Film and TV

Top Chef: Just Desserts Starts Tonight, with Two Houston Contestants

The second season of Top Chef: Just Desserts begins tonight on Bravo at 9 p.m. And unlike the first season, Houston has a dog in the fight. Two, to be precise: pastry chefs Rebecca Masson and Vanarin Kuch.

Both Masson and Kuch bring impressive pedigrees to the show. Masson attended Le Cordon Bleu and worked as a pastry chef in the fast-paced New York kitchens of db Bistro Moderne and Daniel before moving to Houston in 2006 to work at *17. Since that time, Masson has consulted on dozens of dessert menus across town. You've seen her work everywhere from the pistachio pound cake with mascarpone and sour cherries at Stella Sola to her irresistible cookies at Revival Market. She also runs Fluff Bake Bar, where you can order her creations online.

Kuch is the son of Cambodian refugees who settled in Houston, and he stuck around the city to get his degree from the Art Institute. One of his first posts after graduation was at the prestigious (and now closed) Bank from Jean Georges Vongerichten at the Hotel Icon. These days, he's the pastry chef at the popular Tiny Boxwood's and is responsible for its famous dessert program. He was recently named a Rising Star Chef -- one of only a handful, and one of only two pastry chefs -- by Star Chefs.

Both Masson and Kuch have, obviously, remained mum on how far they advanced on the show. But Masson is charmingly anxious and excited about her appearance on TV tonight, as evidenced by her Twitter account earlier today: "I think I'm gonna puke...."

Hang in there, chefs. After all, your reward for doing so is $100,000 from KitchenAid among other things. Just think of all the Fluffernutters that would make...



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Katharine Shilcutt