'Just Desserts': Edible arrangements, celebri-tea and Shinmin Li
Warning: Do not read this or scroll down if you haven't watched Wednesday night's episode.
The latest episode of "Just Desserts" brought collapsed edible arrangements, a failed celebri-tea party and Shinmin Li's wrath. But what was most upsetting of all was the departure of Eric, the underdog baker who had blossomed into a pastry chef throughout the season.
For the elimination challenge, the chefs were tasked with making flower sculptures out of pulled sugar, chocolate and other sweets. Zac made a mirrored disco arrangement that looked like a mini version of Jean-Philippe's giant 5-foot mobile flower display in Las Vegas (pictured above), and Danielle put together a sloppy but creative compilation highlighted by candied orange zest roses. Being less comfortable with making large showpieces, Eric the Baker made a giant cupcake using a brioche mold and topped it with dainty buttercream flowers. Guest judge Shinmin was not impressed, and seemed to look down on the fact that he didn't know how to make a proper showpiece.
She did, however, like Morgan and Yigit's creations, both of which utilized pulled sugar. Morgan ended up taking the win, but who knows how that challenge might have resulted had he not accidentally bonked into Yigit's sugar vase, leaving it shattered, and him without an edible container for his chocolate roses.
Eric was shaken in the elimination challenge when the chefs were assigned to make nibbles for a tea party hosted by F&W's Dana Cowan. Each chef was to make two desserts that were inspired by a celebrity couple. Just when the gang had their menus planned, Johnny Iuzzini announced that they were not allowed to use chocolate.
Eric was completely flustered by the situation, and opted to make two dishes based on the same shortbread recipe to represent Stedman Graham and Oprah Winfrey. Zach and Danielle hadn't planned on using chocolate in their offerings, so they were left unfazed by the twist. The winning tea party fare was Zach's "Captain Von Trapp" marscapone cheesecake with Cap'n Crunch and tarragon sugar paired up with Pink Panther Pavlova with grapefruit curd and meringue, inspired by Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards.
Eric ended up on the bottom, and even though he had taken huge strides to improve his plating, presentation and technique, the baker had to say bye-bye.
After high fives and hugs with the rest of the contestants, he teared up as he said his final words: "I am a chef. I became a chef here."
-- Krista Simmons
Follow me on Twitter @kristasimmons
Top photo: Giant chocolate flowers at Jean Philippe Patisserie in Las Vegas. Credit: Krista Simmons
Bottom photo: Eric Wolitzky. Credit: NBC UMV