Max’s Recap MasterChef S6x20

The exhilarating episode starts with Gordon introducing the top 2 home cooks, Derrick and Claudia. Before the cooking starts, Derrick and Claudia’s family come on stage to cheer them on. When the top 2 are getting ready to cook the past contestants give their predictions of who they believe is going to win. Shelly says she has no clue. Nick thinks Claudia will win. And Stephen feels sure Derrick will be victorious.

Claudia and Derrick will make a three course meal for the judges. For their appetizers Derrick is making a Spiced Pork Belly with Watermelon and Claudia is making a Huitlacoche Tamale. During the 60 minutes of cooking Tommy is very excited to see what will happen. When Claudia tastes her dish it is so good she cries! Derrick says he is confident using special techniques for the first time. When the clock winds down Gordon yells, “Hands Up!” Derrick is first to bring his dish forward. The judges say his pork is cooked perfectly and the watermelon tastes refreshing. As always, his dish looks stunning. Next, Claudia brings her elevated Mexican dish forward. Gordon asks her “Why the tamale in the finale?” Claudia says, “This is who I am.” The judges agree her dish is incredible and the flavors, awesome.

Now they prepare their entrées. Derrick is making Pan Seared Venison. Claudia is making Grilled Swordfish with Chick Peas. Derrick says he is creating a puff pastry cage as a nod to Gordon’s signature Beef Wellington. Claudia says she is a little worried about getting the cook on the fish right because the cut is larger than she is used to using. When it’s time to serve, Derrick is the first to face the judges. They say his dish has got finesse. The meat is spot on and Cristina says the bread cage is seasoned well. Next comes the tense moment when Claudia serves her Grilled Sword Fish. It is cooked … “Beautifully” and tastes delectable. Gordon declares it’s her best dish in the completion so far.

The dessert round is last. Derrick is making a Lemon Mousse in a Chocolate Shell with a 30 second Sponge Cake. Claudia is making a Hibiscus Poached Pear. Both cooks have trouble in this round. Claudia gets water on her flan which will prevent it from setting and needs to start over. Derrick spends 15 wild minutes trying to get the green tea cake batter out of the aerosol can so he can zap it in the microwave! Before you know it, time is up and the home cooks serve the judges their last dish in the Master Chef Kitchen. Derrick’s dessert looks stunning. Graham says the little piece of cake is tasty. Claudia dessert is really “eye opening” and the judges say the pouched pear is just delectable.

Now the judges have decide who will be the winner. After they deliberate together they return with their answer but first they ask Derrick and Claudia to take their place of honor on the front stage. Gordon tells both Claudia and Derrick that they have become great cooks. And finally he announces that the winner is…… CLAUDIA! She is very happy. She says, “I’m proof that you can do anything you set your mind to!” Derrick says that Claudia did very well. The episode ends with Claudia saying “I AM THE MASTERCHEF!”

I liked this season because I liked to see what all the chefs had to make and see how they acted during the competition. I also liked getting to know the new judge, Cristina Tossi. She did good job and I look forward to seeing her, and the other judges, and all the new kids on Master Chef Junior in November!

Max’s Recap MasterChef S6x019

The dramatic episode starts with the 3 remaining cooks walking into the MasterChef Kitchen. For the next challenge they will have to cook for 30 talented chefs that work for the judges, but they won’t be doing it alone. Tommy, Katrina and Hetal have come back to help. Stephen gets Tommy, Claudia gets Katrina and Derrick gets Hetal.

During the cooking time Stephen is making Pan Seared Scallops with Rutabaga. Claudia is making Grilled Octopus and Derrick is making Miso Marinated Black Cod. At the 10 min mark Claudia runs out of octopus! But luckily she makes more before time is up. Now it is time to serve the food to the judges, so the 3 cooks present their dishes. One of the judges is Hell’s Kitchen Season 10 Winner, Christina Wilson. She says she likes Claudia’s dish the best. But in the end, with 15 out of 30 votes, the home cook in the MasterChef Finale is … Derrick. That means Claudia and Stephen are going to the Pressure Test.

They find out that they have to cook 3 technically difficult dishes: Cheese Soufflé, Steak Fritos, and Raspberry Panna Cota. Before they start cooking a very nervous Claudia and Stephen get the chance to talk to their families on a tablet. Seeing family and friends from all over the world really seems to lift their spirits. But both cooks make mistakes. During the cooking time Claudia accidentally throws away her extra Panna Cota mix, but luckily she fixes it in time. Stephen uses a whisk to fold in his egg whites which is a bad idea, but his soufflé still rises. Too bad he put it into the oven too soon and it collapses before the judges get to taste it.

