Top Chef Just Desserts is back, and the season-opening challenge was to translate a fairy tale into a showpiece. In this episode Team Hansel and Gretel missed the symbolic cue of the story and end up at the judges’ table. We find out what went wrong, after the jump.
ES: Can you elaborate on why your team chose not to do a gingerbread house?
Lina Biancamano: In the original story there was a house that alerts kids to candy and bread. So we did have candy all around the base of the structure. We wanted to make the witch’s house look sculpted dark and dreary. We also thought, at least I thought and thought they did too, thatit would cheapen the look of the project as a whole if we just made a gingerbread house. That’s something kids do with their mom every year. We wanted to make it look more professional. But we just didn’t go for the right idea.
At the judges’ table Johnny said he felt like you overpowered your teammates. How do you feel about that?
As a chef you have to take the lead. I don’t know if I was overpowering. Of course I’m Italian so my nature is a little bit bossy. When you are working with time constraints and all these other constraints, somebody has to take the lead, otherwise nothing is going to get done. In that way if I’m overbearing and bossy, then I’ll take it.
Was there a specific reason why you felt Melissa threw you under the bus?
I’m a very open and honest person. I knew somewhat that she wasn’t happy with our showpiece, honestly I wasn’t either. Of course I would have loved to put together an elaborate piece of sugar art and chocolate. The bottom line is none of us knew how to do that. We didn’t have experience doing that. I wasn’t happy with it, but I was happy with what we had done as a whole. So that surprised me very much. Why I felt she threw me under the bus is because she could have told me how much she disliked me or my ideas earlier, when we could have changed things. But she didn’t.
You also expressed you did a ton of work. Do you wish you had done things differently?
I’m glad it went down the way it did. I don’t want to be riding on anyone’s coattails through the competition.
In the end, what do you think hurt your team the most?
Bad judgment, lack of talent overall as a team and time. Even though we all had the same time as everyone else, the top two teams had four people. In that way they ended up with a lot more time than we did.
What’s on your plate now after Top Chef Just Desserts?
I’m going to continue to make beautiful pastries. Maybe go back to school and get my master’s degree, so that way on down the line I can teach. I would also love to have my own cooking show. We may also go after some more TV stints in the future, so watch for me.