Can you believe it? Can you believe it’s the season premiere of Top Chef (Just Desserts) already? Can you believe we made it after all? Tosses hat into air, Mary Tyler Moore-style. We’ve come full circle, you know, from when the show ended to now when it is back on the air. In solidarity with Bravo programming, I haven’t eaten a single morsel of sugar since the last season ended and ol’ bright-eyed whatshisface won. (I think his name started with a Y? Y not!) So I’ve been stockpiling licorice whips, Good ‘N Plenty, Smarties, candy buttons, SweeTarts, Mike and Ike’s, Nerds, Tootsie Rolls, and everything marked Fun Size in the Duane Reade like Top Chef (Just Desserts) is a hurricane that is barreling towards me at a 100 miles an hour. Let’s move into the storm cellar, batten our various hatches and do this thing.
In the early moments of this brave new season we are hit over the head again and again with a reminder that the Good Ship Lollipop was actually an outlaw-filled vessel full of backstabbers, smack talkers, scallywags, egos, and a molecular gastronomist insisting on making flavored foams. Pastry is not cooking’s sweet little sister, so much as the adopted midget psychopath masquerading as a sweet little sister. Pastry is not pretty. Let’s meet these midget psychopaths contestants, eh? First up is Chris Hanmer, the self-proclaimed “youngest world champion pastry chef in the world.” Okay, “self-proclaimed” is probably not totally true. I’m sure he was named World Champion Pastry Chef by Pastry Chef NW Magazine’s spun sugar circular subsidiary. Probably by his mom, too. Regardless of his title, he’s young, spry, and can’t shoot a home video for ****. Have none of these people heard of lighting? Or considered getting a proper microphone?
Nelson Paz of Boston has a slightly better-lit bio video, a track record of doing pastry in five star restaurants, and a Ricky Ricardo accent that is to knee-bucklingly attractive. Craig Poirier’s patois is less charming, but his ego, love of Harry Potter and willingness to be filmed in a red plaid bathrobe and ice mask make him out as the “quirky gay dude” a.k.a. this season’s Zac. In a funny ha-ha twist, Craig’s pastry teacher is also on the show. Sally Camacho is the pastry chef for all of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants, which I think are just in airports and rest stops now, but I could be making that up. (Don’t email me if I’m wrong or I will make you eat there.) She is filling the casting niche of the tiny tyrant tough lady with an ego to match any of the men.