July 29, 2014 | Posted in EPISODE RECAPS, REALITY TV | By



Screen capture from the July 28 2014 episode of MasterChef on Fox.

Screen capture from the July 28 2014 episode of MasterChef on Fox. Watch it now at Amazon Instant Video.

It’s down to the top 12 this week as the remaining MasterChef home cooks enter the kitchen. We see Elizabeth, who is one of the team captains this time, and she talks about missing her husband. The judges announce that for this challenge, they will be staying right there in the MC kitchen…diners will be coming to them to dine in their “world class” restaurant.

The theme for this meal and the challenge will be “love”. There will be 17 couples dining together that evening and so it’s got to be something romantic. Victoria thinks this is great because it’s the closest she can be to her girlfriend right now. Each team will have to make an entree and dessert.

Ahran is the other team captain (Red) along with Elizabeth (Blue), since they both did the best last week. Ahran’s not a fan of this challenge since she’s never been on a date before! Elizabeth gets first pick, so she chooses Francis because he’s passionate and he will “rock it.” Ahran chooses Willie. Elizabeth wants Jaimee for what she should be able to do for dessert. Ahran picks Christine because she’s amazing in team challenges. Elizabeth wants Victoria to do the protein for their entree. Ahran picks Christian, Elizabeth takes Courtney. Ahran wants Leslie because he works well under direction. Elizabeth picks Daniel. Cutter is last picked on the Red team…doesn’t seem like a surprise given he’s been doing so poorly lately!

It’s time to plan their meals. They have a great selection of top of the line protein for their entrees, including striped bass, lobster, rack of lamb and filet mignon. They will have 60 minutes to prep before dinner service, and then another 60 minutes before desserts will go out (that’s a long time to wait for dessert!)

Ahran’s team has decided on their menu: lobster risotto with butter poached risotto, and a raspberry chocolate tiramisu. Elizabeth, meanwhile, is doing filet served with a golden beet and potato puree, with a layered sponge cake for dessert. On her team Victoria is in charge of the steak and Jaimee is of course doing the cake.

The judges debate what looks like a good choice and what not be so good. Joe thinks the lobster risotto will either be great or a disaster. Risotto is unforgiving so they have to get it just right. But the steak can be tricky as well, it can’t be over or underdone.
The restaurant is open and the “VIPS” are coming in to be seated. It’s a mixture of couples young and old. (You’d think perhaps, this being Los Angeles, they might have had one same sex couple invited as well? It would have been nice to see, in my opinion, but I didn’t see any). All the times are now full except for one. It’s been reserved for the “single most important in the world”: Gordon’s wife Tana. Everyone oohs and aaahs over how pretty she is. Courtney mostly seems focused on Tana’s high heels.

The chefs are struggling to finish up their entrees in time. Victoria’s steaks are still “mooing”, they are so rare. She gets them in the oven to try to finish off. When the servers arrive, she still thinks they are too rare and she’s horrified by the possibility.

Each couple seems to be getting one steak, one lobster risotto. We get a focus on Gordon and Tana tasting their plates. There might be too much onion in the risotto, and it doesn’t taste like anything.  The steak is a bit too rare for Tana, but the beet puree is really delicious.

Joe goes around to get feedback from the other couples. One person agrees that the meat was a bit rare, but one gentleman says it was the best steak he’s ever had.

Desserts are coming along. The clock is kicking down, and Cutter is freaking out.   Ahran thinks her team’s tiramisu looks pretty. Elizabeth is happy with her layered cake as well. Again we go to Gordon and Tana for their opinions on dessert first. Tana thinks the Red team’s tiramisu looks clumsy; the chocolate is delicious but she can’t taste the raspberry. Blue team’s dessert looks pretty but there might bee too many strawberries in the plating. The salted caramel, cake and chocolate mousse are good, but they are eating around the cream, which might be a bad sign.

Now we need our “aw” moment for the night, as after dinner there is a marriage proposal in the dining room. (Of course she says yes!)

“Checks” are brought out to each table, and the couples will decide who receives theirs: the Red Team or the Blue Team. The chefs are brought in to find out whose “magical evening” will not end on a high note. Which team received the most checks? It’s almost a landslide: more than 75 % of the votes went to Elizabeth’s Blue Team. Elizabeth can’t believe it, and now the Red Team will face a pressure test elimination challenge. Ahran feels like a failure.

As they are getting ready for the pressure test, there’s a lot of tension and debate over who screwed up the worst on their team. Leslie is getting flack for the seasoning of the risotto, but he talks back about how he had to kill 23, 24 lobsters; someone else could have told him to adjust the seasoning. Christine is scared as this is the first time she’s had to face a pressure test, so the others all have more experience in it by now.

So it’s Ahran, Cutter, Christian, Willie, Christie, and Leslie all up for elimination – no one will be safe this time from the losing team. The judges want to see them make the perfect thing to round out a romantic evening: nine perfect, hand crafted chocolate truffles in a box. The chocolate has to be smooth, not grainy, and the filling has to be spot-on. They have to visual feasts for the eye as well as for the palette.

Cutter is definitely worried. His hands make streak, ribs, drink beer… they don’t make truffles!