Time is up.

First up is the Cheese Soufflé. Claudia’s looks very good but, Stephen’s is flat. Christina’s only comment is “Okay” and then she walks away. Next Graham tastes the Steak Fritos and says both are cook perfectly, but he is vague about how they taste. Lastly, Gordon tastes the Panna Cota with Raspberry Coolly hidden inside. Claudia’s set well and the inside is great, but like the last 2 judges, Gordon is vague about the taste. Stephen’s filling is leaking out, which is a problem. The judges talk about the dishes and in the end they decide the home cook going to the finale is … Claudia! That means Stephen is going home.

Before Stephen leaves the MasterChef Kitchen, Gordon tells him he believes in him and promises to invest in his food truck business. 🙂 Stephen says he thinks Claudia will win.

I liked this episode because I liked how Claudia and Stephen make Steak and Fries, one of my favorite dishes. Next Episode – The Finale!

Max’s Recap MasterChef S6x018

The exciting episode starts with the 4 remaining cooks walking into the MasterChef Kitchen. It’s time for the last Team Challenge. This week the Red Team is Nick & Claudia and the Blue Team is Derrick & Stephen. Winner from last week, Nick, picked Claudia to be his teammate because he thinks she is the best cook and they will be able to knock the others out. The home cooks will make an Appetizer and an Entrée with food from either Gordon or Graham’s baskets. The Red Team randomly gets Graham’s basket with salmon, rice, and kale. The Blue Team gets Gordon’s basket with lamb chops, venison and asparagus. During the cooking time both teams experience trouble. The Red Team does not cook their crab in time to make crab broth so they have to quickly change their plans! The Blue Team’s duck is still raw and Gordon tells them to put it in the oven or it will be inedible. By the end of the sixty minutes both teams barely pull it together.

The Red Team’s Appetizer is Italian Crab Cakes. They taste delicious but the presentation is lack luster. The Blue Team made Spot Prawn Ceviche. Their dish is well done but Gordon complains that the pomegranate seeds ruin the overall taste. The Red Team’s Entrée is Pan Seared Salmon. It looks great until Graham notices the salmon skin which was a little burned was face down on the kale. He says it got soggy and was kind of gross, but the dish tastes okay. The Blue Team made Seared Duck. Gordon says the duck is cooked perfectly and it tastes lip-smacking good. And the team going into the Semi-final round is … The Blue Team – Derrick & Stephen!

That means Nick & Claudia are going into the Pressure Test. They will have to cook a Chocolate Malted Layer Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Marshmallows on top. During the cooking time Nick uses the wrong ingredients at the wrong time and he needs to start over again. Claudia is having trouble deciding when to take her sponge cakes out, but Christina helps her figure it out. Time is up. Claudia’s cake looks messy and is missing frosting. But Christina says the inside is impressive and the taste is awesome. Nick’s cake looks stunning and a slice shows the layers are awesome, but when Christina tastes it she makes a funny face 😮 Nick looks worried. Christina tells the other judges it just doesn’t taste right. Nick’s cake is way too sweet because he messed with the recipe proportions when he ran out of ingredients, even though Claudia probably would have shared if he asked her! 🙂 In the end of this nail biter the person going through to the semifinal is … Claudia. That means Nick is going home. Before he goes he says he believes Claudia will win because she reminds him of his mom – the best home cook in the whole wide world. Now there are 3 cooks left!

I liked this episode because I liked the cake that Nick and Claudia had to make. Marshmallow topping is a great idea! I also liked the face Christina made when she tasted Nick’s cake.

Max’s Recap MasterChef S6x017

The intense episode starts with the 5 remaining cooks walking into the MasterChef Kitchen. The home cooks immediately get started on their next Mystery Box Challenge. Under each box is a single ingredient for each of the cooks: a pear for Katrina, a tomato for Claudia, a Portobello mushroom for Stephen, a piece of chocolate for Nick, and a wedge of stinky blue cheese for Derrick. They have to cook a restaurant quality dish with that ingredient as the hero.

After an hour to cook their dishes, the judges say the first best dish belongs to Stephen who made a complex Mushroom Sandwich with mushrooms cooked five ways. Gordon says the cheese needs seasoning, however, overall the sandwich has a nice taste. The next best dish belongs to Derrick; he made Herbed Pretzel with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce. The bite sized pretzels are very delicious and his cheese sauce is very good. The last best dish belongs to Claudia who made a dish she had dreamed about the night before. She called it a Tomato Napoleon. Christina loves it and says she is impressed. The judges all agree the tomatoes have great flavor and the dish is absolutely delectable. And the winner is …. Claudia!

