The final four–Andrew, Nathan, Jimmy, and Jenna–enter the kitchen stadium to do culinary battle for a place in the finale. Two will enter and move on; two will depart. Tonight there is no mystery box as Gordon presents what they will cook: crème brulee. A wonderful dish but tricky to pull off. Jenna tells us she goes to a French restaurant on her birthday and has one for dessert. Nathan has never made one before nor been to a fancy restaurant. Fortunately Gordon demonstrates how to caramelize one. It looks so easy when he does it but then he has had many years of experience (and some Michelin stars as he likes to remind us). Andrew is not much of a desert guy but likes being able to use a blow torch.
In a deviation from regular Masterchef, the kids do not have to make it from scratch. They each have 20 unfinished brulees at their station. They only have to add the sugar and caramelize it properly. And they have ten minutes to properly prepare as many as they can. So it will be both quantity and quality that will decide who wins. Jenna’s mouth opens wide in surprise in learning the time limitation. And they are off to make the perfect finishing touch to the crème brulee.
The judges look at the results to determine who got the most done correctly. Nathan finished 13 but only 1 was correct. Ouch. You have to watch that blowtorch! Jenna completed 15 but total perfect was 4. Graham said she was too timid in using the flame which is why most of them were pretty pale. Jimmy delivered 8 perfect ones. Andrew used two blowtorches and did all 20 but only 4 were done right. So usually at this point Jimmy would head back to the pantry and make a decision. But once again the comedy jester decides to use a gimmick again. Instead of revealing the fruit that will be part of the next upscale desert they will prepare, a whole lot of raspberries are dumped on them. You can just hear that circus music playing and a barker crying:
“Ladies and gentleman! Inside this tent are kids that will cook the most amazing dishes. They will astound and delight you by cooking dishes only found in the highest class places that princes, kings, and captains of industry attend. For only a mere 50¢ you will see dishes rarely seen out of those places. But we have tricks for these kids to pass through! Step inside now to see what will fall out of the sky or the cupboard or even the oven as they attempt the most difficult of dishes!”
The judges laugh, Jimmy cleans his glasses, Andrew is not thrilled with having raspberries dumped on him and Jenna has raspberries in her hair. And you have a whole lot of wasted fruit on the floor that are going to have to tossed out that could have gone to a food bank or homeless shelter. Four dishes will have this fruit as its main ingredient and Jimmy gets to decide who makes what. He has to choose from a Raspberry Napoleon, Raspberry Trifle, Raspberry Mousse, and the most difficult of all–Raspberry Tarte. Yikes! Jimmy hands the tarte to Nathan. A smart move. The mousse goes to Andrew and another smart decision. Jenna gets the napoleon because Jimmy thinks it is the easiest and can defeat her in the finale.
As time winds down, Jenna is way behind time wise. Her plating has not even been done at the 2 minute mark. She is racing about to get everything on her plate while the others do finishing touches. Sadly Jenna’s dish looks like a mess. Jimmy’s trifle looks a little uneven and taste wise it is rustic but too acidic and not enough sweetness. But overall okay. Andrew has a lot of raspberry on his apron. And he had to redo his mousse when the first one failed (too sweet). He may be a mess but the dish turns out perfectly. And Gordon is quite pleased with the result though it could have used more time to set. Overall, a good dessert.
Ah Jenna. The dish looks like it was plated in a hurry but actually tastes pretty good says Gordon. Joe refused to say anything about his tasting of the dish. They are all disappointed that she did not plate it well though tastes good. Nathan had the hardest of all, the tarte. Graham liked the visual and loved its flavor. Nathan really pulled it off on this dessert. Jimmy gave him the hardest dish of all and he aced it. This kid really has earned a place in the finale against Andrew. Which means sadly Jimmy and Jenna end up going home. It will be quite a battle royal in the final because Andrew and Nathan are well matched.
It was sad to see Jimmy and Jenna go. Both are very talented young chefs with a bright future in professional cooking if they go that route. They came very far beating out a lot of people to get into the top four. And now it is between Andrew and Nathan. While I like Andrew, I think Nathan has the edge needed to win.
By The Numbers
One of the reasons I wait a few days to do the write-up is for the final adjusted ratings. The fast ratings sometimes can be off. Masterchef saw a spike this week that pushed it up quite a bit but still came in third place for the 8pm hour. The final numbers are NCIS (CBS)at 2.6 rating in the 18-49 age group and 18 million viewers. ABC’s Fresh Off The Boat came in second with 1.9/6 million viewers. Masterchef came in a respectable third place with 1.8 and just under 5.5 million viewers. Th uptick is not surprising as it usually happens at the primiere and the two end shows of the season.
Food Network’s Kids Baking Championship
Thanks to Sling TV, I got a chance to take a look at this show that started this year on Food and Duff Goldman (Ace of Cakes) and Valerie Bertinelli (actress and cookbook author) are the hosts with kids aged 10-13. It is actually a very pleasant show to watch. They start out with eight kids (the season for this is just a few episodes) and as the title indicates everything they do is baking. I really loved the Desert Imposter episode where the kids had to come up with deserts that looked like regular main courses but were deserts. Duff Goldman and Valerie Bertinelli make a good team for this show and I hope they bring it back. Like Masterchef, it lacks the high drama and sometimes bracing personalities as the kids are delightful to watch. Goldman is particularly good at giving the kids helpful suggestions as they cook. Goldman really enjoys what he is doing and while they will put some twists into the challenges (like telling them after they have started one batch of sweet baked goods they must now do a batch of savory as well)it lacks the gimmicks of Masterchef Junior. And it has its tough moments too when it sends kids home at then end.