Thursday, July 25, 2013

S4E16: Stunning Éclairs That Will Stun You With Their Stunningness

“I have no idea where I am. I don’t walk or hike for fun. That’s not fun to me,” says Krissi as she labors up a hill behind the other seven remaining Home Cooks. It may not be fun for her, but it’s certainly fun for me to watch her do it.

The judges are each decked out in gear from Marmot. When you need to judge amateur chefs in the wilderness, you need Marmot.

Bri and Natasha are team captains. Bri is one with nature, so it seems this will be a good challenge for her. But then Natasha reveals that she grew up in South Africa on a large expanse of land and that she’s a tomboy and that she was raised by wolves, so maybe she has the advantage here.

Bri picks James, Eddie, and Luca. Natasha chooses Jordan, Jessie, and Krissi who admits to hating Bri. Suddenly, there’s a twist! The team captains have to switch teams. Bri now has to “deal with the beast.”

There are two survival cases filled with ingredients. One has three rabbits, and the other has six pigeons. Bri’s Blue Team chooses the rabbits after Jordan claims rabbit cleaning experience. Also, Krissi has bitten the head off of many a rabbit in her day.

The teams head to their respective camps and go through the box ingredients: potatoes, quail eggs, a small jar of oil, carrots, spices, flour, etc. No giant jar of clarified butter?! These guys are screwed.

The rabbits and pigeons have already been cleaned, so Jordan’s advantage is moot. And the heads are missing, so Krissi will be going to bed hungry.

Bri has a radical idea. She wants to make pasta with the flour and quail eggs. Her team loves the idea and gets to work prepping their vegetables. Meanwhile, the Red Team is stumped on what to do. They all take peyote and converse with their spirit animals in hope that an answer will be revealed to them.

Night vision! The Blue Team continues prepping in the dark as Gordon arrives. They tell him their pasta idea, which he says is “bloody ambitious, but if you pull it off, fantastic.” He wanders off, bathed in the green light of night vision in search of Paris Hilton.

Graham and Joe visit the Red Team as they are test roasting a pigeon on a spit. They ask what tomorrow’s dish will be, and Eddie and Luca simultaneously take sips of their coffee, leaving Natasha impaled on the spit. “Not all at once,” jokes Joe, accompanied by the #notallatonce hashtag becoming the greatest Twitter sensation of all time.

So the Blue Team is confident and the Red Team is frazzled. Every time we’ve seen this before, the confident team loses, so I’m preparing for a pasta disaster. A pastacalypse if you will. And you will.

After the commercial break, the Red Team has a plan and the Blue Team is predictably falling apart. They are late getting their rabbit on the fire, and Moses has arrived, signaling the start of the pastacalypse.

Both teams enter panic mode when plating begins. Luca is freaking out on the Red Team because the sauce is in the box they're using as a stand to plate the dishes, and on the Blue Team, Bri drops one of their dishes into the dirt. The Blue Team frantically decides to make smaller portions with the food they have left. The buzzer sounds, and their plates look like shit.

The judges taste the Blue dish. The pastacalypse has been avoided, as they are impressed with the quail egg pasta. Everything is good, except for the seasoning. Overall, they nailed it. Color me surprised.

Next is the Red Team, and their dish looks very good. Eddie’s pigeon is perfect. The judges are impressed. With two good performances, it’s hard to say which team will be losing.

The teams go back to their camps and are told that the winners will be announced by colored smoke, which is also how the Wilderness Pope is chosen. Does the Wilderness Pope shit in the woods? You bet.

Red smoke rises, and the team with early confidence loses again. It will be Jessie’s first Pressure Test and Krissi’s 49th.

The Red Team gets to pick one member of the Blue Team to sit out the Pressure Test. They choose to save Krissi, who is instead stuck on 48 Pressure Tests. Krissi thinks she was saved not because she is the weakest but because she is the strongest, which is some top-notch delusion.

On to the dreaded Pressure Test. “It’s a mouthgasm of epic proportions,” claims Graham. A chocolate éclair is placed in front of the three Home Cooks. “That’s right,” says Gordon. “A stunning, delicious éclair.” They have 60 minutes to make six stunning éclairs. They really need to be stunning. Can’t emphasize the stunning nature of the éclairs enough.

