Thursday, September 5, 2013

S4E24: Lives Will Be Changed

It’s down to the Top Three: Smoking Fiery Hot Natasha, Loveable Italian Luca, and Ravishing Goddess Jessie. Who will win the paltry $250,000, their very own cookbook, and the coveted title of MasterChef? Luca will, but it should be fun to watch.

This is the final Mystery Box Challenge. Three boxes sit in front of the Home Cooks, one from each judge. Inside Joe’s is $250,000. He sautéed money in the first episode, so it will be interesting to see how the chefs prepare it. Graham reveals a cookbook with a picture of the three chefs on it. Their knees wobble at the sight of their own images. Inside Gordon’s box…is another box! And inside that box is a phallus. The winner shall sit upon it and be declared MasterChef.

Back at their stations, the Home Cooks open their actual Mystery Boxes. They each have different ingredients and are told to recreate the dish they presented at their auditions, only elevated. Natasha made empanadas with a skirt steak. Luca made broccoli rabe ravioli. Jessie made sea bass en croute. The winner of the challenge is promised a life-changing advantage, which can only mean that they get to execute their strongest competitor.

Time begins, and things get cooking.

Gordon visits Jessie. She feels her pastry was too thick last time, so she’s going thinner. Gordon warns her about potentially splitting her pastry.

Joe and Graham visit Natasha. She is the only chef remaining to receive three yeses at her audition. She says she doesn’t want to face Luca in the finale, because “he does have tricks up his sleeve.” Also, he kind of mounted her last episode, and she’s worried about being dominated again.

Gordon tells Luca that his sauce tastes weird. He has to start over. “Less than ten minutes to go, and I need a new sauce,” Luca tells us. “Every time I have to make Italian food, something goes always wrong – and I’m Italian!” Pull it together, Luca. This is MasterChef, not DisasterChef. Ugh. Sorry, guys. This is getting hard now that both James and Krissi are gone.

Stop. Hands in the air.

Natasha goes first. Back when she first auditioned, I didn’t like her. She was trying too hard. She was conceited. She was an evil robot. But as her personality has made a shift to the softer, I’ve come around. I honestly feel that the producers convinced her to present herself so horribly at the start, but as the contest went on, she became friends with the other Home Cooks and found it difficult to keep up the charade of villainy. She appears to be a pretty great cook, too.

Gordon says her dish looks gorgeous. He loves it. Graham loves the steak, but thinks the dough on her empanadas is a touch thick. Joe says, “Not only are you an excellent cook, but you bring a tenacity. You have the grit and the skill to maybe win the whole thing.” Pretty high praise. Girl can cook.

Luca is next. At his audition, Graham gave him a no because of his sauce and will be the first to judge his dish this time around. I bet he likes it. “Wow. There’s so much flavor. Way better,” he says. But wait. He still doesn’t like the sauce. Gordon asks Luca why he’s putting cheese in his sauce. It’s an epiphany moment for Luca as he declares war against cheese sauces. If Velveeta offered him a sponsorship right now, he would laugh in their faces. And then accept it, because that’s good money he’d be passing up.

Last is the radiant, effervescent Jessie. “Gorgeous. I’m so impressed,” says Joe. Her dish looks good, too. “Taste is beautiful,” says Gordon as the drums kick in. “You’re a force to be reckoned with.”

Third place goes to Luca. “Cheese sauce!” he curses.

First place goes to commercial break Jessie. She bounces up and down in excitement. Bouncing is Natasha’s area of expertise, so I’m a little disappointed she didn’t win. But I love Jessie, and it’s her first Mystery Box win, so I’m happy for her and want to run away with her forever and ever.

For the final Elimination Challenge, all three Home Cooks join the judges in the MasterChef Pantry. In front of the judges are three covered ingredients. Jessie’s life-changing advantage is that she gets to pick the ingredient she cooks with. They oversold that advantage a bit. Life-changing? I guess anything could be considered life changing. I’ve made life-changing trips to the bathroom. Whatever ingredient she chooses will be unavailable to Luca and Natasha. The second pick goes to Natasha. Meanwhile, Luca gets life-changingly boned.

Joe reveals Grana Padano, aka cheese. A dozen sauce recipes instantly fill Luca’s head.

“Every chef in the world would kneel before this beef,” says Graham as he dramatically reveals Kobe beef.

Gordon reveals Alaskan king crab.

