The Top 15 Compete
Another week and we’re back in the MasterChef kitchen after last episode’s trip to Vegas. Natasha is so relieved to be there, she says…and it turns out she and the others don’t know who won the lobster battle for elimination: Kathy or Luca. Krissi and Kathy were close so she wants it to be Kathy. But then they see Luca has returned triumphant; Krissi is not happy; she feels alone now and that no one else likes her.
It’s time for a Mystery Box challenge and the winner will get an advantage for the next elimination. Before they lift the boxes, Eddie says he is hoping for a piece of meat, something he can grill. Krissi wants to make pasta. Well, they find all sorts of odd looking ingredients only labelled in foreign languages if at all. They’ve received a bounty of ethnic ingredients from Russia, Spain, China…all around the globe. The judges won’t tell them what’s what so they have to work it out for themselves by using their senses.
They have 60 minutes to figure things out and present a stunning dish. Jordan is opening and trying everything, meanwhile the judges talk among themselves about what is in the basket. Elk is the first ingredient, Gordon reveals, a very lean meat. Then there is spanish salt cured tuna, Okinawa sweet potatoes, and tinned cod liver from Russia, which really gross Joe out. There’s also a funky Chinese black moss that Krissi thinks looks like, well, the kind of hair you only find on a certain part of your body. “You have to be really hungry to eat this,” Joe says about it. The judges discuss what they would make and Graham would definitely go easy route with the elk and sweet potatoes.
Eddie seems to know what he’s doing even if he doesn’t know what meat he’s cooking. Jordan is doing something with baby eels. Bime wants to do a surf and turf. Lynn wants to do a tuna tartare with a taro root puree. The judges think Eddie, Jordan and Bime are on top of things. No word from them on the other contestants.
Time is up and now to see who did the best. Lynn is looking quite pleased with his dish, but the three standout plates for tasting? Eddie first, who made Elk Flank with Japanese Sweet Potatoes. Just a quick sear on the meat with fried greens. Gordon says it’s delicious and a good job. Graham is also pleased, and Joe says that while it might look simple it is actually very complex. Second dish up is extremely creative, beautifully presented and by Jordan. He’s made a Stack Salad with Chinese Moss and Baby Eels. He didn’t know what he was cooking with at all but Graham says it tastes great. Gordon says he got the balance right. “Welcome to the top three.” The third dish? Bime’s. Lynn is upset and Gordon says that while it looks beautiful on the plate, he needs to season. Bime made Elk Flank with Baby Eels and Sweet Potatoes. Joe says it’s beautiful plating that hit on all the notes. “It’s like an orchestra playing a symphony.” Gordon says it’s delicious, and seasoned beautifully. “I don’t think this is a fluke, I think you nailed it.”
So, who came out on top? The person with the best dish is promised the best advantage ever. The winner is Eddie.
Eddie follows the judges into the pantry to learn what the elimination test challenge will be, and it turns out stuffed pasta is the dish of the day. Joe has agnolotti from the Piedmont region of Italy, which he says is very difficult. Graham has a pasta that’s one of his favorites: mezza luna. The filling has to be just right. Gordon has a different kind of filled pasta (which I missed the name of) that’s filled with mozzarella and served with tomato sauce. Eddie gets to choose which one the others will have to make, for he is safe and doesn’t have to cook. He wants to go with what he thinks will be the most difficult to get right, so he chooses the agnolotti.
After revealing this to the other contestants, they learn that they will be getting a demonstration first from someone special. Joe says it’s the person who taught him everything he knows – his mother Lidia Bastianich, of course! Krissi completely freaks out, apparently she worships Lidia more than Jesus.
Lidia is going to be prepping the agnolotti but Eddie learns his other advantage: he gets to decide which two competitors won’t see Lidia’s demonstration. He’s thinking strategy…so he picks James first. James is not happy but he knows Eddie is playing the game and playing it smart. His second pick is Lynn, and Lynn knows he’s in trouble now because he’s never made agnolotti before and this will definitely be out of his comfort range.
