Season 5 is now underway and the top twenty-two are ready to go. And two will be dropped at the end of this episode. One will fall after the Mystery Box and the other in the elimination round.
*No mention of Walmart at all during this episode. In fact there was no Walmart commercial either. I wonder if they ended their sponsorship of the show or they are low balling the shilling this year due to complaints.
*Dessert was the Mystery Box challenge, a change from previous seasons. They were given chocolate, bananas, strawberries,various extracts, ground coffee and of course use of the MasterChef pantry.
*In past seasons they sometimes call down what everyone assumes is the top two only to learn they are the two worst. This time they call down four: Astrid and Cutter, Courtney and Willie. Then after the obligatory commercial break, Gordon announces Astrid and Cutter are the two worst.
*A Lesson In How To Fail
Cutter presents his Capuchino pudding & biscotti. It looked weird. Making it worse he put the Masterchef logo on the pudding! Gordon is not happy looking at this dish. He is appalled at Cutter putting the logo there. Joe tells him that his biscotti are not even close. Astrid originally was cooking lemon bars but now lemon tarts. They look rather anemic sitting on the plate and worse, raw inside. Gordon was not impressed and sees little potential in her. So it is no surprise that Astrid turns in her apron and heads home. She accepts her fate and realizes she ought to have done more baking. If you want to be a chef, you need to be able to cook everything in your kitchen so you know whether your cooks are getting it right or not.
*A Lesson In Winning
Both Willie and Courtney show great presentation skills and remarkable use of the ingredients on their plates. Courtney made a Honey Cake with mixed berry coules. Gordon calls it balanced and Graham calls it a restaurant dish. Willie has a Gingerbread Cake (in small bites) with mascarpone and berry compote. Joe says it shows finesse and Gordon says it was a party in his mouth! Both look like they could win but only one can so Courtney is chosen who heads back to the pantry to decide on what the others will soon be cooking.
She is shown three samples of ground meat: Italian meatballs, meatloaf, and the burger. When they showed these three I thought she would choose meatloaf. Meatballs are tricky but not impossible. Burgers are too easy but meatloaf requires more finesse to get the flavors right. And I was right, she choose meatloaf. She also got exemption from cooking and one more major bonus: she could save half from cooking. So she methodically went through the people chosen for safety. Personally I would have kept my mouth shut about why each person was saved until the confessional. So compared it to chess and using them as pawns in her game. On person not fooled was Elizabeth who probably is just as cunning as Courtney but more discreet in her way of showing it.
*Let The Games Begin!
So the remaining cheftestants now assemble their meatloafs. Dan is proud to say he is a food snob. He is planning an Asian themed meatloaf. Willie,who is the cook in his family, says he has got this. Stephani goes off in a strange direction using couscous and blue cheese. Joe is aghast and cannot believe what he is hearing. You can see the angel of death preparing to lower that scythe soon. Frances B starts off planning cheese inside his meatloaf and Gordon makes him reconsider it. The clock runs down and the judging begins.
*Francis B uses meatloaf with Spanish ingredients and it is a hit. Joe likes it and Gordon calls it bold. Graham says it is the kind of meatloaf he would want his mom to make. Ultimately he gets the win because of his boldness.
*Willie presents a beef and pork meatloaf with creamy mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts. It gets rave reviews and Gordon loves it.
*Dan presents an Asian style meatloaf Gordon calls disgusting and worst meatloaf he ever had!
*Whitney presents a meatloaf with odd flavors like lemongrass and mango. It also is dry, overcooked, and worse than a tv dinner!
*Stephani’s strange meatloaf with couscous and blue cheese sauce is so bad Gordon spits it out. He tells her it spells H-O-M-E!
*Exit, Stage Right
Dan, Whitney, and Stephani are on the bottom. Dan is saved and Gordon asks Courtney who she thinks they have selected to go home. She says Whitney, for lacking passion. And she was right. Whitney exits and Francis gets the win that makes him a team leader in the next challenge.
At this point it is way too early to see who will make it but Willie, Courtney, and Francis are the strongest right now because they came out top in the first challenges. Courtney gave a kind of evil laugh as she enjoyed talking about how she is playing the other cheftestants like chess pawns and pulling strings. She has the smarts and not unlike Natasha of season 4 in her brashness. As time goes on and we get to know some of the other cheftestants, more opinions will form. I personally hope Willie goes far. This guy has passion and clearly loves to cook. I suspect he will take up any challenge they throw at him and do well. Next week it looks like they visit a military base and cook for a lot of soldiers.