July 8, 2013 | Posted in EPISODE RECAPS, REALITY TV | By

The Top 11 Compete

It’s been two weeks since the last episodes aired, therefore FOX thinks we’re all stupid and need a recap of the show so far. That leads up to another Mystery Box challenge for the Top 11 contestants remaining. It’s a very big box behind the judges, slowly lifted to reveal a pair of high heeled feet and attractive legs. Eva Longoria appears to much oohing and aaahing…I guess she’s some kind of actress I’m supposed to know and care about but I don’t.

She also apparently owns or is involved with a restaurant in Las Vegas, a so-called “female friendly” steakhouse named SHe. For this challenge, she’s hand-picked a mystery box of ingredients for the chefs to work with featuring many Mexican-themed selections: corn, tomatillos, mexican chocolate, shrimp, avocado, crema, onion, garlic, shrimp and pork tenderloin. There’s even huitlacoche for the adventurous but I didn’t see anyone actually attempt to use it. It seems like a pretty easy basket of ingredients to work with, although Luca looks confused and unhappy about it.

The judges discuss their approach while the chefs get to work. Eddie is doing a chile-rubbed pork tenderloin that they seem impressed with, and Savannah is roasting peppers and making a crusted pork tenderloin. James is doing roasted corn and shrimp ceviche with mango gastrique. Bri is making a Mexican corn salad with shrimp poached and grilled. Obviously it seems like these are the dishes that are going to be near the top; which of the four will be in the top three?

When time is up, first it’s Bri (and why is Gordon calling everyone else “carnivores” while praising her being a vegetarian who can cook meat? The term you’re looking for is omnivore, Chef Ramsay.) She’s made butter & cilantro shrimp with a grilled corn salad. Gordon says the balance is wonderful. Eva loves the use of the cheese. Joe says she nailed the cookery of the shrimp and everything on the plate sings.

Second dish is called out for beautiful use of the pork tenderloin…Eddie. He’s made chili pork loin with cream of corn and a mango relish. Graham says the pork is cooked perfectly. Eva says it’s the best cooked pork by far and she really enjoyed it.

Last up? Someone who knows Mexican food…it turns out to be Savannah, getting a shining moment of last (by now I know this is not a good sign for later in the evening…) She has made spice crusted pork loin with creamed corn and guacamole. Joe says it has all the components and it’s texturally interesting. Eva says it’s spicy without being overwhelming and she likes the tomatillo in the guacamole. So, who gets the top spot and the advantage?

Bri is declared the winner, and she won’t have to cook during the elimination. She gets to pick from two baskets (heavily promoted as being from Walmart, of course.) She will have to pick one basket for one of her competitors and the other basket for everyone else to use.

The first basket is heavy on dessert and baking ingredients: strawberries, banana, eggs, milk, butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, lemon, strawberry gelatin and it also has 1 hour cooking time.

The second basket has tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, mini bell peppers, collard greens, limes, and a rib eye steak (from Walmart, in case you missed it). This looks like a super-easy basket to do something great with, but the caveat is the competitor only has 30 minutes to cook.

Bri decides to give the steak basket to Natasha, thinking it will challenge her as she is best at baking. This actually seems like a dumb move to me; I would have given the steak basket to someone I wanted to save from elimination as pretty much any one could turn out a decent rib-eye and sides in 30 minutes! Especially as Natasha gets 30 minutes after picking up her basket to think and plan her dish before starting to cook. Dumb move, Bri, if you wanted to try to take Natasha down.

Everyone else is working fast and furious on their dessert offerings. James is making crispy deep fried bananas. He thinks Lynn is his big threat but Gordon is giving Lynn a really hard time about what he’s working on. Gordon is also nervous about Savannah making too much “sweet on sweet”. Natasha now is getting started making steak and fried sweet potatoes.

Bri doesn’t think Krissi is doing well with her cupcakes – she’s made a dumb move of using the strawberry gelatin in them. So who going to be on the chopping block (oops, sorry, wrong cooking competition)? Time to find out. First up for tasting is Luca, who has made a banana cake with pastry cream and strawberry compote. Joe is tasting first and Luca says he isn’t confident that his cake is cooked enough. But it turns out he did an okay job after all, and his cake is cooked through. Gordon says it actually tastes quite nice and Graham says it’s not bad for being made with under $5 worth of ingredients (from Walmart, in case you missed that point yet).

Next? The “King of Plating” is called up – Lynn. He’s made a baked merengue with banana puree. Natasha smirks while the judges are extremely cruel about mocking his plate and his dish. Gordon calls it rancid and says it’s the worst thing he’s seen put out on a plate in 4 years of MasterChef (Really? Has he forgotten some of the horrible stuff Tali did last year?) Joe dumps it into the trash can.

Next? Savannah, who has made a banana cream pie with banana merengue (which broke). Grham says things could have been better, it’s not what was expected. Jessie did a shortbread tart with caramelized banana. Gordon says it’s delicious, she gets tons of praise as usual.

Next, James with deep fried bananas and strawberry puree custard. Joe says it’s generous to call it a custard and he doesn’t like it. Krissi has made a strawberry muffins with caramelized bananas. She used the strawberry gelatin and Joe just tosses it in the trash. Gordon says it’s her worst performance on MasterChef to date.

Last? It’s Natasha with her rib eye steak, sweet potato fries, roasted cauliflower and three steak sauces. She’s nailed the meat temperature and Gordon says it’s smart.

The judges discuss and declare that Jessie had the top dish, so she’s safe. The bottom three are announced as James, Lynn and Krissi. Gordon says he’s amazed that these three are there. Part of me is desperately hoping for a shocker and that Krissi will be sent home, but Lynn is called up first, told he has amazing talent and has shown a lot until tonight. He’s gone from “hero to zero”, and he’s not going to be in the top ten – he’s going home.

It’s an emotional goodbye as the other contestants are being shown looking shocked at his dismissal. I don’t quite get it unless there’s been some serious editing manipulation going on (ok, when ISN’T there serious editing manipulation on this show, I know.) To me it seems like Lynn has been in the bottom and up for elimination quite a bit throughout the show – even just last time with the macaroon challenge. I really didn’t think he was going to last as long as he did, even though I liked him from a personality standpoint, and never being harsh or mean to the others. What I really didn’t like in this episode was how cruel and mocking the judges were being during his dessert tasting – it left a much more sour taste in my mouth than anything else.

Looking for more on MasterChef Season 4? Then check out my season Hub Page:

MasterChef US 2013: Season 4
Who will be the next MasterChef? Find out in Season 4 of the intense cooking competition where talented “home cooks” compete for the ultimate title – and prize! Learn more about the contestants in my hub for the season, share your opinions in weekly polls, and check out video highlights as well.

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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