August 1, 2013 | Posted in EPISODE RECAPS, REALITY TV | By

The Top 7 Compete

So the remaining 7 contestants enter the MasterChef kitchen to find a giant Mystery Box this week…and, yes, it’s time for the annual sob story reunion episode, because inside the box are some of their family members and loved ones!

For Natasha it’s her husband and son. Jordan is greeted by his dad. Jessie has her mom and dad. Luca has his wife. Eddie has his long-time girlfriend and James has his fiance (they postponed their wedding so he could compete on the show). Krissi finds herself alone…until it turns out her son has recorded a video message for her since he couldn’t attend due to school tests. Looks like they want to try to warm us up to Krissi after several weeks of her just being a big mouth bully. Even Joe seems close to shedding a (single) tear.

So for their challenge, the contestants have to cook a dish inspired by their loved ones in one hour’s time. It’s a “White Canvas” as Jordan says, with limitless possibilities. Natasha says she is ready to cook from the heart…but she forgot chicken stock from the pantry so she needs to mage a vegetable stock for her dish in a rush. Luca is making risotto and halibut, because it’s his wife’s favorite dish. Jessie’s parents are nit-picking from the balcony as she makes a dish with duck breast. Jordan is doing curried butternut squash soup. Krissi is doing Pasta e fagioli.

The hour is up, and the first dish the judges want to taste is Natasha’s. She’s made a green curry with coconut, corn and rice. Joe says it has great flavor and the corn is a nontraditional ingredient, but intelligent. He likes it. Graham thinks it’s beautifully balanced and she might be winning another mystery box with this one. Gordon says it’s delicious.

The second dish to be tasted? Might be a family favorite, but it’s elevated to a completely new world, according to the judges: Jessie’s seared duck breast with brussels sprouts, a blackberry reduction and Georgia pecans. Graham likes it and says it’s probably the best dish she’s made in the competition. Gordon says she’s done her parents proud.

The third dish for tasting? This contestant stuck to their roots: Luca! He made pan seared halibut wrapped in caul fat, served with white asparagus risotto. Gordon says Luca nailed the risotto and only a “crazy italian” would add the mint like he did to the dish. Joe says the risotto is perfectly cooked and he delivered a restaurant quality dish.

Three outstanding dishes…who will be the winner? One chef just had the edge with an amazing restraint…and a tribute to their loved ones…Luca! It’s nice to see him finally shine and he and his wife both look thrilled.

He’s lead off to learn what his advantage will be, and for once as a winner it won’t involve choosing what the others will be preparing. He won’t have to cook, though, so he is safe and the first contestant definitely in the final six. The others will have to prepare “the cuisine of Japan”: shrimp and vegetable tempura, a maki roll, and a selection of sushi pieces including uni, salmon roe, mackerel and shrimp. He gets to pair up the remaining contestants and they will have to work in “tag teams” to recreate the plate in front of him. This is basically a repeat of a similar challenge last season so it’s going to come down on elements such as the butchery of the fish, the preparation of the sushi rice, and artistry of the final plate.

Luca decides to pair Natasha with Krissi, James with Jordan, and Jessie with Eddie. What follows is a rather tumultuous and hard-to-follow edit of the team members yelling at each other and generally seeming to mess up left and right…Krissi is definitely letting Natasha lead because she knows she’s out of her element in this challenge. Jordan has not done a good job with the uni and commits the major sin of rinsing it underwater…thereby rinsing away the flavor! To be honest I’m not sure I’d want to eat any of these people’s sushi platters.

It’s a rush to the finish line and now that it’s time for tasting, Natasha and Krissi are up first. Natasha plated and made the maki roll and it looks good. Krissi did the rice for the sushi, and Natasha did the batter for the tempura, and it seems they got it together, Gordon says. So while it’s not perfect its a “bloody good effort”. Graham wants to know if they’re taking 50-50 ownership of the plate, and they say yes. Joe is impressed and Krissi says Natasha saved her in this one for sure.

James and Jordan are up next. Joe isn’t happy about the lack of salt on their plate, and he really doesn’t like the shrimp on their sushi. He thinks they definitely could have done better. Their maki roll looks okay but Gordon thinks the raw, badly split shrimp is an embarrassment and their roll is bland. It’s disappointing.

Eddie and Jessie are last, and Jessie thinks they’re going to get chewed out for their effort. Jessie is right. Their uni sushi looks really bad. When asked who did what, Jessie says she did the fish butchery. Eddie cooked the rice and Graham says it’s overpowered with too much vinegar. They’re asked who put more energy into the dish? Eddie says it was 50-50 and Jessie says the same. Joe prods Eddie to ask if he wants to eat the uni they put out and even Eddie says no.

So, who is safe and who is going home? It’s not a surprise that Natasha and Krissi are the first team declared safe since they had the best dish. Next, despite their flaws, is James and Jordan.

That means either Jessie or Eddie is going home. I had a sinking feeling it was going to be Eddie, especially as Jessie has been set up from the start as such a darling of the judges from the start…and sure enough, I was right. Jessie is safe and Eddie goes home.

But as always he is gracious and charming and we finally have our “top six”: Krissi, Natasha, James, Jordan, Luca and Jessie. I’m happy that a few are there but disappointed overall that some people who were clearly great chefs are no longer in the running. There isn’t anyone left at this point that I’m heartily cheering on to win it all, and the overall lackluster feeling of this season continues…

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.

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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