September 9, 2014 | Posted in EPISODE RECAPS, REALITY TV | By

Screencap from MasterChef, September 8 2014.

Screencap from MasterChef, September 8 2014. Watch it now via Amazon Instant Video.

The season is coming closer to an end as only five home chefs remain: Elizabeth, Cutter, Christian, Leslie and Courtney.

Leslie plans on being number one. Christian’s dream is to have a food truck.

It’s a Mystery Box challenge but the ones on their counters are empty. The most important ingredient is under a huge box in front of them. Courtney sees a bunch of feet…and then her 6 year kid brother, Cooper. Christian sees his fiance Jasmine. Elizabeth has her husband Ross. Cutter has his dad David from Beaumont, Texas. Leslie has his wife Paula, who says it’s so quiet at home without him!

They will be taking the empty mystery boxes into the pantry with their loved ones to make their favorite dish. Paula wants Leslie’s herb crusted rack of lamb. Christian’s fiance wants seafood gumbo. They have to make an elevated version of the dish in 60 minutes.

Cooper wants mac and cheese. How do you elevate mac and cheese? She’s doing lobster and truffle mac and cheese. Leslie is doing his rack of lamb with mushrooms, beets and other vegetables. How is Christian is doing gumbo in an hour? He’s using a lot of seafood and sausage.

With 30 minutes left, Elizabeth is doing meatballs and grits as a spin on meatballs and polenta. With 11 minutes the judges say Leslie is in a pole position. Graham is worried about Elizabeth.

Time is up and now the judges will evaluate the dishes. With one last look around they have to pick the top three, and the winner will get a huge advantage in the next round. The first they want to take a look at someone who clearly elevated a humble dish to restaurant quality: Courtney. She has truffled lobster mac and cheese with fried quail egg. Gordon says it’s complex in flavor and she’s done it perfectly. She’s elevated it. Good job. Joe says she turned it into a world-class pasta dish. She didn’t break the cheese sauce.

Next up is someone who dug down deep with a really tall oder but pulled through: Christian. He’s made seafood gumbo with crawfish and andouille sauce and homemade seafood stock. It’s flavored beyond belief, Graham says and it shows how far he’s come. Gordon says it goes right back to New Orleans, well done.

The third dish had a lot of difficult components that came together on the plate. They took a rustic dish and elevated it: Elizabeth She has meatballs with broccoli rabe. Meatballs are really good, it’s a beautiful collection of flavors. A very strong dish. The meatballs taste like they’ve been cooked for hours and the grits are elevated.

So, who will win? Elizabeth wants to be ahead of Courtney. Christian wants to win in front of his fiance. Who is the winner?`

Congrats go to Elizabeth.  Everyone gets to say goodbye to their loved ones before the elimination test.

In the pantry there are four empty plates with the other chef’s faces on each one. Gordon is going to present her with 4 very different proteins and she has to put one on each plate. First? Something Gordon loves to cook: ox heart. The next is one she has to use in making the decision: veal brains.  Next choice? Lamb’s tonuge: rich but hard to cook. The final choice: a delicacy beyond belief: buffalo balls! The texture can be so chewy without the right technique.

Elizabeth doesn’t have to cook and she has selected the proteins for each.

The answer awaits each in the pantry. and they have only 1 hour! Christian got the brains. Leslie got the tongue. Cutter got the heart and Courtney got the balls.

Courtney is going to do the fanciest bull testicles anyone has ever had.

Christian is doing pasta with brains. Joe has never heard of anything like his dish before. He had to restart his pasta. He’s frantic and looks scared. Is he going home? He’s not ready for it and he needs to elevate the dish and wants to make brains parmigian pasta.

Courtney feels good. Cutter is doing stuffed poblano peper with the heart cooked like a fliet. Grahan and Joe are questioning how he is cooking the heart . Leslie is braising the tongue with bok choy and spinach.

Christian looks disorganized and Leslie has a dish that sounds incredible. Courtney also sounds like she has a good dish, the judges say. Time is almost up.

They will start with Christian. He is very upset with himself. He has veal brain pasta with tomato sauce. Joe says he did things with pasta that he never saw before. Why did he put the pasta in ice water. He knows Christian is a better cook than this. The brains are fried in grapeseed oil and they are delicious…it’s everything else that pulled him down.