According to the crew in the balcony, Jordan doesn’t bake well, Bri has bad time management skills, and Jessie is a goddess with the power to cure cancer using only her smile.

Jessie is organized, efficient, and off to a good start. “I love that girl to death,” James says. “But I hope she makes a big mistake and eliminates herself today.” I’d say the chances of that happening are significantly less than 1 in 3.

Bri and Jessie feel confident, but Jordan is feeling the pressure. The judges agree that he appears to be struggling. He even announces to the balcony that he might be gone today. Potential death by doughnut taking shape here.

Jessie’s pastries look good but she can’t figure out how to shoot her cream all the way up in there. She’s only working with a two-inch nozzle. A micro-nozzle if you will. You won’t? I don’t blame you.

Jordan has to pull his pastries out before their middles are completely cooked in order to finish in time. Bri also has to pull out early. She blows on them to get them to firm up.

Time ends, and they bring their stunning éclairs up for judgment.

Bri goes first with her éclairs of various shapes and sizes. Gordon thinks they’re flat and under filled. Graham says that they’re flaccid, meaning that she didn’t blow on them enough. Joe tells her they’re soggy and raw, which she knows by now.

Next is Jordan. His are much more consistent in appearance than Bri’s. Graham says his filling is too sweet, but there’s certainly enough of it. Gordon agrees with the sweetness, but he’s done much better than Bri, so he’s safe.

Jessie is suddenly not very confident. Joe picks up one of her éclairs and notices that it’s a little flat. He slices it open to examine the filling, which didn’t reach the middle. The pastry is cooked, but her chocolate is bitter. Gordon notices that her éclairs are all split down the middle due to a separated mix. None of her éclairs are properly filled, and Gordon really gives it to her.

It’s judgment time, and Jordan gets the reprieve.

Gordon gives the bad news. “Big names fall in Pressure Tests. Jessie, please take your apron off. Say goodbye…” Krissi is loving it. “…because you are safe. Go upstairs.” It’s Bri. Her undercooked dough cooked her.

Gordon: Bri, amazing performance. Your passion, your enthusiasm, your attitude to every second during this competition is extraordinary.”

Bri beams with pride.

Graham: We’ve seen you shine. You have an infectious passion…This is your future. I’m excited to see what you do.

Bri: My mom told me not to cry, so I’m trying not to.

Gordon: Come say goodbye.

Bri goes up to the judges, giving each of them a hug.

Gordon: Any words for Krissi?

Bri: #goodluckdude

Bri leaves to applause as we are treated to a montage of her strongest moments.

To the camera with tears finally in her eyes, Bri: The hardest part is definitely realizing that you have to say goodbye.

Sadly, we do have to say just that. So farewell, my vegetarian friend. You cheffed a great game. Reward yourself with a walk through the forest.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

S4E15: A Good Ass Strategy

“I made history today! I’m the first Italian who made it in the Top 9 of MasterChef USA. Best day of my life so far,” proclaims Luca. This is a historical moment indeed. All students please return your history books, because those suckers need to be completely rewritten. It’s the kind of historical event that they create holidays about. In fact, let’s just go ahead and declare July 17 as Luca Day. Every year on this day, we will talk in exaggerated Italian accents, laugh deliriously, and enjoy hearty bowls of fish sauce risotto.

As the Home Cooks enter the revered MasterChef Kitchen, Eddie notices the long Mystery Box in front of the judges. Is it an alligator? Some kind of snake? Maybe this guy? 

They lift their boxes to reveal a “delicious sausage machine.” A sausage machine? That sounds like slut shaming to me. That thing is obviously a meat grinder.

“A meat grinder,” says James, who knows what things are called. “It’s going to be bad ass. Who doesn’t like sausages? I’ll tell you who. Bad people.” Side note – The editors threw in a great shot of Natasha raising her eyebrows in excitement when Graham says “sausages.” Nice work, editors.

Bad Person Bri stands with mouth agape, dreading the carnival of carnivory ahead of her. But her fears are quickly allayed when she spies the vegetarian proteins, which look particularly disgusting.

“I’m the meat man,” says Eddie. He’s the sausage machine.

