MasterChef – Recap & Review – Top 15 Compete

Top 15 Compete

Original Air Date: Jun 19, 2012

JD – Sr. Staff Writer

Last night’s MaterChef was definitely worth watching. Not only was the Mystery Box challenge disgusting enough that I cringed when I saw it in the promo the night before, but Ryan was just an amazing jerk. Even my husband, who only half watches because it’s on in the background, said he wanted to watch the smirk get knocked off Ryan’s face.

There were no group challenges, but the team leaders for the next challenge were picked, and neither of them are people who’ve held “authority” positions in team challenges before. In fact, one of them has been mostly in the background all season so far. I’m excited to see how well they do next week. But first, the top 15 compete!

Mystery Box: Parts Of The Animal We Don’t Usually Eat:

Helene wanted chicken. Monti wanted chocolate. Gordon gave them “awful” (EDIT: Maggie C was nice enough to correct me in comments; Gordon said “offal”, which I had never heard of before! Thanks Maggie!) What was actually waiting under the box were veal brains, lamb heart, bull testicles, pig kidneys, chicken livers, cow tongue, and a “delicious” lamb head, among other gross things. And the cooks had only 90 minutes to make them taste like gourmet, upscale food.

Luckily, at least a few of the chefs were familiar with the sweetbreads, which as Tali pointed out, is just a nice way to say thymus gland. He, Christine, Ryan, and Becky grabbed them and got to work. David started tearing open his lamb’s head to pull out the tongue, creating some truly sickening bone cracking, ligament tearing sounds in the process. Problem for David was that he usually makes tongue in 6 hours, not 90 minutes.

Helene admitted that she really didn’t know what to do with the organ meat, so she was “experimenting”. Meanwhile Ryan was telling the judges that Monti should be the next to go, which was either really stupid or really brave, considering she was at the station next to him destroying some testicles.

Time ran out and the judges took a last look at all the dishes before choosing the ones to taste. Who went to the judges table?

Becky who made a sweetbread trio – Gordon said it was a bold move, but it worked. Graham said any of her elements could have brought her up their on their own. Joe thought it was good enough to put on a menu.

Ryan, who made sweetbreads with potatoes – Graham said it was really well balanced. Gordon called it delicious.

Christine, who made panko fried sweetbreads – Joe said they were terrific and a great accomplishment. Gordon said they were cooked to perfection.

Who won?

Ryan. So of course I was disappointed. But… oh well.

Elimination Challenge: Crab:

Ryan got to choose between three ingredients, tuna, ham, or crab, which the judges had laid out in their fresh and canned forms. When Ryan chose the crab, he was told he had two more advantages on top of choosing the main ingredient. One was that he didn’t have to compete, and the other was that he got to choose who would be getting fresh, live crab and who got canned. Now, I think there’s got to be strategy in doing this, but Ryan took so much pleasure in dealing out canned to his enemies and fresh to his friends (“Time to throw some people under the bus here, right?!?! Bus driver, coming through!”) that I was glaring at the TV. Then he decided to give a live crab to the blind woman, and my husband joined in the glaring party with me.

I appreciate that the judges aren’t giving Christine special treatment, which makes the fact that she creates amazing food even more amazing, but Ryan isn’t a judge. I’d like to think most decent people wouldn’t put others in danger of injury to win a game, so I’d like to upgrade Ryan’s D**chbag Of The Night award from Monday night to a D**chbag Of The Week. If he keeps going, it’ll go up to “of the season”.

So of course Monti got canned crab, and Ryan’s buddy Tali got the live crab. Monti decided to make a scotch egg with crab instead of sausage, and wound up telling the judges about the “flash your nips” thing, to which Ryan mouthed “you’re going down” to her for. Tali took his “gift” of good crab and went ADD with it, like he does with everything.

Christine was understandably squeamish. She got the crab into the pot without getting pinched, only to have it pierce her finger when she tried to pull it apart. A medic had to come bandage her finger while Ryan smiled down at the hurt he’d dealt out. In another corner of the kitchen, far from being in an awkward position like Christine, Frank went for Italian food again, much to the disappointment of the judges.

It came time for tasting and Josh’s Thai crab curry was spicy enough to make Joe cough, but then Joe clarified that it was a good spicy. Tanya’s dish was a “shining example of balance,” according to Graham. Monti presented her dish and Gordon asked her what she was smoking when she decided to make a scotch egg. He said it was delicious, though, and called her a freak because it worked.

Um… In your face, Ryan!

Who won? Josh annnnnnnd Christine! In fact, the presentation made Gordon ask her if she was really blind. He said she cooked “every friggin’ time” like an angel, and actually made Ryan come up to taste her dish, forcing him to admit it was “really awesome”.



Who was in the bottom three… er, four?

Tali, who made paprika buttered crab – Graham said the presentation looked like a horror movie, and Joe was shocked to hear Tali had used all the good meat for a sauce. When Graham actually tasted it, he commented with what I think was the best line of the night. After being frustrated with trying to figure out how to even eat the dish and dropping a crab leg to the floor in the process, the “nice judge” simply blurted out, “it’s just stupid!” Oh, how happy I was that Ryan’s assist to Tali backfired! Oh, and I loved that Tali thought his stuff was so good that the judges just didn’t get it. Keep telling yourself that, man.

