Masterchef:Seafood Attacks and Doughnuts Not For Dunking

Cooked Lobster Photo: Junior Libby (
Cooked Lobster
Photo: Junior Libby (

*It is week 4 of Masterchef (US). Sadly Little Gordon got sick and was forced to drop out. He is going to be fine but that means we now have 18 aspiring masterchefs aiming for the big prize.

*Walmart is still hanging around since a commercial ran during a commercial break.

*Courtney reminds us at the top of the show how good she is. She may be so blinded by the lights and not realize it is an oncoming train.

*Ahran really stepped up to the plate in this episode. And really let us know how much she dislikes Courtney. And she thinks the judges show favoritism towards Courtney.

*The Mystery Box challenge was fresh seafood. And by fresh I mean alive and with pincers. Amazing how dealing with live seafood throws some for a loop. Kira was positively frightened by what was in that bag. This is not like the giant crab in Attack of the Crab Monsters! But eventually all just get on with it to make a dish worthy of the Culinary Trio’s respect.

*The top three were Francis B, Ahran, and Christian. Francis has a spicy seafood broth with interesting blend of different spices that seem contradictory. But rather than “fusion confusion” it all worked harmoniously. That is the trick with fusion cuisine. It all has to work together perfectly. Christian did New Orleans proud with his Creole BBQ Shrimp with grits but in the end it was Ahran with her Asian seafood dish that won. For the youngest competitor there, she is really showing some really big skills.

*Off to the pantry! Ahran has to decide which sweet treat the others all have to cook: cupcakes, muffins, or doughnuts. All three can be tricky but she ultimately selects the donut. Oh and mentions she also wants to get rid of Courtney saying “I go to high school and deal with a lot of fake b*tches all the time.” The judges look shocked although Joe looks amused.

Glazed Doughnut Photo:Public Domain
Glazed Doughnut
Photo:Public Domain

*Gourmet Donuts
They have to make 12 amazing and delicious donuts and put them in a box for presentation. The key, Gordon notes, is getting that dough just right. Do it wrong and you start all over again. To Ahran’s delight, Courtney screws up her first try and has no yeast left. She goes around asking everyone for some yeast and eventually gets some from Francis. Worse though is Francis B who really is struggling. He screwed up his dough so the doughnuts look flat. They end up becoming ball shaped and you can see where it was heading. Time is called and Ahran gets to select one person to be saved. After walking around, she decides on Francis B, who was greatly relieved to not be facing the judges.

The Top
Leslie-Malibu sunshine. His donuts were perfectly glazed and the right texture. He did not inject his doughnuts with any filling. Gordon thought them delicious.
Francis-Go big or go home is the motto for this Scot. He created 12 doughnuts each with a different flavor profile. Gordon tried the one topped with pancetta. Pancetta! But amazingly it works and Gordon laughs at this revelation. Francis showed he has real talent and the guts to go for it

The Bottom
Courtney-One tick of a nervous cook is using the wrong ingredient. In this case she swapped salt for sugar. Gordon could not eat his bite because it was too salty. Graham was not impressed either. Ahran is really happy now hoping she is done. Oh and Gordon noted she was not in heels. Due to all the running around, she changed shoes. Wise choice.
Kira-Dense, filling absent (she said it was injected by Joe could not find it) and as Joe said, like a kaiser roll! Ouch!
Cutter-This poor guy has so much passion and yet never seems to get it right. Donuts sitting in those little cartons in vending machines probably taste better.

So we have Cutter, Courtney and Kira at the bottom. Cutter gets sent back to his station and the angel of death readies the scythe. Sadly for Ahran, it did not fall on Courtney but Kira. Kira had not really distinguished herself much so the judges probably felt she was done. Courtney had shown some really good cooking in the past and probably why they let her stay. Favoritism? Possibly. There is no written rule that says the worst performer is sent home. That is up to the judges to decide. They probably consider what the person has done up till then as a factor in their decision. Serving up salt bricks is usually a ticket home so she got off while Kira takes the long walk out of the kitchen since she has not done much to impress the judges thus far.

Leslie and Francis are the team captains next week. And next week is a wedding! It looks like the teams will have internal strife. Ahran and Leslie look like they are getting into it. Could it be the pressure test literally from hell?

My 2¢
This was a episode that showed the strengths and weaknesses of various cheftestants. Some are not squeamish with live seafood while a few were most definitely thrown a curve. You have to learn to cook with the real thing–lobsters,crabs,clams,mussels–if you are going to be a chef. Ahran’s anger to Courtney appears visceral, not just seeing her as a competitor. She really dislikes her intensely. Joe Bastianich said in his blog that Ahran really produced some delicious food but had a warning:

But like all unchecked egos before her on MasterChef, her intense anger and lack of maturity will be her downfall, I fear. She’s not my kid, so I’ll spare her the lecture on exhibiting a little decorum, but that level of unnecessary fury always proves to be the catalyst for a premature exit.

Courtney really took a nosedive this week. Quite surprising really considering how talented she is but we have seen this for. Many a good chef makes a stumble or two. The best learn from their mistakes, get right back up, and do better. Christine Ha floundered a bit in the middle of her season and then picked herself up to win the whole thing. Courtney needs to refocus and learn from it. Ahran needs to let the anger go but the promos for next week show her and Leslie getting into it pretty serious. Francis the Scot. What can you say about this guy! It takes serious cojones to do what he did. He did 12 separate flavored doughnuts! And a daring one with pancetta which Gordon liked. Missing from this week was Willie, which Ahran is right to point out is the strongest one their. But he made no appearance this week, except for the obligatory shots of him cooking. One commentator noted the camera always rolls back to Elizabeth because she has the greatest facial expressions. I replayed the episode and they were right. They always pan back for her facial expressions. They are indeed priceless. On to next week and a marriage on the beach.