MasterChef 07×08 Recap

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MasterChef Season’s 8th episode, “The Good, the Bad and the Offal” starts with the remaining 15 home cooks walking into the MasterChef Kitchen to find out that the overall winner will have a guaranteed spot on the MasterChef Caribbean Cruise this November! They are also introduced to the season’s next guest judge Chef Edward Lee.

When they lift the Mystery Boxes they are surprised to find a single $20 bill. Tonight the home cooks will be shopping for everyday grocery store ingredients and cooking on a budget to make a healthy meal for a family of four. Chef Edward Lee will be joining them shopping in the pantry “store” and also cooking a family meal for under 20 dollars. As an extra prize the winning dish will be featured in Family Circle Magazine!

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During the forty-five minute cooking time Brandi is doing very well since she cooks on a budget all the time at home. She promises Gordon she is going to make it MasterChef worthy. Eric is making one of his firehouse’s favorite dishes and tells Christina he is not worried at all since he often cooks on a tight budget. And D’Andre, who was once homeless, tells Gordon this helped him become a very good shopper and is confident he will make a delicious soup.

Time is up. Chef Edward Lee shares his green foods inspired Shrimp Green Curry. Gordon says it doesn’t taste like he cooked on a budget. Now the judges will taste the best three dishes in the challenge.

The first dish belongs to Shaun who made Trout Amandine with Wax Beans and Fish Broth. Christina says it is light and refreshing the fish is cooked well, but the skin could be crispier.

The second dish belongs to Brandi who made Seared Chicken Thigh with Polenta and Fried Green Tomatoes. Gordon says it looks beautiful and tastes delicious, but the polenta could use more vinegar for acidity.

The third dish belongs to Eric who made Stuffed Chicken Breast with Pesto and Roasted Asparagus. Chef Edward Lee says it is a great portion with great flavor and the pesto is really nice. The only suggestion he had was to remove the bone after cooking.

And the winner is … Shaun.

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Shaun is safe from elimination and he is given a huge advantage. He is shown a bunch of animal parts: lamb kidneys, pig tripe, cow cheek, chicken liver, cow sweetbreads, lamb tongue, chicken oysters, lamb heart, pig tail, pig ears, chicken feet and bull testicles. He gets to give each unusual cut to one chef and save one chef. Shaun gives tripe to Diana, kidneys to Katie, pig ears to Tanorria, tongue to D’Andre, pig tail to Nathan, chicken feet to Eric, chicken oysters to Alejandro, and bull testicles to Dan. That means he saves Brandi from the Elimination Test. 🙂

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During the cook time D’Andre burns his puree which has Shaun is laughing. 😦 Gordon is worried Diana’s food is not spicy enough! And Eric needs Chef Edward Lee’s help understanding the skin on the chicken feet is not a membrane. On the other hand, Nathan is confident he knows how to cook pig tail because he has had it before. Alejandro is happy to have the simplest protein to cook. And Tanorria thinks her pig’s ears came out beautiful.

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Time is up.

Eric made Chicken Foot Madeira with Mashed Potatoes and Snap Peas. Gordon says it tastes wonderful, but the next time he serves feet on a plate he should at least trim the toenails!

D’Andre made Braised Lamb Tongue with Salad and Mustard Seed Caviar. Gordon says the plate looks terrible and when he tastes it he has to spit it out! It is cut uneven and much too tough!

Dan made Rocky Mountain Oysters with Peppers & Onions and Vinaigrette. Chef Edward Lee they taste good, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Alejandro made Chicken Oysters with Plantains and Mango Guacamole. Christina is disappointed. The food has little flavor and “nothing to write home about.”

Nathan made BBQ Pork Tail Sandwich with Fried Green Tomatoes. Gordon says it tastes good but the tail needed shredding.

Tanorria made Pig’s Ear Salad with Kale and Black-eyed Peas. Christina says it is the most beautiful dish and the ears are cooked well and taste amazing.

Katie made Kidney Curry. Chef Edward Lee thinks kidney is an odd protein to make curry with but says it tastes delicious. The curry is one of the best he’s ever had!

The final cook is Diana who made Tripe Menudo with Corn and Jalapenos. Gordon can’t find the tripe and what he can find is raw!! Not good.

And the end, Eric and Katie’s dishes are the top 2 and Alejandro, D’Andre & Diana’s dishes are on the bottom. Alejandro remains safe.

After being on the bottom for the third time in a row, Diana is sent home.

And then the judges shock everyone by sending D’Andre home too!

Now there are just 12 chefs are left. I liked this episode because I thought Edward was okay as a judge and I liked how some of the cooks handled the odd animal parts.

2016-07-20 21.01.16

MasterChef 07×07 Recap

 

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The season’s seventh episode starts with the remaining 15 home cooks walking onto the airfield at the Camarillo Air Museum to find out they will be cooking for 101 US Veterans in a Team Challenge. Gordon, Christina and guest judge, Chef Aarón Sánchez land on the runway in an old plane to get things started. The Blue Team is Alejandro, Andrea, D’Andre, Diamond, Brandi, Dan, Nathan & Shaun. The Red Team is David, Eric, Tanorria, Katie, Terry, Diana & Manny. Each team will have 75 minutes to prepare an outstanding Hanger Steak dish with two sides and one sauce. The winning team will be decided by a veterans’ vote and the losing team will face the dreaded pressure test!

