Top Chef Just Desserts Episode 8: Michael Laiskonis’s Take on the Tea Party…

Yigit's ambition got the best of him this ep, as evidenced by this ill-fated sugar vase.

No, not that tea party. But, there was a tea party this week on Top Chef Just Desserts and, as with certain politicians around the U.S., it proved to be more than a few folks’ undoing. Le Bernardin Executive Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis walks us through the minefield that was episode 8.

Shinmin Li is in the house and she’s saying the trend is now toward artful decorative, desserts with a wow factor. Would you agree and why?

While there has to be an inventive, pleasing visual element to pastry, I’ll stick to my guns in saying that flavor comes first. That ‘wow’ factor needs to be sustained all the way through, beyond the first impression.

Would you gravitate toward the natural, as Danielle did, if tasked with making a centerpiece? If not, what techniques/materials would come to mind?

I was surprised to see Danielle lean toward that ‘naturalistic’ look, especially since it almost sent her home on the edible fashion challenge a couple of weeks back. I would have taken the approach Morgan and Yigit did, incorporating sugar and chocolate techniques to achieve a representational, yet contemporary feel.

Morgan was pulling sugar and talking about how he wanted to showcase his ability to do so. Can you explain what it is and what it entails for our non-pastry peeps?

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