June 12, 2012 | Posted in REALITY TV | By

Episode Recap & Review by sockii

MasterChef The Ultimate Cookbook.

The MasterChef Ultimate Cookbook, featuring recipes from the television series. Get it today at Amazon.

I have to say, it was a little difficult getting back into “audition” mindset for a third episode in a row, after nearly a full week’s break. At least we were spared the worst of the “stunt” auditions and mostly rushed through to meet a few contestants who at least seemed to have a real chance at potentially making it past our judging panel. At first it appeared we were in for a bit of an episode surprise – a first featured audition contestant who gets a no vote? Stacey’s New York Strip Steak Espresso Crust with Chimichurri Sauce sure looked good to me, but after an initial 1-to-2 vote no that sent her out to disappointed family and friends, Joe was “encouraged” to take a second taste and (in an MasterChef US first) came out to give her an apron after all. It felt staged and forced to me. I have a feeling she was surely going to get a “Yes” from the start but there was a push for TV drama, here, and that kind of turned me off the rest of the episode.

A car salesman from Texas named Rami was next, with so-called “Scallops Florentine over Roasted Red Pepper and Sweet Potato Puree”. As someone who has been, multiple times, to Florence, I saw nothing Florentine about his dish and frankly thought it looked rather hideous. Yet somehow he got an apron in a 2-to-1 vote, I suspect as Gordon is such a sucker for anyone who can cook scallops properly, no matter what kind of bad plating/sauce they are served with.

We then saw a bunch of split decision “no” votes and then one final featured contestant, David, who did a very interesting looking Pescado with Poblano Atole. Although his plating needed work, the judges all loved his flavors and gave him a unanimous yes. David certainly has potential – but he really needs to get his emotions in check.

So at this point we’ve gone from 100 to 36 contestants, who will have to face one final challenge in order to make it into the Top 18 and the MasterChef kitchen. In the past this challenge has been something tedious and precise to show a skill like knifework, such as perfectly slicing apples. This time it actually involves cooking: having 60 minutes and an open pantry to make 2 pounds of ground beef something special. It’s not a bad challenge to start with, as nearly any home chef should have some idea of how to cook ground beef – and hopefully into something more interesting than a basic burger or meatloaf. We finally find out how Christine’s blindness will be dealt with on the show: she is allowed a guide to get her the ingredients she requests from the pantry, but she does the actual food prep and cooking herself.

The judges taste and make comments to the chefs throughout the hour, and when time is up they divide the contestants into 3 groups of twelve each. Twelve they dismiss immediately without having their final dish tasted. Unsurprisingly, quite a few of these include the few “stunt” (or heavily featured for gimmicky reasons) apron winners, such as Joel (the Jamaican army vet). I was sad to see Raiza go, the artist who did the beautiful sugar nest in her audition. Next one group of 12 was sent through into the Top 18 without a final tasting, based on what the judges had observed. These included Felix, Stacey and Josh. But now the remaining twelve had to have their dishes tasted and only half of them would make it further in the competition.

The dishes presented ranged from the simple (Bubba’s Ranch Stew with Cornbread Topping and A.J.’s Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe and Fennel Meatballs) to the ambitious (Anna’s Beef Stuffed Onions with Raisins, Walnuts and Horseradish Creme and David’s Faux Bone Marrow made from Beef and Potatoes with Roasted Vegetables). There are not too many surprises in who passed the judge’s taste test and who didn’t, except of the husband and wife team, Anna and A.J., I’d thought A.J. would last longer – Anna ended up getting to keep her apron, he didn’t. Also sent home included Bubba, Rami and Nandini.

So we finally have our Top 18 contestants who will make it in to the MasterChef kitchen! I confess, I didn’t find this episode as engaging as the previous week’s. I think after two full episodes of auditions, I was growing weary of that part of the show and ready to move on to the eliminations/first challenge. I wish we’d been given a full episode to see how the 36 all did with the ground beef challenge, because as presented here it was a little rushed and difficult to see what all everyone cooked. But of course, now we can finally start learning more about the individual cooks and who has a real chance of going far or not. On to the next episode 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.


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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