Delta Cabin Pressure Cook-Off: Ep. 3 - Dessert Challenge

Narrowed down to just two chefs, the final contenders approach their third—and last—challenge in the Cabin Pressure Cook-Off: creating a delicious dessert.

Narrowed down to just two chefs, the final contenders approach their third—and last—challenge in the Cabin Pressure Cook-Off: creating a delicious dessert. Their mission is to present a grand finale that will impress the judges enough to win, all while getting thrown a few surprises that will test their abilities under stress. Tune in for some unexpected twists—and who gets to taste sweet victory.

Read the transcript of this video
Hi, I'm Jackie Tranchida and we're at New Yorks Institute of Culinary Education for the first ever Cabin Pressure Cook-Off. [MUSIC] Join me in welcoming back our final two chefs. We have Linton Hopkins of Atlanta's Restaurant Eugene and Holeman and Finch, up against George Mendes of New York's Aldea. You ready? Ready to rumble? Let's go. Let's go buddy. You've already created an appetizer and a main course. Now it's time to finish your meal. So for your final challenge, dessert. Let's see your best dish. You're now free to move out the kitchen. [MUSIC] Is pastry something that you're comfortable with, that you do on a regular basis? I'm fairly comfortable with the very basics, the classics, you know. I don't like really sweet desserts so I tend to rely on natural sweet fruits themselves without adding much more sugar. And how do you feel about your competition over there? He's the reigning king, two for two. He's on a roll. But he might meet us in. All right. [LAUGH] The kitchen is like so much calmer than it's been for the last two challenges. Pastry is lot of times, one of the most recipe of burden of the crafts, you know, you gotta think, you gotta measure, I mean, you saw on the previous challenges, Getting my scales out. I'm not doing this. What is it that you're working on? I'm working on a base for an ice cream. There's gonna be chocolate, there's gonna be almonds, there's gonna be curry, there's gonna be a crispy component. But what do you think it's gonna look like in the end. A masterpiece. [BLANK_AUDIO] [MUSIC[] With the cooking underway, let's meet our judges. We have a new guest judge with us today, Joanne Smith, Delta's Senior Vice President of inflight service, welcome. Glad to be here. Mitchell, tell me what are some of your concerns with this last dish and also what are the surprises for you? This two guys are not pastry chefs It's a curveball. It's not gonna be easy for them. George, what the hell are you doing? Having some fun. The microwave cake is a technique that was created by Albert [UNKNOWN], One of the pastry chefs at [UNKNOWN]. And it's just a very light aerated cake mixture that you put first in an EC canister and you charge it with N2O. And you go into a styrofoam cup and you microwave it for 45 seconds. [MUSIC] Oh, it smells really good. [CROSSTALK] bacon. You see all the fat releasing in the [UNKNOWN], that's bacon. What do you think he's putting bacon I have no idea. I really have no idea. Hey chef. Hey, how are you? [CROSSTALK] Good old fashioned chocolate chip? It's a homerun. So you're about giving people on an airplane something familiar, something comfortable. Yeah, it's about a dreamy escape. Everyone needs to be ten years old when they eat dessert. He chose to do something more Approachable and homey like focused on being able to do something new for Delta. You like to sort of push people's boundaries, which is probably a good thing cause they're travelling somewhere, you might feel- I wanna take them on a power voyage as well. You what? I'm gonna go wild. [MUSIC] I'm gonna have six citrus fruits. I'm gonna play off tomatoes being a fruit. I'm gonna bring curry into it. Look what he's doing. So, he made ice cream. And now he's mixing some kind of, it looks like a strawberry compote, or [UNKNOWN]. So I'm going to put it in the ice cream. If you flip back over to Linton. His looks like a work of art. Yes it does. Like he's actually creating things for someone to paint still-lives. Alright chefs just under 10 minutes left. I had all my components together. I'm going to spin the ice cream. He's going back there and needs that ice cream machine. Fix that The fuse, it keeps going off in the slicer machine. I'm processing my strawberry and rice cuisine and it keeps going off. I'm thinking they better get a damn electrician in here pretty quick. How's it coming along George? I'm good, going on the finish line. Lyndon flow and steady as always, you feeling good about time? Yeah. Pressure's