Time begins, and the Cooks attack the array of meats like a pack of hyenas. They start chopping, grinding, and filling. We’re treated to a shot of Bri handling her sausage like a pro, using a two-handed grip that’s the perfect blend of delicate and firm.

Natasha’s making breakfast. Bethy (who?) is making a ballpark frank. Jordan is making a midwestern bratwurst. “This is who I am,” he tells us. Slather some mustard on Jordan, and he’s indistinguishable from a brat.

Bri is using seitan for her sausage, hoping she has time for the flavors to come together. The devil is in the details. The seitan is in… Moving on.

Eddie is doing pork sausage with apple chutney. He’s gently poaching his sausage, and Gordon gives it a little touch. “That looks delicious,” Gordon says as he licks his fingers.

Krissi is happily working away, and Graham delights in her shift in mood. “I like being angry,” Krissi giggles. She likes handling sausage even more.

Luca is devastated and a little embarrassed when his sausage explodes. He’s an excitable guy, and stamina has never been his strong suit.

Time ends, and the Home Cooks are commanded to remove their hands from their sausages. The top three are brought forward one-at-a-time.

First up are Natasha and her breakfast buffet. Gordon says it’s a “posh breakfast,” which is a compliment. Graham looks to the ceiling while munching on her chicken sausage. He loves the texture. “This sausage is a winner,” declares Joe.

The second dish tasted is Eddie’s beautifully plated pork, cabbage and chutney. Graham again looks to the ceiling while letting the juices and flavor of Eddie’s sausage fill his mouth. “You’ve got the meaty flavor,” Graham says. “That is the kind of dish that I could see in my gastro-pub,” beams Gordon.

Lastly, Krissi is called forward. She presents her Italian sausage with polenta. “With this kind of plating, you’re formidable,” Joe tells her. Gordon says it’s her best performance yet. I don’t know. I thought her performance in the wine room last episode was pretty good.

Eddie wins, and Krissi gives him a kiss. Krissi just really loves black people. She showers them with kisses and flattering tweets.

In the MasterChef Pantry, Eddie chooses between an assortment of beautiful ham, wild and wonderful mushrooms, and the most amazing shrimp. He gets immunity, so he picks what he thinks is the most difficult ingredient: mushrooms. As an added advantage, he chooses four Home Cooks that have to use canned mushrooms instead of the fresh.

Finally, here’s a contestant who understands how this game is played. Eddie knows that the real disadvantage is having to use the fresh mushrooms. He says it’s because the Home Cooks that get them will over think it, which is true. But the real disadvantage is that they’ll have higher expectations. How are the judges going to get rid of someone who is using the canned? They had to use shit ingredients.

He’s aiming for Jordan and James, so he gives them the fresh mushrooms. He also chooses Bri, who is not going to screw up a vegetable challenge most likely anyway. But then he also picks Bethy, and I think it’s his one mistake. He figures Jessie has never dealt with canned mushrooms before, but like I said, no one with the canned is going home.

Jordan and James are oblivious to the strategy of MasterChef and fall right into Eddie’s trap. “(It’s) an advantage for me today. I’m going to dance the dance and make a little romance with these mushrooms,” says Jordan, stuffing them into his basket of goodies. “Eddie, thank you.” He’s fucked.

“These are beautiful ass mushrooms,” says James, who describes everything by what kind of ass it is. “It’s kind of hard to fuck them up (the ass),” he adds.

Natasha is making ravioli with her canned mushrooms. “I’m happy with it,” she declares. The softening of Natasha continues, and Vile Natasha is far in the rear view mirror. I think that her metamorphosis has a lot to do with focusing on cooking her best and making friends with the other Cooks. I’m fine with it, since we now have Krissi as a villain.

Bethy is making Szechuan. “Szechuan?!” asks Graham. It’s a pretty horrible idea to begin with, but then she realizes that she forgot sugar, making it even worse. Fortunately, Jordan is kind enough to give her some sugar. He claims to be a cutthroat, but deep down, he’s a sweetheart.

James is making a chowder and a sauce and a sauce. “Eddie…is going after some specific people,” he tells Gordon. “I know what he’s doing.” James does not know what Eddie is doing.