Lidia and Joe head the demonstration while Lynn and James wait in another room. When the demo is finished, they return and everyone has 60 minutes to cook. Lidia says a big mistake is not working the pasta enough and the success overall is in the texture of the pasta and the amount of filling. Jessie is going to do oxtail and short ribs in her filling. Jonny wants to do a smoked maple alfredo sauce…and that does not sit well with either Joe or Lidia, both being pretty much purists when it comes to Italian food. Maple is just not an ingredient used in Italian cooking! Lynn is going to do charred leek and short ribs but he’s using a blender on the filling and Gordon tells him to check his approach – everyone else is using a meat grinder instead.
Howard seems to be all over the place, not even sure what he’s doing with some of his ingredients yet. James is doing something with a tomato-vodka sauce which Gordon questions. Krissi is doing hers with swiss chard and pancetta and seems in control.
Lynn looks to be out of his depth but Beth’s water isn’t boiling with just a few minutes left. She may not get her pasta on the plate at this rate, so she puts them in the pan with her sauce instead of trying to boil them in the water.
Hands up as time is called! Eddie is invited down form the balcony for the tasting. At least one contestant will be going home. Lidia wants James’ dish tasted first. James made his agnolotti with ricotta and parmesan, in a vodka sauce. Lidia says the shape of the past is fair and the taste is good for being at a disadvantage. Graham says it’s a good dish and the filling is really yummy. Next? Lynn, who has made charred leek and short rib agnolotti in a brown butter sauce. Under-seasoned (again), Gordon says, and the pasta has an awkward thickness. Joe thinks Eddie totally nailed Lynn because he’s so out of his depth on this one. They’ve been so down on Lynn this episode I just know there’s going to be a twist, however. Someone has to have done worse than him!
Jonny is next; he has made squash agnolotti with a smoked maple sauce. Lidia doesn’t think it’s going to work together. It’s more a dessert, she thinks, which would be good with some cinnamon, but as a pasta dish it just doesn’t work. Jessie is next. Her meat-filled agnolotti with basil oil is beautiful, Gordon says. He knows the others think she’s just there because of her looks, but he wants them to know she’s in it because she cooks good.
Krissi is next with her swiss chard and pancetta agnolotti in a browned butter sauce with veal reduction. Lidia says it’s good, a nice ratio stuffing to pasta. Lidia wants to taste Beth’s next. She has made cheese and herb agnolotti, but the pasta is definitely undercooked. Howard is the last contestant shown, with his agnolotti featuring bell peppers, chicken and jalapeno. He’s used cumin, too, and Lidia isn’t pleased with any of it. The peppers aren’t harmonious with the pasta. Joe doesn’t like Howard’s cavalier attitude, but Howard dishes it back: “Do you want 15 of the same dish?”
“Thank you for nothing and for being a narcissist in denial,” Joe sneers. Wow, he really seems to have something out for Howard!
So, who had standout dishes? The first is a person they expected perfection from and she delivered: Krissi. But the best dish of the night? Almost as good as Lidia’s, they say, and it’s Jessie. Krissi and Jessie will be team captains in the next challenge.
Time for the bad news..who is at the bottom? Instead of three it will be four people up for elimination this time as they all failed to do even acceptably: Jonny, Lynn, Howard and Beth. Jonny and Beth are asked to step forward. They’ve made two dreadful dishes and on any other night they would be going home…but two other people did worse so they are safe.
It’s down to Howard and Lynn. Lynn’s was a total mess according to Gordon. Howard didn’t absorb Lidia’s knowledge. Who is at the end of the road? Gordon wants that person to step forward on his own and “do the honorable thing” by leaving the competition. There’s a tense moment before the reveal, and it turns out to be Howard, who will be leaving the MasterChef kitchen tonight.
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.