Top Chef: Just Desserts Contestant Suffers Meltdown over Melted Ice Cream

09/23/2010 10:00AM

Understatement alert: This wasn't Seth Caro's week on Top Chef: Just Desserts.

On Wednesday's episode, the New York-based pastry chef suffered quite the emotional breakdown. There were tears, plus paranoia, crumbled desserts and self-pity – and the derision of his costars.

The drama started immediately when the chefs were asked to make a dish celebrating penny candy for their Quickfire challenge. For Seth, the challenge was apparently an emotional one. In fact, he ended up doubled over in tears under his kitchen workspace.





The chef explained that his mother was sick and that he was working hard to compete and make her proud. But when his sorbet didn't freeze up, he lost it. Big time. "I can't do this," he said between sobs.

His fellow chefs were dismayed by the emotional display and even guest judge Elizabeth Falkner seemed concerned. "I have to pull my head out of my ass a lot," she told Seth, consoling him, but also encouraging him to buck up.

Someone Needs a Drink!

The drama continued well into the main challenge, which had the contestants making desserts modeled after cocktails.

After not finding the ingredients (grapefruit, for instance) that he wanted, Seth unleashed a paranoid outburst that was downright embarrassing.

"I don't understand why anyone's against me," he yelped, after his fellow contestants were encouraging him. "I'm broke . . . my mother has over $100,000 in medical bills. I'm not here for fun. I'm here to save my life."

Things weren't helped by his behavior in the kitchen. The chef ran laps, knocked things over and was told by his competitors that he was "mentally draining."

Apology Demanded

Worst of all, the chef admitted he was humiliated and ashamed of himself – but he just couldn't seem to stop behaving badly, reverting back to "freak-out mode" before the final challenge and even (seemingly) knocking over Zac Young's desserts. (Seth, for his part, denied any involvement, but it sure seemed like he grazed the tray of goodies in one of his frenzied rounds through the kitchen.)

In the end, Seth was spared elimination – and left to cry another day – but his Smurf-blue cakes did land him in the bottom, next to Malika Ameen and this week's loser Tim Nugent, whose pudding failed to please the judges. Erika Davis won the challenge for her margarita-inspired dessert, which looked layered and lovely.

Tell us: What did you think of the challenge? Was Seth completely out of line? Who do you want to see eliminated next?

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