Episode 5 of Next Great Baker opened with Buddy Velastro asking himself, “do I bring Garrett back, or not?” Spoiler alert: stop reading right now if you don’t want to know the outcome of Episodes 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, or the New Year’s Eve Hoboken Style special.
“Where’s Garrett?” has been the central tease since Episode 4, when he was suffering from panic attacks offscreen and Velastro called the Mom of this 36-year-old Tennessee contestant to let her know the wheels were coming off the pastry cart.
Velastro encouraged him to pull himself together, but Garrett explained, “nothing is making me feel better. I need to get some help.” Buddy assured him his health should be the most important priority.
Garrett’s family arrives. There are warm embraces all around as he reassures them, “I’m alive. Alive,” (another darker subtext that viewers are probably afraid of whenever a Next Great Baker contestant goes missing, but that’s a different discussion).
Before realizing he has bowed out, his fellow contestants show him none of the empathy they showed contestant James Brown when he exited the show to prepare for brain tumor surgery (scheduled for January 10, 2013).
Louisville’s Ashley Holt says, “for me, in a competition, there should be no excuse whatsoever that you’re not there.” Philly’s Chad Durkin concurs, “would I allow my employee to do that? Absolutely not, I would just fire him.”
Velastro lets the remaining contestants know that Garrett has bowed out of the competition.
The baker’s challenge begins with cannoli — the contestants have to roll them around a stick, fry them, and then be tested for rawness.
Five of Peter’s passed. Gretel-Ann got 24. Ashley got 17. Paul had a perfect batch, 18 out of 18. Jen got 27. Letty, who’s coordinating a crowd funding effort for James Brown’s post-op ecovery efforts, got 26. Jen and Letty win the challenge.
The Elimination Challenge: Wedding Cakes.
The winning MVP and the bride on the winning team get a vacation.
Bride Antonio orders up four tiers from Team Paul and Chris, topped by floppy flat bows.
Bride Jennifer asks Team Letty, Ashley, and Peter, for five tiers that will tell the story of their relationship with silhouettes… of motorcycles, dancing, cell phones, etc.
Ashley free hands the silhouettes. Peter crafts the roses. Ashley complains he does good work, “but it takes a freakin’ day and a half.” The bride returns halfway through and tells them to scrap the storylines. Letty thinks maybe she should stand between the two of them, in case “Ashley whacks her with a sheet pan.” Now the bride wants some “regal and classy drapery.” Ashley reminds herself, “you can’t hit the bride.”
Team Chad, Gretel-Ann and Jen are trying to please bride Julissa with a Sex and the City skyline cake. “More wedding, more elegant, more pipework.”Glam. Damask. A stumpy Empire State Building. And then their bow fell off. But they still won. And Gretel-Ann took the MVP for the Jamaican vacation.
Letty and Ashley draped their cake nicely, but too thickly, and Buddy described the tiers as “poorly executed.” Both Letty and Ashley gently threw Peter under the bus, admitting to Buddy it was time for Peter to go home. “We tried to get him to go faster, and he just doesn’t go faster. It’s not in him.”
Peter said, “I don’t take offense… I tried to bring my best to the table, but apparently speed is not one of them.”
Off to the box truck, Peter.