Hyphen TV: 'Just Desserts' Premiere, Athletic Fashions on 'Runway'

August 30, 2011

Looks like Olivier had similar gym class experiences to mine

It's a new season of Top Chef: Just Desserts, and there are two contestants we've got an eye on this season: Filipina American Sally Camacho, pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck's WB24 in Los Angeles who actually taught one of her competitors in culinary school, and Vanarin Kuch, a pastry chef in Houston who is the son of Cambodian refugees. Neither chef got much screen time during the Quickfire challenge where the chefs had to pair up to create new soda fountain treats, but both Sally and Vanarin worked some magic with bananas that looked deeelicious.

Vanarin looks just adorable in his soda jerk hat

For the elimination challenge, the chefs were broken into groups and tasked with creating desserts and showpieces (basically big, fancy dessert sculptures) inspired by different children's stories. Sally's team worked on Goldilocks and the three bears and landed in the top two, but they didn't win. Van's team, on the other hand, landed in the bottom two with their half-baked (GET IT?) take on Hansel and Gretel. Van's two teammates spent the majority of their time bickering over such things as whether the gingerbread house in the story was decorated with candy (answer: of course it was!), and Van seemed to mostly stay out of the drama, focusing on a dessert dish that would evoke the forest of the story. Unfortunately, his butterscotch brioche, goat cheese mousse, and smoked pineapple only confused the judges, leading them to wonder what kind of forests he's been to that have pineapples growing in them (fair enough). They simply did not see ten hours of work in Van's dish, but luckily, the disaster that was his teammates sent one of them packing. Focus, Van! But let's also see a little more team playership!

This was the only photo available of Sally (second from left). Those are some hilarious high-fives

Over on Project Runway, a challenge where the designers had to create outfits around Heidi Klum's line of sneakers began with a literal race to be team captains. Poor Olivier tripped and fell during the run, scraping up his knees pretty badly and having a panic attack while paramedics tended to his wounds. Though he was clearly shamed by the whole affair, Olivier actually had a sense of humor about it: "I would have liked to be a captain; unfortunately I fell like a bitch."

Olivier shows off his injuries at Mood

Anya and Olivier were both picked in the first round of team-choosing, Anya by Josh M. and Olivier by Viktor. However, the similarities between their experiences ended there. Anya and Josh paired off in opposition to third teammate Becky, who Josh recognized was chosen purely for her sewing skills (Anya asking Becky to sew part of her garment because she had never sewn jersey before further cemented this fact). The drama came to a head when Josh insulted Becky, sending her to the bathroom in tears and Anya tried to comfort her. Tact, you guys! Y'all have to learn how to get along for like a day and a half.

Becky is noticeably absent here

Meanwhile on Team Viktor, because of a withdrawl by a contestant, Viktor and Olivier got to choose one of the previously eliminated contestants to complete their team. Josh C. was clearly thrilled and thankful to be back, and had no desire to rock the boat in any way.  Theirs was a much more peaceful group effort, though Heidi expressed her dislike for Olivier's maxi skirt when she and Tim visited the work room, calling it a "farm skirt" that would be owned by Auntie Em. Ouch!

Heidi may have had a bit of a point

On the runway, both teams did well, though Olivier's unaltered skirt was called the weak link in Viktor's collection. Anya's sporty, racerback maxi dress, on the other hand, was Heidi's favorite piece, and though Josh M. was a co-winner for his team leading (if only the judges had seen what happened the previous night!), it was Anya's dress that went into production to be sold on Amazon. See it right here, though note that they removed the bright stripe down the center.

The dress's best feature is its hiding of the sneakers

Everyone's hanging in there, though team challenges across the board have been tough on our pals. Hope we can see some solo cooking/sewing next week...


Dianne Choie


Dianne Choie's TV is in Brooklyn, NY. She has a cat, several reusable shopping bags, and other mildly annoying stereotypes of youngish people who live in Brooklyn.