So shines a good deed in a weary world. I can’t believe they hadn’t done this yet! In honor of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’s 40th anniversary this year, Top Chef: Just Desserts issued a “Pure Imagination” challenge for the contestants to create their own edible “World of Wonder” a.k.a. Wonka’s Chocolate Room. Some of the original cast – the actors who played Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Mike Teevee, and Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum, pictured at right) – were on hand to taste the confectionery rainbow and lament the absence of Augustus Gloop. It’s just as well – had he been there, the amped-up water pressure on Chris’ chocolate waterfall might have swept him away all over again. He’d have been made into marshmallows in five seconds.
I’ve never seen any group of reality contestants be more speechless, teary-eyed, and thrilled all at once to take on a challenge. Of course this was their all-time favorite movie. (I think it might even be mine, and I can’t even cook!) Take it from this week’s winner Katzie, who built a carrot (cake) patch and and edible beehive that dripped real honey: “Everyone wants to do this in their life, as a pastry chef. And if you don’t, you’re silly.”
As if there wasn’t enough stress involved in the idea of fulfilling their lifelong destinies and impressing that spoiled brat who wanted Daddy to give her a golden goose NOW!, the contestants learned early on that this would be a double-elimination challenge. At least Johnny Iuzzini attempted to keep things light by prefacing this bad news with “I hate to be a Slugworth…”
Melissa, who put out nasty green donuts on a sad-looking non-edible rod, and Craig, who tried and failed to cook more than one decent giant gummy bear himself, ended up going home. Those gummy bears were so tragic. Maybe it’s because I never understood the appeal of gummy bears beyond their visual cuteness, but why would you serve the judges exactly what Violet Beauregarde gnawed an ear off of in the movie, especially in the same orange color? (The ear, she claims, was edible. I guess the rest of it wasn’t?) This made no sense to me. No one, especially a judge on a cooking show, wants to eat a giant gummy bear. They are to be revered, certainly. But leave them alone.
Another huge miss: Sally’s edible orange dirt, which she playfully called “Oompa Loompa droppings.” This would effectively mean that the Oompa Loompas would have been carting around their own s— in those wheelbarrows.
Oompa, Loompa, doo-ba-dee-doo. I’ve got another piddle for you….
Oh well, everyone interprets film differently!
And this was funny: Guest judge Ron Ben-Israel joked that the “schnozberries” in Carlos’ edible wallpaper tasted like schnozberries. But everyone knows there’s no h in that word!
Did you catch “Pure Imagination” last night? Are you going to spend all day watching Willy Wonka on YouTube now? (Trust me, if fall TV wasn’t getting underway, I’d be writing extensive recaps of each scene. Someday…)
Ugh, now I want a feast.
I want a BEAN FEAST!