An “Offal” Challenge – and “Canned” drama?
This episode’s Mystery Box challenge is a unique one for certain – offal! The contestants are presented with an assortment of meat and poultry organs from chicken livers to sweetbreads to cow’s tongue. They have 90 minutes to complete this challenge, which is good as often organ meats can take a while to cook down – but they can be delicious when prepared properly!
Right from the start of this episode, Ryan seems to be getting the “villain edit” as he’d been getting set up for previously as well. When asked who he thinks will be next to be eliminated, he says Monti. It seems there is no love lost between them. The three contestants chosen to step forward as having the best dishes at the end of the challenge are Ryan, Becky and Christine. Becky prepared a Sweetbread Duo with Chicken Liver Pate on Buttered Toast which all of the judges praise, Joe going as far as saying he could easily see serving it in one of his restaurants. Ryan prepared Sweetbreads with Potato and Shallot Curry Oil, which also receives praise as does Christine’s Panko Fried Sweetbreads with Bok Choy. Ryan is announced the winner of the challenge and led in to the pantry to see what his advantage will be for the elimination round.
The Elimination Challenge turns out to be fresh vs. convenience – Ryan must choose first between Ahi Tuna, ham and Dungeness Crab. Half the competitors (he is safe) will receive the fresh ingredient – the other half will receive a canned variety. After choosing the ingredient, he then gets to chose which of his competitors will receive fresh or canned.
Ryan is made to look evil/grudgey for his choices, extremely gleeful as he gives Monti (his “enemy”) canned, his ally Tali fresh as a reward and Christine fresh as an additional challenge. But isn’t that what he’s supposed to do – try to give his competition either an advantage or disadvantage as he chooses? They all have one hour to prepare their dish with their given canned or fresh crab. There’s plenty of action as the chef’s plan their dishes, and at first Christine seems to be struggling and suffers a pinch from her crab. But as the hour progresses, the judges appear impressed with how Christine is working on her crab meat, while observing that Helene and Tali seem lost and both struggling with their fresh crabs.
Tali is the first up for tasting, and his dish is indeed a disaster in the eyes of the judges. He used the prime backfin meat for his sauce instead of as the star of the dish, a Paprika Buttered Crab, and they all appear disgusted by the results. Meanwhile Josh made a trio of crab dishes using his canned crab which is given high praise by the judges. Mike is another competitor who fails with his fresh crab, turning it into a bisque that Gordon says tastes like canned crab meat. Tanya does well with a Thai Green Curry, but Frank doesn’t impress with his Orecchiette Puttanesca with crab.
Christine is next, and she wows the judges with her Ceviche Cocktail of fresh crab. Again, Ryan’s “villainous” decision to give her fresh crab is played up as Gordon has him come down from the balcony to taste how good her ceviche came out. The last two dishes we are shown the judges tasting are Helene’s Dungeness Crab Soup and Monti’s Scotch Egg. Helene’s dish is another loser, again wasting the fresh crab in a mediocre dish, whereas Monti’s dish is a surprise success (cue tonight’s crying moment as the judges tell Monti she needs to show more confidence in herself.)
After deliberation, the judges declare Josh and Christine the winners and team captains for the next challenge. How ironic in that last team challenge, Christine was the last picked! The four chefs they declare had the worst dishes are Frank, Tali, Mike and Helene – three of whom all had the advantage of fresh crab over canned. Frank and Mike are then dismissed as being safe, and Helene is told she is going home.
This was no real surprise to me as Helene seemed to be struggling and lost in the MasterChef competition right from the start. And of course they’re going to want to keep Tali around longer as Ryan’s “partner-in-crime” for the drama. Overall this was a fast-paced and engaging episode, although I did feel as though they were playing up the editing too much to make Ryan appear the villain, and Christine and Monti as triumphant over his “evil plans”. Of course, that’s reality tv for you, and I do believe the right person was sent home based on her performance not just in this challenge but in previous ones. I’m glad we finally got to see more of Josh’s cooking spotlighted, but when will we also see Anna get some screentime? Is she a “sleeper” who’s going to rise to the top of the competition later on? I guess we’ll have to stay tuned in to find out…
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.