We are finally ready for some real MasterChef action. Last week was just a MasterWarmUp as the viewer had nothing at stake with any of the eliminations. However, now that we know every single one of the Home Cooks intimately, it’s going to be difficult to see them go. For example, we begin with three familiar faces from last week. Here is fiery advertising executive Elizabeth, once more. She got into advertising with one goal in mind: become a MasterChef and write her very own cookbook. And here’s stay-at-home-dad Malibu Leslie who wants to upgrade his title and become a stay-at-restaurant-MasterChef. And here’s…uh, who’s this? A young woman with really great hair wants to open a small café, and she’ll be able to get started on that dream right after this episode, because the rule of reality television states that one of the first contestants you see in an episode is going home. Elizabeth and Leslie are all over the previews I’ve been desperately trying to avoid, so that means it’s going to be this girl whose name I’m looking up right now…Whitney.
But I’ve been wrong before, so let’s ignore that Sherlock Season 3 is available on Netflix and watch the episode anyway.
Gordon welcomes the Top 22 to the “biggest cooking competition in the entire world.” See, this is why Elizabeth really wants to get out of advertising and into the world of MasterChef. Here, you don’t need to put disclaimers on anything. You can embellish whatever you want. Once, Graham described a mango as being “the most beloved of fruits, chosen to sit at the right hand of God for all of eternity,” which led to three different cults forming in Florida alone.
It’s time for our first Mystery Box of the season. Using only the ingredients under their boxes, the Home Cooks will have 90 minutes to make something interesting enough to get themselves some screen time yet not so interesting that they get sent home. That’s right, someone’s going home after this Mystery Box.
Graham lists the ingredients, “Chocolate, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, brandy, ladyfingers, all kinds of extracts, honey, and ground coffee.” Willie blows our minds when he admits to loving desserts. “I’m very sweet, I must say,” he tells us, which is true. He must say that. As one of the actual M&Ms, he is contractually obligated to mention his sweetness whenever the moment presents itself.
Cook, cook, cook.
It’s interesting to hear Graham talk about how that when a chef gets more experienced, the ingredients on the plate seem to simplify. It looks like my chicken and chicken recipe might be closer to MasterChef level than I originally thought.
Courtney is an enigma wrapped in a conundrum swinging from the ceiling of a gentleman’s club. I can’t figure her out. For this challenge, she tells us that she’s making a beautiful honeybee cake and pours a large bowl of honeybees into her mixer.
The early frontrunner, Willie, lives with and cooks for 13 people, and one is a delightful old woman who wears glasses just like Willie’s. He tells us his confidence level in baking “is like 2000” which is just a huge amount of confidence, I think.
“Ooh, that smells good,” says Christian. That’s not really interesting, but I wanted to mention Christian, because he needs some Twitter followers, guys. He really, really, really would like for you to follow him on Twitter. And I would really like for someone to explain his #FFT hashtag to me.
Cutter used to be in the military where he was a search and rescue swimmer who jumped out of helicopters for a living. After that, he moved on to the next logical step and became a petroleum landman. If he can add MasterChef to his resume, he’ll finally achieve his true mission: to have the most interesting Twitter bio ever.
Astrid has never baked before, which is a recipe for getting one’s ass cooked on MasterChef.
Jaimee is introverted and tells us a tale of being bullied when she was younger, which makes me nervous to write anything about her. But if I imagine that she’s actually Zooey Deschanel playing a character, I think I can manage it. Jaimee is a bakery assistant who should have no problem with this challenge. She’s making a chocolate pecan brownie and probably has dreams of one day opening a shop called Jaimee’s Curiosities.
Elizabeth tells Gordon that Leslie flaps his jaws too much, and oh boy, here we go. “You want ugly?” Leslie asks, offering Elizabeth his vest. “I live in Malibu, because I work my ass off,” the stay-at-home-dad continues. “You want drama? I’ll give it to you.” Elizabeth regrets everything.
Time ends, and four Home Cooks are brought to the front: Cutter, Astrid, Courtney, and Big Willie. But, it’s bad news for the first two.
Cutter “did a play” on a cappuccino with his pudding and broke one of the sacred rules of MasterChef: never put the MasterChef logo on a pudding. While Joe explains to him what biscotti are, Cutter looks like he’d rather be diving out of a helicopter.
Astrid’s lemon bars are raw. She’s not ready to go home, but they give her the boot anyway. She was doomed as soon as Joe saw her messy workstation last episode. “Maybe I should have…practiced baking,” she realizes outside, her clothes strewn about the sidewalk all around her. Goodbye, Astrid. I would say some nice words, but there’s just too much recapping to be done.
Courtney’s honeybee cake is delicious, of course. It’s what we’ve all come to expect from aerial dancers.
Willie’s gingerbread cake is also delicious. “It’s a party in my mouth, Willie,” says Gordon, sadly not mixing up the words “party” and “Willie.” He gives Willie a high five that almost connects.
Courtney wins and joins the judges in the MasterChef Pantry. She chooses from three dishes, one of which the Home Cooks will have to cook. Joe shows her his meatballs, and she’s not impressed. Next, Graham unveils his meatloaf, and Courtney makes this face. Gordon reveals a hamburger, and she could take it or leave it. She has some evil plans for her advantage in this challenge, telling us she’s going to “plant the seed and wait for the bomb to go off.” Looks like she had more than bees in that mixer, huh? Looks like she had some metaphors in there too, right? Yes? No? Okay, no.
As we transition back to the MasterChef Kitchen, we get a good one-shot of Whitney, sealing her fate this episode.
