We begin the show with product placement from one of the sillier concepts – a gum that tastes like dessert. I’ve seen the commercials, now here’s the challenge. They get Hugh Acheson, from Top Chef Masters – he of the unibrow – to be the guest judge for the Quickfire, and the lady chefs all swoon.
They have to make a dessert that can be, with the magic of, um, industrial food science, turned into a gum. Or at least, a gum with the same general flavor profile. We get pina colada (yeah, coconut. Except I’m supremely indifferent to coconut) and amaretto-strawberry-mascapone pancakes (easily translated to gum form.) And oatmeal cookies and dulce du leche brownies. And Melissa? Melissa is making coffee-flavored gum and that, to me, is the winner. They could make it with or without caffeine, and it would sell big. I am serious here. I’d adore coffee-flavored gum. And yet and still, Craig’s pancakes win. I’m sure they were yummy, but I’m not sure they’d actually be, you know. Good as gum. And breakfast for dessert just sounds – well, what do I know? I’m not a dessert person. Even though I made a pareve whipped topping and frozen fruit bombe this weekend that was, in fact and to my astonishment and disbelief, the actual bomb. I have no idea how that happened but I’m sure Sandra Lee was proud of me.
Anyway, my coffee flavored dream was on the bottom, and Craig gets immunity for the next challenge. Which is to make a dessert buffet for one of the Real Housewives of some city or other. As requested by her husband, who is carrying a little dog into the kitchen. A dog they all recognize, which I do not believe for one minute.
Also. There is a dog. In a professional kitchen. I love dogs. I really, really love dogs. If I see a dog show, all I do is coo over their faces. If I could own a dog, I would (lease forbids.) And I’d have no problems with a dog in my home kitchen because it’s a home kitchen and that’s normal. I would not want a dog, and that includes non-shedding varieties such as poodles (LOVE poodles) in a professional kitchen. My mind just can’t accept this.
Anyway, his wife’s favorite color is pink. And this should be pretty, too. And she loves the dog more than she loves him.
So Craig gets to choose team captains, and it’s him and Amanda, and then they pick teammates, and Melissa is last, again. Which does not make her happy nor does it endear her to her fellow contestants. And she invented the idea of coffee flavored gum!
Anyway, they take two days to make these tables, with Orlando of Craig’s making a showpiece for one of them, and scattering rose petals all over their white table cloth, which is otherwise covered with whimsical and cute and pink dessert items, including sculptures of the doggy. Meanwhile, Amanda’s team (with a pink tablecloth) is going sophisticated and elegant with their pink, with an artfully balanced basket of roses. They also do this thing I really hate, but I do admit was effective – the women wore nice tops and the men wore ties under their chef’s coats. When it came time to serve, they took off their aprons and unbuttoned their coats to reveal this.
I just remember that the first day I showed up at my externship, I had my coat unbuttoned. And my chef, who was the MOST easy-going chef EVER, told me to button up. Of course, they also never wear hats, which also bugs me. I cover my hair for religious reasons, but even if I didn’t, I’d never work in a professional kitchen bare-headed.
But they did look nice. And that is a plus. Another plus was that they used the lady’s favorite drinks as part of their desserts and that they made a treat just for the dog. Smart.
The other team? Not so much, and something about their desserts felt…off. And it included these cheesecake lollipops with cotton candy – impossible to eat.
The end result? Team Amanda (which they call Team Chris to her and my disgust) wins. And Team Craig? Well, the only reason Craig gets to stay (since he basically made lemonade) is that he had immunity. Although, Rebecca stands up for him, saying he was helping everyone. That was just NICE. Nelson goes home for his lollipops.