Why Did ‘Top Chef: Just Desserts’ Get Canceled?

Top Chef: Just Desserts was a Bravo show that was only on the air for two seasons. It was a spinoff from the popular reality cooking show, Top Chef. The show pitted top dessert chefs against one another, encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone and create some truly amazing desserts.

Many fans were surprised when Bravo canceled the show after just two seasons. Considering how popular cooking shows, reality television, and desserts are, many had thought it would be a long-running show. Even now, several years following the final episode, many fans are scratching their heads and trying to figure out why the show was canceled after such a short run.

'Top Chef Just Desserts' judges, seated
(L-R) Hubert Keller, Gail Simmons, Johnny Iuzzini, Dannielle Kyrillos |Trae Patton/Getty Images

The Top Chef: Just Desserts’ premise

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The idea behind Top Chef: Just Desserts was easy to follow. When the creative team connected to Top Chef realized just how popular the reality show was, they decided to create a spinoff show that used the same basic concept as Top Chef, but that focused entirely on desserts. The idea was that a group of dessert chefs would compete against one another to see who was the best of the best. Each week, contestants were issued two challenges and told to go to work. Gail Simmons hosted the show.

“It’s a totally different brain, it’s a totally different kitchen and when we ask savory chefs to cook this, they don’t know how because it’s not what they do every day,” Simmons explained how the show differed from Top Chef during an interview with The Futon Critic. “It’s finally just timing. With ‘Top Chef‘ and ‘Top Chef Masters‘ we’ve all been running in many directions and we finally all got in a room and said ‘Let’s make it happen!’ I think it’s the perfect moment. Desserts are having a moment and we’re about to blow it out.”

Why was Top Chef: Just Desserts canceled?

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 It seems there wasn’t one concrete reason why Top Chefs: Just Desserts was canceled after two seasons. According to various reports, it seems that several things combined led to the cancellation. Certainly, the show didn’t generate the kind of high ratings most people expected. While a show about desserts seemed like it should appeal to lots of people, and it did draw many loyal viewers, the ratings never matched Top Chef.

According to TV Guide, only 1.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the second to last episode of Top Chef: Just Desserts which is pretty dismal when compared to the 2.7 million who enjoyed the Top Chef’s finale. Individuals involved in the creative process have also said that the show quickly encountered problems with the contestants. Apparently, dessert chefs have a slightly different temperament than the chefs who appeared on Top Chef.

“Pastry chefs are used to being 100 percent in complete control of everything,” Top Chef: Just Desserts executive producer Dan Cutforth explained, according to The List. “So when you throw them in the Top Chef mix, where you don’t have your recipes, and we take away the comfort of time? It really pushed them to the limit.”

Trouble starting in season 1

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It was pretty obvious in season one that there was trouble behind the scenes of Top Chefs: Just Desserts. One contestant suffered a serious head injury yet was still expected to pull herself together and compete. Seth Caro had such a meltdown when his dessert failed to freeze properly, that the creative team chose to break down the sacred fourth wall so that viewers would better understand exactly what happened.

As bad as the breakdown looked on television, Caro told Cinema Blend that things were even more serious than they appeared. He went on to say that the strain was so intense, he was put in psychiatric lockdown for several days. It’s possible that given how much contestants complained that the show’s creative team was worried about how they would attract future contestants had the show continued to run.