Max’s Recap MasterChef S6x015

The electrifying episode starts with the 7 remaining home cooks walking into the Masterchef Kitchen. It’s time for this week’s Mystery Box Challenge and inside is a hot cup of coffee! They have to cook a Master Chef level dish with coffee beans as the star ingredient. During the cooking time Stephen is at the station in front of Derrick who can see everything he is cooking. When Gordon asks Derrick if he is intimidated by Stephen’s beef dish, Derrick responds that he respects Stephen as a cook, but he is not too impressed. Derrick thinks his fancy-schmancy dessert is going to be a winner.

15 panna cotta15 choc cake15 coffee cake

When time is up the first best dish belongs to Derrick who made a Carmel Latte Panna Cotta. It looks fabulous. The judges say it has a nice texture and tastes wonderful. Gordon says he wouldn’t change a thing. The next best dish belongs to Hetal. She made a Coffee Chocolate Cake. It is really scrumptious and the coffee flavor pops. Graham says her plating is amazing. And the last top dish belongs to Nick who made a Vanilla Coffee Cake. It looks great and tastes delicious. Christina is impressed by the way Nick layered the coffee flavors into his dessert. In the end the judges decide that the best of the best belongs to … Nick. His first Mystery Box win! Derrick, who was so sure his dish was in a different league than Hetal and Nick’s looks quite irate (see pic at top of blog post).

15 tage team derrick and stephen Now it’s time for the Elimination Test. Since he won the Mystery Box Nick is safe from elimination. The judges have already decided that the home cooks will work in teams to make a Party Platter. Nick gets to pick who will be cooking with who. He strategically pairs Claudia & Hetal, Tommy & Katrina, and Derrick & Stephen. Initially there is a lot of trouble between Derrick & Stephen. They start out fighting with each other, but in the end they work well as a team. Hetal & Claudia start out well, but fall apart in the end because they don’t manage their time well. And finally, Tommy & Katrina are having trouble the whole sixty minutes! Katrina keeps yelling at Tommy who can never work quite fast enough to get the job done.

At last time is up and the first cooks to present their work are Derrick & Stephen. Their platter looks stunning; the chicken is delicious, the shrimp is wonderful, the burger is cooked well, and the chips are nice and crunchy. Next, Claudia & Hetal’s platter presentation is so awful it looks like someone has already eaten it. The mushrooms on the burgers are burnt, the shrimp is not even cooked and the rest of it is “just okay.” Christina says it could be their funeral platter. Finally, Tommy & Katrina’s platter also looks dreadful. The chicken is appalling, the burgers taste okay but look terrible, the chips are very soggy and Graham says the shrimp are disgusting! A total fail 😦

Not surprisingly, the judges decide the best Party Platter belongs to … Derrick & Stephen. Hetal & Claudia are safe because their platter was a tiny bit better than Tommy & Katrina’s, who are left in the bottom. One of them is going home. Gordon says the one who is safe is … Katrina. Which means Tommy’s time in the Master Chef Kitchen has come to an end. Before Tommy says his final goodbyes he predicts Derrick will be the final winner. As the fashion designer/home cook from Chicago dramatically dances and spins his way out the Master Chef doors Graham calls it the “Greatest exit of all time.”

I liked this episode so much because I enjoyed seeing how the cooks handle finger foods, like Pigs-in-a-Blanket. We tried them at home and they were easy to make and actually super delicious. Next week – THE RESTAURANT TAKEOVER!

Max’s Recap MasterChef S6x014

The thrilling episode starts with the 8 remaining cooks walking into the Masterchef Kitchen. It’s time for the next Team Challenge. The Team Captains are winners from last week’s Elimination Test, Tommy and Hetal. Tommy’s Red Team is Katrina, Nick and Stephen. Hetal’s Blue Team is Claudia, Olivia and Derrick. In this challenge there is no meat, just veggies. The teams will be cooking for a dining room full of vegetarian cooks and restaurateurs. Hetal is very excited because she thinks she will do well because she is a vegetarian.

14 - box of veggiesThe Blue Team is making Chickpea-Cauliflower Curry with Coconut Rice and Tomato Gravy while the Red Team is making Butternut Squash with Black Lentils and Mushroom. When Gordon checks on the Blue Team almost nothing is cooked and Hetal is having trouble as the leader. The Blue Team’s rice is watery and they want to toss it out. On the Red Team Tommy is getting annoyed with his teammates because they are not taking his direction. Later, Tommy finely has it with his team rushing his plating and he yells “SHUT UP!” When it’s time to serve the meals each of the fifty guests tries an entrée from both teams. They must vote for their favorite dish, Blue or Red. The votes are tallied and the winning team with 13 more votes is … THE RED TEAM!

14 Olivia HEADSo the Blue Team is going to the dreaded Pressure Test. They will be cooking with animal heads! Pig head for Claudia, Lamb head for Hetal (who is absolutely horrified), Fish head for Derrick, and Cow head for Olivia. During the cooking time the most dramatic thing that happens is that Derrick almost starts a fire by dropping a flaming torch on the ground! Someone from the show has to come and take it from him before he gets hurt. Sixty minutes flies by and time is up.

Hetal is up first to the bench with her Braised Lamb Tongue and Cheek. It tastes good but it’s a little overcooked and there is too much rice. Derrick made Tandoori Halibut Cheeks. His dish looks appealing but the fruit gives it an odd flavor. Claudia made Pig Ear and Cheek Tostada. It has a good crunch it is really delicious. And Olivia made BBQ Beef Cheek. It is a good idea but Gordon cannot14 - Olivia really taste the beef cheek due to the sauce. The judges decide the best dish belongs to Claudia. And the one going home is…… Olivia whose dish lacks a beefy taste. Before she leaves Gordon gives her a hug and asks her who she thinks will win. Olivia says, “I think the next Master Chef, the person that deserves it the most and embodies it and lives it and breathes it is Katrina.” Nice.

Time will tell. There are now only 7 cooks left. The competition is really heating up.

Max’s Recap MasterChef S6x013

The exciting episode starts with the 9 remaining cooks walking into the Masterchef Kitchen. It’s time for the Mystery Box Challenge and inside is wine and matches. The home cooks have to flambé a dish but first the judges show the cooks how to do it. When the top 9 start cooking Derrick is making a Sea Bass with fennel and pears. A very odd combo. When the time is up the first best dish belongs to Tommy. He made Bananas Foster. It smells and tastes good, and the flambé works. The 2nd best dish belongs to Katrina. She made Sea Bass. The fish ismc613ii cooked perfectly and it is delicious. The last best dish belongs to Stephen. He also made Sea Bass. It is scrumptious because the fish is spot on and the flambé is superb. When the judges are tasting the dish Derrick looks like he is about to have a cow. And the best dish belongs to … Stephen!

mc613kk (2)Next it’s time for the 60 minute Elimination Test. Stephen is safe from elimination and gets to pick between 3 southern dishes; Shrimp & Grits, Chicken & Waffles or Gumbo. Stephen selects Chicken & Waffles. And Stephen also gets to select one cook that will only get 30 minutes to cook. He picks Derrick who he calls “The Little Drummer Boy” because he thinks he is his biggest competition. After thirty minutes Derrick starts cooking and he does well. Shelly needs to redo her waffle because she didn’t like her first one. When time is up the judges ask Derrick to bring his dish to the front first. He made Buttermilk Chicken and Waffles. The chicken is cooked perfectly. It is seasoned well and the waffle is delicious. Graham says the glaze is awesome. Hetal is next. She made Indian Spiced Fried Chicken with Cornmeal Waffle. The Chicken has great spice and is delightful. Next, Claudia made Cayenne Fried Chicken with Sweet Waffle. Unfortunately for Claudia it looks dreadful. Gordon says her dish looks like it came from a diner, not a fine restaurant. The breading is good but the chicken is pink and the waffle is horribly soggy. Nick made Southwest Chicken and Waffles. Graham says his dish has a nice flavor. Katrina made Miso Fried Chicken with Scallion Waffles. Gordon says it is ok, but not her best work. Olivia made Honey & Soy Glazed Chicken and Orange & Ginger Waffle. The chicken is dry and the waffle is “just okay.” Tommy made Duck Fat Fried Chicken with Corn Waffles. The chicken is amazing and the waffles are very appetizing. Tommy nailed the whole dish. Last up, Shelly made classic Chicken and Waffles. But the chicken she served is raw and Gordon is frustrated because she left a cooked piece of chicken on her cutting board. Also, her vanilla waffle is too bland. The 2 best dishes belong to Hetal and Tommy. The 2 worst belong to Shelly and Claudia. And tonight, the one going home is … Shelly. 😦

That means Claudia is safe and there are now only 8 cooks left.

Chicken and waffles sounds like a dish I would like to try because I really like both foods and I like to see all the variations in preparation.  But my only question is, would I have it for dinner or for breakfast? 🙂

Max’s Recap MasterChef S6x012

The exciting episode starts with the 10 remaining cooks walking into the MasterChef Kitchen. It’s time for the next Team Challenge and they will be cooking a “family style” meal for a very special family, but they don’t know who. Olivia thinks it might be the Kardashians 😮 . This week the judges choose the team captains, Derrick and Claudia. The Blue Team is Derrick, Christopher, Olivia, Nick and Tommy. The Red Team is Claudia, Stephen, Shelly, Katrina, and Hetal. Before they get cooking they have to decide on their menus. The Red Team decides to serve Chicken and Strawberry Shortcake. The Blue Team will make Lamb and Chocolate Pie.

As the cooking time passes the Red Team is not putting their whole chickens in the oven. Gordon thinks the meat is going to be raw. On the Blue Team, Christopher is having trouble with the pie crust. The cooks work together with their teams and both are doing well at the end.

When the time is up the judges welcome to the MasterChef Dining Room … the Top 10 cooks families including Derrick’s mom, Shelly’s daughter, Tommy’s husband, Stephen’s son, Katrina’s boyfriend, Nick’s mom, Oliva’s mom Christopher’s girlfriend, Hetal’s husband and Claudia’s mom. They have to taste each meal and vote on their favorite without knowing which plate their family helped create. The Blue Team served Rack of Lamb with Strawberry Salad, Baked Zitti and Chocolate Cream Pie. The Red Team served Roasted Split Chicken with Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli and Strawberry Shortcake. When the home cooks see their family members they are very happy. Derrick says his mom gave up a lot to raise him and wants to win for her.

As the voting begins everyone is nervous about voting against their family. Claudia’s mom votes for the Red Team’s dish. Shelly’s Daughter also votes for Red. Tommy’s husband votes Blue. Christopher’s girlfriend votes Blue. Hetal’s husband votes Red. Olivia’s mom votes Blue. Katrina’s boyfriend is the first to vote against family and votes Blue. Stephen’s son, who is very charming, votes Red giving his dad’s team another point. Nick’s mom is the second to vote against family and votes Red. She apologizes to Nick but says he knows,  she really likes chicken. It comes down to Derrick’s mom’s vote … and she unknowingly votes against her son when she votes Red. That means the Red Team wins the Team Challenge and the Blue Team will go into the dreaded Pressure Test.

At the elimination round the Blue Team finds out only 4 cooks will be competing. The judges choose Derrick to be safe. The four remaining cooks have to cook Gnocchi. During the cooking time Tommy messes up his first batch of gnocchi and he tries to make it again. Nick, Christopher and Olivia do their best. When time is up Nick is first to the judges table. His gnocchi tastes very delicious, it is seasoned great, and everything is spot on. Olivia’s gnocchi have a nice size, they look stunning and have great flavor. Christopher’s gnocchi look underwhelming, they are under seasoned and they taste dry. He admits he didn’t taste his dish before serving. 😦 When Gordon is tasting his gnocchi Christopher rolls his eyes to his friends on the balcony and Christina gets very angry. She tells him, “Don’t be disrespectful!” Tommy’s gnocchi tastes okay but they look horrible and they are mushy. The two best dishes belong to Nick and Olivia. Leaving Tommy and Christopher in the bottom. The one who is safe is … Tommy, which means Christopher is going home.

With only 9 home cooks still standing this MasterChef season is getting more and more exciting each week. Can’t wait to see the next episode tonight!

Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S1x07

The final Master Chef Junior episode begins with Gordon introducing us to the last 2 junior home cooks. Dara is the 12 year old girl from LA and we see show clips of all her best dishes. Alexander is the 13 year old 7th grader from New York City and we also see show clips of all his best dishes. The judges congratulate Dara and Alexander for making it to the top 2 and introduce their families and all the other junior cooks who have returned to cheer on their friends! Also, the winner of MasterChef Season 4, Luca Manfè is here to watch the young cooks do their thing.

First it’s time to shop in the Master Chef Pantry. When Alexander and Dara run into the pantry to collect their ingredients they are surprised by their family members that didn’t make it to the studio on a skype call. They tell the kids to do their best. Then Dara and Alexander bring everything back to the two person cooking station and get ready to cook. Alexander is making A Shrimp and Baby Heirloom Crostini, a Pan Seared Veal Chop (kinda like Luca) and a Deconstructed Cannoli Napoleon. Dara is making Ahi Tuna, Stuffed Prawns and a Poached Pear. During the cooking time Luca comments how he is impressed on how good they cook. He says he couldn’t have cooked like this at their age. Next we hear some of the past contestants’ comments. Gavin thinks that Dara is going to win because he thinks that Alexander may get worn down. Sara thinks Alexander is going to win because she doesn’t think that Dara’s menu is that good. And Kaylyn says she has no clue who is going to win tonight. Then we hear the family’s comments. They are all very excited and proud of their junior cooks.

Back at the cooking station Dara realizes she has forgotten to get powdered sugar from the pantry, and she can’t go back to get it. But Alexander graciously gives her some of his and everyone claps for him. 🙂 At the 20 minute mark Dara really starts panicking. She says she feels like she will faint and Alexander puts his arm around her and comforts her. 🙂 The judges look like they have never seen anything so kind and generous in the Masterchef Kitchen before. They run over with water bottles and give them to Dara and Alexander. Gordon tells Dara it’s okay to relax and eventually both cooks get back to work. Before they know it the cooking time is up.

First Alexander and Dara will bring their Appetizers into the Masterchef Restaurant. Dara  serves her Ahi Tuna Duo with Poke and Seared Tuna. Its looks stunning, the rice tastes very good, and the tuna tastes fabulous. Gordon loves it! For his appetizer, Alexander serves a Basil Lemon Shrimp with Heirloom Tomato Crostini. Joe says that he can taste every component of the dish and the shrimp are cooked perfectly. But Gordon thinks it’s a little too simple. Next is the Entrée round. Dara made Spot Prawns with Wontons and Coconut Curry. The curry is delectable. The dumplings are tasty, but the prawns are little overcooked. Alexander made a Pan Seared Veal Chop with Gnocchi and Butter Sauce. It is cooked spot on. It tastes sensational. Gordon loves it! Graham says that he0f4b2c56-5dd5-48d2-a159-089b82c2fefe_alexander-entree especially likes food that comes with a handle so he can eat it like a Viking. Alexander says that he has cooked it before. The dish is scrumptious. Last, it is time for the Dessert Round. Dara made a Poached Pear with Lemon Ginger Miso Sauce. The pears are poached awesomely, they are light and beautiful and look stunning. Gordon says it’s a very lip-smacking dessert. Alexander made a Cannoli Napoleon and it is nice and crispy. The fruit in between the layers is phenomenal.

Now it’s time for the judges to decide who the winner is. Alexander and Dara wait anxiously, complimenting each other on their dishes and looking up to their family and friends on the balcony. When the judges come to a choice they invite Alexander and Dara to switch places with them and take their honored place on the Chef’s Stage. After praising both junior chefs they announce the winner of MasterChef Junior Season 1 is … ALEXANDER! He looks very shocked that he just won. He also gives Dara a hug. 🙂 He says that he never thought he would win. Dara is a good sport. She says that she is very happy to have her MasterChef Jacket with her name one it. Only the top 2 of Master Chefs get one! 🙂 Alexander closes of the show by saying that he hopes it is an inspiration for kids to cook and holds up the coveted trophy and exclaims,

“I AM THE FIRST MASTER CHEF JUNIOR CHAMPION!”

I loved this season because I loved how nice the kids were to each other, especially Alexander. And this is the season that got me into the whole MasterChef Experience.