The Top 19 Compete
The second hour begins, and we have 19 chefs who have made it through to this point of the competition. Clearly they are excited and there’s lots of oohing and aahing as they are shown the pantry and allowed to take their places at their stations. But it seems pretty likely that someone is going to go home quickly at this point. Who will it be? Well, before the first elimination we have our first Mystery Box challenge: containing only a single potato, tomato, some chocolate and some bacon. Joe says he needs proof they can work with the basics before going any further and they have 60 minutes to create something special.
It doesn’t take long, while the judges are walking around and talking to the chefs, that they think they’re seeing some very disastrous combinations. Gordon spits out Johnny’s chocolate mashed potatoes (yuck!) and we’re already seeing some competition and dissing going on – or being egged on – between the chefs. Isn’t it too early on for this amount of nastiness and competition? It feels like it to me, compared with last season.
In any event, as usual the judges say they’ve spotted three standout dishes they want to taste to pick the best. First is Bime, who made Poached Egg and Hash with a Tomato-Basil Salsa. Natasha, who comes across as quite full of herself (and is quickly being promoted into the “arrogant b—h” role (a la last season’s Becky)) has made a beautiful-looking Lemon Pie Tart with Bacon Chocolate Ganache. Graham says there’s a lot of finesse in her dish and Gordon agrees. Joe is also impressed too and of course plays up her part/trying to make her the villain, that she’s saying “kiss my ass” to the competition with a dish like that right off the bat.
The third dish the judges want to taste is one of several frittatas which were made…it’s Krissi’s. She’s done a Bacon Potato Frittata with Tomato Basil Salad. Gordon calls it delicious and that she’s turned a few ingredients into something magical. Joe likes her aggressive seasoning. Cue the snarling from Natasha who says anyone can make a frittata like that. Is this season going to be dominated by their cat-fighting? I hope not because I’m going to be over it before this episode is even finished…
So it’s Bime, Natasha and Krissi at the top and the judges announce that it’s Natasha who did the best, so she has the advantage for the elimination challenge to come. She is lead into the pantry where she finds out she gets to choose one of three luxury ingredients for the elimination. The first choice is a staple of European cuisine…langoustine, Joe reveals! (I’m drooling, I love langoustine and can think of many wonderful dishes I’d want to make with them.)
Or, Graham reveals, she can choose first cut veal chop. Gordon thinks he has something better, that only comes from 5 farms in the world…Stilton Blue Cheese…and he reveals an amount worth one thousand dollars to tempt Natasha. It turns out however, she is not going to be cooking and she’s safe from elimination, but she gets to choose what her competitors will cook with. She definitely wants to send home Kirssi and she says so right away. (Yawn.) She makes her choice after departing the pantry it turns out she also gets to pick someone else to be safe. She picks Savannah because she thinks she’ll be able to take her out easily in a future competition. And it turns out she picked the langoustine for her ingredient. Sasha doesn’t even know what langoustine are, and James is excited. They have 60 minutes to prepare a stunning dish if they want to stay in the competition.
As they are cooking, Joe is giving Luca a hard time because he’s making a pasta dish. Kirssi is making Langoustine Mac and Cheese. (Isn’t that pasta too? But her choice seems fine to the judges…) Howard doesn’t seem to think she’s going to make it but Krissi is dissing his choice of combining strawberries with the langoustine. There is a LOT of sniping and nasty talk between the contestants…I’m getting no sense of the camaraderie and “we’re in this together” feeling that usually one finds in MasterChef, at least early on. It’s feeling ugly, mean and angry so far…and I’m not liking it!
The 60 minutes are up and Krissi is first for the first tasting with her Langoustine Mac and Cheese. Joe says it’s got a good balance of flavor and Graham says the langoustine is cooked perfectly. Gordon says it looks clumsy but that Natasha may have made a choice of ingredient that backfired if she wanted to take out Krissi. Of course. Isn’t that what ALWAYS happens on this show?
Jordan is up next with a Langoustine Bisque with Vegetables and Bacon. Gordon declares it is delicious. Graham likes it too. It seems he is going to be safe. Howard is next with Poached Langoustine with Spinach Citrus Salad. Gordon is very unimpressed and Joe calls it a joke. Gordon is so blown away – in a bad way – that he won’t even eat it. Joe says it’s a waste of time for Howard to even be there at this point after he put himself out on the line to give him an apron.
Luca is next with Langoustine Fettuccine that isn’t impressing the judges whatsoever. Gordon calls him a “one trick pony” for making pasta again and he’s criticized for overcooking the langoustine as well. Uh oh, not looking good for Luca at this point.
Lynn, who we’ve barely seen up until this point, gets passed thru. It’s so quick I didn’t even get a chance to write down what he made! It’s like he’s an invisible contestant so far…is he some kind of “sleeper” contestant who is going to come on strong later on? I hope so.
Boiled Langoustine with Yellow Rice from Kathy gets a no nod from Joe, who says it’s boring. Sasha is asked to bring perfection but Gordon thinks her Langoustine with Cheese Grits looks like someone pooped on a plate. He can barely find the langoustine on the plate and it’s all wrong according to Gordon. “Thanks for nothing,” her dish is dismissed.
Jessie is next, she made Tempura Langoustine with Swiss Chard and Shiitake Mushrooms. Graham is at first dubious but then says it’s perfectly coated and seasoned. Gordon says it’s beautiful. She’s clearly safe.
We get Stuffed Langoustine Tail with Pasta from Malcolm…Joe isn’t sure it’s cooked properly and in fact spits it out because the langoustine is rare. It’s not good and he definitely appears to be in danger of elimination.
Now the judges announce the top two dishes. Jordan’s bisque is first, but the winner of the day turns out to be Jessie’s. They will be team captains next week as a result. The botton three? Lazy and underwhelming is the verdict for Howard. Next on the disaster list is Malcolm with the raw langoustine. The third “total failure” was “all over the place” and turns out to be Sasha’s dish. Luca breathes a sigh of relief that it’s not him (so do I!) Gordon worries that Sasha is a one trick pony who just can’t go any further. Howard says he over-thought this dish and really wants another chance to prove himself. Malcolm is called forward first, and is told to go back to his section…he’s safe for now. That leaves it to between Howard and Sasha and the judges say they still have a glimmer of hope for one of the two of them…but it’s not Sasha. Her time in the MasterChef kitchen is up. On her way out she is asked to pick who she thinks will be the winner this season and she says Krissi. Of course there’s a cut to a reaction shot from Natasha. Again, I’m bored with this battle already; can we just get on with the cooking?
Overall, I’m not really “feeling” this season of the show just yet. It feels to me like they’re rushing to too much drama too quickly, without us getting a chance to really meet the contestants first, get to know them and develop our own impressions of them. I’m not into forcing the Krissi vs. Natasha war (I’m not particularly fond of either of them) and I want the chance to see what the others can do and what they’re like. In fact, I just want more focus on food and cooking, and less drama – that’s why I liked MasterChef to begin with as compared to other shows, like Hell’s Kitchen. Maybe things will calm down now that we’ve got the final 18 at this point…I certainly hope so or else it’s going to be a long summer of recapping for me!
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.