Each chef is given chocolate, heavy cream, sugar and butter, plus they have a pantry available to them for decorating their truffles with items such as fresh fruit and sprinkles. They each must have at least three different types in their box, and they only have one hour to make them all.

Graham thinks it’s the hardest challenge they’ve ever had. It’s all about the ratio, and the  coating. Christine says she is out of her element, and it’s crazy to do in 60 minutes. Willie has never made truffles before, but he hopes it all comes together.

Christian hasn’t done them before, either. Leslie is in his fourth pressure test, Cutter is in his third. It’s tough and he’s fairly certain he’ll be going home if he messes up one more time, but he seems cool about the challenge this time around. Ahran can’t let one defeat get her down, but Joe says she seems vulnerable this time. Leslie is the “animal of the pressure test” and seems to be doing well. Christian is behind, and they only have 8 minutes left.

Time runs out and the judges must check out how everyone’s truffles not only taste but how they look.

Cutter is first up for tasting. He thinks he’s done about a 7 or 8 out of 10 on his truffles. Graham opens the box and says “Wow”. Visually they are a 10. Mint-infused dark chocolate, milk chocolate with orange liquer, and a toasted coconut are some of his flavors. It’s perfectly balanced, the peppermint candy is a great foil on his mint/dark chocolate truffles. Joe wonders if this is the “new Cutter” they are seeing now. He hopes it’s his rebound. Great flavor and the orange infusion is very sophisticated. Gordon tries to psyche out Cutter at first by saying Joe and Graham are full of crap … just kidding! Delicious, great texture, all he wants to do is eat another one. They are professional level chocolates.

Christian has eggnog brandy, bacon, and pretzel flavors for his truffles. The ganache is nice, but he’d do a larger chop on the pretzels.

Willie has dark chocolate with togarashi, milk chocolate with sprinkles, coconut and habanero pepper. Graham asks if he loves color or he’s colorblind…there are way too many sprinkles that spoil the appearance and take away from the flavor.

Ahran has milk chocolate hazelnut and coffee mocha for two of her flavors. She used different bases for each, they are very rich. It’s not bad, could be lighter.

Leslie has dark chocolate, white chocolate, and coconut milk chocolate. Leslie’s were supposed to be romantic but they look like they were “molded from his armpits”, according to Gordon (he sure loves the disgusting analogies, doesn’t he?) Gordon likes the white chocolate on one but it’s “a box of chocolates you need to eat in the dark”. They look really bad. Graham says they have a great flavor on the inside but they look really bad.

Christine is next with her truffles. She has sea salt dark chocolate, coffee and cinnamon with almond dust and raw coco nibs. They aren’t round, but worse, they are also super bitter. Gordon says the coco nibs she used on the coating are really bitter…what a shame.

It was really challenging so the judges have a big decision to make. Cutter’s were amazing. Ahran’s weren’t perfect but they weren’t bad. Christian’s were a little dry. Leslie’s were the ugliest they’ve seen.

But now it’s time to make a decision. Cutter is called forward first. Joe has made no secret of doubting him, but he was proven wrong with how he performed here. They tell him to take his box of chocolates and go up to the balcony for the rest of the chefs to enjoy and taste. It’s “the shock of the season” (if you believe that.)

Cutter was way above the rest of the class. Willie, Ahran and Christian are called forward next. They were all tripped up but two others fell much harder. The three of them are safe. That leaves Leslie and Christine at the bottom. One had truffles that looked decent but tasted inadequate. The other was the opposite. Who will be going home? Turns out it’s Christine.

The judges are “as shocked as she is.” The chocolates were bitter beyond belief and the contrast didn’t work between the filling and the coating so it’s time for her to say goodbye.

I found this episode pretty mediocre, truth be told. The whole romantic meal oohing and aahing over some rather boring looking food (and really, in one hour Blue Team couldn’t get filets done to a proper temperature, if that was all one person had to prepare?) Neither of the desserts looked all of that great to me either. And of course, yet another dessert for an elimination challenge—yawn.

I can’t decide whether I’m just getting tired of the concept of the show and the repetitiveness of it, after 5 seasons, or if it’s just an overall bad group of contestants this season. Twelve are left and there is no one yet I’m truly cheering on to see win it all.  If there’s going to be another season after this (and I’m sure there will be), I want to see some kind of shake-up in the concept, some new types of challenges or situations for the contestants to face.

Also, FOX, can we please stop with the stupid #hashtags throughout the show? I’m not going to be tweeting about a #BoxOfChocolates or #MCProposal, that’s just a dumb attempt at social media marketing cluttering up my television screen.

sockii

sockii is just your typical Jane-of-All-Trades who never has enough time in her day for all of her projects. She has written for many websites online including Squidoo, Zujava, Yahoo! Contributors Network, HubPages and Wizzley. She has been attending and vending at science fiction and media conventions for over 15 years, and for several years ran an art gallery and jewelry store in Philadelphia. Today she is happy to be living in South Jersey with her partner David and their 6 cats. Sockii is a member of several affiliate sales programs including Amazon Associates and Viglink. Products from these services may be advertised on her posts and pages to generate sales commissions.

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