitchen.