MasterChef Season 8 Episode 18 begins with the top 6 home cooks finding a letter from their loved ones under their final Mystery Box. Everyone is missing their family and the letters are very emotional, but not as emotional as the actual folks surprising them on stage. Jeff’s fiancée and baby, Yachecia’s daughter, Jason’s partner, Dino’s mum, Cate’s dad and Eboni’s daughter. They will make a dish inspired by the love of their family.
The first best dish belongs to Eboni who says I’m “I’m not cooking anymore, I’m cheffing it!” She made Herb Crusted Lamb with Gruyère, Sweet Potato Fondant, Swiss Chard and Red Wine Reduction. The lamb is a beautiful medium rare and herb crust is fresh and delicious.
Secondly, the judges want to try Yachecia’s dish. She says, “This is the most beautiful plate I have ever done in my life!” She made White Grape Gazpacho with Spicy Grilled Shrimp. Gordon says it is delicious and tastes expensive. It is visually stunning.
And third, Cate, who says, “I’m so pumped to have my Dad here to witness me get called to bring my dish to the judges!” She made Venison Loin with Chestnut Purée, Butternut Squash and Smoked Cherry Compote. The cook on the venison is gorgeous. Christina says the rub is amazing, nice and sweet, and every bite is perfection.
Cate wins the last Mystery Box Challenge! She is safe and gets to pick how long the others will have to cook an elevated Salmon dish. She sends Jason to the pantry first with the full 60 minutes, Eboni gets 50 minutes, Yachecia 40 minutes, Dino gets 30 minutes and Jeff gets only 20! Cate says it is because he has the poorest attitude in the kitchen. He can’t explain his dish to Gordon and only starts cooking the fish with 90 seconds to go!
Time is up!
Jason made Vietnamese Salmon with Daikon and Crab Slaw. The salmon is cooked beautifully and the slaw is delicious. His knife work is perfect.
Eboni made Crispy Skin Salmon with Bamboo Rice, Spinach and Avocado Remoulade. The seasoning looks nice and the cook on the fish is spot on. She nailed the forbidden rice. Aarón says each element on the dish is flawless.
Yachecia made Sweet & Hot Salmon with Braised Swiss Chard, Tuscan White Beans and Citrus Cream Sauce. Gordon says “it looks disgusting” and the fish is “hammered!” He actually spits it out!!! Not a dreamy dish.
Dino made Squash Wrapped Salmon with Fregola and Crab Stuffed Pepper. The fish is cooked nicely and the fregola’s flavor and texture are a smart pairing. An elegant dish.
And finally, Jeff’s 20 minute Mediterranean Salmon with Cheese-Tomato Relish and Fruit-Cucumber Gratin is basically raw. “Are you trying to poison me?!?” Jeff insists he wanted the fish to come out that way! Gordon is stunned.
While the judges are deliberating Dino and Jeff verbally spare. Dino teases Jeff about it not being a sushi challenge and Jeff comes back with pure rudeness. You will never hear the MasterChef Junior contestants treating each other with such disrespect. Not cool.
Not surprisingly, Yachecia and Jeff are the bottom 2. They both go home!! Yachecia’s salmon was miles away from what they expected from her and Jeff gets so defensive they felt they couldn’t teach him anymore because he wasn’t prepared to listen.
Yachecia says, “I’m bummed about being eliminated, but it’s kind of mixed emotions though, because I’m so proud of myself for going this far. There is no way in the world that I could feel disappointed because I’ve grown so much in this competition.”
Jeff says, “I’m leaving the MasterChef Kitchen but this but this journey bought out Jeff 2.0. My cooking has been elevated to a new level. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I’m a very passionate person and so I might have ruffles a few feathers, honestly I probably have. But, I always worked hard, I supported my team, and I did the best I could.”
Next episode is number 19, the Semifinals.
The top 4 home cooks will compete in skills tests using Flour. At the end, 3 cooks will be in the finale and 1 will go home empty handed. The best cook in each test will earn a spot in the top three.
First Test: Profiteroles
Jason’s profiteroles are glazed and baked well. There is pastry cream in every nook and cranny, and they taste great. Eboni’s profiteroles themselves look good but the white chocolate glaze is grainy and runny. Inside, the filling is beautiful and tastes great. Dino’s dark chocolate glaze looks grainy and dull. Inside they are beautifully filled and the profiterole is done well. But the glaze didn’t work. And Cate’s are a bit small, misshaped and messy. She filled them from the side, which is unconventional and the taste is a bit off. Pressure is on.
The first one in the finale is Music Teacher, JASON!
Second Test: Lava Cake
Eboni’s cake is baked well and tastes good. Dino’s cake is flat, undercooked but tastes great. Cate’s is slightly broken but tastes amazing.The next one going to the finale is Addiction Counselor, EBONI!
Third Test: 3 Cheese SoufflésDino and Cate do their very best to present three perfect cheese soufflés. All 3 soufflés are tasted at the same time and the judges don’t let on to what they think until they announce that the last home cook in the finale is …… Ballet Dancer, DINO!
Cate is going home. 😦 She says, “When I first came back here, I had one goal and it was to get my apron. I made it to the very last step before the finale. That’s huge. I had some obstacles throughout this competition and it feels like I’ve climbed over MT Everest to get to this point. Not only did I learn about cooking, I learned more about myself and my strengths and my weaknesses. I’ve won so many challenges. I came here for redemption and I redeemed myself and some. My dream was, yeah, to win the trophy, but I still feel like I won an experience of a lifetime.”