“The mushroom is definitely going to be the hero?” Gordon asks Jordan, who is making a ravioli, deep-fried mushrooms, and some kind of beet concoction. “Definitely be the hero,” confirms Jordan. Gordon wishes him good luck, which is a death kiss.

Time ends. Tasting begins.

Bethy brings up her Szechuan dish. “I love mushrooms with Asian flavors,” she tells Graham. Apparently, her favorite Asian flavor is sesame, since that’s all Graham can taste. All Joe can taste is sesame. All Gordon can taste is sesame and maybe a hint of disappointment. “You’ve done an injustice to those mushrooms,” he tells her. These mushrooms must be avenged.

Next are Natasha and her ravioli. It’s good.

“When I think of James, I think of a sauce guy,” Eddie says as James brings up his sauce. “Way too heavy. Too rich,” critiques Graham. “Way too salty. It’s over extracted,” adds Joe. James’s dish is less bad ass and more sad ass.

Jessie brings up her risotto. It’s good.

Next is Luca’s cream of mushroom soup “with CANNED mushrooms,” placing heavy emphasis on the CANNED. He really wants the judges to understand that he had to use the CANNED mushrooms. “It looks a little thick to me,” Graham notices. He still thinks it’s pretty tasty, so Luca is fine.

Krissi has made a mushroom cassoulet, whatever that means. It’s good.

Bri presents “A Walk Through the Forest,” and Krissi’s eyes take a walk through the back of her skull. Krissi hates artists and art and anything beautiful and good. Meanwhile, Bri has nailed her dish. Joe appreciates the hipster nature of her dish, and Forest Gnome Bri returns to her station with an aura of placid satisfaction that the life force of the planet flows within her veins.

Next come Jordan and his ravioli, deep-fried mushrooms, and beet goop. Gordon hates it. “You’ve hidden the beauty of all those mushrooms,” says Joe. More mushroom injustice! We will not stand for this! We will rise up with a fungal fury and take back what is ours! Or theirs, rather! …Its!

Second place is given to Natasha, with the win going to Bri.

The bottom three are brought forward: Jordan, James, and Bethy.

“James you presented us with a bowl of sauce,” chides Gordon. Bethy and Jordan had worse dishes, though, so he’s safe. He walks his admonished ass back to his station.

“The person going home…” Graham chews on his glasses. “…is…” Gordon looks at Joe and Graham, who purse their lips and nod in solidarity. “…Bethy.”

She takes it well. Gordon asks her who will win, and Bethy picks Jessie. That’s just not going to happen, though. A guy is definitely winning this season after three straight female winners. Sorry, Jessie. These are the rules of reality television.

“My dream now does not seem that big. It seems like in reach,” Bethy tells us. Goodbye, Bethy. We didn’t get to see much of you, but you were with us for quite a while…maybe…not completely sure. Anyway, those were some awesome ass cupcakes.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

S4E14: Is Raw Raw?

The final ten Home Cooks are in Huntington Beach for the next Team Challenge. Joe and Gordon come riding into the beach on jet skis. “The judges look pretty badass on those Sea-Doos,” Savannah tells us. But where’s Graham? There he is, rising from the tide wearing a snorkel, a Speedo, and a flesh-colored wetsuit with muscles and a chest tattoo painted on it. He’s really relishing the role of comic relief this season.

101 surfers come running and rolling in as the chefs are told they’ll be cooking for them. “What do surfers eat? Aren’t they like unemployed weirdoes?” asks Land Crab Krissi. They eat fish tacos! Duh.

Jessie won the last Elimination Challenge, and she gets to pick both teams. She also gets to pick the captain of the other team. Her first pick is Lynn. Lynn? Where’s Lynn? Oh, yeah.

For her own Blue Team, she chooses James, Eddie, Bethy (who?), and Natasha. As captain for the Red Team, she picks Savannah of whom she says gets nervous and has a bad palate. How does that taste, Savannah? She says it tastes good.

Savannah is from San Diego, which makes her an expert on Mexican food and fish tacos. “I’m not scared,” she says with a hint of fear in her voice.

