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.

1 comment :

  1. Bethy pissed me off when she made her mushroom Szechuan. It looked good and all; I have a thing for sesame oil, but I hate mushrooms with the fire of a thousand suns, so I'd probably just eat the noodles (fresh, too!) and let my Russian friend "subtly" take the mushrooms off my plate. According to him mushrooms are a popular ass vegetable in the motherland. I think he just really likes mushrooms.

    No, what pissed me off was the fact that she called it a Szechuan. Szechuan is a geographic region. It is not a dish. You don't see Paula Deen offering chicken Georgia to all her African-American friends. Bethy's dish is Szechuan-style noodles and mushrooms. She did seem to get the ingredients spot-on, though, and as a Chinese guy who grew up eating said flavors I do give her credit for that.

    Oh, yeah. It's "Sichuan." I want to hit whoever came up with "Szechuan" in the neck with a baseball bat. And Bethy's pronunciation. It's sih-chwan, not seCHWAAAAHHHN. I showed it to my Chinese teacher mother and she made a noise that was half LOL, White People and half Damn It I Told You Not To Remind Me Of Work.