Standing next to Gail is Johnny Iuzzini, pastry's resident bad boy and the Head Judge for this competition. I have no idea how someone qualifies as Pastry's Bad Boy, but based on Johnny's appearance I can only assume it has something to do with copious amounts of hair gel and chaining your wallet to your trousers in case one of them tries to make a break for it. Apparently Johnny has a James Beard Award and isn't afraid to flaunt it. He is also the pastry chef at Jean Georges in NYC, which means something. No one comments on his hair.
Before the contestants can even wipe off the bus grime (or even coat themselves in Purell) Gail is announcing the first Quickfire competition. It's pretty standard first round stuff: Make a signature dessert. As the contestants run around the grocery store we meet another competitor, Yigit Pura, who was the executive chef under Daniel Boulud, which in my understanding of the chef solar system (Daniel Bouloud > Jean-Georges Vong.) puts him pretty much on par with Johnny Iuzzini, but I'm probably missing something. If he just had more hair gel or a wallet chain he could be judging this competition himself. Time to hit the Macy's accessories wall, little dude! He is proud to be OCD because it is the number one job requirement for a good pastry chef. But don't tell Eric Wolitzky that. He's a baker (and Baked in Brooklyn) with a laissez-faire attitude towards measuring butter and is anti-foofiness. He just gives you a whoopie pie and tells you to shut up and like it.
Then we get a sad story of contestant Malika who is going through a divorce and wants to show her three boys that she is perfectly capable of succeeding in life without their good-for-nothing father. They chefs head to the Top Chef (Just Desserts) kitchen and gasp approvingly at the shiny shiny sheet pans and Kitchenaid Mixers and whatever googaws sponsors have supplied. They all run around beating, whipping, and banging like it's an S & M dungeon instead of a pastry kitchen. Gail and Johnny interrupt the proceedings because there has to be a twist! There has to! It's in the reality show bylaws. So what's the big twist? Their signature dish must be made into a ...cupcake. Apparently cupcakes are pastry chef Ex Lax because according to one contestant everyone crapped their pants. Everyone runs around sweating, cursing, and throwing pans into the ovens at breakneck pace. Someone turns an oven up, another makes an unsightly buttercream, one has to turn a cake into a cupcake. And then time is up and our poor single mother isn't able to plate her meringue cupcake and is near tears knowing that her soon-to-be ex husband is probably sitting somewhere smirking while setting up his online dating profile.