Top Chef Just Desserts

Common Sense Media says

Dessert competition is more bitter than sweet.

Age(i)

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Although the series highlights the challenges of creating pastries and desserts (making it clear that it's not an easy job), the contestants' frequently nasty behavior sends iffy messages about competition and professionalism.

Positive role models

Some of the contestants exhibit unsportsmanlike behavior, including arguing and sabotage. On the plus side, they're a diverse group.

Violence

Contestants often engage in catty arguments and exchange insults.

Sex

Some mild sexual innuendo related to certain foods/desserts being "sexy."

Language

Words like “damn,” “crap,” “bitch,” and “ass” are audible, while curses like  “s--t” and “f--k” are fully bleeped.

Consumerism

Show sponsors include Godiva and Buick. Food and liquor brands like Alta Dena cream, Makers Mark Whisky, and Kahlua are sometimes visible.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Frequent drinking (champagne, beer, wine, cocktails) with meals, at entertainment venues, and during periods when the contestants aren't cooking. Contestants sometimes get into drunken arguments.

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

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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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Cast:Gail Simmons, Hubert Keller, John Iuzzini
Network:Bravo
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of Top Chef Just Desserts was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old May 9, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

It's fine!

I don't think this show should be for ages 14+, as the review indicates. It does have some mild language that is audible, but most of it is just bleeped out. Also, the show encourages you to pursue your dreams and to do the best you can in everything because nothing in life is an easy road. All in all, I'd recommend it. My only problem with the show, but most reality TV shows are like this, are the constant commericials.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Great messages

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