“I'm just thinking about how much I miss my husband, how much I miss cooking for him,” Elizabeth tells us as I unwrap a Clif Bar. The crinkling of the wrapper echoes off my walls and reverberates throughout my empty home. Her husband would be proud that she made it to the Top 12, and if she gets eliminated tonight, at least she’ll have his warm embrace to go home to.
It’s time for another Team Challenge. The Home Cooks won’t be leaving the MasterChef Kitchen this week, because why go anywhere when you have a “world-class restaurant” behind you? I'm, of course, talking about the world famous MasterChef Restaurant. “It’s as beautiful as any dining room you’ll find in America,” says Joe through gritted teeth.
“The theme of tonight’s challenge is love,” says a very serious Graham. He promises that the 17 couples dining tonight are all madly in love with each other. They'd better be. Or else.
Victoria has been with her girlfriend for four years, and if she gets eliminated tonight, at least she’ll have her warm embrace to go home to.
Each team will have to cook an entrée and a dessert, and Elizabeth and Ahran will be picking the teams. Ahran isn’t a fan of this challenge because, “I’ve never been on a date before.” Her Twitter mentions explode with notifications from assorted lonely acne-ridden teens and general creeps from across the internet.
Elizabeth’s Blue Team: Francis, Jaimee, Victoria and her protein rockin’ abilities, Courtney, and Daniel.
Ahran’s Red Team: Willie, Christine, Christian, new bestie Leslie, and Cutter.
They have 60 minutes to cook or something, I wasn’t really paying attention. Ahran tell us, “The menu that we planned is very romantic.” Yeah, like she’d know. They’re doing a lobster risotto that requires Leslie to murder dozens of lobsters. For dessert, they have planned a tiramisu because tiramisu is how Ahran got to be team captain in the first place.
On the Blue Team, they’re making a medium rare filet with a beet and potato puree. For dessert, a sponge cake with layer after layer after layer after layer of stuff on it. #MCLayers
Cook, cook, cook.
The judges discuss romance.
Cook, cook, cook.
“The MasterChef Restaurant is open!” announces Joe as a bunch of homeless people stumble in from off the street. Excuse me, this is NOT a Bastianich wine. Oh, they aren’t homeless after all. They are all couples celebrating anniversaries. This guy’s anniversary is extra special as he explains that it’s their 15th YEAR anniversary, emphasis on the YEAR. Do not think that they have only been together 15 months. That would be a huge mistake.
Gordon tells everyone that the final empty table in the MasterChef Restaurant will be taken by the single most important person in the world. Everyone stops what their doing, and their jaws hit the floor while they try to imagine who that might be. Well, everyone except for Jaimee who doesn’t give a shit who you are. She’s got fucking sponge cake to make.
It’s Gordon’s wife, Tanna or Turner or Tanya. (It’s Tana, says Google.) The Home Cooks go wild as she stands awkwardly, frozen in the MasterChef Doorway. She is everything Courtney admires in a woman, from her yellow high heel shoes to her—whatever else there is. This is a very strange sequence. Tana walks to the front to meet Gordon and is essentially paraded in front of the Home Cooks, the other judges, and all of America. Our respect for Gordon Ramsay grows as we gawk at the attractive woman he married. Oh, come on. There has to be more than one layer to #MrsRamsay. She flew over 6000 miles to come eat a great dinner and to meet the Home Cooks, and…Jaimee? Mind putting that down for a second?
Gordon and Tana take their seats in the MasterChef Restaurant and immediately start sucking face as the couple behind them approves. Gordon invites everyone else to join them, and all of the couples lean forward and kiss. Here is my favorite couple in the MasterChef Restaurant. Are they even a real couple? She refuses to budge and makes him lean all the way over the table to kiss her, and if you look closely, she even makes a tiny gesture with her hand for him to come to her. So yeah, I think that probably is a real couple.
The Blue Team’s filet is too rare. “Holy mother of god,” prays Victoria to Mary patron saint of cooking meat just a little longer.
Cook, cook, cook.
Plate, plate, plate.
Hands in the air. Here come the servers.
Victoria is horrified at the thought that #MrsRamsay might be served a rare steak. This is Victoria’s horrified face.
She does get served a rare steak. So does an elderly man who declares his to be the “best steak I’ve ever had.” What do you think about that, Joe?
Meanwhile in the MasterChef Kitchen, Ahran’s tiramisu isn’t working out. Something’s wrong with the layers. She says that the finished result is beautiful, but I don’t know. It kind of looks like a turd moon pie.
The romantic atmosphere in the MasterChef Restaurant overwhelms one man as he gets down on one knee and proposes to his girlfriend. Appropriately, she laughs in his stupid face.
