Masterchef US:Season 6, Episode 6: Vegas or Bust

18 cheftestants remain after Justin went home for using canned corn last week. Tonight they cooked a meal for those work in Vegas with the losers proving who can cook the best steak. It had better be good because Gordon Ramsay is the only one judging them!

*Sadly Dan has left the show likely for personal reasons so there are now 17 competing.

*Roadtrip! Off to Vegas and all that glitz and glam.

*Team challenge: Cooking for 101 entertainers. But Stephen, who had the best dish last week, gets to pick his team or the protein. He opts for making the dream team and deceives Shelly into thinking he is not that much interested in lobster(which he is). Shelly opts for chicken while Stephen selects everyone she wanted. So Stephen gets not only the team he wanted but lobster as well.

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

*Team Red (Stephen)
The team is well organized as Stephen tells them what he needs done. And he is no distant leader either constantly checking on the progress of those around him. Tommy is the one who causes the most problems. First, he plates the smashed potatoes badly. Second, he is overcooking the potatoes in the skillet. He is under the delusion that people want burnt potatoes on their plates. Really Tommy? Sorry, do not buy it when he says that is how he learned it. Perhaps he confused smashed with another type of potato dish sometimes served with breakfast. I doubt it as he is too smart for that. After Gordon threatens to toss Tommy out, Stephen relegates him to pot washing. Team Red gets their plates while the other team is ponderously slow.

Team Blue (Shelly)
As they say, it was all balls up! First off she decides to a chicken roulade. Now that requires you pound the chicken, put a filling in it, wrap it up, and cook it. That is a lot of prep work for a dish that will be served for 101 people in an hour. Derrick tries to point out this is unfeasible but shot down. Others on the team echo that sentiment as well. Things go from bad to worse as was predicted when they cannot get one dish out to the waiting people while Team Red is doing it. There was a mutiny by consent as Derrick took control, got everyone fired up, and getting dishes out. It was remarkable to watch and shows why he is someone that may go far in this show. The result was that the team got dishes out and even better got within three points of the win. Very good considering the long odds against it. Team Blue loses and must face the dreaded pressure test.

Dreaded Pressure Test
*What is worse is not just one pressure test but two!

*Shelly was given immunity from taking the pressure test but could save three. Why? This is totally inexplicable to save her. Her team was a failure and at the least she ought to have been in the trenches or forced to save herself (as they have done in the past). This shows again how they try to manipulate tension for ratings (not uncommon by the way). They (the producers )know that the survivors will really dislike Shelly leading to some interesting confrontations down the road.

*Shelley thinks she was thrown under the bus when her team criticizes her leadership. It is like this gal never had anyone critique her before. She decides to send all the strong ones (the most vocal about her lack of leadership)into the elimination challenge while saving ones who were the weakest (like Hetal). Shelly is hoping that Derrick will be sent home.

Photo: Fox
Photo: Fox

*New York Strip Steak is what they are cooking for just one judge: Gordon. And at his own steak house in Sin City. All four get busy cooking their steaks and they are presented to Gordon without knowing who cooked what. Both Claudia and Derrick cooked the best medium rare steaks and head up to the balcony to Shelly’s dismay. Meanwhile Ailsa and Christopher face cooking filet mignon rare (which does not mean raw!). A beautiful piece of meat that must be treated with the respect it deserves. Ailsa though ends up losing the challenge and heads home.

*A couple of things about this episode. First, we saw the difference between firm and weak leadership styles. Second, choosing the right dish to prepare under the time constraints makes all the difference. Third, when a team member is doing sub-par work you do not keep them there. Fourth, when things are really going bad it is okay for another team member to step up and take charge. Derrick saved them from an even worse defeat for doing this. Fifth, leaders have to accept criticism.

*Tommy was a disappointment here. He whined about how they (Stephen and Gordon)got in his face about his presentation and cooking. He will not last long on this show if he continues in this manner. Hetal will have a problem (perhaps several down the road)not because she is vegetarian but because it may require handling meat from cows. Eating any part of the cow is verboten in India and with faithful Hindus. Amanda has a different problem as that Muslims do not eat pork. And pork usually shows up on the show. It might be an option to choose from (which means she can avoid it). My guess is it will be an option rather than a requirement to avoid being criticized for being insensitive to Muslims.