Pastry Kings Jacques Torres, Sebastien Cannone, and Stephane Treand served as mentors to the pastrycheftestants as they prepped their desserts on Day One. On Day Two, the formerly eliminated pastrycheftestants were brought back to act as sous chefs, with each finalist getting two. After drawing cookies for the first helper, the finalists were allowed to choose their second helper. In the end, we had Team Chris with helpers Rebecca and Amanda, Team Matthew with helpers Megan and Carlos, and Team Sally with helpers Vanarin and Orlando.
Because Sally was weakest in the showpiece department, she left the work up to Orlando, who frankly didn't want to be helping her or either of the other two. Chris of course is showpiece king so he happily made his own, as did Matthew, who decided to make his primarily of pulled sugar because the other two were doing chocolate. Not that pulled sugar was one of his strong suits, mind you....
The chefs first presented their dessert tables to the judges, who included sundry pastry folks Jordan Kahn, Hasty Torres, Valerie Gordon, Jacquy Pfeiffer, and Ludo Lefevbre, as well as regulars Dannielle Kyrillos and Hubert Keller.
After presenting their tables, the chefs go back to the kitchen to finish their plated desserts. The diners seem to have mostly complimentary things to say, but then they get to Judges' Table where we find that the race is between Chris and Sally.
Matthew's best item was his bon bon, flavored with key lime and speculoos. Both Dannielle and Gail claim that this was the first time they heard the word speculoos, which makes me think they need to have their foodie credentials taken away. Guess they've never bothered to try the Waffles and Dinges truck in New York, which offers speculoos spread as a topping. And I'm pretty sure I've seen a recipe for them (or the Dutch version, speculaas) in just about every cookie cookbook I've ever owned, particularly those specializing in holiday cookies, as they are customarily eaten on St. Nicholas Eve (Dec 5 or 6).
I'm guessing that the main reason Chris won out over Sally was that she didn't make her own showpiece; the judges seemed really enamored of her desserts otherwise, making the competition really close. Did you think that was the right decision?
Posted on AllTopChef.com