Now it is time for the Elimination Test that will decide on the final four cooks. Claudia is safe from elimination and Gordon tells her to fill a basket with her favorite 20 ingredients from the expansive MasterChef pantry. One of the remaining cooks will use her basket to make a dish. The other three baskets are provided by 3 of the previous MasterChef Champions: Season 5 winner Courtney Lapresi, Season 4 winner Luca Manfé, and season 3 winner, Christine Ha. Courtney picked 20 fancy dessert ingredients for her basket, Luca picked his favorite Italian food items, and Christine picked all the ingredients needed to make amazing Asian cuisine. Claudia gets to decide which cook will be cooking with which basket. She gives her own Mexican basket to Nick, Christine’s basket to Stephen, Luca’s basket goes to Katrina and Derrick ends up with Courtney’s basket.

When the cooking time starts Nick is having trouble coming up with an idea, but then he figures out want to make. Katrina is acting a little sluggish. Derrick doesn’t seem to know what to do with the many items in his basket. And Stephen seems like he is trying to use all his items at once. In the end it all depends on what these home cooks make. The judges call time and Derrick is up first. He made Chocolate Pot De Crème. It tastes fine but it is poorly executed and Gordon says this dessert is way too simple for this far into the competition. Nick is next; he made Chorizo Mussels. His dish looks stunning. The mussels are cooked perfectly and they taste luscious. And the judges say his rice is really well done. Stephen is next; he made a very complicated Deconstructed Pho. It tasty but the judges think the plating is too much. Katrina is last up. She made a rustic Veal Scaloppine. Gordon is really disappointed because the veal is raw and it doesn’t taste like anything special. Tonight’s best dish belongs to Nick. Stephen is also safe. Leaving Katrina and Derrick in the bottom. And the one going home is …. Katrina, so Derrick is safe.

Before Katrina goes Gordon offers her a chance to work in one of his restaurants in Paris, France! Katrina is so surprised and happy 🙂 She tells Gordon that she believes “with all my heart” that Nick will be the next MasterChef Champion. Now there are only 4 cooks left.

I liked this episode because it was cool seeing the 3 past winners again and I liked to see how the cooks work under increasing pressure, sometimes with foods they may not even know how to cook.

Max’s Recap MasterChef JR S2x01

Back in November 2014 the second season of MasterChef Junior aired. If you missed it, here’s what happened. After tryouts that took place around the country the 16 Jr cooks remained: Abby, Adaiah, Berry, Coco, Isabella, Jessica, Josh, Levi, Logan, Natalie, Nasir, Oona, Sam, Samuel, and Sean.

Adaiah, a 12 year old girl from Danbury, CT, says she is happy to be picked out of 1000’s of kids who tried out for the show. Josh, a 10 year old boy from Forest Hills, NY, says he is really excited to be in the MasterChef Kitchen for the first time. Logan, an 11 year old boy from Memphis, TN, says he wants to be like Alexander and win it all!

Alexander Weiss, the first MasterChef Junior Champion is a special guest in this opening episode. He is there to help out with the first Mystery Box Challenge. Under the box is some of Alexander’s favorite things to cook: a pork chop, a pork tenderloin, apples, hazelnuts, Brussel sprouts, phyllo dough, potatoes, wild rice, mustard, and an artichoke. During the cooking time Logan is making an Apple Juice Injected Pork Chop! Yummmmm. When the young home cook Coco begins to cry under all the pressure the other kids stop to see if she is okay 🙂  Coco is afraid she has ruined her mashed potatoes but Gordon comes over to say they are just fine.

Time flies and the judges select the best three dishes for tasting. The first best dish belongs to Natalie, a 12 year old girl from Stevenson Ranch, CA, who says she thinks Alexander is very cute. She made a Seared Pork Chop. The pork is cooked perfectly; it has great color on the outside. The next best dish belongs to Mitchell. Logan says he is happy that Mitchell got the call 🙂  Mitchell made a Pork Tenderloin with Wild Rice and Fried Egg. The pork tastes delicious; the egg is amazing. And the last best dish belongs to Oona, a young girl from my home state of Connecticut. She made Spicy Seared Pork. The judges say that her whole dish is really delectable. And the winner is … Natalie.