Graham tastes and says the brains are cooked perfectly, the browning spot on. They taste awesome, but what’s going on with the rest of the dish? His mistake was the pastry, and doing pasta and tomato sauce. It’s probably the worst dish he’s presented.

Christian is pissed. The dish is not him. But he’s hoping that the brains get him through.

Courtney is next with her fried buffalo testicles and mixed vegetables. Gordon has never seen such glamorous testicles. She braised the vegetables and they are delicious and refined. She gave a difficult protein some glamour Graham says it’s really delicious.

Next is Leslie with his braised lamb tongue over yukon gold and parsnip puree with boy choy and spinach. It’s not his beast looking plate and he included the back part of the tongue that he didn’t clean off. He didn’t clean it very well Joe says, and there’s an incredible amount of garlic. Will he go home on one mistake? It’s not great. Last up is Cutter. He has seared ox heart with stuffed poblano and Mexican corn salad. It’s the first time that Graham has seen him – Cutter – on a plate. It’s the best plate he’s ever put up. Did hie get the cook on the heart right? It’s cooked beautifully. Finally he’s arriving. It’s delicious, Joe says. It’s crunchy on the outside and the rub is right on.

Cutter is called as the first one who is safe. It’s a great dish but the best dish of the night is Courtney’s. They are safe from elimination. That means it’s between Christian and Leslie for elimination. They have to lose of them tonight. This is the toughest decision they have had to make so far and it hurts them to say goodbye to Christian. Leslie is safe.

When they say goodbye to Christian he says that Elizabeth is going to win it. He is thankful that he got so far

There are two episodes of MasterChef back-to-back tonight so it’s right into the next competition. Leslie wants to be the last man standing. Courtney explains she wants to be a food critic. There are only two stations tonight so they are cooking in two teams of two. Those who win will get a spot in the top two. Lose and they will got head to head in an elimination round. Courtney gets to pick her team mate since she won the last challenge. She is choosing Elizabeth. So it will be girls vs. boys. Leslie says there goes his dream turned into a nightmare since he has to work with Cutter.

There are 4 boxes, one from each state that they come from: New York and Pennsylvania for Elizabeth and Courtney, Texas and California for Cutter and Leslie. They have 1 hour to make a dish but first they must chose their box. They don’t know what’s in each except that it’s something from their state. They have to decide which box to choose. Courtney and Elizabeth are taking Pennsylvania, Cutter and Leslie are choosing Texas.

The PA box has Amish cheese, pears, rainbow trout, venison, apple butter and cabbage to name a few.

The Texas box has catfish, prime rib. baby back ribs, ancho chiles, butter, and corn. How to elevate the catfish? Graham would stay away from it.  Graham would do the venison with braised cabbage from the PA box.

They have to prepare an appetizer and an entree. The guys are doing spare ribs for the app and rib eye for the entree, garnished with potato and carrot puree.

The girls are doing trout over poached pears with apple butter ginger beer for an appetizer. The entree is venison medallions in root beer.

Leslie is carrying the team while Cutter goes to the medics after cutting himself. Elizabeth thinks the pear sauce tastes weird. She says Courtney has an irritating habit of micromanaging everything.

Leslie wants Cutter to make some decisions. They have 15 minutes remaining. Courtney and Elizabeth seem to be falling apart…they’ve made duplicate sauces and the pear puree tastes like baby food. Meanwhile Cutter and Leslie have a reduction sauce that is all fat.

Two minutes left. Everyone is plating, up until the last second. They will start with Red Team, Elizabeth and Courtney. They have pan seared rainbow trout with savory pear and apple vinaigrette. It doesn’t look like an appetizer Gordon has ever seen. It’s a weird combination. The trout tastes nice but they were butting heads and it tastes like their performance. Graham says cheese and fish don’t go hand in hand. Who’s dish is it? The fish doesn’t make any sense.

Leslie and Cutter are up and the blue team start with ribs, corn and onions. Restaurant quality? it is not. The ribs were cooked by Cutter and the ribs are tender but this is not a BBQ house. It’s kind of caveman food. Ribs, corn are all they used…what were they thinking? The ribs are good but it’s not elevated at all.

