Bravo sweetens the deal as “Top Chef: Just Desserts” — a spin-off of the popular Emmy-nominated and James Beard Award-winning “Top Chef” — adds celebrated pastry chef Johnny Iuzzini as Head Judge with critically acclaimed chef Hubert Keller and DailyCandy Editor-at-Large Dannielle Kyrillos rounding out the judges’ table. As previously announced, “Top Chef” judge Gail Simmons will serve as the host of Bravo’s newest delectable delight that airs on Bravo later this year. For more information, visit www.BravoTV.com. Follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BravoPR.
Each episode of “Top Chef: Just Desserts” holds two challenges for the pastry chefs: the first is a quickfire test of their basic abilities and the second is a more involved elimination challenge designed to test the versatility and inventiveness of the pastry chefs as they take on unique culinary trials such as working with unusual and exotic ingredients or catering for a range of demanding clients.
Iuzzini, one of the country’s most celebrated and innovative pastry chefs, joins as head judge of “Top Chef: Just Desserts.” Currently the Executive Pastry Chef at Restaurant Jean Georges, which has three Michelin stars, and Nougatine, Iuzzini has received numerous accolades throughout his career. In May 2006, The James Beard Foundation awarded Iuzzini “Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year,” for which he was also nominated in 2003; he was named one of the Comite Colbert’s “Emerging Young Artists of 2000;” earned the title of “Best New Pastry Chef” by New York Magazine in 2002; and was named one of the “10 Best Pastry Chefs in America” by Pastry Art and Design Magazine in 2003 and 2004. Iuzzini, who has appeared as a guest judge on “Top Chef,” published his first cookbook, Dessert Fourplay in 2008.
Keller will be a familiar face to “Top Chef” fans having appeared multiple times as a guest judge on “Top Chef” and as a contestant on season one of “Top Chef Masters.” His world-renowned restaurants, Fleur de Lys San Francisco and Las Vegas, feature Keller’s contemporary French cooking accented with Mediterranean flavors. With his palate attuned to America’s evolving tastes, Keller launched his wildly popular Burger Bar restaurants in Las Vegas, St Louis, and San Francisco as well as the cutting edge SLeeK Steakhouse and Ultra Lounge in St Louis. He has won numerous awards including the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: California” and has been elected to the Foundation’s prestigious Who’s Who in Food and Beverage. Food & Wine magazine tapped him as one of the ten Best New Chefs in America, and Restaurants & Institutions gave him its Ivy Award.
Entertaining expert and Editor-at-Large of DailyCandy, Kyrillos shares insider scoop with readers across the country on the latest news in food, fashion, travel, gifts and entertaining. She wrote several chapters of DailyCandy’s two books, Daily Candy A to Z: An Insider’s Guide to the Sweet Life and The DailyCandy Lexicon: Words That Don’t Exist But Should. For the past four years, she has also helped cover the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen for Plum TV as an on-camera host.
Food & Wine’s Simmons, who has been a judge on “Top Chef” for the past seven seasons, takes on the hosting duties of this highly competitive spin-off series showcasing the best of the best in the world of pastry arts. She is responsible for special projects for the magazine, acting as liaison between the marketing and editorial teams on magazine events and chef-related initiatives. During her tenure at the magazine, she has been responsible for the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, America’s premier culinary event. Born in Toronto, Canada, Gail moved to New York City to attend culinary school at what is now the Institute of Culinary Education. She then trained in the kitchens of legendary Le Cirque 2000 and groundbreaking Vong restaurants, and worked for esteemed food critic Jeffrey Steingarten at Vogue as well as for chef Daniel Boulud. Throughout her career, Simmons has contributed to several cookbooks, including It Must’ve Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten, Chef Daniel Boulud: Cooking in New York City and The New American Chef, by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.
“Top Chef: Just Desserts” is produced by the Emmy-nominated Magical Elves. Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz serve as executive producers.