The Top 17 Compete
This part of the episode begins (or another episode entirely…why is FOX rushing through the show with double episodes every week?) and it’s time for another mystery box. What will it be this time? Turns out there is a “special guest” in the kitchen who will be cooking alongside the contestants…and it’s Gordon. Fake out on the contestants as they were expecting someone from outside the show (do they have the budget for that this year?) But this makes me curious as I enjoy Gordon’s cooking and can’t wait to see what he’ll come up with.
The box is opened and it turns out their ingredients include black cod, black and white sesame seeds, ginger root, beets, cauliflower, soy, rice wine vinegar, miso and shiitake mushrooms. God, what a perfect basket! I know what I’d make with that assortment immediately, but then I love cooking with most of those ingredients on a regular basis. Gordon thinks 60 minutes is a long time with those ingredients so he asks Joe and Graham what they’d do since he knows what he’ll do. Meanwhile the contestants are busy cooking, and wonderful how it is Gordon can sit around sipping tea for 30 minutes before he finally gets started.
“Watch and learn,” he tells them, as the shitake go in a pan with shallots, and he’s using basil and mint in a dressing.
Joe is grilling the contestants on what they are making while Gordon cooks. When 60 minutes are done, Gordon is first up to the tasting table. He’s prepared the black cod with a black and white sesame seed crust, caramelized cauliflower and a miso peanut sauce. It looks delicious and very classic Gordon Ramsay.
The judges announce that three standout dishes will be tasted, but first they are going to call out one contestant for a just “appalling” plate. Someone has plated “raw” black cod…and after the commercial break it turns out to be Howard. His black cod with shitake mushrooms looks terrible, and no surprise, Joe sends it straight to the trash can. With sixty minutes, how can you under-cook a simple fish fillet?
So who had the top three plates? The first one up, who the judges say has been in the middle of the pack so far, is James. He’s made black cod with shitake mushroom salad and miso vinaigrette. Joe says there’s a perfect cook on the black cod and a great salt/acid balance. Graham says it’s one of the best things they’ve had and Gordon says it has finesse and balance.
Next up for tasting? Looked like a dish out of a restaurant and similar to what Gordon did…Beth’s. She’s made black cod with sesame crust and caramelized beets. Graham says it’s delicious and cooked perfectly. Gordon is excited and says the fish is glistening, crispy, and her food comes from the heart.
The third up for tasting? Luca! They loved the glaze on his dish that was a perfect Asian combination, surprising for the Italian chef! He made black cod with shitake mushrooms and snap peas. Joe tastes and says the sauce is amazing and that Luca understood the protein better than anyone else. Gordon says Luca has the balance right and it’s a great job. So, who had the number one plate?
Luca! And so he’s lead into the pantry to learn his advantage for the elimination round to come.
Luca finds out that the challenge will come down, once again (sigh), to sweet stuff. They will have to make either 24 cookies, a dozen cupcakes, or one classic layer cake. Luca is safe (his first advantage, naturally) and now he gets to choose what the others will cook. Luca chooses cupcakes.
After this is revealed to the rest of the home chefs, it turns out there’s one final twist. Luca has the advantage of removing one stand mixer from a person’s station! Yikes! He unplugs Jordan’s – saying it’s payback for saving himself in the last team challenge. 90 minutes are all they have, and now Jordan is going to have to work extra hard to prepare his cupcakes without the advantage of an electric mixer.
As they get started, Bethy seems confident, Bime is stumped on what to make. Jordan is working hard to break down the butter and sugar and though he’s sweating, he’s hopeful he can pull it off.
Bethy is being ambitious with three different types of cupcakes and may be trying to do too much. Malcolm’s banana filling seems to be raw and the judges don’t like what they’re seeing so far from him. Jessie messed up her first batch and Kathy seems to be complicating things too much – she has Gordon worried.
Time’s up and everyone’s cupcakes need to be tasted (although we won’t see all of them on camera). Howard is first with his box of Tahitian vanilla bean cupcakes with white chocolate butter cream frosting. Joe says it’s light and airy and a good job. Gordon is pleased as well. Malcolm is next with his buttermilk cupcakes with mascarpone frosting and rum banana cream inside. Graham thinks the cupcakes are eggy and super-dense (“like a doorstop”). Gordon says it has a weird taste and the cupcakes are gross. He’s definitely in trouble.
Bime is next; he’s got vanilla cupcakes with vanilla and chocolate whipped cream frosting. Graham likes the artistry, and there is a lot of chocolate flavor there.
Kathy has made vanilla cupcakes with three different fillings: chocolate, peanut butter and peanuts…and fluorescent color icing? Joe doesn’t like the stuff on the bottom and that it’s really kind of hard. The frosting is “I don’t know…I hope this doesn’t send you home,” he tells her.
Bethy did complete three completely different kinds of cupcakes: banana foster, raspberry lime, and almond chocolate cupcake. They look crazy professional and good – she’s got to have had plenty of experience making cupcakes to get them to look that good in 90 minutes! “Visually stunning,” Gordon says…it’s a great job and looks like she spent three hours making them, not just 90 minutes.
Jessie has made these vanilla bean cupcakes with cream cheese and chocolate coffee cupcakes. They’re small and Joe says it’s a bit of a let down visually…the box looks like a “whack-a-mole” game, like you have to hunt for them. Graham says they are “solid” pieces of cake, but he likes the frosting. Gordon? He says they are dry and it’s her worst performance to date.
Next up? Jordan. So what was he able to accomplish without a mixer? Vanilla bean cupcakes with mascarpone frosting. Luca is going to be tasting them first, and he says they are delicious. Gordon agrees.
Who’s going home? My gut instinct is saying Kathy even though they are making it look like Jessie and Malcolm are most at danger.
But first, the judges pick who had the best cupcakes as they will be team captains next time around. First is Bime. Second and best overall? Bethy.
The three worst? Malcolm, Kathy and Jessie, as expected. At least one person is going home. Malcolm is called forward first as he has made fundamental flaws in his execution and for now…he is NOT safe! Kathy is called forward next and asked if she’s ready to go home. Gordon says she is in fact safe…and it’s down to Jessie and Malcolm. The judges have decided, and who is going home? It turns out to be Malcolm. I’m not surprised – Gordon wouldn’t want to see his blonde eye candy dismissed so soon – but a little disappointed. I really thought Kathy’s cupcakes looked atrocious and haven’t seen anything else from her yet that was a standout, but maybe that’s down to the editing. Oh well, goodbye Malcolm, and now we’re down to sixteen.
Overall I thought these were both pretty good episodes tonight – much better than the previous week and at least we didn’t have to suffer any fighting between Natasha and Krissi. Although it sure doesn’t seem like Krissi is making many friends with the other contestants and has had plenty to say about Jordan and Howard. It will be interesting to see who gets eliminated next…there are definitely clearly some weaker chefs in the competition at this point who I don’t expect to make it much farther.
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.