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Top Chef Just Desserts
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this Top Chef spin-off -- in which contestants participate in dessert-preparation competitions -- includes some mild sexual innuendo and lots of salty language (words like “damn,” “crap,” “bitch," and “ass” are audible, while “s--t” and “f--k” are bleeped). There's also frequent catty arguing among the contestants (sometimes when they're drunk) and some very unsportsmanlike behavior -- including outright sabotage. Show sponsors like Godiva and Buick are prominently featured, while brands like Kahlua are occasionally visible.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In TOP CHEF JUST DESSERTS -- the latest installment in the Top Chef franchise -- 12 of America’s top pastry chefs whip up creative, deliciously sweet dishes in hopes of winning the Top Chef title. Under the gaze of host/Top Chef judge Gail Simmons, the contestants attempt to show off their baking and pastry skills in a series of challenges designed to test their cooking abilities, creativity, and ingenuity. Their desserts must tempt the tastebuds of a panel of elite judges that includes Simmons, critically acclaimed pastry chef John Iuzzini, and guest judges like Master Chef Hubert Keller and entertaining expert Dannielle Kyrillos. The contestant who makes it through the competition without being eliminated wins major prizes, including $100,000, a car, and, of course, the coveted title.
Is it any good?
This cooking competition series highlights the differences between creating desserts and whipping up savory dishes. It underscores how creating sophisticated desserts requires a mastery of both art and science that requires chefs to be both artists and inventors.
Foodies will definitely enjoy watching spectacular desserts being created, but some of the series' reality show drama is anything but sweet. The competition brings out some very unsportsmanlike behavior in some contestants, including catty arguing and acts of sabotage. And there's also lots of strong language and some drunken behavior. The end result? The show may feature some pretty confections, but it leaves a bitter taste behind.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the different skills required to be a dessert chef vs. a savory food chef. What's the difference between a baker and a pastry chef? What kind of scientific and/or innovative techniques do chefs need to have to create sophisticated dessert plates?
Do you think the contestants' behavior here reflects their real personalities, or are they trying to create a more dramatic reality show experience? Do you think they act this way when the cameras are off? Do you think their behavior will impact their careers in the professional cooking world?