Mike, who made crab bisque – Gordon said his fresh crab was processed enough to taste like canned.

Frank, who made orecchiette puttanesca – Joe asked Frank to tell him what was wrong with the dish, and Frank admitted there was too much crab. Joe agreed, saying the dish was like hamburger helper.

Helene, who made crab soup – Joe said she did a great job of taking a $60 fresh crab and making it taste canned. Graham called it a waste of a great product. Gordon said he wouldn’t pay .25 cents for her dish.

Who went home?

Helene. I was disappointed, not because Helene was good, but because of the clips we got to catch of the cooks talking while the judges decided. Helene admitted to another cook that she realized she’d been cooking what she thought the judges wanted instead of what was in her heart. Tali on the other hand told Ryan that he thought he’d never see eye to eye with the judges at this point.

Given those statements, I wish it had been Tali leaving instead of Helene. Tali is all over the place, and has just accepted that he isn’t going to make the judges happy, so I doubt he’s going to make an effort to be better. Helene, on the other hand, seemed to have finally realized where her problem was, and may have started to shine if she’s moved on. Of course, the judges didn’t hear them talk, and couldn’t base their judgments on words anyway. It’s just a shame Helene recognized her problem just barely too late.

What did you guys think of the episode? Give me your Two Cents!

If you’d like to keep up with JD’s reviews, you can follow her on Twitter at @JDeckerTV

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12 Responses to MasterChef – Recap & Review – Top 15 Compete

  1. Melanie says:

    I was so happy when Christine won the crab challenge. I really did say out loud in my living room “In your face Ryan!!!” My husband thought I was crazy. He’s just an arrogant little boy. I really can’t stand him. I was also happy that Monti made an awesome dish. I am rooting for her and Christine. I think they are both great chefs.

    Yeah, it’s a shame that Helene left. When I heard her talking to the other chefs, I figured she would be ok and knock it out of the park next week. But, alas, this is not meant to be. Tali, who thinks he’s so good the judges just don’t get it, survives another week. Hopefully him and his boy Ryan will not be arouund much longer.

    • jd says:

      I really like Monti, and I think she’s underestimated, but I’m not sure she’s MasterChef material. Though Joe (I think) brought up the sadness he saw in her plating, so I’m hoping it’ll kick her butt into gear. She’s a fighter, and they like her.

      I’d rather see Ryan go first, even if that means keeping ADD Tali. Tali is his bro, but seems like a decent guy, in spite of his bad taste in friends.

  2. Sunshine says:

    I so wanted Tali to leave last night. That said, I was also sitting glaring at the tv. Who gives the blind chick a live crab? Soooooo happy she won, in your face Ryan!

  3. FK says:

    I was hoping both would have gone home! Helene deserved another chance but she didn’t get one of those “You’re so awesome, you’ll be great” speeches from Gordon, which made me sad. I always pay attention to what he says to the chefs when they leave. Like last week he told Michael (?) to hold his head up high and be proud. It says a lot about the chef and what Gordon thinks about them. I HATE Ryan, I can’t wait to see him go down. And he will!! K-A-R-M-A.

    • jd says:

      Yeah, I pay attention to that too. He told Christine to continue the dream, which seemed awfully vague for him.

      Yes, he will eventually go down in flames. I hope. It would be even sweeter if Christine, Monti, or David took him out. 🙂

    • jd says:

      Told Helene, not Christine! Oops.

  4. Maggie C says:

    Christine is my favorite and I am glad that she has risen to the challenges thrown at her. Oh, by the way, the bits and bobs in the mystery box are offal, but if cooked wrong can be awful. Sweetbreads can be the pancreas too, a tasty bit I have tried. Tripe is good in menudo, a mexican soup good as a hangover cure. Lengua, the tongue is yum, but brains get slimy when cold if cooked wrong. My dad made head cheese by boiling a pig head. He would have had fun with that box. My Croatian grandma liked roasted lung. I guess anything tastes good if you like it.

    • jd says:

      Offal? I have never heard that word before! Thank you!

      So cool that you’ve tried all that. I bought canned menudo once, not knowing there was tripe in it, and I haven’t eaten it. I’m not opposed to trying “scary” things, but I can’t imagine canned would be a good first taste. I have heard tongue is delicious, though. I tried to hint that I’d like to try tacos de lengua last time my Hispanic coworkers brought some in, but I was probably too subtle. Lol

  5. Maggie C says:

    JD, find a good mexican restaurant to get menudo, and for tacos watch for a food truck. They usually have lengus and sessos ( probably spelled wrong. that is spanish for brain) it’s all good.

    • jd says:

      My best friend is from Honduras, and he takes me to a little tienda near him that has a restaurant in the back. Fantastic food, and it gives me a chance to practice my Spanish. I live in Tennessee, which has a growing Hispanic population, and some really good Mexican places, but I trust him to know the “authentic” places here in the south. No idea if they have menudo, but I would bet they have tongue. Might try it in place of my usual huaraches de carnitas.

      I made an edit in the post. Thanks again!

  6. Maggie C says:

    Thank you for the credit in your edit. I am following you on twitter now.

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