Last night’s “Masterchef” (airing Wednesday May 29, 2013) saw the last handful of auditions take place then those who had been given an apron and invited onto the show had to face their first real challenge. In the first hour this group would be narrowed down to 19 cooks who would move on to the first mystery box challenge where the real fun began.
The last of the auditions saw a few good stories with the most memorable being a guy named Jonny who made lobster crackerjacks. Yes, you read that correctly. It was lobster meat mixed with popcorn, nuts and caramel. Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastainich all agreed that it shouldn’t work and it should be terrible, but they loved it and couldn’t get enough of it. They were, however, suspect of Jonny thinking this might be a one trick kind of deal where he had nothing else to offer. He assured them that wasn’t the case and was on the show.
The large group then moved into a room where the judges told them they would have their first big challenge. A door was opened and a huge flock of lambs and sheep came running in. Seeing the contestants interact with them was fun. Gordon Ramsay then told them that the challenge would be to cook lamb in any way they wanted. They were given a huge pantry of fruits, veggies and other items as well as every cut of lamb meat they could ever think of. They had one hour to come up with one plate of food that would blow the judges away.
As the challenge got underway, the cooks raced to the pantry, one contestant even getting knocked to the floor. They grabbed their ingredients, chose a station and got to work. As they cooked, the judges made their way around the room asking questions and sampling the food. Nerves were running high.
At the forty-five minute mark of the challenge the judges started eliminating contestants. They had seen enough from some cooks and didn’t even allow them to finish. This had everyone on edge as a few cooks were sent home right then with the remaining group at least allowed to finish. Some came up with some great dishes and other struggled or went with very simple dishes.
After the hour of cooking time was up, the judges separated the remaining cooks into three groups. One group was sent home right there while another group was sent through and continued on. The judges were unsure about final group of eight. They paired them up then tasted all of their dishes. Malcom, Jonny and Bri won their pairings and moved on. The last pairing was Luca against Beth. After the tasting, the judges sent Beth through. They talked to a dejected Luca and told them they knew how hard he worked to get here (he is the guy who tried out last year and didn’t make it onto the show so he worked all year to get back) and after messing with him for a few seconds they sent him through as well. The final 19 were now set and ready to move into the “Masterchef” kitchen.
As the second hour got underway, the 19 cooks that made it past the audition rounds faced their first mystery box. This time they were cooking in the “Masterchef” kitchen and it is beautiful. It has everything you could ever want. It is any cooks dream come true.
In the mystery box were four items: A few slices of bacon, a tomato, a potato and chocolate. They were told by the judges that the first thing they needed to prove was that they could work with the most basic of items.
The group got to work and we could start to see some rivalries forming. Krissi doesn’t like Natasha or Howard. For that matter, Howard seems to be the only person that does like Natasha. It took until the middle of the second hour, but finally Natasha reminded us how good looking she is and that she is not here to just be a pretty face that chops basil. She could be a drinking game all by herself. Take a shot every time she talks about how good looking she is.
As the allotted time came to an end, the judges picked their top three dishes. The winner will get a huge advantage in the next challenge. The top three were: Natasha’s lemon pie tart, Bime’s poached egg over hash, and Krissi’s frittata. The judges then announced Natasha as the winner.
The three judges took Natasha into the pantry and told her that as the winner she gets to sit out the next challenge and automatically moves on. She also gets to choose the main ingredient of the next challenge. Her choices are: langoustines, first cut veal chops, and stilton blue cheese. She told them she doesn’t like Krissi and she chooses langoustines hoping it will trip her up. Before the challenge started, the judges told her she got one more prize. She can choose anyone from the group to sit out with her. She chose Savannah because she feels like she can easily take her out later in the competition.
As the ingredient Natasha chose was reveled there is a mix of shock, surprise and confusion in the kitchen. The kitchen then sprang into action as the cooks got to work.
As the cooking time ended there are few dishes that impressed the judges. Jordan’s langoustine cooked with bacon was a real hit. They rave about it and tell him that he is a contender. Krissi made langoustine mac n cheese and, much to their surprise, the judges really liked it. Natasha was not happy to see this. It was then announced that Jordan and Jessie were the winners of this challenge and they will serve as team captains in the next challenge.
It was then time to get to the dirty work. Malcolm didn’t know what to do with the langoustines so he tried to stuff them and it failed badly. Sasha made grits and langoustine meat that did not impress them. Howard made a salad with langoustine meat on top of it. The judges were so angry with him they refused to eat the dish and threw it into the trash. They gave several cooks a good tongue lashing, but eventually announced Howard, Malcolm and Sasha as the bottom three. The judges then announced that Sasha was going to be sent home. Howard and Malcolm survived to cook another day.
Sasha left with her head held high and with a good attitude. When Gordon asked her who she thought will win “Masterchef” she said Krissi.
Tune in next week as the “Masterchef” competition moves outside and to the playground as the cooks must work with an open fire in one challenge and feed a pack of hungry kids in another.