The Red Team chooses cod for their tacos. They’re not sure if they want to fry it or grill it, so Krissi volunteers to do a test batter. The camaraderie on this team is palpable, which on this show, usually spells disaster.

Jessie’s Blue Team goes with mahi mahi. “Tender ass pieces of fish?” James asks. The team likes the sound of that. Mmm. Ass tenders. He gets to work on a roasted pineapple and habanero hot sauce.

Savanna is slicing cabbage. Luca and Jordan are worried that she’s not seasoning the cabbage. I’d be more worried about that mandolin. Careful! I can’t handle another finger amputation. Jessie is slicing her cabbage with a knife instead of the mandolin, and I certainly can’t blame her.

“I’m making the sauce mild,” says James, and Graham and Joe each give it a taste. Steam shoots out of their ears as their eyeballs pop out and roll through the sand. It’s going to sting when they try to put those back in. “These are some pretty potent ass habaneros,” James says as he works to bring the heat down to a level that complements the tender ass fish.

Jordan is making a cilantro lime sauce, and Gordon digs it. Meanwhile, Krissi is ready for her fried cod to be tasted. “It tastes like shit,” Jordan says, only not to her face. Instead he says it to her tender ass. They go with the grilled cod and banish Krissi to tortilla purgatory.

Service starts, and it’s boring. The Blue Team has trouble getting food out. Then the Red Team has trouble getting food out. Oh, who cares?

By the way, those look like flour tortillas on the tacos. Is that how you’re supposed to do fish tacos? I don’t know. I don’t really like fish tacos. Maybe I don’t like them because they’re always made with flour tortillas.

It’s judgment time, and the surfers jump to either a red or blue surfboard to vote. The producers get a little heavy handed with their control and have the first 22 votes go to the Red Team. The team is ecstatic, because they’re a bunch of suckers. Sure enough, suddenly the Blue Team rattles off 51 votes while the Red Team only gets three more along the way. “Some would say a tidal wave of votes just kicked in,” James says. Graham feverishly makes a note in his joke journal.

Back in the MasterChef Kitchen, Savannah is prompted to name the weakest performer. She reluctantly says Krissi. Bri agrees.

They go into the wine room to pick one member to sit out the Pressure Test. While in there, Krissi flips out. She claims Savannah never instructed her on how to cook the tortillas, which she certainly did. Krissi begins dropping F-bombs on everyone’s head, and finally Bri has had enough. She comes right back at her, and Krissi shows her true colors by threatening to knock Bri the fuck out. It’s suddenly apparent to Krissi that she’s losing the war of words, so she shuts up in surrender. It’s a beautiful moment, possibly my favorite of the season so far.

Oh, and they pick Jordan to sit out the Pressure Test.

Chicken Challenge! Each of the four remaining Home Cooks will have to cook a chicken breast three ways: sautéed, fried, and stuffed. They only have 40 minutes to do it.

This challenge is right in Krissi’s comfort zone, you know, because it’s easy. But will it be easy for the rest of them? Savannah is a stress ball, Luca has never made fried chicken, and Bri is (supposedly) a vegetarian.

Luca tells Gordon that Krissi needs to go home, because they’re all sick and tired of her. I used to love Krissi, but now I kind of hate her, too, and that’s not even taking into account the racist Tweets her real-life persona made. It’s a pretty dramatic fall from what I consider to be the most emotional, heartwarming audition of the season. Hell, even Joe cried! Gordon asks everyone if they all agree with Luca, and they quickly confirm that they do. Krissi gobbles all of that hate up and licks her fingertips.

“What’s a vegetarian going to season fried chicken with? Tofu?” asks James, firmly wresting away the title of comedy king from Graham. Bri does not look comfortable at her station, but Savannah looks even worse. Both of them are waiting way too long to begin frying their chicken.

Time ends, and the tasting begins.

In separate interviews, Bri calls Krissi’s actions “unforgivable” while Krissi calls Bri “the epitome of the girls I used to beat up in high school.” She used to beat up girls in high school? Skinny, artsy girls like Bri? That is unforgivable.

Savannah goes first. Her sautéed chicken is fatty and poached. The batter on her fried chicken is soft and the chicken itself is way undercooked. “It’s bawking at me,” says Graham in a futile attempt to match James’s wit. Her stuffed chicken is ok, but the sauce is goopy.

