Episode Recap & Review by sockii
With episode #5, it feels like MasterChef Season 3 is finally getting underway! We have our first team challenge, where the remaining 16 contestants find themselves at Camp Pendleton, CA. They are told that their challenge is to prepare a healthy, balanced meal for 201 U.S. Marines containing one protein, one starch and one vegetable. They’ll have 2 hours to complete the challenge. Of course first the selected team captains – Frank and David, who had the best dishes last episode – must pick their teams.
David chooses Becky, Josh, Mike, Helene, Ryan, Anna and Monti for his team, the Red Team. Frank selects Felix, Scott, Stacey, Tali, Tanya, Michael, and last picked is Christine for the Blue Team. One thing I noticed in these first few minutes of the episode was how close Tanya and Christine seemed to be, with Tanya staying close to Christine as much as possible and describing what was going on to her. Frank decides they are going to go with a chicken and pasta salad meal, although Felix thinks they should do something more “American” like BBQ chicken. The Blue Team goes for pork chops, cole slaw and potatoes.
Trouble starts for the Blue Team when Michael is placed on vegetable grill duty and starts grilling portabello mushrooms with no seasoning, oil, or anything. Tali takes over that part of the operations, meanwhile the Red Team is struggling as David appears incapable of being an effective leader. His first picked, Becky, quickly takes over but they’re still having problems – their pork chops are too thick and aren’t cooking through in time. When they begin service, things look good for the Blue Team as they are getting food out there, while the Red Team can only serve some Marines cole slaw.
However, one has come to expect that the winner in a MasterChef challenge is never as obvious as they may be trying to set it up to appear in the editing. When it’s time to vote, the Red Team wins by a small margin (without even resorting to flashing some skin as Ryan crudely suggests to Monti and Helene. He’s surely going to make no friends with the women on his team.) So the Red Team is safe from elimination while the Blue Team must prepare for a Pressure Test challenge.
Frank is told before the Pressure Test begins that he can choose one of his own team members to be safe from the challenge based on their performance – including himself. He first wants to give safety to Felix because she’d wanted to do a different dish, but she refuses and says she wants to cook. Scott is also offered a chance, and he also refuses. Soon enough, these chefs are going to start to realize they should never pass up a chance on staying safe! Stacey finally accepts when offered immunity next and goes up to join the Red Team in the balcony.
They find out then that their Pressure Test dish is to be Apple Pie. They have 75 minutes to bake a pie that will be judged on the flavor of their filling, the texture and doneness of their crust, and the overall appearance of the pie. They have all traditional ingredients necessary plus additional items on hand that could work to make their pie stand out – or perhaps sink it if they go overboard or use the wrong combinations. Personally, in a challenge like this I’d stick with the basics – a simple apple pie is hard enough to get just right, so why mess with a successful recipe?
Some competitors are more nervous than others based on their baking experience – particularly Christine, who worries about being able to tell her pie’s doneness in the oven without being able to see it. Scott is struggling with his dough which is crumbling apart, and Michael is going off on a tangent by covering his apples with a layer of cheddar cheese. Yes, apples and cheddar go together, but baked in a pie? Perhaps that’s not the best idea…
It’s a rush to the finish as many are worried their pies will not finish baking in time. Frank is first to have his pie tasted and he soars through with great praise from all three judges. Right now Frank is definitely working his way up my list of favorite competitors – he seems to have a great deal of skill in the kitchen and doesn’t seem to be going for the drama (of course that can always change). Tanya is next and unfortunately her pie is a failure on basically every level – the apples are undercooked, the pastry is soggy, and it doesn’t look appealing at all. She seems ready to burst into tears returning to her station. Tali’s pie looks good on the outside, but inside there’s just not enough apples. Felix, similarly, has a great looking pie but her apple filling falls flat and isn’t sweet enough.
Michael’s pie ends up being the disaster the judges were worried it would be. It looks awful, the cheese didn’t work and it’s watery, raw and just a complete failure. But is it worse than Scott’s pie, which he had to torch the top of to try to get it done? His one saving grace is that his apple filling tastes delicious, but who knows yet if that will be enough to keep him from going home? Last up is Christine, who was so worried that her pie would be terrible and she seemed sure she’d be going home today. Of course, when the editing sets someone up like that, generally you know with this show that the complete opposite is the case. Gordon is the first to taste her pie and he tells her to listen to how crisp and flaky the crust sounds against his knife. He describes how perfect it looks when he cuts out a slice, how good it tastes and only berates her for doubting herself so much. Manipulative? Heck yes. But was I sitting there at home getting teary-eyed myself? Absolutely.
The judges then ask Frank, Felix, Christine and Tali to step forward – they are all safe from elimination. Tanya, Scott and Michael had the worst three apple pies so one of them is going home. Tanya is called forward first, but is told to get her act together because she’s safe for now. That leaves Michael and Scott – and you can bet Scott was sure regretting turning down that free pass now! But he will get to compete another day as Michael is the one going home. It’s a sad departure and Michael seems crushed, even as Gordon encourages everyone to applaud him for being so young and achieving so much. I’m sad to see Michael go as well as he’d been one of my early favorites in the competition, but his inexperience certainly was showing this week. Still, I hope he continues to follow his dreams of becoming a chef and shows his parents that it is a worthy career to pursue.
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.