Entree time and the girls have venison medallions over mash potatoes with apple butter reduction. It’s finally something beautiful. Elizabeth cooked the venison and it’s perfect but the mash is lumpy. Joe says the plate wants a veg component and it’s missing their collaboration. It’s disappointing.

Blue Team  have rib eye with potato turnip and carrot puree. Now was there too much fat on the bones to make the sauce? The steak is great. The mash is too much and it needs seasoning. The sear is perfect on the steak. The rib eye is delicious but it’s undercooked. The vegetables are embarrassing.

Some highs, some lows, the judges say, but what is evident is that everyone is talented individually. Paired as a team, one is slightly better. Congrats go to the Red Team. That means Cutter and Leslie have to go head to head. It’s Leslie’s 6 pressure test. Cutter says it’s personal and it’s time for the old man to go home.

It comes down to Texas vs California. The oil man vs. the stay at home dad. Cutter is snorting. Leslie can afford to stay home and Leslie wants Cutter to put it on the plate.  Now they have to use ingredients from the box they rejected. It’s the California state box. Elizabeth thinks Leslie has the advantage. Courtney is betting on Cutter to win it.

What do they have in the box? A unique type of chicken, urchin, and yellowfin tuna, just to name a few.

Joe is drawn to the sea urchin. He would make sea urchin risotto. Graham is drawn to the chicken…done teriyaki with forbidden rice. Gordon would fight for the tuna. He’d make a tuna nicoise salad. Uh oh, you know what this means: they have to replicate ALL three of the judges dishes. And they want exact replications!

Cutter says take his apron now. They only have 90 minutes and it’s the brawl of the century. It’s one pressure test Gordon is dying to witness.

How should they do it? The judges say nail the chicken first, then prepare the tuna, green beans, and potatoes. Cutter is starting his risotto with over an hour to go. Halfway through and Cutter is moving, with the girls cheering him on. Do they have the teriyaki glaze right? Leslie is feeling good. His cheerleaders? “Me myself and I” he says.  25 minutes left and the secret is in the tuna. Cutter is man-handling the ingredients while Leslie has the tuna under control.

Cutter is looking in control on the risotto. With 2 minutes left they are plating. It’s a pressure test times three.

Leslie forgot his quail eggs. Cutter thinks he nailed all three dishes and he’s feeling great. First is the risotto. Cutter’s has good flavor. But who had the better risotto? Leslie, Joe says.  So he’s won the first round.

Next is the chicken teriyaki. Cutter thinks his is 90% correct. The taste? That is the question. Leslie’s doesn’t have as much of a glaze. Good job to both, Graham says. It’s really really close. Who nailed it? Both very overcooked. But the best was Cutter. So it comes down to the nicoise salad.

Gordon has a problem with cutter’s tuna: it’s dense, raw, so much going for him but the tuna delivered in a bad way.

Leslie’s looks thrown on the plate. It looks clumsy. The tuna is cooked beautifully, however. The vinaigrette is delicious, but the quail eggs are missing, and the potatoes slightly overcooked. It’s neck and neck.

So is it the flavor or the plating? It’s a very difficult moment. The person with the winning salad moving into the top three is…Leslie. Cutter is going home.

Overall I was not especially thrilled with either hour of this episode. I really liked Christian and was hoping for him to get the win. With him gone, there is no one left whom I would actually buy a cookbook from. I can’t stand Courtney; I think Elizabeth is a good cook but she has no personality or culinary point of view that stands out to me, that tells me she could present recipes to me that are different and that I’d want to learn to prepare. Leslie? I enjoy him but I don’t see him as the winner, he doesn’t need the money, and again, I don’t know what he’d show me in a cookbook that I don’t already know.

At this point it’s looking like an Elizabeth versus Courtney finale which just makes me go “Meh”. I guess I’d cheer for Elizabeth just so it’s not Courtney who wins. I don’t know why Courtney annoys me so much but she just does, with the way the judges always fawn over everything she prepares, her little whispery baby-girl voice, constant posing in dancer positions, and overdone make-up—let alone what comes across as a lot of arrogance and attitude. They have lost all of the contestants this season whom I thought could have an interesting culinary point of view in a cookbook, like Christian, Big Willie, even Francis L with his molecular gastronomy and whimsical plating.

But what do you think? Who do you think is going to win, and who would you rather see win it all?

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.

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