Krissi’s sautéed chicken is a little under, but the seasoning is nails. Graham loves her fried chicken. Joe cuts into her stuffed chicken and is disappointed in the lack of stuffing. Overall, he likes it. She’s safe.

Next, Gordon tries Luca’s sautéed chicken. It’s overcooked and dry. Graham cuts into his fried chicken, which has a nice batter. It’s just barely under, but he likes it. Joe slices Luca’s stuffed chicken to reveal that it’s completely raw. “Che peccato,” Joe tells him, which translates to “You done fucked up.”

Bri goes last, and her sautéed chicken is four minutes undercooked. Next, Graham tries her fried chicken. The batter is good, but the inside is super raw and inedible. Joe cuts open the stuffed chicken, and amazingly, it’s cooked all the way through.

While the judges confer, Savannah, Luca, and Bri congregate and commiserate, leaving Krissi alone where she can’t hurt anyone. “Is raw raw? Or are there levels of rawness?” Bri wonders. #IsRawRaw

Krissi easily has the best chicken and joins her hated companions in the balcony. “I’m going to fight, and I will go down swinging,” she remarks. Jesus. Someone, get this girl a Xanax.

Luca is the next to be saved. Che fortuna!

It’s between Savannah and Bri. Gordon delivers the news “The person going home and leaving their MasterChef dream…” Graham presses a stem of his glasses to pursed lips. “…That person is – Bri – It’s not you. Make your way upstairs.” Gordon with the fakey elimination!

That leaves Savannah to get the boot. Tears well up in her eyes as she tells the judges how grateful she is just to make it this far. Up in the balcony, Natasha’s heart grows three sizes as she wipes her own tears from her face.

Somehow, the editors find some highlights of Savannah’s time on MasterChef to show us as she exits the kitchen, sadly yet proudly.

And so we say farewell to Savannah. May she enjoy the sunny beaches of San Diego for the rest of eternity and remember that even apparitions need sunscreen. Do they? They don’t? Never mind. 

S4E13: Genius Isn't Always 99% Perspiration

We begin with a Jordan interview saying he’s hoping to get rid of one of the top competitors: James, Natasha, or Lynn. Will it be one of those four (Jordan included) going home tonight? Or will it be Savannah, who gives the second interview, in which she utters the first words we’ve heard her speak in weeks? Will we see or hear much from Krissi, who apologized (?) for being racist this week? And what could possibly be in the giant Mystery Box resting behind the judges?

The box slowly rises. “The first thing I see is high heels. I get excited,” says Eddie, eagerly rubbing his hands together. “It rises a little bit more. I see some hips. I get extremely excited,” he continues; drool beginning to soak his apron. The box rises the rest of the way to reveal beautiful Eva Longoria, and Eddie requests a bathroom break.

In a morbid wrinkle this week, the Home Cooks will be cooking Eva Longoria for this Mystery Box challenge. Wait. Nope. It’s Mexican food.

Savannah grew up in San Diego, and she feels that that makes her an authority on Mexican food. So much Savannah already! Where did she come from? And where did Bethy go again? Savannah and Bethy are kindred spirits, and by that, I mean that they are actual ghosts, materializing every few episodes or so to haunt us with their bland interviews and incredible cupcakes.

All of the cooks are excited to see pork, shrimp, and an assortment of vegetables and spices – except for Luca who unsurprisingly never eats Mexican.

They begin to cook. Eddie is rubbing his pork as Eva approaches his station. She wants to know if he felt underestimated, being an ex-NFL player. He says he did before, but now he’s shown that he belongs. Eva smiles at him, and he creams his corn.

On to Savannah’s station where she explains that she’s been haunting the beaches of San Diego for over a century and thusly has been very immersed in Mexican culture. Eva purses her lips, raises her eyebrows, and nods in a way that screams, “Sure you have, bitch.”

James is from Texas. “Yee haw!” proclaims Eva. He’s making a ceviche and a gastrique, and it all sounds very fancy. Is no one making a burrito?

Bri is poaching her shrimp and doing a play on Mexican street corn. Oh man, Mexican street corn is the best thing ever. If you ever find yourself on the streets of Mexico, try the corn.

