And Then There Were Three…
The final four contestants return to the MasterChef challenge to face their biggest test to date. They need to prepare a 3-course meal for the judges, but Gordon, Graham and Joe aren’t the only ones they have to impress: there will be three guests chefs they need will be cooking for and they are some of the top names in the restaurant world today. Chef Guy Savoy, Chef Daniel Boulud and Chef Alain Ducasse will be tasting their food as well. They must work in teams of two, and as winner of the last challenge Christine gets to pick her partner.
Gordon warns her that should their team lose, she is also picking who she will go up against in the elimination challenge. Christine doesn’t want to focus on negative outcomes like that, so she chooses Becky. That leaves Frank and Josh to work together, which could be a challenge as Josh is still carrying a grudge against Frank for not giving him immunity when they last worked together on a team challenge. The two teams have 90 minutes to do basic preparation and get their appetizers out to the diners, then an additional 30 minutes to finish their entrees and 30 minutes for dessert. Christine and Becky decide to go for an Asian-themed menu, which the MasterChef judges think sounds very well balanced and cohesive. Frank and Josh’s menu has less of a theme but may be more technically impressive – but it could also fall apart as well.
The girls are working well together whereas there is definitely tension between Josh and Frank brewing. The guest judges arrive and are served appetizers from both teams. Christine and Becky start off with a Thai Seafood Soup with Daikon and Micro Herbs, with the hot broth poured at the table to complete the cooking of the delicate ingredients. The judges seem split – some like the delicateness of the dish, others think it needs more seasoning. Josh and Frank have prepared a Spring Vegetable Terrine with Spot Prawn Mousse and Pea Puree. This does not go over as well as the girls’ dish: one judge says it’s too small of a dish, another thinks it’s too dense, overall it’s pretty clear Christine and Becky won this first round.
For an entree, the women have prepared Duck Breast with Crispy Bamboo Rice, Chinese Broccoli and Daikon. One of the judges does not receive the crispy rice cake, which is a huge error as they are being judged by consistency in plating and not just flavor. The duck itself does not seem to win over the judges either, certainly not in comparison to Josh and Frank’s ambitious Stuffed Lamb Saddle with Couscous and Roasted Vegetables. The judges praise the guys’ effort as absolutely restaurant-worthy cuisine, so it seems we are 1-1 in the battle so far.
Lastly comes dessert. The women have prepared a Coconut Verrine with Coconut Cake, Tropical Fruit and Guava Coulis. The judges appreciate the appearance and flavor of this dish, the layered dessert put together well. In contrast, Josh and Frank’s struggles are evident in the uneven plating of their White Chocolate Mousse with Roasted Strawberries and Rhubarb. None of the judges’ plates look the same, and the flavor doesn’t win over the judges either. Only Joe says that if you manage to get a bite of all the elements at once, it’s rather good, but it seems pretty clear that the girls are going to win.
The judges call in both teams one at a time to ask questions about their menu and give feedback. When the winning team is announced, sure enough Christine and Becky have won – guaranteeing they are safe and will make it to the final three. That leaves Josh and Frank to battle it out for the remaining spot in an elimination challenge.
And what a challenge it will be: they will have to prepare three different souffles in one hour for the judges to taste. Gordon wants a cheese souffle, Graham a chocolate souffle, and Joe a raspberry souffle. All the ingredients they should need are waiting for them at their stations. The judges admit this may be an impossible challenge to complete; just getting one perfect souffle right in an hour is difficult enough. The chefs will have to very carefully time when their souffles go in the oven as well as getting their textures and flavors just right.
It’s a race to the finish but both Josh and Frank get all of their souffles out in time – the question will be how they taste. The judges taste only the souffles prepared for them and make no comments at tasting – only when they go back for deliberation and discussion. Gordon makes the first call on the cheese souffles. Frank has stuck to a basic cheddar cheese souffle while Josh has added other cheese and nutmeg seasoning. Gordon liked Frank’s better. Next is Joe. Josh added whole raspberries to his souffle and Joe says his was really technically perfect, so Josh won that battle. So (unsurprisingly), it’s 1-1 and up to Graham to cast the deciding vote. He seems to find it difficult to make the call as they were very close, but one had a slight edge – and that souffle belonged to Josh. So in a rather shocking victory (to some, although Josh has always had an edge in dessert-oriented battles), Frank is eliminated and Josh will be joining Christine and Becky in the final three.
Frank says his goodbyes to the judges and when asked who is going to win MasterChef, he says it will be Becky. Is he right? Or will it be Christine, who has amazed so many with her incredible palate and ability to overcome her blindness? Or Josh, who came back from elimination to fight his way all the way to the final three? We will find out once and for all next Tuesday night!
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.