'Top Chef: Just Desserts' has a 'Willy Wonka' reunion! Simply look around and view it


Image Credit: Trae Patton/Bravo

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!

Annie on Twitter

Comments (28 total) Add your comment
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  • Dee

    I will now have Veruca Salt screeching in my head for the next week. Bless you.

  • ty

    This was the 1st episode of just desserts that i’ve watched…I was regular top chef watcher till the last season or so. What an amazing episode. Aside from being awed by most of the creations I also was a bit concerned about the germ factor the kids brought (kids sketch me out). I kept thinking it’s good now but later you’re gonna have strep and pink eye.

    • EssBee

      I was thinking the exact same thing. There were a lot of dishes that included dips and you just KNOW those kids were double dipping. Also, did you see that little gril taste something, decide she didn’t like it and then put it back? Ewwww!

      Ick factor aside, I did enjoy the episode.

    • Nee Nee

      We have immune systems for a reason. Germaphobes have no fun!


    watched part of it and recorded the rest cuz I had to leave for work. Looking forward to seeing the ending. Don’t care I read who left, just want to see how good or bad the food turned out. Show is good, like all the “chef” shows on Bravo

  • AL

    Loved how excited everyone was to do this challenge. Loved Orlando”s “I was sitting next to Veruca Salt!”
    Ben-Isreal thinking they were noseberries instead of Snozberries? What? Has he not practically memorized this movie like so many others of us?

  • Ann

    What happened to the recaps of Just Desserts. It’s listed as being “on hiatus” on the recap page, but it’s clearly not.

    • Kio

      Missing the recaps too. I don’t think they’re doing recaps this season which makes me sad.

  • jr

    i thought this was the best episode of the season yet. it was so much fun and the creativity was off the charts! the sugar high was probably off the charts too! :-)

  • Ashleigh

    Yay! Does this mean the TC:JD recaps are back? Or was this just a special occasion? I’ve missed them (so much so I emailed ew.com to see if the show was still being covered)!


    I smell a comeback!

  • West Coast Laura

    The best part for me was Johnny’s face when he was going through the room. He was genuinely psyched. And pass me one of those peanut butter and jelly macaroons!

  • pirate

    Can’t believe I have NEVER seen Willy Wonka. Had no idea it was such a cult favorite. AND loved the wonderland the chefs created.

    • Ap

      Watch it IMMEDIATELTY!!!

  • Brigid

    Every single episode of TC:JD could have this challenge, and I would watch the f out of it. This was one of my favorite competition challenges EVER!

  • ZackBauer

    Damn, now I want a bean feast.

  • sgn

    Great episode. Found out my husband had never seen Willy Wonka!!! Renting it for him asap!

  • Karate Pants

    I might be the only person on earth who cannot stand Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory. I thought it was a terribly creepy movie then and now and I just never connected with it. However, I was thrilled with the creativity and excitement that it invoked in these guys.
    Katzie’s carrot patch? Brilliant!
    My memories of Willy Wonka wasn’t the only thing creeping me out though…where does Dr. Evil end and Ron Ben-Israel start?? (shivers)

    • Kevin

      It WAS creepy… that’s why it’s so great!! One of my all-time favorites.

  • Polly

    It’s so shy is a good deed in a weary world not so shines. Duh

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