No, nobody's been murdered (apart from maybe some eggs) on FOX's Crime Scene Kitchen, but this kitchen is a crime scene that the teams of bakers-turned-CSIs have to decipher in order to re-create the dessert that was made. Teams of two compete in two rounds to piece together the clues to bake the top-tier dessert they think was made in the titular crime scene kitchen. In what seems like the new competition show format, there are two separate groups split into two different premieres – "group A" is this week and audiences will meet "group B" in next week's episode.
YouTube baker Yolanda Gampp and Michelin star chef Curtis Stone judge the dessert detectives' skills of both deduction and baking. How Curtis Stone's hair defies the natural laws of physics is a mystery too great for any human to solve, however, luckily that's not the mystery the contestants are being judged on. Host Joel McHale has nothing to do with baking, though he does provide witty commentary and is on-hand to sample any and all of the bakers' confections.
With $100,000 on the line, this high-powered competition (so far) features many pastry professionals who know what they're doing. Pro-pastry teams Nathan & Anthony, Luis & Natalie, are from Brooklyn, NY and Las Vegas, NV respectively; both teams of Thuy-Linh& Jay, who met in culinary school, and military vets turned pastry chefs Erinn & Amanda run their own bakeshops. And of course, we're introduced to two Mother-child teams: Caroline & Carolyn (who own a Miami bakery) and Thomas & Cathy, with Thomas being the pastry chef and mom Cathy his supportive home-baker sous chef.
In the first "dessert round", the teams are tasked with re-creating the dessert made in the crime scene kitchen after three minutes to analyze the clues left from the mess in the kitchen. The first round mystery dessert was a Boston cream pie, which deceptively enough, is actually a cake. The clues that led to this dessert were the ring of chocolate and almonds, indicating the sides were covered in almonds, the spiderweb template for the icing pattern in the ganache on top, and the bowl with remains of pastry cream in the sink.
Cathy & Thomas won the round, garnering an advantage in the main round with Jay & Thuy-Linh also making a Boston Cream Pie, albeit one that was decidedly more rustic looking. Other teams guessed the dessert as a bakewell tart (Nathan & Anthony), lemon chiffon pie (Erinn & Amanda), almond dacquoise (Caroline & Carolyn), and a Sacher torte (Luis & Natalie).
In the main "showpiece" round, teams were again tasked with re-constructing the correct dessert from the remains of the mystery kitchen; Cathy & Thomas won an extra clue for their advantage for winning the previous round. Four teams (Luis & Natalie, Carolyn & Caroline, Cathy & Thomas, Erinn & Amanda) chose carrot cake, owing to the grater with carrot shavings in the sink and cream cheese frosting; Nathan & Anthony made a hummingbird cake because of the pineapple and coconut in the kitchen; Jay & Thuy-Linh guessed an Italian cream cake (with Swiss meringue buttercream) after the green and red modeling chocolate clue.
The crime scene kitchen dessert this round was a semi-naked spiced carrot cake with coconut cream cheese frosting. The modeling chocolate and vegetables left out were for molding decorative corn, peas, and tomatoes to top the four-layer confection. Of the four carrot cakes, Cathy & Thomas were the only ones to correctly frost their cake as "semi-naked", thus winning the main challenge as well. Luis & Natalie correctly guessed it was a naked cake, but decided to show off their skills and make a "farmer's market bushel" cake decorated with not only the modeling chocolate vegetables but wood planks and barrels, complete with hoops. It was an impressive cake, but not the decoration the judges were looking for.
After their double win, Thomas was confident, "I feel like we've cracked the code. We've figured out how to play this game, and we're here to win." Sadly, Brooklyn bakers and buddies Nathan and Anthony were axed from the competition this week after their under-baked hummingbird cake left the judges underwhelmed. That leaves us with one less duo and six new teams to meet the next episode. Crime Scene Kitchen airs Wednesday nights at 9 pm EST on Fox.
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