During the cook time Gordon tells the Blue Team their potatoes need more salt. And their steak burns on the outside because Shaun put honey in the marinade. Hey eventually figure it out and get all their plates out first.

Over on the Red Team their plating is inconsistent. Some of the plates are missing their mushroom sauce. And Manny puts out steak dishes that are practically raw! Gordon gets very mad and warns them they had better start doing better. Blue Team finally gets it done for the veterans.

In the end the Blue Team gets 77 votes and the Red Team only gets 24! Blue Team wins! Red Team goes to the Pressure Test!

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Gordon tells the Read Team they can save one of their team members. Chef Aarón says the losing team have three minutes to unanimously decide who should be saved, and if they can’t decide they will all go home! Everyone except David thinks Eric did the best job and should be saved. David makes a stink because he thinks he’s the one who deserves the save because he volunteered to lead the team. He is out voted. Eric is saved.

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The Pressure Test will not be easy for the remaining 6 cooks. Gordon demonstrates how to break down a chicken into eight parts. They will have to cut up the chicken and make a box of amazingly crispy, perfectly juicy fried chicken.

During the cook time David is still complaining about not being saved. He is so mad he can’t even cut his chicken right! Gordon warns him to get his head back in the game. Tanorria who makes fried chicken all the time back home is feeling confident with her breading and seasoning. And with 5 and ½ minutes to go Gordon tells Katie she has breaded her chicken the wrong way! There is nothing she can do to fix it now.

Time is up.

David’s Chicken is very moist and seasoned well.

Terry’s Chicken is cooked perfectly and the judges say it is nice and juicy. Christina says he is a threat to everyone in the kitchen because he is such a good cook.

Katie’s chicken doesn’t looks right, but the taste is okay. She says her version of fried chicken is health conscious, but Chef Aarón is underwhelmed.

 

Manny’s chicken is way overcooked. Even the bone is charred. It tastes terrible. Christina says it tastes like a forest fire! 😦

Tanorria’s fried chicken has an amazing crunchy breading and tastes great. The judges love it. Chef Aarón says it is a home run.

And finally, Gordon says that Diana’s has to be one of the ugliest box of fried chicken anywhere in America. And it tastes repulsive, like a mouthful of sand. The cornmeal coating is so awful Gordon says he needs a new set of teeth after eating it.

In the end David, Terry & Tanorria present the best fried chicken dishes and they are safe. Katie, Diana and Manny have three worst dishes. Katie and Diana are also allowed to continue which sadly means Manny is going home.

Fellow firefighter, Eric says Manny is a class act and was one of his best friends on the show. He is going to miss him a lot! 🙂

Now here are 14 cooks left.

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I liked this episode because I liked to see Chef Aarón Sánchez again. I hope to see him on MasterChef Junior this fall. And I liked to see the home cooks make fried chicken, one of my favorite dishes.

MasterChef 07×06 Recap

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The season’s next episode starts with the remaining 16 home cooks once again walking into the Masterchef Kitchen. Chef Aarón Sánchez is back as a guest judge! Christina tells the cooks that they will have to kill, poach and take apart a lobster. Gordon expertly demonstrates how to remove the most meat from the exoskeleton. The judges will inspect each cooks work and the ones that are not up to MasterChef Kitchen standards will have to compete in the next Elimination Challenge.

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The cooks only have 20 minutes to do the job. Diamond is having problems since she does not eat meat or seafood and has no experience in cooking lobster. She is upset because she has never killed her food before. Brandi is also worried because she has never cooked live lobster before. She is from Kentucky and has only cooked with frozen seafoods. Diana, a professional server, thinks she can do it since she has seen it done in the restaurant she works at.

Time is up quickly and it’s time to find out who will be safe and who will be cooking in the Elimination Test.

Shaun – Yes.

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Andrea – No.

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Brandi – Yes.

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Nathan – No.

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Diamond – Yes!

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Diana – No.

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Katie – Yes.

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Tanorria- Yes.

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D’Andre – Yes.

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Eric – No.

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Dan – Yes.

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Terry – Yes.

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Manny – Yes.

David – Yes.

Lisa-Ann – No.

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And, Alejandro – Yes.

 

Alejandro won the Lobster Challenge by amazing the chefs in removing even more meat than Gordon removed in his demonstration!

Now Lisa-Ann, Eric, Andrea, Nathan & Diana have to make homemade Lobster Tortellini using their lobster meat. Again, Gordon shows them how to do it. They have sixty minutes to make six perfect lobster tortellini in delicious broth.

During the cook time Eric is doing very well, even though he has never made tortellini from scratch. Lisa-Ann is not doing as well. She is focusing on her broth before she has made her pasta. Gordon suggests this is a big error on her part. Andrea is confident because she has made pasta dough before. Nathan is having problems folding his tortellini properly. And finally Diana thinks she is going to make the best pasta dish of the night.

Time is up.

