The Top 5 Compete
Tonight there are some VIP guests putting together the Mystery Boxes for the remaining five cheftestants…it’s the judges’ sons, dressed up to be little mini-mes. Luca thinks he’s drunk seeing two miniature Joes in front of him. The boys are going to fill the Mystery Boxes with 15 items of their choosing. The contestants will then have an hour to make a restaurant quality dish from those ingredients – not just something that the boys would like.
So, what do they choose? White chips, chocolate spread, ketchup, peanut butter, coconut, rainbow marshmallow, baby pineapple, passion fruit, bacon, cheese slices, maple syrup, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and puff pastry.
Who can manipulate these ingredients? Clearly it seems like dessert would be in order. Krissi is making banana cake. Jessie is making fruit tartlets with passion fruit. Luca is doing a pineapple white chocolate Napoleon. James is making white chocolate passion fruit turnovers, and he knows he has to do something unexpected to pull this off. Natasha is making pancakes and thinks Krissi is going home.
The judges think Jessie and James are doing some good stuff, and maybe Luca although Joe’s wondering if it will work. They’re worried about Natasha’s pancakes. Meanwhile, Krissi’s buttercream is melting and she’s cursing as the last seconds come down.
They’re going to pick the top three dishes to taste. The first visually had the wow factor…it’s Luca with his Napoleon. Gordon says it looks beautiful and he likes the filling inside and it’s a great job. Graham likes that he knows now how to edit his ingredients and it’s super smart. Joe says it looks beautiful and is actually quite good. A top notch, excellent dessert.
Second up used fruit to “elevate their dessert” and still hasn’t won one Mystery Box: Jessie, with her Vanilla Cream Puff with Fruit in Brown Butter. Graham says it’s simple yet refined. Gordon says it’s “bloody delicious”.
The third contestant with a top dish? James. He made passion fruit turnover with blueberry mint puree, cinnamon sugar and coconut. Joe says the flavor is good and it’s a nice use of a tricky mystery box. Gordon says the flavor is incredible. Krissi bitches at his use of pre-made puff pastry when she made everything “from scratch” (never mind that her “from scratch” cake looks terrible!)
So, who will win the advantage? That person turns out to be…James! It’s his first Mystery Box win so he is excited. His first advantage is that he is safe – so he is in the final four, the judges tell him. The judges are then presenting to him the three most memorable dishes they have ever eaten. Joe’s is from Singapore: marinated botan shrimp with sea urchin and caviar. Graham’s is his grandfather’s soft shell crab sandwich. Gordon’s was made by a woman on a tiny floating boat in Vietnam: Vietnamese noodle soup with slow cooked pork.
James’ second advantage is he gets to chose which of these three dishes everyone else has to replicate. He has to give the same dish to all four and it’s going to be the Vietnamese Pork Noodle Broth. He chose that one because it needs the most ingredients and is the most complex. All four of the others have to taste the dish first before going to the pantry to try to figure out what ingredients they need to replicate it.
Luca is terrified. Krissi has no idea what the flavors are. Krissi is not excited and is nervous in the pantry; they have 5 minutes to shop for what they need and they can’t go back. They then have 75 minutes to cook. In the pantry, Krissi grabs what she sees the other cooks grabbing because she can’t figure it out on her own.
Time to start cooking. The secret is infusing the stock with flavor, Gordon says, and not ignoring it. Natasha forgot to get garlic and things she’s screwed. She asks Luca for some and Luca is nice enough to let her have it. It’s not the way he wants to win, he says, when asked by the judges why he did that. Will he live to regret his kindness? We’ll have to find out. Krissi is just going to do her best, she says. James admits that he wants to see Luca or Natasha leave as he feels they are his strongest competition.
Natasha says she’s feeling okay. Luca may need more salt. Krissi doesn’t seem confident as it’s getting closer to the end. Jessie’s broth is very acidic when Graham tastes it, and she may have added the lime juice too early.
Natasha is nailing it, the judges think. Jessie has the spices there. Krissi’s has a hearty flavor. They ask James and he thinks Luca is looking the best. They have 90 seconds to go and they have to assemble the dish in a hurry.
First for tasting is Natasha. Graham says it looks well proportioned and the color is good. The broth is a little sweet but everything else is great. Gordon says the pork is delicious but it’s missing some of the pork juices in the broth. But the balance of pork to noodles is good. Joe says it has depth of flavor but it’s lacking salt, so that’s why it tastes sweet.
Next is Luca. Graham says the color is incredible. And it’s perfect. Nice sear on the pork, everything in proportion. Luca is “in the zone”! It’s a great dish. Gordon says “wow” and it’s so close to an amazing, sweet broth that takes him back to that boat in Vietnam. Luca is thrilled.
Next is Jessie. Joe says it looks beautiful. The broth is beautiful and has depth in spades. Gordon says it’s delicious, fragrant, and the one thing he would kick back on is the sourness from that lime juice in the broth.
Next is Krissi. She’s not been exposed to Vietnamese food and Graham says the flavors are there but it’s a little bit over-spiced. It’s a very valiant effort. Joe says it has a lot of heat but ultimately is complex and layered and a good effort. Gordon says it’s too many noodles, slightly too spicy but the foundation is there. It’s a good effort but is she sabotaging herself by not having the confidence that she can cook outside of her comfort zone?
The judges have to pick a winner and declare that Luca has the best dish of the night. He and Jessie are in the top four, they’re told. That leaves Natasha and Krissi. Two strong performances … the judges have to make a tough decision. Krissi is declared safe first. After leaving her to sob in apparent defeat, Natasha is declared safe as well. No one is going home this episode!
To me that seemed like a cop out. Here James gets a supposed advantage and is told he’s in the top four, but then the judges don’t eliminate anyone based on the challenge he chose. It certainly seemed as if there were flaws in everyone’s dish except for Luca’s. To not send someone home based on one of those flaws doesn’t make sense to me unless there was some reason to keep the person in who did the worst. But of course, as viewers we’ll never know…
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.