Top Chef Just Desserts Exit Interview: Episode 7


Just Desserts this week took on the classic Restaurant Wars challenge. The two teams were tasked with developing a bakery, naturally. Each of the chef’testants pulled straws for group assignments, and as luck would have it, Team Diva managed to play together.

Keep reading to see who packed up their measuring spoons.


ES: How did “Team Diva” come about?
Heather Hurlbert: Yigit and I were station partners in the kitchen so we bonded from day one and have very similar techniques as far as our pastries and our style. As far as Zac, we were bored one night so we decided to start eating Godiva chocolates that they provided for us in the house.┬áHe was looking at the packet and it reads Godiva, but it can also be read “Go Diva.”

The three of us bonded right away and we wanted to come up with a cute, silly name. It wasn’t a way for us to ostracize ourselves, it was just a fun name with Godiva being our sponsor.

Did you notice that the three of you alienated yourselves from the rest of the chef’testants?
During the show I never realized that, but I guess watching it, it did seem like that. We really polarized ourselves from everybody else, but it certainly wasn’t intentional. It is a competition so in some aspects we tried to keep our distance with everybody.

Well it didn’t appear to be too much of a problem with Morgan. Did you have a strained relationship?
Of course it appeared that way. It’s television, they’re going to make it worse than it is. I think very highly of Morgan, he’s extremely talented, he’s extremely brilliant, quick and witty. Again, we had our allies on the show and we had our support system, he just wasn’t one of them. Of course they’re going to play it out the way they want to.

In the elimination challenge you implied you wouldn’t change a thing with your desserts. Do you still stand by that statement?
I’m very proud of all the products I put out. Everyone said I should have gone home for something as minute as a thick tart shell. And yes, I should have done things a little differently. Mind you, we didn’t have recipes so some things I had to think of at the last minute. I completely take full credit for the mistakes that I made. But would I have changed anything? No.

I wasn’t going to let Yigit take the blame for something I did, whether the judges knew that or not I needed to jump in and say hey, I’m accountable for that. I’m certainly one who is going to be completely honest and truthful. I’m certainly not going to throw somebody under the bus for a mistake I made.

Johnny Iuzzini said he would have liked to have seen Team Diva not work together for the challenge. Do you think the three of you working together helped or hindered your efforts?
I think about that too and if things would have been different. I don’t know if the mistakes I made would have changed things. I had a lot of fun working with Yigit and Zac. It was a great way to exit.

How has being on the show changed things for you?
I get a lot of support. People obviously recognize me and I think that’s an honor. I’ve been so humbled by this entire experience. A lot of people take pastries for granted. I think having a show like this, minus the drama, has finally put pastries in the forefront and to be taken seriously. I think we’re always considered the step-sister of savory chefs.

(Photo: Bravo)

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