Just Desserts Plus Kettle and Caramel Corn

Top Chef Just Desserts is really getting down to the wire! Only a few more weeks until we have our winner. Last night, we got to see lots of scenes in the house, which I just love. And, Hubert returned!! He makes my little heart go pitter-pat. For a video of Hubert making the perfect pie crust (well, almost perfect. Coconut oil would have made it even better!) click here:


We also get Francois Payard in this episode, judging pies in the Quickfire Challenge. Know who should have been judging the pies? ME! I have pie judging experience. I’ve gone through training. I’m certified or something.

Anyway, the twist in the challenge is that the chefs can only use one hand to prepare their pies. WHAT? Now that’s just stupid. How is that going to determine who is the best chef? Too gimmicky for me.

Matt makes a rhubarb pie because it’s French, but accidentally touches the plate with his hand and is disqualified. Carlos uses liquid nitrogen to cool his pies and it looks like it splashes on the pies. Orlando makes a scrumptious-looking berry pie because peeling apples is too hard. Sally’s pie is too tart, and Payard doesn’t like that she added ice cream at the end, because the pie shouldn’t need anything added to it. I call shenanigans! Pie + ice cream= the only freaking way you should ever serve pie. Unless you are my dad, who adds cheddar cheese to his. Weird, huh? Orlando’s double personality comes out when he sucks up to the judges (“Oh gee, thanks so much Chef Payard, it sure was swell cooking for you!”) and Chris gets defensive about his banana cream pie. Carlos wins again and now one more of his children can go to college! Hooray! We never get to find out if Matt’s pie was up to snuff because it doesn’t even look like anyone bothered to try it.

The next challenge is announced, and this time the cheftestants will be making upscale carnival food. How exactly is that all that different from waterpark food? Erin says this reminds her of Barton G in Miami, whose desserts are whimsical, elegant carnival food. Yum! Sally goes with a caramel corn inspired dish, which I was hoping someone would make. Matt makes an upscale McDonald’s apple pie. Orlando combines apple and chocolate, which is a little weird. The chefs get $400 and 30 minutes to shop at Sur La Table and pick up any equipment they need for cooking and serving. I can’t even shop for groceries in 30 minutes, much less make decisions in a fabulous store like Sur La Table! Back in the kitchen, the “bromance” appears to be over, as Matt calls Chris a “douche” to the camera for hogging the equipment. Johnny visits the kitchen and talks to Chris, who seems to be making up everything as he goes along. Johnny looks very intensely annoyed as he speaks to Orlando and Carlos. Sally accidentally leaves her pudding in the freezer, and is stressed out. However, it is Carlos, Orlando, and Matt who get wasted playing drinking games back at the house and reveal lots of things they are probably regretting this morning. It’s funny, Matt knew to keep his mouth shut at the judges table last week, but can’t seem to stop revealing embarrassing info for the camera. Even though Orlando admits to drinking a half bottle of vodka, it is Carlos who looks super hung-over the next day in the kitchen. And to top it off, his macarons are too dry to be served to the judges. He decides to make angel food cake instead, which seems like a big jump from macarons. Wouldn’t cookies have been a more logical substitute? He makes some adorable mini churros and a homemade strawberry soda. The whole thing looks like a tiny happy meal. So cute!

The event starts and Hubert and the other judges (who was Joanie by the way?) walk around and taste the creations. Matt raffles off some ceramic pigs as his “carnival game” (huh?) and Sally’s pudding turns out okay after all (actually, the judges LOVED it!)

Don’t think I didn’t spy all that coconut water in the closet where they make the contestants sit during deliberations! Judging begins and apparently, Gale doesn’t like sticky fingers and squishy desserts. Johnny doesn’t like warm strawberry compote (me neither) or the combination of chocolate and apples (who does? I think there is a reason it’s not a more popular combo). Matt (“Matchoo,” says Payard, haha) wins the challenge and Carlos is sent home, which I’m sure angered a lot of people who were ready to see Orlando leave. I really liked Carlos and would have loved to see him win! Who are you rooting for?


And now, a yummy recipe inspired by last night’s episode….


Kettle/Caramel Corn

1/4 cup Kelapo Coconut Oil

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 popcorn kernels


Heat coconut oil in large pot over medium-high heat.  Throw a few kernels into the oil while heating.  You will know the oil is hot enough once they have popped.  Add popcorn kernels and sugar, stir quickly and cover with lid.  Constantly keep moving pot around so the sugar does not burn on the bottom.  Remove from heat once most of the kernels are popped.

For Caramel Corn: Change the white sugar to brown sugar!




– AM & JR

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