This week, on MasterChef:
The Storified Tweet-caps this week can be found, for your reading pleasure, by clicking on the clickys for Monday’s and Tuesday’s episodes below.
The contestants head down to Venice Beach. Instead of meeting the local hero, they are met by three food trucks painted black, adorned with the MasterChef logo. Yes, it is a Food Truck Challenge,
honoring the latest in a long line of overdone hipster foodie fads with the proceeds to Benefit Deserving Charities!
As the winner from the previous Elimination Challenge, Stacey is granted Three Choices:
- First, she chooses her own team: her first pick is Tali, since she figures if they get into the Dreaded Pressure Test, she can beat him handily. She then scoops up Frank and Becky.
- Next, she gets to choose the other teams: she sticks Monti with David (almost guaranteeing a meltdown), Anna, and Tanya, leaving Felix, Christine, Mike, and Josh as the third (and last) team.
- Last, she gets to choose which color each team will be, which will determine the type of food they will prepare. For her team, she chooses Red (Mexican); for Team Monti/David/Anna/Tanya, she chooses Yellow (American), leaving Blue (Indian) for the last team.
The Yellow and Blue teams finally get a choice! They choose their team
scapegoats captains, with Yellow choosing Anna, and Blue opting for Josh.
So, it appears that Stacey chose to go the “Reality TV Strategy” route. Will this work in her favor, or will it backfire?
The teams plan their menus, then begin preparing. Cowboy Mike admits he doesn’t know the first ingredient in an Indian dish (hint: if the dish’s name starts with “Chicken”…) As the judges look over the prep work, both the Red and Yellow teams are challenged on their decisions to offer two dishes, where only one is required; while the Blue team is questioned on the wisdom of adding cabbage to Chicken tikka masala.
After 90 minutes to prep. it is time for the contestants to meet
their adoring fans the extras hired by FOX to play the crowd the locals who have been drawn to all the hoopla like moths to a flame. This is not a good thing for the Yellow Team, because they don’t have any food ready to serve (a Bad Move in a challenge where the goal is to sell the most food in the time given.) David (responsible for grilling the burgers) responds by speeding things up, and then… Chef discovers he has sent out RAWR BURGERS! RAWR, RAWR, RAWR!!! While his team mates (especially Anna) complain, David reminds us that OK, maybe he sent out some burgers that could have KILLED THE CHILDREN, but at least he was sending them up FASTER THAN HIS TEAM MATES WERE DELIVERING THEM, and besides DID THEY THINK HE WAS SUPERMAN?
David, Rule #1: No. RAWR. Burgers. Period. The uncooked Pink Slime, it is not a tasty thing to eat. Trust me on this one.
And the folks who are insuring this show wonder again, What Were We Smoking When We Agreed To Do This Thing?
As the service proceeds, all three trucks crank out the food. Team Red (Mexican) runs low on customers, so Stacey heads out to
poach some from the other trucks remind folks that there is NO WAITING at her truck. Meanwhile, the judges collect feedback from the extras diners, while speculating on who they think is ahead. They like the flavors of Team Blue (Indian) the best, but this challenge isn’t about flavors, it is all about the $$$$MONEY$$$$$. And not killing the diners, apparently.
So, after the final dishes are served, the totals are totalled: together, the three trucks raised over $2000 for the charities, with Team Red (Stacey) selling the most, at just under $800. Team Blue (Josh) came in second, and just behind was Team Yellow (
RAWR BURGERZ Anna), who will be featured in the upcoming Dreaded Pressure Test.
But first, the recriminations must fly! Fly, recriminations, fly! Most of the team agrees that David and the RAWR
PINK SLIME BURGERZ are to blame, while Anna feels she is responsible. On the virtual peanut gallery known as Twitter, the question as to whether the RAWR PINK SLIME BURGERZ were to blame is bandied about: my take is that while it might have been a cause, the fact that the Yellow Team was so slow in getting food out almost certainly was.
The next day: it is time for the
execution Dreaded Pressure Test. The Red and Blue Teams head up to the gallery to observe the festivities, while Anna, Tanya, David, and Monti wait nervously, anxious to get this thing over with. The subject of this Pressure Test is… tortellini. They are given a demonstration of how to make a tortellini by Judge Joe, then are given 60 minutes to turn sheet pasta into 10 perfect examples of edible origami. Small fingers are declared an advantage in this endeavor, so poor David begins with a strike against him.
Mistakes, both minor and major, are made. David rolls the dough out on a metal surface instead of a wooden one, while Anna mixes the dough in a food processor, instead of lovingly kneading it by hand. Even worse, she discovers that her stove was not lit, and so her tortellinis were not cooking – and she discovers this with only two minutes to go.
Then, it is time to taste the results. David, with fingers like sausages, receives praise for his technique (though, one presumes, not for his use of a metal surface to roll out the pasta.) Monti learns that her pasta in incredible: Anna hears that hers is inedible. Tanya and Anna end up in the Bottom Two: since There Can Be Only One, Anna gets the bad news that she is henceforth to be dwell with the Legion of the De-Aproned.
RAWR TORTELLINIZ FTL!
Another day, another Mystery Box Challenge. But, this one comes with A TWIST! Judge Joe asks the remaining 11, “What would a true MasterChef do with those ingredients?” – and it appears they are about to find out, as Chef Graham Elliot joins them! They are relieved to hear that Chef Elliot will not actually be competing against them (as if there is any doubt what the outcome of that would be!), he will simply be taking them to school.
The lids come off, revealing the ingredient list: rabbit, gooseberries, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, ramps, forbidden rice, chorizo, and ginger. (Remember, they don’t have to use all the ingredients.) Sixty minutes are put on the clock, and They’re Off!
