The Top 7 (once again) compete
Last time on MasterChef, the top six got a break from cooking so Bime, Lynn and Bri could fight to get back into the kitchen. Bri won and so this week there are seven once again to compete. Krissi is definitely not happy about Bri’s return.
This week’s episode begins with a Mystery Box challenge, and what does each contestant find waiting for them? A T-Bone steak from…wait for it, you’ll never guess…Walmart! And what else is coming from their ubiquitous supplier/sponsor but a truckfull of veggies and other supplies to choose from to serve with their steaks. They have 45 minutes to prepare a dish, and the judges want to see something that stands out and shows some creativity and flair – they don’t want to just see a grilled steak with basic potatoes on the side.
James is quite comfortable with steak – and also with doing some more shameless Walmart promotion when asked by Joe what he’s making. For his side he’s making creamed spinach and kale.
Luca seems to be taking the most classic yet daring approach. He’s separated his T-Bone into Filet Mignon and Sirlon, and is grilling the filet and braising the sirloin. Joe is concerned that might be the backwards way of doing things, and he is playing it safe perhaps with his sides of roasted potatos and haricots vert.
Jordan is doing blue cheese parsley lemon compound butter, and a dry rub on his steak. Krissie is doing a crusted steak with a potato galette, and a salad of brussels sprouts and caramelized onions. Joe seems impressed.
Bri, the judges think, simply looks lost. We don’t see or hear much about Natasha or Jessie’s dishes.
Time for tasting and the first up? Someone who has never won a Mystery Box, the judges announce: Jordan. His strip steak is served with a celery root and parsley puree that might be a little rarer than he’d aimed for, but Joe likes the caramelized onions he rendered down with the bones. Gordon says the seasoning and balance is spot on. Graham says the sweet-sour flavor is there. Things are looking up for Jordan but I’m already getting worried about him – it seems that any time one cheftestant gets a lot of screentime right at the beginning of an episode, after being in the background for a while, that bodes strongly that he could be up for elimination.
The second dish to be tasted is Luca’s, and it looks beautiful, very restaurant-quality in presentation. Joe wants to know why he’s just coming out after being so close to elimination in the past. He likes Luca’s dish a lot. Gordon says it’s delicious.
The third dish they are excited to taste? Krissi’s pan seared steak with “Pommes du Krissi” and her salad. Graham thinks she’s found her voice and the sear on the steak is done professionally. She cooked her steak in a cast iron skillet which gave it a great finish.
So, who won? After the expected commercial break we find out it’s Krissi. The others don’t seem too happy about that; they think she stuck with too many things she’s prepared already. Krissi, meanwhile, is ready to take some people out…but will her plans backfire as they so often do?
The theme for the elimination challenge is fresh food. Really fresh. The judges are standing before six covered crates that are making all kinds of noises. Joe first reveals he has a quail, and then a pigeon. Graham has a midwestern pheasant, and then a chicken – perhaps the hardest and then the easiest of these birds to prepare. Gordon has the largest two: first a duck, and then a turkey. Krissi gets to choose which bird each of the other chefs have to cook with. She, meanwhile, will be safe.
They judges come out and tell the other six that they will have 5 minutes to collect their protein for the challenge from the pantry. Be smart and be fast and be careful, they say, which leads to quite a surprise when they walk in and find the six birds roaming around! Each has a contestant’s image on a pendant around the birds neck, and they have to collect their birds quick! Bri has the pigeon. Luca has the turkey. Natasha has the pheasant. Jordan has the quail. James has the duck. Jessie has the chicken. They have 60 minutes to cook the bird, and at first they’re all featuring the worst but it turns out they won’t have to kill and cook the bird they’re holding – there’s a cleaned and ready to cook bird on each of their stations waiting for them.
Bri has never worked with this bird before, unsurprisingly, but she’s stuffing her pigeon and using a lot of ingredients to put a “vegetarian”-type spin on the dish. Jordan may be in serious trouble, the judges think, because he didn’t seem to have a clue what to do with his bird. He cooked it quickly off the bat with just some basic seasoning and is using boxed chicken stock to make some kind of sauce. Luca could be in trouble, too, as it’s hard to roast a turkey in an hour and it’s not an ingredient he’s really familiar with beyond Thanksgiving dinner. Jessie is underperforming, Graham thinks, because she’s doing nothing extra special with her chicken and planning on serving it with a succotash-style side that looks like the same old thing she’s done before. Natasha is doing a risotto with the pheasant that the judges think is risky but could also work really well – and Krissi’s plan to take her out with the hardest bird may not work at all.
Time is called and the first up for tasting is Jessie, with her pan-seared chicken breast, masted potatoes and summer vegetable succotash. Joe doesn’t think it’s sophisticated and she admits she played it safe. It’s dry and a disappointment. Like a frozen dinner, Graham says. Gordon says if it’s her best it’s maybe time to go back and have another dinner with her parents.
Natasha made risotto with pheasant breast and purple cauliflower and white asparagus. Joe really likes it and says she kicked it up a notch. Gordon says she nailed it. James has made togarashi-rubbed duck with mushrooms and quick kimchi. Graham is impressed with his knowledge of Asian cooking, that he didn’t just throw soy sauce on the dish but really used these ingredients well.
Luca made pancetta wrapped turkey tender with sweet potato puree and mushrooms. Joe says the turkey is delicious. He turned a turkey breast into a restaurant dish. Bri made stuffed roast pigeon with vegetable couscous. Gordon says it’s perfectly cooked and delicious. Joe says she really nailed it.
Jordan is last, and he’s made pan seared quail with root vegetable stew. His quail is terribly undercooked for sure. Gordon says it’s his worst performance. It’s fleshy, raw, and beyond any redemption, according to Joe. Things definitely aren’t looking good for Jordan at this point. It seems pretty clear he and Jessie will be at the bottom this week.
Bri’s stuffed pigeon was good enough to make her a team captain for the next challenge, but who had the best dish? Natasha with her pheasant risotto. The bottom two, unsurprisingly, are Jessie and Jordan. It’s not a big surprise when Jordan is the one sent packing, although Graham says it would be a great opportunity for him to work in his kitchen if he wants. Jordan says he thinks Natasha is going to win before he goes.
Looking for more on MasterChef Season 4? Then check out my season Hub Page:
MasterChef US 2013: Season 4
Who will be the next MasterChef? Find out in Season 4 of the intense cooking competition where talented “home cooks” compete for the ultimate title – and prize! Learn more about the contestants in my hub for the season, share your opinions in weekly polls, and check out video highlights as well.
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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.