The Top 4 Compete
It’s down to the final four cheftestants and there are only two mystery boxes ahead of them, and two stations behind them. It turns out they will be working in two teams of two for this next challenge. The judges want each team to prepare a composed, “restaurant quality” three-course meal. The teams will battle head to head and the winners will go straight into the top three. The losing team has to then face each other in an elimination challenge.
The person who gets first team pick is the one with the most mystery box wins to date. With two wins, that’s Luca. He knows this is a huge advantage. Who will he pick? Not Krissi for sure, he says, but he doesn’t get along with Natasha. Even so, he picks her because he wants to harness her drive for success. They are Blue Team. Jessie calls it her worst nightmare to have to work with Krissi. They are the Red Team. Seems like a good move on Luca’s part.
What do they find in their boxes? A wide variety of food items including crab claws, wine, oysters, Oregon beets, Washington apples, Florida mangoes…50 ingredients from 50 states. And they have 90 minutes to plan and cook their meals.
Luca and Natasha from the start seem to be working and debating plans together. Some kind of seafood medley salad to start, a rack of lamb, and a strawberry tart for dessert. Krissi is frustrated from the start that Jessie doesn’t seem to be listening to her ideas at all.
Gordon goes to check on Jessie and Krissi and their appetizer of some kind of cold lobster salad with shaved asparagus. Gordon doesn’t like Krissi’s vinaigrette for the lobster. Jessie and Krissi are not communicating and are arguing over the vegetables for their first course. There’s a huge argument between them while Gordon just stands there looking dumbfounded and confused. They also haven’t started the crust for the apple tart that is supposed to be their dessert.
Natasha did start their pastry but it broke. Without time to bake another one she decides they’ll call it a crumble instead.
Meanwhile Jessie wants them to switch to crepes for dessert and have Krissi make them. Krissi complains she doesn’t know what she’s doing. Jessie won’t take over because she says Krissi already gave up and made her do the lobster.
It’s down to 10 minutes. Krissi literally leaves the kitchen in a rage and Jessie doesn’t care, she’ll do it all if she has to. Blue Team is running behind on time. Krissi comes back and is putting together a last minute dessert with apples, chantilly cream and toasted macadamia nuts. Time is called and both teams barely get their plates finished for tasting.
Blue Team is up first with all three of their dishes. They have a seafood trio: lobster, trout and fried oyster. Joe thinks it’s “unusually weird” at least in how it looks. The lobster and the mango sauce is good. The blowtorch on the trout is an excellent idea and might have been better on a salad base, Joe thinks. Their entree is rack of lamb with parsnip puree and roasted beets. Gordon says the lamb is delicious, the puree exceptional, the plating sloppy. Can’t really taste the beets because they’re soggy. Their dessert is “deconstructed” strawberry tart with vanilla pastry cream. Natasha admits she screwed up on the crust. The flavors are there, Graham says, but each individual thing on its own is better than the sum of its parts. Natasha feels like she let them down.
Red Team is next. Lobster salad with citrus vinaigrette and basil oil is their appetizer. Looks like a sun dial, Joe says. Jessie re-did the vinaigrette without telling Krissi. It all probably needed “one more thing” but Joe says it’s very good otherwise. It looks like an impressive restaurant dish, though. Their entree is herbed rack of lamb on swiss chard with roasted beets (did they both have to cook rack of lamb or something?). Jessie seared the lamb but the the fat is all white. Gordon at first does not look pleased with how it was cooked and thinks it comes down to their lack of communication. But then he says it’s delicious, so I’m just confused. Krissi and Jessie can’t stop arguing. Their dessert is an apple tart (not really) with chantilly cream. Graham says she did the best with what she could do but it’s pretty far from a restaurant quality dish.
So. Who is going to face the elimination test and who is safe? The judges excuse themselves to debate their choice. Eventually they decide that the Blue Team won the challenge. They get props for their team effort and not giving up at any time – so it seems the decision was based not just on how their food tasted and looked but how they worked together. Natasha and Luca are relieved, but there’s strife brewing after the judges depart and the four chefs try to decompress. Krissi overhears Jessie complaining to the others about her.
The tension continues through the next day as Krissi and Jessie get ready to face the elimination challenge. What will they have to cook? They have to perfect a world class dessert: chocolate mousse, Graham says. But Joe prefers a chocolate molten lava cake. Gordon wants them to make chocolate souffle. They have to make all three in 75 minutes.
This seems like a repeat of last season’s three dessert challenge between Josh and Frank that sent Frank home. Who is going to pull off the best three desserts? Joe admits he couldn’t do it. Natasha thinks Krissi might pull it off because she is a baker. But Luca thinks Jessie will do it because she’s better organized.
Natasha thinks Krissi’s mousse looks more airy. Jessie is most worried about the souffle, but she still feels confident-and Krissi “needs to go home”. Krissi knows she is a better baker and thinks she can absolutely take down Jessie.
The balance on the molten cake is not overcooking it. Joe thinks Krissi has it, but Krissi is behind on the souffle. Luca wants Jessie to go home; Natasha thinks Krissi is going to go.
Time’s up and the souffles are up first for tasting. Gordon tastes Jessie’s and says nothing – not after tasting Krissi’s, either. To the other judges he whispers that Krissi’s is undercooked and Jessie’s is phenomenal. For him, the souffle of the night is definitely Jessie’s. The chocolate mousse is next. Graham tastes both. Krissi thinks hers is more airy. Jessie’s is more like a pudding, Graham says to the other judges, Krissi nailed it. So as usual in these contests it’s a tie up until the last dish.
Last up are the molten lava cakes and they both look terrible…they’ve “pre-exploded”, Joe notes. Jessie’s has a nice crispiness but there should be more cook through the center. Krissi’s had a little bit more consistency but is undercooked for sure. It comes down to the most “minute of details”, the judges announce after discussion, and based on the molten lava cakes, the cook entering the top three is Jessie.
That means it’s Krissi’s time to go (at last!) There are the usual tearful goodbyes and she says she wants Luca to win it now for the Italians.
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.