MasterChef: Corn Is Not Just For Dinner(24 Jul Recap)

In the last episode: The return of the eight saw eliminated cheftestants back for a chance to get their aprons back. Only two were left standing, Josh and Ryan. They then faced a unique elimination test: they had to cook a fruit tart and the six remaining cheftestants would choose the best in a blind taste test. Josh won and returned to the team.

Once again the cheftestants faced a Mystery Box but this time with something alive inside, namely spot prawns. Once again they had to produce a stunning dish. We learned Monti has a real problem with living things she has to cook. Hint to Monti-do not get a job in Asian restaurants where live food is on the menu! It almost was comedy watching her try to get a prawn out of the aquarium. Water was splashing all over the place even drenching Gordon Ramsey. Off to the side you can see Joe actually smiling watching Monti’s discomfort. Eventually a prawn she is trying to get falls out and Gordon picks it up for her. One wonders how she would have handled that a live dungeness crab a few episodes ago.

After the usual watching the cheftestants prepare their dishes, the judges confer as to who are the three they want to try. Becky sets a record by being in the top three five times, a MasterChef first. Christine comes up next with a prawns in pineapple broth that is well received. And the surprise, David is called up! His avocado infused dish wins praise and the win. He gets to head back to the pantry to see what major advantage he will get.

He gets to pick one of three ingredients–bacon, corn, beets–that everyone will cook as a dessert. He picks corn and they show him three corn flavored deserts currently popular and can ask questions about their preparation. This is a major advantage to be sure. He decides to go for a corn infused rice dessert like his mother used to make. Additionally he gets five minutes in the pantry to get everything he needs. And just as he exits he realizes he forgot rice. Your heard it right-he is making a rice dish and forgot the most important ingredient. The door is closing to the pantry as he tells the judges, who quite understandably are dumbfounded. They cannot waive the rules so he has to go back to his station. Needless to say, it looks grim for David at this point.

After the competition starts up, David frantically tries to get rice from the other cheftestants. Only Becky has rice she got as a backup and gives it to him. Now David has no excuses and begins working on his dish. Time is finally called and the cheftestants present their corn themed desserts to the judges.

1) David-Corn & Milk Rice Pudding
Joe found the dish “Really, really, really inedibly disgusting.” Graham said he should have asked Becky for sugar as well and called it “weird” and his worst dish. Gordon said he struggled to find corn and needed serious spices.

2) Becky-Classy & Trashy Popcorn with Panna Cotta
Joe likes the presentation and calls it delicious as does Graham. Gordon says she keeps getting stronger and stronger.

3)Christine-Corn & Coconut Pudding
Joe says it looks simple but complex flavors.

4) Monti-Corn Souffle w/Lavender
Gordon is impressed and finds it delicious.

5) Felix-Corn Profiterole
The strange looking profiteroles have Graham wondering if it is novelty cat poop and not even a profiterole. On U.S. Navy ships they have an ice cream dispenser (soft) called auto dog by many. That is what these profiteroles do look like and they are nasty looking. Gordon says they have no texture, wet on wet, her worst dish. He says she was in his top three. Joe is even more pointed saying it was raw, not sweet, and not even profiteroles.

6) Frank-Corn Budino w/ Chocolate Grenache
Both Gordon and Graham found it delicious. Gordon likes the chocolate grenache in particular.

7) Josh-Corn Creme Brûlée
When Frank walks up to present his dish, he glances over and says he thought it looked wrong. Josh says his dish will win. Unfortunately it completely fails. The judges find it visually uninspiring, Joe thinks it too sweet, the others agree it was visually unappealing.

The Winners:
Becky wins top honor and Frank second. Both will captain teams next time.

The Losers:
Josh, David, Felix
The judges are very disappointed in all three but send Josh back to his station. Felix is sent home and David is safe for another round.

Closing Comments
This was a good episode. Challenging the chefs to prepare spot prawns forced them to deal with live food, something real chefs contend contend with (usually with seafood). All the dishes looked pretty good and it was nice to see Christina in the top three. The fact David pulled out a win was remarkable considering his lukewarm performances in the past. Its obvious he has some talent but not enough to pull him all the way to a complete win in MasterChef. After being giving such a tremendous advantage, he blew it by (1) forgetting the rice, (2) preparing and serving a substandard dish. Had Becky not given him the rice, he would have probably gone home for missing a key component of his meal.

Some ask was it right to give him rice? Frank argued that it was the nice thing to do and really what counts in the end was his product. Most when asked said they would give him rice but Josh would refuse saying this was a competition. One can argue that giving him rice saved him for another day. Perhaps it did but the judges thought Felix was the greater culinary disaster. Several episodes ago both were challenged to do a tiramisu. She did a free-form style layering and it looked hideous, put macadamia nuts in it, and had all the wrong flavors. David’s was not much better with over soaked lady fingers and nuts on it as well. Gordon said the nuts were wrong and instead of picking him up, his tiramisu put him down.

The judges, in particular Gordon and Graham, likely decided enough was enough and she did not have the chops to go on. I suspect Joe wanted to send David home for his awful dish. Both showed their weaknesses and why David is unlikely to go to much further unless several of the front runners suffer catastrophic failures sending them home. It is possible by sheer luck he could end up being in the top four simply because someone else does worse. He lives on the edge of a sword but sooner or later will get cut.

Next week they are running restaurant service in a Michelin star restaurant. This is where we will see who really has chef material working in a real restaurant. It looks like something akin to Hell’s Kitchen may erupt!

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