Last night’s two-hour episode of “Masterchef” (originally airing Wednesday June 12, 2013) veered away from the standard formula as they used the entire two hours to run the cooks through a gauntlet of challenges before eliminating one of them.
As the show started out, the 16 remaining cooks were put through another group challenge. They were told that they would be serving a meal that included a steak, two side dishes including a veggie and a sauce for 101 hungry firefighters. The firefighters would try both team’s meals and vote for their favorite with the losing team having to go into a pressure challenge where at least one cook would be eliminated.
Bimi and Bethy won the last challenge so they were the captains. As they picked teams, Bethy went with the strategy of picking the cooks she thought she could work best with and that she thought would bring the most to her team. On paper it appeared she had the better team, but as the challenge got started chaos erupted on both teams. With 90 minutes on the clock each team had to cook 101 steaks and the sides. Time proved to be the great equalizer. When the firefighters arrived they then had to plate the dishes so that servers could take them to the waiting firefighters. They had a limited time for service and the blue team, Bethy’s team, fell a little short and didn’t get to serve a few of their plates.
It didn’t matter. When the voting was done they were victors. Bimi’s team was clearly bummed out as they had to go to the pressure challenge. Beth said that one of their entrees, a cauliflower puree, was disgusting and Natasha tore into her for calling it that (Natasha was in charge of making it). She told her she should never call another cook’s food disgusting. She broke Beth down and made her cry. Krissi was cursing up a storm and Bimi agreed that most of the blame was on him.
Before the pressure challenge, Gordon Ramsay told Bimi that since he was the captain of the team he was safe and didn’t have to participate in the challenge. He could choose one person to save and he chose Jordan because of how good he did during the challenge
The remaining six cooks: Natasha, Krissi, Beth, Luca, Katy and Bri were left to face the pressure challenge. They all had the exact same ingredients and had to make two servings of Eggs Benedict which Graham Elliot pointed out looks simple, but is a very technically difficult dish. A few of the cooks were nervous because they had never made this before, but Natasha and Beth felt good because they had made this before.
Most of the cooks struggled. Krissi’s hollandaise sauce broke and she had to start over, but didn’t have enough eggs. She thought she would be going home. Natasha, who was almost cocky about the challenge, screwed up the sauce as well and ended up making something that was basically mayonnaise. The three judges tried all six cook’s dishes. They decided that Krissi and Bri had the best dishes. Bri, who had never made this dish before, made it perfectly and really impressed them. She might be the silent killer in this season. The other four’s dishes are all so bad they judges couldn’t decide who to send home so they decided to put them through another challenge.
For the second hour of “Masterchef” the action switched to Las Vegas. The four cooks in the second pressure challenge, Luca, Natasha, Beth and Kathy found themselves at Gordon Ramsay’s gourmet burger place BurGR. The judges put the remaining four into two teams. Luca and Tracy were on the red team and Natasha and Beth, who were at each other’s throats earlier, were the blue team. Each team had 90 minutes to come up with a signature burger and get their prep work done then Gordon would fill the restaurant with people and they must make and serve the burgers in a limited amount of time. Each person will try both burgers and vote for their favorite. There was one other catch. Gordon Ramsay himself would work as the expeditor she he was on them the entire challenge, pushing them to work fast and checking their work before it was sent out.
Natasha and Beth agreed that Beth will be their team’s leader. Beth wanted to make a rich, decadent burger with egg, prosciutto, goat cheese and other ingredients. Luca was the captain of his team. He wanted to make a basic burger with just sautéed onions on top and no cheese. Beth quickly got the feeling that Natasha was just going along with what she said so if they failed the blame will fall on her.
Both teams struggled to keep up with the frantic pace. As surprise VIP guests, the other 12 contestants from the show arrived and would also try the burgers and vote, but they had no idea who made which burger. Luca’s team got in too much of a hurry and served a few burgers that are raw. Beth burned several buns and her team ran out of time so they missed serving four people which was four guaranteed votes for Luca’s team
When it was all said and done, simple wasn’t better. It was close, but Beth’s team one. Beth and Natasha were safe. Luca and Tracy would have to go head to head in one final challenge to see who would be sent home.
The last challenge took place on top of Caesar’s Palace where they had replicated the cooking stations from the Masterchef kitchen. The two had to cook a butter poached lobster which Joe Bastianich told them looks easy, but is very difficult to do correctly. A few seconds too long or not long enough in the water or butter and the lobster will not be correct. Neither cook had made this before so they were both nervous.
As they got to work, Luca was the first to get his lobster into the water, but as he butchered it before boiling it, he made a mistake and cut the tail off instead of pulling it off which caused him to lose some of the meat. The judges commented that this might be the kind of thing that could cause him to lose the challenge. Kathy was a little late getting her lobster into the water and then she had trouble getting it out of its shell so it didn’t have as much time in the butter bath as she would have wanted.
When the time was up, the judges tried them both. They agreed that both tasted good, but both also had a few problems. In the end Luca’s had a little better presentation and Tracy’s side salad was a little too bitter. Luca won the challenge and moved on.
Kathy was eliminated and broke down crying. Gordon told her that she has a lot of heart and lot of fight in her and that she has a bright future. He told her to look him up in New York and he will personally get her to work and on the path to making her dream come true.
With Kathy sent home, there are now 15 cooks left on “Masterchef.” The previews showed that next week a celebrity chef will be joining them, Joe’s mom. She looks like a real firecracker so it should be a fun episode.