[Being a fan of MasterChef, I decided to add my own thoughts on selected episodes]
The remaining six contenders all entered the kitchen last night expecting to cook and found themselves in the gallery watching 8 previous contenders duke it out for a MasterChef apron. It was good television and provided more sales for heartburn medication as the 6 remaining chefs were worried as to who might come back. You had Stacey, Josh, Tali, Anna, Tanya, Scott, Cowboy Mike, and Ryan all battling it out in a Mystery Box of their own choosing. Each one had to select one item from the pantry that would be part of what they cooked. And it was a strange one indeed. You had portabello mushrooms, pork chop, celery, condensed milk, chocolate buttons, pomegranate, white wine vinegar and heavy cream! The judges were aghast no one choose a starch, spice, tomatoes, or onions.
So off went the 8 into battle making a dish that would put them in the top two for the apron. And we saw some really good cooking here. Nearly everyone pulled out all the stops to make an impressive dish. Both Josh and Ryan were surprised that David Martinez was still there. David, classy guy that he is, gave the middle finger salute to Ryan as he said that. He was dumbfounded when Josh said the same thing. David has had his moments but has had lots of things go wrong as well. Luck has been on his side more than talent in my estimation.
Finally the judges taste all the food. Josh did a chocolate mousse. Graham thought it did not look great but it tasted delicious, as did the other judges. Tali did a chocolate dish that was heavy or as Joe put it like “a mortar.” For once we did not get a clip of Tali saying how the judges cannot understand his creativity. Most of the other dishes were good with slight problems. Ryan produced a pork chop with mushroom and celery ragu that Gordon said it was the best dish he cooked. Stacey put up homemade pasta, ricotta cheese, pan seared pork chop and ravioli. Gordon said she had one hand on the apron as a result.
Alas it was not to be. Instead it was Ryan and Josh left standing. One must assume both dishes showed great finesse and talent but I really thought Stacey had nailed it. Stacey is someone I expect to hear about in the future. Her trajectory is heading on to bigger things food wise. Some might argue that the judges wanted Josh because he is more popular but I doubt that. And Ryan did put up a really delicious dish that made him a contender. So now the two have to prepare a delicious (and as Gordon puts it stunning) fruit tart. Here is the rub: the six remaining will determine the winner in a blind taste test.
Both Josh and Ryan get to work on their tarts. Ryan looks less confident but prepares a traditional looking tart with strawberries and other fruits. He also put maraschino cherries, which I have never seen before on a fruit tart. Josh goes for tropical fruits. For a while there it looked like Josh was in serious trouble but he pulled it out and both presented really nice looking fruit tarts to the judges. After slicing and plating their dishes, the servers take them into the restaurant where the six are seated waiting to taste. They have no idea who made what, their decisions based solely on presentation and taste. We learn what many of them think, most like what they have tasted. So where did the vote go? All six voted for Josh!
Ryan ends up taking a second walk out. He certainly is a decent cook that will probably improve with more training. However his arrogance and bad talk will not make him many friends. Not sorry to see him go and Josh will likely add a lot more tension in the next few cooking challenges. I suspect Felix or David to be the next to go. Monti could screw it up but I doubt it. As I see it, the final four could be Josh, Frank, Christine and Monti. Becky is talented but has too much confidence and more easily rattled in high pressure contests.
On to the next challenge!