Not only will Courtney not have to cook, she also gets to pick ten more Home Cooks to join her on the MasterChef Balcony. She starts off by picking people she thinks she can beat: Leslie, Jaimee, Other Gordon, Elise, Cutter, Francis L, Kira, and Ahran. She picks Elizabeth because she wants to be best frenemies with her. Finally, she chooses Christian for some ambiguous reason that I’m guessing is actually that they’re secretly banging.
Courtney chooses the meatloaf for everyone, obviously. They have one hour to cook, and as the Home Cooks run to the MasterChef Pantry, everyone on the balcony cheers for Willie, securing his place as this season’s Luca.
Dan is brimming with confidence, so he’s screwed on this challenge. He whole-heartedly embraces the label of Food Snob. “Snobbery to me just means I’ve had better, and I expect better, and I will make better,” he says. His delicate facial hair intensifies.
The judges discuss their dream meatloaf.
Cook, cook, cook.
Graham and Joe visit Stephani who is making couscous, blue cheese, and lamb. Joe calls it “untraditional” which roughly translates to “gross.” She wants America to know that she’s “not just a pretty face;” she also makes a pretty terrible meatloaf.
Francis B (whom I will refer to as Frankie from now on, as his Twitter friends do) rethinks putting cheese inside his meatloaf after watching Gordon battle a brain full of honeybees when told of his plan.
Uh oh. We finally get to know Whitney, so we can feel sadness when she loses. She had to drop out of culinary school because of financial reasons and is hoping to win MasterChef so she can finish her education. She’s making her meatloaf with a mango glaze, the holiest of glazes.
Willie’s killing it, because it’s a meatloaf challenge, and, well…duh.
Time ends. Judging begins.
Frankie presents his burrata-stuffed meatloaf with romesco sauce. He nails it, and after Gordon showers him with praise, Frankie looks up to the balcony where Courtney and Kira each look like they’d love to bite off a chunk of that meatloaf.
Next is Stephani with her lamb meatloaf and couscous with a blue cheese cream sauce. “Blue cheese and couscous, that classic combo,” says Gordon, spitting his bite into a napkin. She tells us, “I just want to crawl under the nearest oven,” although getting inside one would be much easier.
Whitney brings her Caribbean Asian fusion-style meatloaf up, and Food Snob Dan says that he’s had better, expects better, and will make better. Graham tastes it and calls it a “weird meat dessert creation.” I don’t think I can top that. Gordon tops that by saying she turned a “TV dinner into a TV disaster,” followed by apologizing to the meatloaf before walking away. Essentially, Gordon gave Whitney exactly what she wanted. He took her to back to culinary school.
We meet Christine for the first time. She seems pleasant. Her meatloaf is topped with a fried egg and pesto. It’s good. We move on.
We meet Jordan for the first time. He seems gigantic, and judging by the crack in his voice, he’s not done growing yet. He’s the youngest guy in the competition, and I don’t know if that means Ahran is younger or not, but I do know that I like his sweater. That’s really all I ask of the Home Cooks. Wear decent sweaters. And no argyle. Meanwhile, Jordan’s meatloaf still has room to grow, as well. Gordon uses his best judgment and gives him the gentlest of spankings.
We meet Daniel. His meatloaf comes with a sweet potato mash. His shirt comes with holes and no sleeves. His arms come with sleeves. His food is good and we move on.
Willie brings up his delicious meatloaf with delicious creamy mashed potatoes and delicious Brussels sprouts and delicious pine nuts. Gordon tastes it. It’s delicious. “Great effort,” says Gordon, the highest compliment one can receive on MasterChef.
Confident Dan Wu brings forward his meatloaf with mushrooms and kimchi. “That is absolutely—,” Gordon pauses for dramatic effect, “…disgusting.” Boom! The hammer drops! The Home Cooks on the MasterChef Balcony go wild! They can’t believe it! I can’t believe it! It’s devastating! It’s such a total demolishing of his mind, body, and soul that I completely lose myself and spoil Game of Thrones to Dan on Twitter, though he has no real excuse for being four episodes behind especially when the five books have been out for years now!
The crew quickly mops up Dan’s remains during the commercial break.
The judges announce the winner, and it’s Frankie. He’s showered with panties from overhead.
It’s now time for the bottom three to be brought forward. They are Stephani, the desiccated husk formerly known as Dan, and Whitney.
Gordon has Dan step forward. He got cocky, Gordon says, but I get the impression that he’s actually one of the better cooks in the competition. Maybe Gordon does, too, because he sends him back to his station.
Gordon asks Courtney on the MasterChef Balcony who is going home and why. She says that it’s Whitney, because the most important thing is not being one of the first Home Cooks shown in an episode. Oh, wait. No, she says it’s passion and love, and Whitney doesn’t have them. Harsh.
“Courtney,” Gordon follows. “Tonight, you are consistent beyond belief. Whitney, unfortunately your time is done.” Not much build up this time. Just a straight, cold axing.
As is always the case in these early episodes, we didn’t really get to know the Home Cook eliminated at the end of this week’s show. Whitney wants to go back to culinary school, and I hope she makes that happen. She might have made it a few more weeks here if she didn’t have to face nine of the better cooks in the competition this early, but you don’t go on MasterChef just to hang around for a few weeks. You go there to prove you’re the best Home Cook in America. And to do that, you’re going to need a lot of talent, chutzpah, vests, tears, clarified butter, passion, and love.
Farewell, Whitney. May your weird meat dessert creation never come to life and kill us all.