for all its faults, I actually liked the first season. Iuzzini is a good judge, and it ended really strong. yeah it was overly catty and some of the challenges needed refining, but the same was true for the first two seasons of the original TC.
one of the contestants, Chris Hanmer, I recognize from a lot of those Food Network Challenges. he's won pretty much every one he's entered. another, Matthew Peterson, is the pastry chef at CityZen in D.C. I ate there last fall and had a technically great dessert (although chocolate isn't my favorite), so I'll probably root for him just out of local interest.
they dove right in with the melodramatic team challenge. I knew Orlando and Chris were going to kill it because they have all that showpiece experience. Craig (who is like a cartoon character) seems like a sacrificial lamb; he got bailed out by his teammates this time but is not long for the competition.
and while the overall cast talent is probably higher this year, I learned they were allowed to use recipes this season. which I think is appropriate for pastry -- the recipes are more like formulas, not cheat sheets, and you want to see the competitors at their best.
oh and Heather from last year had that patch on her forehead because a camera fell on her during filming. yes, I know too much about these shows.
3. "are you gonna spray something on our faces too?" In response to Reply # 0
predictably, the super team of Orlando-Chris-Matthew were at the bottom in this challenge. misnomers, questionable ice cream technique and going for restaurant-style plating -- invariable to the conditions -- were all to blame. Iuzzini is the perfect judge. he just throws daggers to the heart the entire time.
Katzie killed it again -- that baked alaska spumoni was another clever winner. really dug that fizzy cherry on top. although her idol worship of Pichet Ong was creepy. she was staring at him like he was made out of cocoa nibs during the quickfire.
I was a little sad to see tattoo-sleeved Amanda leave. she was talented (that candy bar looked sick); just had a bad day.
4. "It wasn't just a bad day" In response to Reply # 3
It was a bad dessert BEFORE it hardened up. Orlando was creative and missed (and seemed to have Iuzzini riled up before he even tasted it), but his biggest problem was including the word "float." Was it just root beer flavored dessert they wouldn't have complained as much. But Amanda? She not only made a poor funnel cake, she also made a poor funnel cake with a dab of ice cream and a spoon of fruit. That's it. I liked her a lot, and she was nice to look at, but it was definitely the right decision.
I still plan on only watching every other episode of this, cause it's just not as good as the OG.
7. "I liked the format of last year's finale better" In response to Reply # 0
four-course dessert tasting. the showpiece and bon bon stuff is more classic and technical but boring in comparison -- they've been showing competitions like that for years on TV. I wouldn't want the regular Top Chef finale* to be like the Bocuse d'Or.
although Kings of Pastry, which is all about the MOF process, is a good documentary. it was on Netflix instant for the 10 okayplayers who didn't cancel their subscription.
* yes I know they did something like this in S6, but it wasn't one of the final challenges.