It is week 12 of Masterchef US. Eight are left after Ahran was sent home last week.
Ah the humble chicken. So versatile and popular around the world. Before the pig was brought to Mexico by the Spanish, chicken was the meat most ate. Now our brave cheftestants will deal with chicken cut up and randomly assigned to them. In teams. Yes once again the Culinary Trio has decided that this challenge will be done in teams. But instead of making a winner of a challenge decide it (or do it themselves), they have to decide amongst themselves. So that means if you want to pair up with someone who is really good, you had better use your best talking points. The most surprising match up was Elizabeth and Leslie. Elizabeth and Leslie got into it early in the competition. But Leslie made the simple play that he would defer to her in what ever she did. And it worked resulting in one of the best dishes of the night saving them from the dreaded pressure test. Another surprising combination was Courtney and Christian. Both have sparred in the past but worked well as a team producing also a delicious dish that saved them.
But the teams that failed were Jaimee and Daniel & Willie and Cutter. Jaimee and Daniel did chicken wings. They were okay but nothing that screamed Masterchef. Joe said they looked like something he would get at an airport. Ouch. Cutter and Willie were all over the place during the cooking with confusing styles that resulted in a poor dish. So the they all get to face the dreaded pressure test. Except it was actually three challenges and each challenge would have a winner saved. The final two would battle it out as to who would stay.
Now remember in the past they have made people cook the perfect fried egg. Sounds simple until you have to cook a lot of them and they have to meet the exacting standards of Gordon, Graham, and Joe. This first round had them do a poached egg. Tricky but not so hard to do providing you follow some basic techniques. Some hot water, a little vinegar, and some seasoning usually will do the trick. As Daniel found out, stirring the water with the egg can result in a disaster, like the yolk separating from the egg white. I have never seen that before, a poached egg with no yolk in it. Joe could not believe it either. The Cutter Zone pierced the egg during plating so it splattered. Thankfully it was cooked and Gordon liked it. Jaimee did okay as did Willie. And Willie was deemed the best and headed up to the balcony.
The next challenge was egg ravioli. Now I have never seen this type of dish before where you put egg yolk inside a ravioli. It is a take on the poached egg but the twist it is inside the pasta. So both the pasta and the egg have to be done right. Yikes! Turns out it is not that unusual. I found many recipes during a web search. Here is one at Food Network by Mario Batali, and another by Martha Stewart. This is something I might want to try as it sounds like a great combination. Of course you have to get the pasta right, seal the egg yolk inside it so no water can get inside, and have the courage to place it in hot water for a period of time. If it comes out right, bravo! Done poorly and you get the Bronx jeer (look that one up if you are not familiar with that term).
The Cutter Zone did something odd to his ravioli. He used a fork to press down the sides making indentations. It got jeers from Gordon. Yet that was not a problem in the end since his egg ravioli was deemed the best of the lot. Amazing. I thought Jaimee would have nailed it. Daniel’s was not closed properly so water got in turning the yolk not so runny. More like a set fried egg. So The Cutter Zone scores big and heads to safety leaving Jaimee and Daniel at the bottom. Jaimee was a surprise because she is usually a consistently good cook. Not surprised by Daniel being there. Both wish they could do a Harry Potter and wave a wand to disappear. Alas they now face….
The Dreaded Egg Souffle
Souffle. Many a chef will perspire making it. And now Jaimee and Daniel now must cook a stunning cheese souffle. Both struggle to get it done and have to watch carefully as it forms in the oven. Will it rise or not? Fortunately both are successful in that regard but, of course, looks are not as important as its taste. Both have their plusses and minuses. Daniel though over salts his souffle. And usually in most food competitions using too much salt not only puts you in the bottom but can often end your chances. For Daniel, it was the end of the road. He gave up his job to enter the Masterchef competition. He has shown considerable talent over many challenges but it is not to be. And so we bid farewell to Daniel. Up on the balcony you know Leslie, who despised Daniel, was gleeful about finally seeing him going. Seven aspiring masterchefs left.
My money is still on Courtney vs Elizabeth.