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Ninja Injuries, a Sack of Lemons and Chocolate Trumpets

Houston reality show contestant, Alvin Schultz (recently appearing on Fox's MasterChef, Season 2) follows Houston chefs Rebecca Masson and Vanarin Kuch each week as they navigate through Top Chef Just Desserts, Season 2. For the FULL recap, check out Eater National's run down, brought to you by the dynamic duo behind NYC's Big Gay Ice Cream.

tcjdphoto.jpgAfter last week's elimination, 13 chefs remain (including Houstonians Rebecca Masson and Vanarin Kuch) in the Top Chef Just Desserts competition for $100,000.

This week's quickfire was a sack of lemons...literally. The chefs were given 45 minutes to turn lemons into lemonade (or at least something sweet and delicious). Chef Masson of Fluff Bake Bar is competing with a broken wrist which she got "after being a ninja"... Ahhhh, the shenanigans that happen off camera while filming a reality TV show.

Tiny Boxwood's Chef Kuch comes up with a lemon curd semi-fredo with coconut brown butter streusel and blackberry and thyme compote in the quick fire challenge. Chef Masson re-invents a lemon meringue pie with ginger and lemon infused blueberries (ed. note, if you've been to Perry's Steakhouse lately, you'll recognize this one).

?Our hometown favorites fall in the middle of the pack in the quickfire judging...not in the top but far from the bottom

This week's elimination challenge, is to make a tiered cake for the Los Angeles Symphony. During the 8.5 hour prep time, Chef/Judge Johnny Izzuni questions Masson's team's flavor choice as well as the look of Kuch's modeling chocolate trumpet. As he's forming said instruments, Kuch tells one of his teammates about his family history and proudly claims Houston as his home base of "living the American dream."

The next day, the chefs assemble their cakes in an outdoor courtyard at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Ah, that venue looks familiar from a MasterChef challenge, doesn't it? The Southern California climate is a major obstacle for all the chefs because the heat is melting chocolate and deforming fondant shapes.

In a near-repeat of last week's judges table, Masson come oh-so-close to winning the elimination challenge but falls just short. Her green team's modern fruit and double chocolate cake comes in second. Kuch's team is one of the bottom two and this time the judges call him out for less-than-bold flavors and questionable chocolate instruments.

Sadly, Kuch's "underwhelming flavors" and "amateurish design" (Chef/Judge Johnny Izzuni's words, NOT mine) land him in the hot seat and he's told to pack his tools by Judge Gail Simmons.

It's also worth noting the reaction of the remaining contestants when Kuch is sent home. They appear saddened and disappointed at his departure. I know the feeling, and it speaks volumes about his character in the competition to see that he's liked and admired by his peers.

Kuch says this won't be the last you'll see of him, and Simmons says she can't wait to see more. You can check out what Kuch is up to at Tiny Boxwoods, the River Oaks eatery located in the Thompson & Hanson nursery. Tune in next week to see if our remaining Houstonian Rebecca Masson can win a challenge... something that she's come so close to in the first two episodes.

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