on. [CROSSTALK] So composed. Roll the marble. Oh I know. Oh, more cookies just appeared. Yep. Chefs, you have just under five minutes left. Thank you. With less than five minutes left, he has busted out a watermelon. The plating is so important and we're one of the fewer lines that doesn't cook everything all together on the same plate. Right. Just too hard to make it taste good. Chefs, you have one minute left. [MUSIC] Thirty seconds. [MUSIC] Ten seconds. Five, four, three, two, one. Time's up. Hands up. [APPLAUSE] I love you, buddy. I love you too. Hello. Hi. So I made a couple of desserts. [LAUGH] Yes, you did. Start with the cheese. It's a Portuguese sheep's milk cheese called Zimbro. It's served with rosemary, a little bit of honey and some quince. I wanted to give you the cake next. That's an almond poppy seed and lemon thyme cake, served with a strawberry banana ice cream. Tell me about this sequence. Why did you want to put so many different desserts in front of us at once? I guess my goal was to kind of show off different textures, different options for in-flight. Well thank you chef, this is great. Thanks. You're welcome. Ai-yi-yi-yi. Ai-yi-yi is right. Well, hello. All right so, it's a date cake. You know, what's great about dates folded into the cake is it just keeps it moist. This is the poaching liquid that has bay leaf and cherries. Beautiful. When he said date cake I thought it meant it would be good on a date. That's what I thought too. I think it would be good on a date. Date cave. This was the second dessert. It's tomatoes and citrus. Mandarin oranges poached in a sorghum curry pickle with coriander seed. You have little tomatoes in there. Fresh tarragon and a little crumbled bacon. Bacon, and chocolate, and citrus. Wow. Then you have a chocolate cookie. Chef, did you so with a traditional chocolate chip cookie because that's what you love on an airplane? It's my number one cookie. Thank you [UNKNOWN]. Thank you, chef. Thank you. Thanks very much. Wow, that was quite a ride. George put out so many dishes. There wasn't a weak link in there. Those donuts were amazing. They were. He's incredible. The balance between the caramel and the lemon curd, and that donut. I think we already agree that was the strongest, it was beautiful. I thought the pineapple cookies were really light, feathery. And the little kick, that kick, that chilly kick. Yeah. It was unexpected and. Delicious. Should we move to Linton? Yes. Yeah, that would be great. So the first dish presented to us was a really surprising dish tomatoes with all kinds of citrus topped with bacon to boot. And toasted nuts. And toasted nuts. Right and if you described that to me, I would say no thank you. What's wrong with you? Yeah. But. He is a little bit of a genius and it really worked together. How about that chocolate chip cookie? It was perfect. [CROSSTALK] We thought what was he using the baking for and you said what if the baking and the chocolate cookie, it's just too perfect. Got it. And he didn't do that. Right, right. The hard part. I hate this, but we definitely- Might have decided our winner. I think we have a winner. Absolutely. [MUSIC] Hello, chef. This is the moment the two of you have worked so very hard for and we really appreciate all of your work. In the last and final challenge, you were asked to put the finishing touches on a meal. And create a dessert. You both really just exceeded our expectations. You created not only delicious, but really memorable desserts today that I personally will never forget. One, as always, stood out as best. The winner of the first ever Delta Airlines. Cabin Pressure Cook-Off. And the newest member of the Delta Culinary team. [MUSIC] Is Linton Hopkins. We're happy to have you. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] [APPLAUSE] I know that I put out more desserts than required. I'm definitely an overachiever, and I felt like showing versatility. In the end, it may have been my downfall, but I was very confident with the desserts that I made. No regrets whatsoever. I'm blown away. I'm proud of it. I like winning. It's fun, and I think it was done with style, and grace. So, I'm proud of that too. Congratulations Linton. Thank you. And, welcome to Delta's culinary team. It's a pleasure to be here. So happy to have you with us. Thank you. That's it for the first ever Cabin Crusher Cook Off here at the Institute of Culinary Education. Thanks so much for joining us. [MUSIC]
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Delta Cabin Pressure Cook-Off: Ep. 3 - Dessert Challenge


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