Of course, Yours Truly had to pose the obvious question to the online peanut gallery: how could the contestants want how a “real Master Chef does things”, if they are supposed to be cooking at the same time? #MultitaskingIsEvilAndDangerousBesides
Chef Graham explains that he isn’t going to do anything ultra fancy. Then, he proceeds to dismantle both that rabbit and the veg with a fluidity of motion normally seen on the So You Think You Can Dance auditions that result in immediate tickets to Vegas.
And, I got a response back:
@alvinschultz: @etee you didn’t notice any differences?!
Well, yes I did, in fact: in addition to the beautiful teardown of the ingredients mentioned above, I also noticed that Chef Graham almost obsessively kept cleaning his workspace while cooking – a fact that (a) makes me want to eat at his restaurant, and (2) is in distinct contrast with behavior to be seen (and pointed out) later in the episode.
Alvin pointed out one other item:
I learned the “knife next to board” move in @grahamelliot ’s kitchen ALL of his cooks do it. #masterchef
As I said: it was an opportunity to watch a true Master at work, grasshoppers.
And then, he kicks it up a notch. With two minutes left, Chef Elliot has nothing on the plate (a not uncommon occurrence on this show), and he takes off for the pantry/coolers. By the time the clock runs out, however, he has plated a dish of “rabbit five ways”, and brought out a dessert from the back to boot!
grasshoppers contestants are invited forward to try his creation, then the judges call the Top 3 contestants forward:
- Frank – his rustic rabbit two ways may “take him to the top”;
- Mike – his seared rabbit legs with forbidden rice and Brussels sprouts earn him a rave review (Yee-HAW!), and;
- Becky – she brings up a braised rabbit leg with carrots, mushrooms, and ramps which Judge Joe thinks “may be her lucky rabbit’s foot.”
And, the winner… Becky! After the obligatory “no longer a bridesmaid” remarks, and displays of jealousy from several of her fellow contestants, Becky is escorted back to the MasterChef pantry, where she learns about her Significant Advantage in the upcoming Elimination Test.
The theme of the Elimination Test is The Tools of the Trade. Becky is shown a pizza stone, a wok, and a deep fryer: she is then asked to select one which the others will use in the upcoming test, and another which she herself will use (no Immunity for you, young lady.) She chooses the pizza stone for the others, and takes the deep fryer for herself.
Monti’s observation on Becky’s choice: it is as if “she wants everyone else out of the kitchen.” Welcome to the world of competitive cooking, Monti. It isn’t as if you would have done any differently, yourself.
Another contestant wonders what can be made using a pizza stone in under an hour. (How about PIZZA, for starters?)
Cowboy Mike decides he will try to use the pizza stone to cook lobster. In the oven. (This does not sound good to me.)
The judges hear a loud CRACK! and head over to see what is the matter. They then smell a terrible, terrible odor, and extricate Monti’s bread from the oven. Monti’s bread is burnt. Terrible, terrible burns has Monti’s bread suffered. Also, there was some kind of electrical malfunction. SHOCKING!
David decides to create smoked lobster(!) using his pizza stone. As a smoker. Morimoto-san, you are not.
So many, many “creative” dishes. How many of them will prove successful? Let’s count!
- Cowboy Mike: de-hydrated roasted lobster. Not successful.
- Becky: shrimp tempura with curry sauce. Success (1)
- Christine: Indian flatbread with chicken and a fried egg. Success (2)
- Monti: carrot soup with rescued Irish soda bread. Success! (3)
- David: smoked lobster with potatoes and BACON! Judge Joe trashes it (literally, he throws it in the trash.) I guess that shows that BACON! does not make everything better. NOT successful (obvs.)
- Tali: is told to stay there, while the judges come around and castigate him for turning his workspace into a messy disaster zone (in contrast to Chef Elliot, whose workspace did not represent the aftermath of a Hell’s Kitchen Service.) They then deign to taste his flatbread three-cheese pizza with duck breast and crème fraiche, and pronounce it about as appetizing as the mess he left on the floor. Also, RAWR FLOUR. Successful… NOT!
- Tanya: lamb cutlets. Dried out lamb cutlets – with a RAWR DOUGH flatbread. Also, whole cloves of RAWR GARLIC. So very, very much RAWR GARLIC. Judge Joe SPITS IT OUT! He then admonishes her to “show some respect” for the people she is cooking for. Total #EPICFAIL.
- Stacey, Josh, and Frank: who knows, since their dishes weren’t shown?
So, we have somewhere between three and six successful dishes. Depends on how you interpret the whole “no TV time” thing.
If I had to venture a guess, I would say that Pizza stone + lobster = ticket to the Bottom 3. RAWR DOUGH is also a good candidate for the honor. OTOH, will that pigsty of a workspace get Tali the axe?
But first, the Good News! The “Great Dish” award this night goes to… Monti! #WINNING!
And then, the Bottom Three are announced: Cowboy Mike, David, and Tanya. (Yep, lobster and RAWR DOUGH – did I call it, or what?)
Cowboy Mike is officially de-aproned, and sent back to where he came from. The remaining contestants celebrate their ascendancy into the Final Ten…
BUT WAIT! SHOCKING TWIST! There will be ANOTHER ELIMINATION this night! Will it be David, or Tanya? It is Tanya! She follows Cowboy Mike out of the MasterChef kitchen for the last time.
You know what would have been even more shocking? If they had 86′d Tali, instead.
Next week, on MasterChef: It’s SEAFOOD TIME! In a SHOCKING TWIST, they decide to hold a Mystery Box Challenge! Featuring Uni! And, in the Elimination Challenge, MOAR FISHIES are cooked! Tune in and watch, then mourn for all the poor fishies who gave their lives, just so Chef could say “Master Bait” on all the teevees!
MasterChef airs at 8PM Central Time on Mondays and Tuesday, on FOX.