Multi-layered miniatures and choux towers were the tasks facing the five remaining teams this week.Returning to the kitchen were:Thibault & Erica, Kimpton Fitzroy HotelSarah & Leyre, Pennyhill ParkJake & Kevin, Four Seasons at Ten Trinity SquareSanjam & Exose, The Courthouse CheshirePauline & Robert, TigerlilyFirst up were the multi-layered miniatures, with 24 layered cheesecakes and 24 pear-shaped desserts requested. The cheesecakes had to have at least five layers, and the pear-shaped desserts a minimum of three fillings, with pear the most dominant flavour.I’ll spare you the vast number of pear-shaped jokes made by presenter Tom Allen.“Whatever they put on the table needs to be first-class, it needs to be top-drawer. However, be realistic about what you can do and what you can’t. Do not be over-ambitious,” said judge Cherish Finden ahead of the task.The chefs began by making layers for the cheesecake, so they could be placed in the freezer in plenty of time.Thibault & Erica chose to make a cheesecake with two baked elements – a coconut dacquoise and a baked raspberry cheesecake. Jake & Kevin opted for vanilla and passionfruit, Sanjam & Exose a chocolate orange variant and Pauline & Robert an Asian-inspired matcha and lychee combination.Meanwhile, as the only team opting to go for 10 layers, Sarah & Leyre (pictured below) created a white chocolate cheesecake with a spiced sponge and red fruit confit gel.“You know I have my ruler with me again,” warned Cherish. She is terrifying.For the pear-shaped desserts, four of the five teams went for classic sweet flavours, while Pauline & Robert included a goat’s cheese mousse.First to face the judgment of Benoit & Cherish were Sarah & Leyre with their 10-layer offering. Cherish said she didn’t need to get her ruler out for the cheesecakes – high praise indeed.Thibault & Erica’s cheesecake also got the thumbs-up, as did their pears.“Visually very safe: was the verdict on Jake & Kevin’s cheesecake, and their ratios were off, although the pear was deemed “quite pleasant”.Pauline & Robert’s cheesecake wasn’t highly finished, and the flavours confused Cherish. Also, their pears had fallen over, which Cherish likened to having a bum too big for the chair.“Good news, I can taste the goat’s cheese” said Benoit. “Bad news, I don’t like it.”Sanjam & Exose’s (pictured below) cheesecake was also deemed “safe”, and Cherish said their pears looked like they’d been in a fight. “I think you two are like rough diamonds,” said Benoit, somewhat cryptically.On day two, the professionals were tasked with making a towering Pièce Montée, with 180 filled choux buns displayed in a cone shape on a nougatine stand.Inspired by opera, Sarah & Leyre chose vanilla & pecan and chocolate & cherry flavours to fill their choux.Thibault & Erica opted for a fashion week theme, with cherry & chocolate and coffee & cardamom choux fillings.A British theme, with Eton Mess and rhubarb & custard fillings, was the choice for Sanjam & Exose.Meanwhile, creating a beehive-themed piece, Pauline & Robert planned to have sugarwork bees and flavoured choux fillings, including honeycomb & yuzu and elderflower & tonic.Kevin & Jake plumped for an ode to spring, with vanilla & orange blossom and red berry filled choux buns to complement this.All seemed to be going well until the chefs started on the nougatine; the speed at which this set proved problematic, with Sanjam & Exose’s breaking as it was cut. “I’m slowly giving up,” Sanjam admitted. And, if that weren’t dramatic enough, Exose’s gloves didn’t fit.Pauline & Robert were also having issues, but their problem was the sugarwork bees. “I can’t do it,” Robert declared.Kevin & Jake were first to be judged, with their piece described as “very colourful” and “elegant”. The flavours got a thumbs-up too.Next were Sarah & Leyre, and while their showpiece looked the part, their choux wasn’t right.The judges loved the look of Thibault & Erica’s fashion-themed piece. “I can see this on the cover of a fashion magazine,” Cherish said. They liked the taste, too, with Cherish declaring: “You should be very proud of yourselves, you nailed it.”Pauline & Robert were next. “Where are the bees?” asked Cherish. Sore subject. The flavours were good, but the lack of bees let the team down.Last to face the judges were Sanjam & Exose. “Forget the diamond, this is rough” Benoit said, gesturing towards unfinished showpiece. Ouch.But a certain lack of buzz decided this week’s contest, with the bee-stricken Pauline & Robert leaving the competition. Thibault & Erica (pictured below) took the top spot, Jake & Kevin came in second, Sarah & Leyre third and Sanjam & Exose scraping into second-to-last place.
Smith: Judges should be appointed on merit Jan Pudlow Associate Editor With the passion he summoned in his former role as a prosecutor in closing arguments in a big murder case, Sen. Rod Smith, D-Gainesville, delivered a rousing keynote address at the Bar’s Annual Meeting General Assembly, hitting hard on President Kelly Overstreet Johnson’s top goals. • On lawyer advertising:“Somehow, images of Webster, Darrow, Marshall, and Cox disappear when I am told of a television ad that suggests good legal counsel can be obtained by simply dialing 1-800-PIT-BULL. At the rate we are going, I expect law firm names emblazoned on the shoulder pads of star players of NFL games. Of course, in small print on their wrist bands you will be told that selecting an attorney is an important decision. When we hawk ourselves like has-been infomercial celebrities, the whole profession suffers, public respect is diminished, and legislative support becomes harder to sustain.” • On protecting an independent judiciary:“There are, of course, those in the executive branch or the legislature anxious to blame the courts or use the courts as an excuse for some unpopular social changes. Our governor and legislature, particularly the House, love to assail the ‘activist’ judges, albeit their complaints were noticeably less strident when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its opinion in Bush v. Gore. “All of us should understand one thing and understand it well: The single most sustaining support structure for our form of democracy has been the independent judiciary.”At that point, the audience broke into applause.“From John Marshall to William Rehnquist, the exercise of judicial review, while differing in many ways, has acted as a critical counterweight to the excesses of the majority or the over-concentration of political powers in the legislative or executive branches. The unique need for balance in our federalism has always required a final arbiter. I want to challenge Justice [Barbara] Pariente [the new chief justice] this morning never to back down from a decision, ever, for fear of legislative reprisal or executive disapproval.” • On the need for judicial nominating commissions free of politics:“Our trial judges need particular courage and judgment as they face ever greater press and public scrutiny. There is always the temptation to simply follow the popular will. Because of my fear of an overly politicized judiciary, I share Kelly Johnson’s concerns that our judicial nominating process should not become an extension of the governor’s office, especially in a state that requires Senate confirmation for every appointment except our courts. Our judges should be appointed and retained on the basis of merit, not political allegiance. • On celebrating courageous lawyers and judges:“It is only when the courts and judges show fear the law is diminished and that which Justice Holmes called our ‘magic mirror’ becomes fogged and unclear. I am so proud that a trial judge in this state, notwithstanding pressure from the governor’s office and an unwise vote of the legislature, had the courage to follow the law in the tragic and private case of Terri Schiavo. To those who criticize the judge, I refer them to the words of the first great trial lawyer in America, Luther Martin, who, during his closing in defense of Aaron Burr, trumpeted to Justice Marshall: ‘It is easy to do our duty in fair weather, but when the tempest rages, when lightning blazes all around us — it is then that a truly brave man stands his post.’” July 15, 2004 Associate Editor Regular News Smith: Judges should be appointed on merit