This week, on MasterChef:
You know one of the things I like about this show? All the action takes place in the Arena Where Cooking Occurs, and we are spared the arguings, the yellings, the meltdowns, the cockamamie hot tub shenanigans, the gross sexytimes, and all the other Reality TV DRAMAZ! It gives me less material to work with, but at the same time my teevee is not in as much danger of an impromptu flying lesson, so…
The remaining four contestants meet the judges in the MasterChef kitchen, where they find out the task that lay ahead of them. Tonight is their (probably) final Team Challenge, and it will take place right in this very kitchen. They will split into teams of two, and each team will prepare a three-course meal for Chef, Graham, Judge Joe, and Three
Blind Mice Special Guests. Those three guests, who are at this very moment touching down on the runway in the MasterChef private jet, are:
- Chef Guy Savoy – he owns six restaurants, has eight Michelin stars, and was Gordon’s culinary mentor. (No pressure here, folks! Also, Josh takes this opportunity to
suck upremind us that Chef is his culinary mentor.)
- Chef Daniel Boulud – who owns seven of the most acclaimed restaurants in New York, has four Michelin stars to his credit, and is a best-selling author of cookbooks.
- Chef Alain Ducasse - the man has 21 Michelin stars. Need I say more?
True Fact: Chef Ducasse is one of only two chefs IN THE WHOLE WORLD with more Michelin stars than Chef Gordon Ramsay.
Another True Fact: Combined with Chef Ramsay’s 13 Michelin stars awarded (he currently holds 12, but what’s a star between friends?), Judge Joe’s 2 Michelin stars (who currently holds one), and Chef Graham Elliot’s 1 Michelin star, this guest list features a total of 49 Michelin stars! So many stars! Almost as many stars as you can find on any teevee awards show, or in any bar near the Pentagon on your average Friday evening (though nowhere near as many as are present on the uniform of Kim Jong-Un, because.) No wonder Chef Graham told the Final Four that “Anyone in the world would be honored and terrified to cook for these three guest judges.” Word.
As the winner of the last Elimination Test, Christine is given the honor of picking her team-mate (and, because they’re all that remain, the composition of the opposing team.) Christine is warned that, should her team lose, she will be going head-to-head against her team mate in the Dreaded Pressure Test: she retorts that her focus is not on possibly losing, but on making sure her team wins (BAM!), and then picks Becky. So, once again, it is Red Team (women) vs. Blue Team (men). Also, Christine may have shown a bit of strategical thinking, since in a Foreboding On-Camera Sidebar, we see that there is still some Bad Blood between Josh and Frank, because Josh still holds a grudge for Frank saying that he would save Josh, then saving himself instead, during the previous Dreaded Pressure Test.
The two teams have 90 minutes to plan, prepare, and serve their dishes: with no time to lose, they head off to the MasterChef Pantry to gather ingredients, then the cooking begins. The tension among the Blue Team members continues to build, causing them to stumble out of the starting gate: while the women seem to be working together very well. As the time expires, each course (appetizer, entree, and dessert) is presented to the
judging panel diners:
- Appetizer course – going with an Asian theme, the women prepared a Thai seafood soup, which was either delicately flavored or under-seasoned, depending on which judge you believe. The men serve up a spring vegetable terrine, which earned criticism for a lack of balance between the vegetables and the gelatin. The Red Team takes this round, natch.
- Entree course – the Red Team’s duck with crispy bamboo rice debuts to mixed reviews, partially because Becky failed to get the rice cake on one of the plates; while the Blue Team’s stuffed lamb saddle earned high accolades, being called things like “amaz
eballsing” and “perfect”. Point: Blue Team.
- Dessert course – Becky’s presentation skills take center stage on the Red Team’s coconut verrine with guava coulis; while the Blue Team’s white-chocolate mousse garners praise for its explosive flavor, the presentation is inconsistent, with Judge Joe actually calling it “an argument on a plate”.
After a chance for the judges to
grill question the contestants about their dishes, they retire to the place where judges do their judging, and they judge. Then they emerge, having completed the judging, and Chef Boulud renders the verdict: the best meal was prepared by… the Red Team!
This means that Christine and Becky move on to the semi-final (and the Peanut Gallery), while Josh and Frank move on to the Most Terrifying Dreaded Pressure Test EVAH!
For their Dreaded Pressure Test, Frank and Josh are assigned the task of preparing a perfect white cheddar cheese soufflé by Chef. But wait – there’s more! Judge Joe doesn’t want white cheddar cheese, and orders a soufflé made with raspberries please. And, in a Shocking!Twist! (is there any other kind?), Chef Graham says he would prefer a soufflé with dark chocolate if it isn’t any trouble.
Oh. My. G-d. Not one soufflé, but three. In 60 minutes. Right now, Becky is probably thanking her lucky stars that she and Christine work well together, and Josh may well have been regretting his decision not to Just Let It Go, Already!
Cooking happens yada yada yada. Of course, Josh gets his soufflés in the oven at the very last minute (if you recall, he did the same thing in a previous episode), so we have our dramatic tension – will they be cooked before the time expires? He also chooses to use fresh raspberries, which is a bold (albeit risky) move. Frank gets his in the oven a little sooner, and seems calm as a cucumber: so calm, in fact, that he starts talking about having his name inscribed on the MasterChef trophy! You know what they say about Pride goeth…
When time runs out, all the soufflés are brought up and placed, oh so carefully, on the tables before their respective judge. Chef tastes his first, followed by Chef Graham, followed by Judge Joe. Nobody offers any commentary, or gives any indication of their preference, during the tasting. Afterwards, they ask both Josh and Frank a few questions, then retire to the Chamber of Judging, where they do whatever it is they do in there. Then, they come out, and pronounce their verdict:
- Chef: the best cheese soufflé was served by… Frank.
- Judge Joe: preferred the fresh raspberries used by Josh. Since the score is tied, the deciding vote will be cast by
- Chef Graham: who says he “hates being in this position.” However, that doesn’t keep him from announcing that the chocolate soufflé he liked best came from… Josh.
Which means that Josh is in, and Frank.. is out. He leaves the MasterChef kitchen for the last time, without his apron, without the trophy, without the cookbook deal, without the $250,000. However, he leaves with his head held high, promising that we have not seen the last of him. Which I sincerely hope is the case, because he did turn out what appeared to be some pretty
incredible cool crack dope exceptional fabulous fantastic fine first-rate fresh keen laudable neat brilliant marvelous nifty rad super superb sweet terrific tremendous fly wicked wonderful excellent worthy awesome food.
And so, we are now down to the Final Three: Christine, Becky, and Josh. It is now time to give them a taste of the fame that awaits one of them, as they are each to receive a cookbook with their smiling face on the cover. They also have to face their last (probably) Mystery Box Challenge, with the winner getting first dibs on which pair of legs – chicken, frog, or lamb – they will use to prepare the dish that will earn two of them a spot in the – you guessed it – Season Finale.
So, what do you think it will be – an all-female finale, or will Josh continue his lucky streak? I am partial to Becky vs. Christine with Christine taking the grand prize, myself: however, I Am Not a Psychic, Nor Do I Play One On the TeeVees, so if you want to know for certain, you will just have to tune in and find out, next time… on MasterChef.
MasterChef airs at 8PM Central Time on Tuesdays, on FOX. (For a few more weeks, at least.)