We’ve come to the finale of this season of Top Chef Just Desserts. In keeping with tradition, Michael Laiskonis, Executive Pastry Chef at Le Bernardin, helps us navigate the sweet and lowdown.
Is the restaurant pastry chef the underdog here?
I think there is some truth to that- it depends on how well-rounded a pastry chef’s training is. For those whose experience is limited restaurants, showpiece work and entremets just don’t factor into the daily repertoire. Yet the same fundamental skills apply across the board. One has to continually push themselves into those uncharted territories; while I never have the need for showpieces, I will occasionally play around just to feel that more well-rounded.
How lovely that these MOFs are not only here but they are really jumping in! Doing prep work! Doing dishes! What does this say about the reality of the kitchen, as opposed to the fantasy that some cooking/food shows have created?
I have to say, the opening fifteen minutes of this episode may count as my favorite part of the whole season! I love the concentration and the attention to detail these guys bring to the kitchen; as intimidating as that stare may be, it is an empathetic one. Add to that the fact they were so hands-on, and it underscores what I really took away from last year’s Kings of Pastry documentary- the strong sense of community, even in the face of competition. No one wants anyone else to fail; everyone looks better when all are able to do their best. I find that camaraderie very inspiring.
The Eliminated Chefs return. Are there a couple of cheftestants you might gravitate toward for one skill or the other?
There were a few chefs throughout the season that, to me, really showed they could get down to business like some dependable workhorse: Amanda, Megan, and Carlos for sure. I get that everyone (well, maybe with the exception of Chris) was hoping to capaitalize on Orlando’s chocolate skills. It’s all a slippery slope. In a restaurant kitchen, we benefit from individuals taking ownership of particular tasks. In a competition, however, delegation is much tougher.Continue Reading