A “Surprise” Double Elimination!
The competition at MasterChef is really starting to heat up, as the final 11 contestants are soon to turn into the Top 10 – or less. For the Mystery Box challenge, they are told they will be joined by a special “Michelin Star”-awarded chef guest – Graham! He will cook under the same time demands and in the same cooking space as the contestants so they can see how a chef of his caliber works. The Mystery Box is loaded with ingredients with great potential, and challenges: rabbit, Forbidden rice, chorizo sausage, ramps, and much more. Some (like Tanya) seem to be struggling with butchering their rabbit carcass. Josh wants to do a paella but then realizes how the rice will bleed out its dark color all over everything. One of the most confident in the kitchen is Mike, who mentions his mother’s rabbit stew and how it’s something he’s cooked in the past.
Before selecting the top three dishes to taste, Joe and Gordon invite them to observe Graham’s final dish, where he has plated all different sections of the rabbit meat over some kind of orange “smears”. Felix may have said it looked like “art on a plate” but honestly it looked kind of messy and unappealing to me, even if it likely tasted great. The judges then decide that the top 3 dishes they want to taste are Frank’s, Mike’s and Becky’s. Frank did a Rabbit Two Ways which receives great praise from the judges, as does Mike’s Leg of Rabbit with Forbidden Rice and Brussels Sprouts. Becky also did Leg of Rabbit, hers with Carrots, Mushrooms and Ramps. After deliberation the judges pick Becky – her first time actually winning a Mystery Box challenge after three times in the top three.
In the pantry, it is revealed that the Elimination Challenge will be about tools of the trade this time, not ingredients. Becky must choose between a deep fryer, a pizza stone and a wok. One of these three she can use; her competitors will use one of the other two pieces of equipment by her choosing. Becky picks the deep fryer for herself and gives the other ten chefs the pizza stone.
This is a pretty good choice; making pizza dough from scratch, the traditional way, is a fairly lengthy process as the dough must rise – and the chefs only have 60 minutes to make their dishes! Several cooks eschew making any kind of pizza or bread, including Mike (who says he can’t remember his pizza dough recipe) and David (who just doesn’t seem to know what he is making at all.) There is “drama” as Monti burns the soda bread she was making to go with her roasted carrot soup, but is seems like she’ll be able to scrape off the most burned bits and salvage her dish.
Everyone’s plates will now be tasted, and the judges begin with Mike. He cooked lobster on the pizza stone along with vegetables and rice, which appears to be a complete misfire. His lobster is tough and the dish just doesn’t even look good. Becky, the only chef with a deep fryer, made Shrimp Tempura in a curry sauce, served with Yucca chips. She certainly chose right for herself and the judges love it. Christine is also successful with the pizza stone, making an Indian-style Flatbread with Chicken and Fried Egg. Graham loves the entire idea and concept of the dish and it seems certain she will be safe from elimination.
Monti, despite the earlier drama, gets high praise for her Soda Bread and Roasted Carrot Soup. David, who appeared to be struggling earlier on, fails to deliver with his pizza-stone cooked lobster with potatoes and bacon. The dish just looks terrible, and Joe goes as far as to throw it in the trash! One would think that makes it pretty likely that David could be going home tonight for sure.
Only then the judges pause before tasting Tali’s dish. Gordon asks everyone to take a look at the disaster area that is Tali’s station. There is kitchen equipment all over the floor, it’s a complete mess and even a hazard to anyone who might have to pass through. And for all of that mess, all Tali made was a rather uninspiring-looking Three Cheese Pizza with Duck Breast and creme fraiche. There’s raw flour on the bottom of his pizza crust, suggesting it’s not even prepared and cooked through properly.
Tanya has tried to go Mediterranean with Lamb Cutlets served with Olive Flatbread and a Roasted Garlic Yogurt Sauce. But the flatbread dough is chewy and not fully cooked through, and her “roasted garlic” has whole raw garlic cloves in it – something Joe in particular finds truly “offensive”.
Frank, Felix, and Josh are skipped over in the tastings, so one can assume they will be safe even if none of them made a really outstanding dish. The judges have to decide on the three worst dishes, and it seems like it’s going to for sure be between Mike, Tanya, Tali and David. Monti’s plate is considered the best, so she will be a team captain next time. Mike is asked to step forward, and at first one thinks that means he will be called safe. But Gordon leaves him (and us) hanging until finally saying he will be going home. Before heading out, he’s asked who he thinks will win MasterChef and he says it will be Christine…he can’t wait to get her cookbook.
So we have our Top 10 MasterChef competitors…but not for long! In a “surprise” twist there will be a second elimination this episode. Who will it be, Tanya, David or Tali? Tanya and David are asked to step forward, and it’s Tanya who is told her time on MasterChef is over. She is still praised for all that she’s accomplished as such a young competitor before going.
The final decision to dismiss Tanya and Mike instead of David and/or Tali seems to have a lot of fans in an uproar! I know several angry comments came in on this page immediately after the episode aired, as it seems many think the judges made the wrong decision. So let’s end this episode’s recap with a poll and your chance to sound off – do you think the judges made the right decision? Or are they only keeping David and Tali around for TV drama even when it’s been clear they’ve repeatedly failed in the kitchen and made bad choices?
For more on Season Three of MasterChef US including polls and background information on all contestants, check out my full season hub!
MasterChef US 2012: Season 3
MasterChef has been a hit television sensation all around the world. Learn about the contestants from Season Three, which aired in the summer/fall of 2013 on the FOX Network.
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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.