Jessie notes that Luca isn’t strong with crab, so she’ll be taking one of the first two ingredients hoping Natasha takes the other. She drops to her knees and chooses the Kobe beef. “And you’ve never worked with it before?” Gordon asks. Mouth full of beef, she shakes her head.

Gordon asks Luca which ingredient he’s afraid of. “I think that making up something awesome with the cheese is not easy,” says Luca. Smash cut to a super excited Luca in an interview. “I would looove to cook with Grana Padano!!” Clever Luca.

Natasha makes her decision. “I’ve got to make it to that finale, so I want to work with…” commercial break “the challenging Alaskan king crab.” On the floor, mouth still full of beef, Jessie gets boned.

They begin to cook.

Gordon’s worried about Jessie. Joe’s worried about Natasha. Graham’s worried about Luca. I’m worried for everyone.

Natasha is making a cold soba noodle salad. Gordon warns, “If you’re going to put a cold, marinating soba noodle salad on a plate to get into the finale, Natasha, it has to be a fucking brilliant cold soba noodle salad.” Natasha smiles. Girl can cook.

Luca is making a stuffed veal cutlet filled with Grana Padano and sage, serving it with frico. Joe says, “Why don’t you explain to Graham what frico is (because he’s a moron).” Graham obviously knows what frico is, but I don’t because I am a moron. Luca? “Frico is the most difficult dish of our region. Our region is very, very poor…cheese, potatoes, and onions.” Joe continues, “You bake them together, almost like a tart, and then you let it cool and you cut it.” Got it. Totally clear. Cheesy potato onion crackers.

Jessie is searing her beef and has plans to make a ponzu butter, only there’s a problem. She has no butter. She asks Natasha for some and gets denied. Luca throws Jessie a stick, because he doesn’t give a frico. “I’m a good guy,” he says. “Fuggedaboutit.”

Stop. Hands in the air.

Luca presents his pancetta wrapped veal cutlet with Grana Padano and frico to Joe. He thinks everything tastes good, though perhaps the dish is too rich. Luca was hoping the frico would add enough poverty, but apparently it didn’t. Gordon says he would have nailed it if the cheese in the veal wasn’t so thick. Graham takes a bite and looks to the ceiling. Flavor-wise, he loves it. He just thinks it looks a little shitty.

Next are Natasha and her cold king crab yakisoba salad. “Bold move,” says Gordon. “It’s…” The music crescendos as the tension builds. “It’s phenomenal.” It’s predictable. So obvious that Natasha was going to nail it. Joe doesn’t love the raw peppers, but everything else is good. Graham loves that she used the Serrano pepper, and thinks it’s one of her best dishes. Sexy Formerly Evil Robot Natasha is going to the finals.

Jessie brings the beef. “You pick the (ingredient) that you’ve never cooked before,” Joe says. “Are you insane?” She might be. She’s crazy hot, I know that much. He gives it a taste, and he likes it. Graham tastes it, and also likes it. Luca is starting to get worried. Gordon also likes it, but the noodles are too greasy. She made a papaya salad but decided to leave it off the plate. Gordon asks to taste it and loves it more than the noodles. The other judges agree. It might be a fatal error in judgment.

After a quick huddle, the judges are ready to decide. Natasha had the best dish and receives her place in the finale.

“Which leaves Luca and Jessie, two very talented Home Cooks…” Graham removes his glasses, pressing a stem to pursed lips. “…The person joining Natasha in the MasterChef finale…” Graham presses the stem harder against his lips. “…is…” Jessie closes her eyes. Joe looks at Gordon. Luca prays. “…Luca.”

Luca moves on, which isn't a huge surprise since he will be winning this whole thing. He’s living the American dream of one day having your very own cookbook.

Beautiful Jessie chokes back tears as Joe offers her a job in any of his restaurants. She hugs the judges before removing her apron and leaving the MasterChef Kitchen.

My love has left me heartbroken once again, only this time my heart breaks not for myself but for her. She looks like an angel, she cooks like an angel, and now she flies off to hopefully brighten a kitchen somewhere that’s not on a yacht. Goodbye, my love!  


  1. It is a sad day for those of us who love Jessie and will love her for all eternity. Farewell, oh Goddess.

  2. Need more proof of Luca's win? Check out his spiffy new website. Damn good web design, and the only reason he'd need that is for a new business, spurred on by... you make the call.

    Hey, I'm not complaining.