Time for the first Elimination Test where tonight 4 cooks will be sent home. Natalie is safe from elimination and she gets to pick the kind of bird the others will cook: chicken, duck or turkey. After some thought, Natalie picks … chicken! Abby, an 8 year old girl from Winchester, VA, is shocked because she thinks chicken was the simplest protein to cook. During the cooking time Nasir burns his chicken and Levi, a 12 year old boy from Highland Park, IL seems worried for him 🙂 bzeoPABzyRgl

Once again, time is up; now the judges will taste everyone’s dish. First to bring her dish forward is Oona, a 9 year old girl from New Haven. She made Chicken Liver Pâté with Pears Brulée. Gordon says her dish looks stunning and tastes amazing. Next up is Isabella, an 11 year old girl from New York City who made Chicken Parmesan. Her dish looks stunning but the chicken is raw. As Isabella goes back to  her station crying, all the kids come forward to comfort her 🙂 Sean made Fried Chicken Wings that look and taste amazing. Next is Coco; she made Chicken Milanese. Although, the chicken is very dry, the rest is fine. Berry is next; she made Moroccan Chicken. Unfortunately, her chicken is also dry. Nasir made Lemon Chicken Drumettes. Gordon says they are way too spicy. Abby made Mexican Fried Chicken; it was very yummy. Last up is Samuel, a 12 year old boy from Greenbrae, CA. He made 5 Spice Chicken Wings. The wings are lip-smacking; the whole dish is great. The judges decide that Samuel, Oona, and Sean have the best chicken dishes. And the first cooks going home are … Coco, Isabella, Berry and Nasir. As they are leaving all the kids are hugging them and saying goodbye 🙂  while Logan is clapping and waving goodbye from the balcony 🙂   He also looks a little sad to say goodbye to 4 of his new friends 🙂  Now there are twelve.

I liked this opening episode of Season Two because I liked meeting the new kid chefs. I love how they are so nice to each other.

Max’s Recap MasterChef S6x016

The thrilling 16th episode starts with the 6 remaining home cooks walking into the famous Japanese restaurant, Chaya. It’s the Restaurant Takeover Challenge! The team captains, Stephen and Derrick must choose their teams. Stephen picks Nick & Claudia for his Red Team and Derrick picks Katrina & Hetal for his Blue Team. In the professional kitchen the Head Chef shows the home cooks the 4 dishes they will cook: Tuna Tartare, Wagyu Beef Risotto, Venison Loin and Miso Sea Bass. All 4 dishes are very complex to make.

During service both teams have highs and lows. Gordon can hardly believe it but some of the guests are ready to walk out because they are waiting so long to be served. Claudia messes up the tuna tartar and has to start over. Nick overcooks the venison. Katrina burns the bass. And Hetal is cracking under the pressure of plating. Derrick is yelling at his team and Stephen resorts to saying something rude about his first marriage which his son will have to hear 😦 Stephen is starting to remind me of Krissi from Season 4 because he also can’t seem to control what he says on camera. And I just realized in this episode the Head Chef will not be judging which team wins. The decision will be up to the customers and the Master Chef Judges.

Back in the Masterchef Kitchen the home cooks find out that the Red Team is the winning team. This means the Blue Team’s Derrick, Hetal & Katrina are in the Pressure Test. They will have to cook 3 different types of pasta: Manicotti, Farfalle and Egg Yolk Ravioli. During the cooking time Hetal ruins her Egg Yolk Ravioli so she almost gives up! Derrick is doing well and believes he has the best technique. And even though Katrina is having trouble with the striped bow-ties she keeps on trying to finish her dishes.

Time is up. Cristina tastes the Manicotti first. Derrick’s is a little under stuffed but it tastes fine. Katrina’s Manicotti looks stunning and it tastes delicious. Hetal’s looks nice, however it only tastes okay. Graham tastes the Farfalle next. This is a technically challenging bow-tie pasta with squid ink stripes. Derrick’s is just a little undercooked but it has the stripes and a nice favor. Katrina’s pasta doesn’t have the stripes and is a bit raw, but her seafood is cooked beautifully. Hetal’s pasta looks good, she did best with the stripes, but her dish tastes bland and her seafood is undercooked. Finally, Gordon tastes the Egg Yolk Ravioli. Derrick’s dish has a big problem. He placed a leaf of raw sage on top which tastes disgusting. But Gordon says the pasta tastes okay. Katrina’s dish looks nice and it tastes good, but she put some ricotta in it. Ricotta doesn’t make sense here and ruins the taste of the egg. Hetal’s ravioli is in trouble because it has too much pepper and the yolk is leaking out. She also used ricotta cheese for some reason. In the end the one going home is … Hetal since she did not nail any of the dishes. Before she goes, Gordon asks her who she thinks will be the next Master Chef Champion. Hetal says she believes Katrina will ultimately win, 100%. Now there are only 5 cooks left.

I like the restaurant challenge because I like to see how the homes cooks handle working in a professional kitchen. These challenges are extremely difficult on the cooks and they try their best. But sometimes Gordon yells too much.