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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Top Chef: Just Desserts" Review: Is It Too Much?

When I first heard about “Top Chef: Just Desserts,” I got a little concerned. Was Bravo spreading its marquis property too thin?

And after watching it, my answer is maybe. But when it looks this good, who cares?

“Desserts” is exactly what it sounds like—“Top Chef” for pastry chefs. And these aren’t just any pastry chefs. They are extremely talented and have worked for some of the biggest chefs in the world. But more importantly, they have personality—more than the current crop of chefs on “Top Chef: D.C.” There’s Seth, the slightly strange one with the mega talent. There’s Morgan, who’s already starting to come off like the jerk. And then there’s Zac, who is just plain entertaining.

The judges are also interesting. Johnny Iuzzini acts like the Elvis of the culinary world with his looks and his strut. He’s not Tom Colicchio, but he serves the role of head judge well. Dannielle Kyrillos, the editor-at-large of DailyCandy, is a hoot. She clearly enjoys being there and that’s fun to watch. We don’t see Hubert Keller in the premiere, but having seen him on “Top Chef” and “Top Chef: Masters,” I know he’s going to be great.

And then there’s Gail Simmons. I’ve often referred to her as the Paula Abdul of “Top Chef” for some of the off-the-wall comments she’s made over the years. But in the last two seasons, she has really become the voice of reason on the judging panel. And here, she handles the job of host with a nice breeziness you don’t see from Padma Lakshmi. She’s a little stiff in the beginning, but she quickly gets into it.

But maybe the most appealing thing about “Desserts” is that for the first time since I started watching “Top Chef” in season three, I actually have a clue what they’re making. And that makes it easier to understand the winners and losers.

It also makes me want some chocolate really badly…

“Top Chef: Just Desserts” premieres Wednesday, September 15th at 11 p.m. on Bravo…

Photo Credit: Steven Schafer/Bravo