JUDGE | LAURA CALDER
Robert had a delicious truffle thing, but he had changed it so much during the batch up that I felt I was judging a completely different recipe. The wholesomeness of his base contrasted too much with his decadent truffle-y topping.
Lucie made one of the best fudges during the audition round that I have ever tasted. But when she got to the batch up it crystallized and that’s when I realized that the strength of that recipe was in the texture and not so much in the taste because it's sugar, that’s what fudge is, sugar. Unless you get that texture where it’s really doing things in your mouth, you lose the recipe.
Don made his squares the size of kitchen tiles, they were huge! But he had a lot of tastes and textures layered up. There was a crunch of nuts and a squishy crunch of the cookie caramel base. They were delicious and complex in their taste and texture, but they were just too big!
Dark Chocolate Treats
JUDGE | DANA McCAULEY
The candies and chocolate batch up was really interesting. I didn’t expect to walk into the kitchen and see Lucie struggling and looking like a deer in headlights. I think that the initial discomfort she had in that big kitchen setting might have been what was her downfall was and why she wasn’t able to focus on just getting her recipe the way it is when she makes it at home.
Robert surprised me at how calm and cool he was considering that he was making a brand new cookie base that he was quite unfamiliar with. If we had taken some of Lucie’s anxiety and put it into Robert then that would have helped both of them!
I just loved watching Don’s team. They were very efficient and they were also having a lot of fun. It was the perfect atmosphere for a batch up; that’s exactly how you want to see things go and surprise, surprise it worked out perfectly for him in the end!
Going to the batch-ups this year has been a great benefit to me because I love to see how the competitors work. As much as the mentors are bright people and they communicate their insights very well, it’s still not the same as being there and seeing how they are interacting with one another and the choices they are making.
Golden Toffee Nut Gems
JUDGE | TONY CHAPMAN
The candies and chocolate competition was a lot fiercer than I had originally imagined. Lucie had an incredible passion for her recipe and for her Quebec roots but where she went sideways was in her product launch challenge. She moved from Sucre a la Crème to Sweet Moments. Her concept was when you ate her candy it would take you to a Sweet Moment, which is more of an advertising concept then a product name. At her event she had a massage table, harpist and then these half naked sort of Chippendale guys. I wasn’t sure where the focus was, and you certainly wouldn’t be able to eat Sucre a la Crème while you’re laying face first on a massage table. The whole event got lost in translation.
Don came up with a beautiful brand name called Triple Nut Toffee. He’s a quirky guy and that quirkiness was certainly demonstrated in his event. He created a forest and had giant chipmunks running around and he had a lot of energy, which was fantastic to see. The only criticism I gave him was that some of his products ended up on the ground. I wasn’t sure if they fell off the tray or people tried them and didn’t like them, but regardless I saw Don step over them at least twice. When you’re running a marketing event, attention to detail is so important. It sent a signal to people that the product wasn’t worth tasting, and that Don was more interested in the fun of his event then the actual reason he was there.
Sucre à la Crème
If you missed it, you can watch the full episode here.
Look for Don Harquail's President's Choice Triple Nut Toffee in grocery stores this weekend!
by Souzan Michael