We get our first shot of Krissi seven minutes in. Zero words said so far.

As the clock winds down, a stressed out Eva rubs her hands across her chest. MasterChef has never been so sexy. I take a bathroom break.

Time for the top three. First dish is Vegetarian Bri’s shrimp. Natasha is “so sick and tired of hearing Bri’s name being called…I just don’t get it.” I get it. Bri became a vegetarian a week before the show. Gordon is mock-miffed that Bri’s great dish was put together by someone who didn’t even taste the protein. Natasha serves up a healthy portion of stink-eye.

Eddie’s chili pork loin is next. Graham doesn’t want to stop eating it. Eva takes a bite of the corn and says that it’s “by far the best cooked pork.”

Lastly, Savannah is summoned from the grave. “I’ve been waiting so long for this,” she says. And now that she has made the top three in this Mystery Box Challenge, her tortured soul can finally rest.

Bri wins, and Natasha’s eyes do a full 360-degree rotation in their sockets. They say goodbye to Eva, who tells everyone that they all have what it takes to be a great Master Shi- Chef.

In the MasterChef Pantry, Bri is given immunity from the Elimination Challenge. She gets to choose between two baskets from Walmart. One basket will go to one Home Cook, and the rest will cook from the other. Dessert materials are in one with an hour cooking time limit. A steak and vegetables are in the other with only a 30-minute time limit. The dessert basket only costs $5 at Walmart and the steak basket costs $25 and can feed a family of four, but only one of those four will be eating steak.

Bri’s strategy is to give the most cooks the more difficult basket, which is the dessert basket. It’s a good strategy, since no Home Cook ever given a singular disadvantage has ever gone home on MasterChef. Natasha is given the steak basket by herself, so she’ll be fine. Everyone else gets the dessert basket.

All of the Home Cooks, sans Natasha, start cooking. The judges try to pretend that Natasha is at a disadvantage somehow. She’ll be cooking a Walmart steak; the greatest steak money can buy! How could she possibly go wrong? Natasha looks to the ceiling, mentally preparing her dish, while Joe wants us to believe that she’s sending eye daggers at Bri in the balcony.

Savannah is making a banana cream pie with an Italian meringue. Gordon thinks it’s very sweet, implying that it’s too sweet, but she ignores him. No one ever seems to pick up on the judges’ criticisms while they’re cooking in this show.

Luca is making a banana cake, but he’s not too into baking. He’s a “do-it-right-away guy.” He’s less of a tart guy, more of a Poptart guy.

It’s a disaster over on Lynn’s station. He’s thrown by only having whole milk and no heavy cream. His milk jelly (geli?) is broken along with his fighting spirit, and he’s sweating like he was just shown Paul Allen’s business card. 

30 minutes pass, and Natasha starts cooking. When she thinks of Walmart, she thinks of crap food like the rest of us, but she declares this steak “The Bomb.” Boom. Take that, small steak business owners.

At 36 minutes in (with commercial breaks), we finally hear from Krissi for the first time. She’s making strawberry muffins using gelatin as an ingredient, and they’re not rising due to God’s will – I mean, science.

Time ends, and we move on to the tasting.

Luca goes first, and his confidence is low. He thinks his cake didn’t cook. Joe slices it open, and…it’s cooked. Luca’s face brightens up as the judges each taste and like it. He jogs back to his station and gives the most incredible, single fist pump. Happy Luca is the best Luca.

Now for the bad news. Lynn, King of Plating, brings up his dessert which looks so abysmal that Ramsay calls the other judges up to gawk at his dish. “Did you drive over it?” Joe asks. I mean this thing is damn near indescribable; bloody baby bird fetuses are as close as I can come. Gordon does a better job with “It looks like you slipped in cow shit and baked it!” and “It’s like eating wall insulator with some strawberry and banana that your granddad left under his bed before he passed,” and finishing off with “It’s rancid…That is the worst dish I’ve seen on a plate in four years of MasterChef.” So to sum up, it didn’t go well.

Savannah brings up her banana cream pie with broken meringue. Graham hates it, and his criticism makes Savannah long for her days of haunting the beaches of San Diego, whispering faint beeps into the ears of the old men who canvas the sands with their metal detectors.