The diners vote on their favorite meal, and Gordon reads the results in front of everyone. It’s a walloping. The Blue Team gets over 75%. “It’s the craziest moment of my life,” says Elizabeth.
Back in the MasterChef Zen Garden, Leslie wonders aloud why so many lobsters had to die. He furiously scrubs at his blood-stained hands.
It’s time for the Dreaded Pressure Test. This isn’t Leslie’s first rodeo; it’s his fourth. It is, however, Christine’s first rodeo, and she’s dreading it. All six members of the losing Red Team will have to cook this time, and each of them must create a “glorious, decadent box of beautiful chocolates.” Cutter’s bear hands make steak and ribs and assist him with drinking beer. Those claws do not make delicate truffles.
They have one hour to make nine chocolates with at least three different varieties. As always, we skip the section where everyone is instructed on how to actually make chocolate truffles, because it’s fun to think that all of the Home Cooks just already have this knowledge. It kind of makes them gods.
Cook, cook, cook.
Christian is making an eggnog brandy truffle, and this saddens Graham deeply. Leslie usually goes to Beverly Hills to buy his truffles from this truffle discounter selling second hand truffles in the bad part of town. He’s says he’s adding cayenne pepper to his chocolate because, “When I’m throwing truffles in my wife’s mouth, I want her to feel hot.” This is one sexy episode of MasterChef.
Stop. Hands in the air.
Everyone brings their boxes to the front. Cutter has his chocolates judged first, and he’s praying he doesn’t get his ass chewed. Even the gods pray. Graham opens the box with a “wow,” and Cutter wants to know if that’s good or bad. His prayers worked (as prayers do all the time). The judges rave about his fudges. Even Gordon, who totally fakes everyone out by calling Cutter and his chocolates clumsy at first before revealing that he’s just kidding, loves them. It’s a big moment for Cutter, who’s normally a lumbering dessert disaster. Even the cool kids on the MasterChef Balcony are giving him a thumbs up.
Next goes Christian. It’s uneventful.
Gordon tries Willie’s chocolates next. He’s expecting a “box of fireworks,” and opens it with a “wow.” It’s a bad wow this time. Willie got a little heavy handed with the sprinkles. His chocolate insides are good, but he’s overdressed his outsides with too many crazy colors.
Ahran’s look pretty good to me. Joe tries one of her hazelnut truffles. It’s not bad. She’s safe.
Next is Leslie’s romantic box of chocolates. “Wow,” says Gordon, “wow, wow, wow, wow, wow.” The MasterChef Balcony are also wowed. I mean, wow. They seem to taste okay, but visually—wow.
Christine’s look much better than Leslie’s, but Joe says her first truffle isn’t round enough and tastes “super bitter.” Gordon also finds his truffle to be bitter.
After a whisper huddle in the back, the judges are ready to judge. Joe gives his first (I think) you-proved-me-wrong speech of the season to Cutter and sends him to the MasterChef Balcony to feed the others his winning truffles.
Graham calls Willie, Ahran, and Christian forward to give them their reprieves.
That leaves Leslie and Christine. Gordon delivers the news. “…two completely different boxes of chocolates. One looks pretty decent but tastes inadequate. One looks a mess but tastes pretty decent. The person leaving the MasterChef Kitchen—“ Graham presses the stem of his glasses to pursed lips. “—tonight—that person is—Christine.”
He follows, “We are as shocked as you are.” That could be interpreted to mean that the judges are shocked that Christine had such a bad performance this early in the competition OR it could mean that they are shocked that the producers forced them into this decision. You take it however you want. Since I am absolutely 100% not a cynic, I choose to think that Christine’s truffles just weren’t good enough. The judges wanted to believe they weren’t bitter, but they sadly were.
Sure, this decision smells a little like Kira’s beautiful donuts that sent her home. Sure, Leslie is a more dynamic character than Christine, just like Courtney is a more dynamic character than Kira. But this is a legitimate cooking competition, and all eliminations are done with the integrity of the program in mind. Sure.
The remaining Home Cooks watch from the MasterChef Balcony as Christine hugs the judges, but all they can see is their own likely (and likely soon) fate.
In her exit interview, Christine tells us, “There are no words to describe how disappointed and frustrated I am with myself…I still can’t believe that I was cooking in the presence of culinary excellence. I’m just honored to have been here, and I look forward to using the knowledge and momentum I’ve gained here and entering into the culinary world.”
Good luck on your journey to and through the culinary world, Christine. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but I’m guessing that your goal is to make a living through your cooking. And that’s an admirable goal, to support yourself through your art. Oh man, I’m just now thinking of the whole dichotomy of Christine the Business Woman and Christine the Artist Chef…I never got to explore it properly. But this is what happens on MasterChef. Just when you start gaining momentum, the closing bell rings.