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'Top Chef: Just Desserts': Seth crumbles like a French apple pie crust

September 23, 2010 |  5:07 pm


Things started off hunky-dory in the "Top Chef" kitchen, the peppy pastry chefs and bakers prepping desserts fashioned from old school penny candy for the quickfire. Then the nitrogen ran out and Seth dropped the bomb. His passion fruit vanilla sorbet wouldn't freeze, and he completely lost it like a kid denied in a candy store. Granted, the guy's mom is going through some serious health issues, but it's a bit early in the competition to be totally worn down.

The contestants awkwardly mused at his breakdown until Citizen Cake's Elizabeth Falkner, who was on set as a guest judge, stepped in to calm him down with a pep talk. Seth had started out really strong with his Southeast Asian-inspired desserts in the first episode, but is buckling under the pressure.

Our local pastry chef Danielle Keene ended up winning the penny candy quickfire with one of my favorite childhood desserts, a dirt cup with gummy worms, closely trailed by Heather C's vanilla panna cotta with passion fruit candy gelée and Zach, who featured aniseed in both desserts of the night: the first a chocolate and sour cream Ho Ho with red hot cream cheese filling and a black licorice coulis made with Pernod, and for the elimination, a play on a Jägerbomb made with dark chocolate malt cake with Benedictine cremeux.

The contestants headed to Mark Peel's Tar Pit  for the elimination, where they were given the challenge of creating confections inspired by cocktails. This is where I almost had my own breakdown; between the dirt cups, margarita bombes, tuiles and tarts, my sweet tooth was going into overdrive! I couldn't decide what I wanted more -- a cocktail or a coulis. (Guess that's where Alie & Georgia come in handy, huh?)

Peel had the contestants pick coasters with numbers, assigning them an order to go behind the bar and pillage ingredients for their desserts. Seth's bum luck left him last, and what ensued was not pretty. The bar's well was absent of the grapefruit juice he needed for his dessert, and he freaked out, going off like a loose cannon. 

The rest of the contestants were flustered, and the situation became even worse when Seth knocked  Zach's chocolate squares off the tiered tray and onto the floor. He seemed to be turning himself into a bit of a basket case. Maybe he just needs to sit back and take a taste of Erika's winning tequila-filled margarita bombe, which embraced the challenge, using all the elements of the original cocktail, including the salt, in a beautiful half sphere. Or maybe a slice of Eric's drunken Bourbon pineapple upside-down cake would do the trick?

Regardless of Seth's poor performance, it was Tim who was kicked off for the melty, chunky soup he called a basil granita. But I'm curious what you think about Seth's future on the show. Is his talent enough to pull him through, or will he crumble like a French apple pie crust?

-- Krista Simmons

Follow me on Twitter @kristasimmons

Photo courtesy of NBC UMV