Next are Jessie and her shortbread tart with caramelized banana. This woman can do no wrong. Her food looks good. Her food tastes good. She looks good. She probably smells good. I might be in love with her. I possibly send her fan mail with self-addressed stamped envelopes and notes requesting a lock of her hair… Where am I? What just happened?

James offers up deep fried bananas with macerated strawberries and a thin custard. It looks pretty good, but Joe macerates the dish, giving his best Mr. Horse impression. 

Up comes Krissi with what were supposed to be strawberry muffins but are instead chunks of paste. Joe says that out of everyone he expected her to nail the $5 bake sale, so basically he calls her poor. Gordon says it’s her “worst performance in MasterChef.” This time around, Krissi seems to agree.

Natasha presents her rib eye steak with sweet potato fries. She has made 3 different sauces, and her dish does look pretty fucking sweet. Please excuse me for a moment while I run to Walmart. … Ok, I’m back. I bought so much steak and a couple pairs of jorts.

The judges confer while Luca attempts to give Lynn a pep talk. Savannah tells James that he’s not going home to which he responds, “Well, I know THAT. Are you kidding me?” It’s a little dickish sounding but also correct and hilarious.

Jessie wins. Blah blah blah.

The 3 losers come forward: James, Lynn, and Krissi. These are all front-runners of the competition, and Gordon calls it a major shock.

He brings Lynn forward first. “You’ve put forward to us some of the most refined and some of the most amazing looking dishes ever in the history of this competition...” Graham removes his glasses. “...You have amazing talent. You’ve shown us so much up until tonight. You went from hero to zero. Lynn – you are not – in the top ten.”

The other Home Cooks are in disbelief. The Chosen One has fallen. Mr. Finesse is Mr. Finished. Lynn takes it like a man and leaves the kitchen to a chorus of applause.

So one of the favorites falls as we move on to the top ten Home Cooks. Goodbye, Lynn. I’m certain you’ll do well in life. Don’t sweat it.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Krissi and Her $6.99 Blue Plate Apology

MasterChef is re-airing last week’s episodes this week, so instead of the usual recaps, I’m going to write about the recent controversy to darken the MasterChef skies.

You may be aware that Krissi Biasiello made some tweets under her former (now deleted) twitter account that are clearly racist. You can read them here. Apparently, there was more, but these two tell us enough. I knew about these over a week ago thanks to a Reddit thread, yet I declined to comment on them until Krissi or MasterChef responded. That has now happened in the form of the following tweet from Krissi’s MasterChef Twitter account @MC4Krissi: “I'm very sorry for any offensive posts I've made on social media. It was never my intention to hurt or offend anyone and I deeply apologize”

My immediate reaction is that this apology is insincere and most likely manufactured by the production staff of MasterChef. Her racist tweets were obviously both hurtful and offensive. The idea that it wasn’t her intention to hurt and offend is irrelevant, not to mention dubious. If you want to apologize for something and mean it, you have to do it in your own voice (which she didn’t) and offer no defense (which she did).

Her entire persona is based upon being unapologetic. One has only to read her Twitter bio to see that. “Fatti i cazzi tuoi e baciami il culo,” it reads. Google Translate tells me that means “Get your cocks and kiss my ass.” I’m sure that’s not 100% accurate, but the message remains clear: Fuck you. I do what I want.

I’m chalking her up as a lost cause. Meanwhile, I’m curious to see how this affects MasterChef. I don’t know if they’ve already finished taping all of the episodes, though it is likely. If she wins the whole thing, chaos will ensue. They’d probably bring back the last two or three contestants to get the boot for a redo of the final, because there isn’t enough PR in the world for her to come back from this. Ask Michael Richards. I’m pretty sure that won’t be the case, though. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the remaining episodes get a re-edit and we see a lot less Krissi in them than we would have.

Oh, and what about the upcoming Paula Deen episode? It’s a racism bonanza this season on MasterChef!

It’s no surprise that Krissi’s apology came on a week with no new episodes. The producers are likely hoping that the public will forget by the time next week's episodes air.

They can be certain of one thing; MasterChef Theatre won’t forget.