This week’s episode finds the remaining contestants on the rooftop of a high rise in downtown Los Angeles. Well, five of the last six are up on the roof – Krissi is too scared to go up there, she’s clinging to a railing below. The judges arrive to tell them they are facing one of the most dreaded challenges of every season: the restaurant takeover.
This time they will be taking over Wolfgang Puck’s hot modern Asian restaurant, WP24 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Natasha and Bri are team captains, and Natasha gets first pick. She chooses Jessie who is happy because she “can’t trust the vegetarian” for this challenge. Bri wants someone she thinks will be comfortable with the cuisine: James. Natasha gets next pick, which will also mean Bri gets whoever is left. She chooses someone who has been around the restaurant business before: Luca. That means Krissi is on Bri’s team, and Bri isn’t happy about that. Krissi has been on the losing team in ever team challenge so far!
To begin with, the six are getting a lesson in preparing the top four dishes at the restaurant, 2 appetizers and 2 entrees. Krissi “hates” Asian food so she’s not looking comfortable with any of this. Bri knows it’s going to be difficult to master the wok cookery required for every dish in a quick lesson. Based on the WP24 menu, the dishes they are going to have to prepare appear to be: Crisp Lettuce Cups, Steamed Scallop-Shrimp Shumai, Singapore Style Chili Prawns and Stir-Fry Angus/Wagyu Beef with Chili Garlic & Sweet Bean Sauce.
Each team has to cook 22 regular customers of the restaurant and Gordon will be expediting – which has Jessie worried! They will have one hour to prep, and two hours for dinner service. Time to get to work!
Natasha quickly puts Jessie on the lettuce cups and Luca on the shumai. She’s going to do plating and the final checks on the dishes. Bri, similarly, is going to oversee plates while Krissi is on the lettuce cups and James is on the shumai. James is wondering how he’s going to pull this off, with a vegetarian who can’t taste the food and someone who won’t eat Asian just because she doesn’t like it.
The judges debate who they think will do well, and at least Joe admits he wouldn’t even know how to cook in a wok.
The diners start arriving. James says prep was easy but getting the steaming done in time is going to be tricky. At first, Blue Team seem in control and moving quickly with their appetizers. On the Red Team, Luca is having trouble with the steaming of the shumai. But things are even worse when one of the shumai comes back from the dining room – and the scallop is raw! Gordon goes off on Luca for putting cold water in the steamer.
So Natasha ends up taking over the shumai and they finally get things moving on the Red Team. It seems Blue Team was the overall winner in the appetizer part of the challenge, but now it’s time for the main courses. The judges are going to decide the winner of today’s challenge based on team performance and feedback from the restaurant diners.
For the Blue Team, James is doing the beef dish, Krissi is on prawns. For the Red Team Luca is on the beef and Jessie is on the prawns. Krissi is flustered and just not in control of anything from the start. She’s blanking on how the plates are supposed to look and trying to make sense of her notes from earlier.
The Blue Team are told their shrimp are raw and cold. They have to start over. Blue Team is seriously struggling while the Red Team is finding their groove and have dishes “flying out” of the kitchen. Krissi is just completely falling apart meanwhile, and it takes Graham stepping in to get her back in control of her dish while Joe is trying to soothe angry diners waiting for their plates.
At the end of the challenge, the judges bring the cheftestants flutes of champagne. But they aren’t going to announce the winning team until the following day, as the judges have to debate and discuss who did better.
The team members aren’t happy about this at all and the next day are debating their performances. Luca thinks his poor performance with the shumai could have brought their team down, and he doesn’t want to face Natasha and Jessie in a pressure test!
But, no worries, he won’t have to as Red Team is announced as the winner. Bri, James and Krissi will be facing the pressure test. In the MasterChef kitchen, Bri is asked who she thinks on her team should be safe from elimination, and she names herself. Krissi disagrees. But it doesn’t turn out to matter as no one on Blue Team will be safe; the three of them all have to cook.
They are told they have to prepare one of the most common menu items across America today: fried calamari. Krissi sure looks happy with that – no surprise given the dish is basically on every Italian-American menu in South Philly.
Each of them is given six whole, “stunning” squid which they will have to clean and prepare themselves. They also have a limited selection of ingredients including flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, eggs, canned tomatoes, garlic, lemon and seasonings. They must make a plate of perfect calamari with marinara dipping sauce in 45 minutes.
Joe thinks James has a leg up on the competition. Graham thinks Krissi has the edge except that she’s cooking angry. She even flings sauce at Luca up in the balcony while she’s struggling to clean the squid! Bri, meanwhile, may have her oil way too hot. But it’ll have to come down to the final tasting to see who is in trouble and who is safe.
Bri is up first for the tasting. She is getting criticized for not tasting her dish along the way and having excess flour on her calamari. It smells burnt even if it isn’t burnt. Gordon wishes she could have tasted them because the calamari should be the hero and not the flour. Graham says the breading is fried but the squid is raw. Joe wants to know about her marinara and thinks her use of lemon in it is stupid. He spits out her raw squid in disgust.
Krissi is next for tasting. Visually it looks like onion rings, Gordon tells her. The marinara is good and rich with garlic but the judges think her calamari tastes like “funnel cake”.
James is last. He thinks his calamari are good but he’s worried about his sauce. Graham says his calamari is cooked through. His sauce however, smells like “canned tomato juice” and he may have failed on the marinara. He didn’t add any olive oil which the judges say was a serious error.
That said, James is unsurprisingly the first chef declared safe. Krissi is called up next, and with a typical fake-out she is then declared safe as well. Bri is leaving once again.
Bri says she believes James will win it all, and her only advice to Krissi upon her exit is to “be nice.”
All told, I found this episode to be a bit boring, mostly because it was so very predictable. After watching this show for three seasons now (I missed season one), I feel like I could write the script of how each episode is going to play out. Of course one team is going to struggle at first in a team challenge, only to surge ahead at the end. Of course the contestant who appears to be struggling the absolute worst in an episode (here Krissi) and seems sure for elimination is going to be saved at the last minute. I had Bri pegged to go home right from the start this week and sure enough, I was right.
In fact, elsewhere I’ve already written up how I predict the remaining eliminations are going to proceed, and who I think is going to end up in the finale (Jessie and Luca). Read my MasterChef predictions here. The only thing I can’t decide for sure is who will win it all.
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.