'Top Chef Just Desserts' Premiere Recap: Fairy Tales Can Flop

Johnny Iuzzini and Dannielle KyrillosTalk about fancy food. Top Chef Just Desserts premiered tonight for its second season on Bravo, and while taste has always been paramount on any of the Top Chef shows, this season's twist is that the chefs have to be able to make the food look good too -- really good. 

After a quickfire challenge in which the 14 chefs were asked to prepare nostalgic desserts in a soda shop (yes, almost everyone used bananas in some shape or form), they were broken up into teams of three for a fairy tale challenge. Each team had to create a “showpiece” dessert (basically an edible work of art) inspired by a fairy tale assigned to them as well as two other desserts supporting the theme. Easy as pie, right? Only no one went with pie.


There was Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldilocks, and Hansel and Gretel, and the showpieces they made for them were amazing. Spun sugar, sculpted chocolate, and all sorts of sugary tricks created beautiful works of art -- the kind you'd be terrified your kid (or you) would try to nonchalantly nibble at some fancy event and destroy in the process. When the tasting party started, the showpieces were actually kept behind ropes, probably for this very reason.

Team Hansel and Gretel was the only team that really blew it, and for a pretty dumb reason -- the witch's house was lame. Instead of a gingerbread house, it was just a chocolate cake house, which Lina Biancamano insisted upon, and there wasn't even any candy on it. Duh, why would those kids go up to a boring old brown house? 

Her teammate, Melissa Camacho, was irate over this choice, and even said she wanted to kick their table over before judging so that they wouldn't be embarrassed. She pretty much told the judges the same thing and threw Lina under the bus during judging ... and it worked. Lina was the first sugar chef sent packing.

Melissa I'm sure will continue to be a problem this season. She's brash and emotional, and I wonder how long she'll last. Another contestant who likely will cause problems and/or be sent home early: Craig Poirier. The judges called him immature at Judges' Table, and he just seems like a nervous wreck when it came to everything. Maybe he'll be a dark horse though, who knows.

While it was difficult to get too much of a read on the contestants' talents tonight since everything this week was done in teams, if I was betting on a season winner at this point, my money would be on Sally Camacho (presumably no relation to Melissa who shares the same last name). A pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck's WP24 restaurant in L.A., (and incidentally, a former teacher of Craig's), she seems calm, confident, and talented.

Overall, it looks like we're in for an interesting and visually entertaining season. Make sure you keep your toothbrush handy, though, because I swear just watching all that sugar has started to give me cavities already.

Did you watch Top Chef Desserts tonight? Any early picks for a winner?

Image via bravotv.com

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