We've been following Top Chef Just Desserts very closely this season, and not just because we love sweets. Not one, but two Houstonian pastry chefs have grabbed a spot on the show this season; Vanarin Kuch of Tiny Boxwoods and Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar.
While we tearily watched as Kuch was eliminated last week, we remain forthright in our support of Masson as she trudges through tonight's episode (and hopefully the remaining season to the finals). Masson talked to Eater to clear a few things up about her recent off-screen injury and gives her casting suggestions for an all-Houston judges panel (hypothetical of course).
Everyone (in Houston at least) wants to know more about this mystery wrist injury that you sustained.
I wasn't being a drunken ninja, Carlos [Enriquez] didn't hurt it, it was during a group photo shoot.
Is that what ninja refers to? The picture?
Yeah, that's what she was talking about, "you were being a ninja during the photo shoot."
Glad to know you're all better now, though.
I just didn't want anyone to think I was drunk or that Carlos beat me up. *Laughs*
Aside from your wrist injury, what - that you can talk about - is your biggest memory from the show so far?
One of the things that kind of haunts me so far is that first episode, and not sticking to my guns and doing the dish that I wanted to do. I guess I just didn't want to be "that girl." Didn't want to be the girl that starts off as the bitch. I just went along with my team so I could be a team player.
You come from a non-traditional establishment. Fluff Bake Bar is not a "regular" bakery and you don't work for a big name restaurant as a pastry chef. How does this work to your advantage or disadvantage on the show?
I think it completely helps me. You know, in the first couple of challenges where we had to make a large number of portions of our dishes, I feel like it's helped me tremendously, because it's what I do every day. I have some part time help, but for the most part, I'm a one-woman show. I have to come up with the ideas, I have to execute the ideas and I have to execute them every day on a pretty high-volume level.
Disadvantage is that sometimes I feel like my teammates question me because I don't work in a big restaurant or a big hotel and you know, I do make (one of the many things that I make) cupcakes. And that's kind of looked down upon. What they don't know is that I worked for big names. I've lived in New York, I've lived in Paris, but that part of my life, I've moved on from. I think the biggest disadvantage is them questioning my abilities, because they don't really know my background. They only know what I do now.
Hypothetical: If Top Chef Just Desserts' judges panel were all Houstonians, who would you think would do the best job in something like that?
Oh wow, good one. Definitely Chris Shepherd. I think Chris sees the big picture, he sees what's going on. He really has a feel for the entire city. Randy Evans. He'd be my judge on style. Let's put Seth Siegel-Gardner in there for technique. Gosh. Let's see, we need a pastry chef, don't we? How about Michael from Michael's Cookie Jar. We can have Ryan Pera as our guest judge.
So, we've figured out the Houston judges. But what five restaurants would you choose to show what Houston is really like?
Well, for sure Haven. Kinda my new favorite right now. It's always comfortable. Hugo's, because nobody does Mexican like Hugo does. I think Brasserie 19. I think that's a good indication of Houston doing French. Definitely Hubcap Burger. As long as they don't have to wait 30 minutes. Everybody's in between restaurants, so all my favorite chefs are homeless. Can we do food trucks? H-town Streats. You know there's a lot of great food trucks...but the H-town Streats guys, they really like what they do and it's not always the same menu and it's very much...chef-driven.
Is there anything you want people to know after the first two episodes besides the fact that you're not a drunken ninja?
I'm very pleased that I'm funny. I like my one-liners. I hope they continue. It's a great experience. I feel like we're competing against each other, but I think we got along really well. And there are some obvious villains, I mean Orlando [Santos]. And believe it or not, Orlando is actually a really nice guy. And there are some people questioning why some are on the show, you know, Craig [Poirier]. And I love Craig to death. He's like this little culinary sponge and he's there to compete, but he's also there to learn. I think one day he'll be a force to be reckoned with. I talk to a few of my fellow contestants and I think we all get along, and I think that it's completely different from last season. I'm really pleased that so far, it's been as friendly as it has been, because...it could get mean. You never know.