Again, Eric’s dish looks very messy, but the flavor is great. Gordon says he needs to work on plating.

Some of Diana’s tortellini are breaking apart and filling with liquid. Gordon says she should have just the plated the two perfect ones, but that the taste was still okay.

Andrea’s dish looks amazing and tastes delicious. Christina says she can’t believe that Andrea has never made tortellini before and Aarón says he really likes her dish.

Nathan’s dish looks very bad but tastes awesome, especially the broth. Aarón is impressed by the broth and says it tastes almost as good as Gordon’s.

 

Finally, Lisa-Ann’s tortellini are falling apart and her broth is way too salty. She is upset and tells Gordon she knows she can do better and that she is not leaving!

The judges confer and decide that Nathan, Andrea and Eric’s tortellini have earned them spots on the balcony. This leaves Lisa-Ann & Diana on the bottom. And the one going home is … Lisa- Ann!

Now 15 chefs are left. I really liked how Chef Aarón returned as guest judge. I think he would do great on MasterChef Junior next season! He’ll be back for the 7th episode of this season, I can’t wait to see what happens!

2016-07-07 13.28.43

Max’s Recap MasterChef S7x05

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Episode 5 of the 7th Season of MasterChef is titled “Mexican Mystery” and begins with the top 17 cooks walking in the MasterChef Kitchen to meet leading contemporary Latin Chef Aarón Sánchez and MasterChef Season 6 Winner Claudia Sandoval. Claudia has selected some of her favorite Latin inspired ingredients for the Mystery Box Challenge: pineapple, avocado, fresh corn, mango, poblano peppers, ancho chilies, tomatillos, cilantro and nopales. And both Chef Aarón and Chef Claudia join in the cooking by making beautiful dishes of their own to help inspire the home cooks creativity. 🙂

When time is up Claudia shows her dish before leaving the kitchen, but Chef Aarón stays on to help judge the three best dishes. The first outstanding dish belongs to Alejandro who made 3 Arepas, a staple of his native Venezuelan culture. Aarón and Christina say they have great seasoning and taste very good.

The next fabulous dish belongs to Tanorria who made Roasted Shrimp, an American Southern comfort dish that she says she has been making forever. Gordon says the presentation has that WOW factor, the food tastes delicious and has a nice heat to it. Chef Aarón says everything is working in her dish and that it is remarkable.

The last best dish belongs to Andrea who made Spot Prawn AL Ajillo. Chef Aarón says it is cooked in an authentic Mexican manner, the shrimp is well-seasoned and the dish tastes delectable.

The home cook with the overall best Mystery Box Dish of the night and a huge advantage in the next challenge is … Tanorria!

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Tanorria is safe for the next cooking challenge and will get to save 3 other chefs from elimination. In addition she gets to decide what dessert the contestants will be making. Will they have to bake a perfect pie, an elevated pudding or classic puff dessert? Tanorria picks the dessert that she feels is most difficult technically – the pie.

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The home cooks have just sixty minutes to make pie crusts and delicious fillings. Big man Terry seems very comfortable making a blueberry pie with a delicate lattice crust. Brittany is confident and says she is from farm country and is very used to making pies with strawberries and fresh rhubarb. Unfortunately, Lisa-Ann is having trouble with her pie because her mascarpone filling has separated and looks like a drippy mess in her pie crust.

When time is up Tanorria decides to save Diana, Diamond and David. They get to join her on the balcony while the judges taste the rest of the pies.

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Brandi’s Apple & Cheddar Cheese Pie is falling apart on the inside and the crust is raw! But Chef Aarón says the cheese is good element.

Terry’s Blueberry Pie is absolutely beautiful. It cuts well and taste very good. Christina says that the pie shows he could all the way! Gordon calls it a piece of art and one of the best pies they have ever tried in the MasterChef Kitchen! 😮

 

Lisa-Ann’s Berry Pie cuts well but its crust is raw. The fruit needs more sugar and there are too many ingredients.

Dan’s Country Berry Pie looks very good, taste sweet and it comes out of the pie plate clean. Gordon says he is impressed and that Dan is definitely not going home today.

Eric’s Berry Pie looks messy. It is undercooked and has too many different kinds of berries. Chef Aarón says he doesn’t want to go back for another bite. His pie has failed.

And Brittany’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie is an homage to her grandmother and looks good, but the crust is damp and it tastes is extremely disappointing! Gordon says, “That’s not good. Not good at all.”

The judges has a chat together and decide that Terry had the best pie of all!

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Brittany, Eric and Brandi pies are the worst. Ultimately, Eric and Brandi are safe which means 22 year old Brittany is going home. 😦

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Now 16 chefs are left. I liked this episode because Chef Aarón was a great guest judge. I look forward to seeing him on more episodes.

2016-06-30 18.02.15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Max’s Recap Masterchef S7x04

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The 4th episode of Season 7 begins with the top 18 cooks learning they will cook for a very special wedding. Nick Nappi, a top four finalist from MasterChef Season 6 is getting married! He says he is living his dream as Executive Chef at Bar One in San Diego’s Little Italy. The Bride and Groom would like the home cooks to make Scallops and Lamb for their guests, who include many of Nick’s fellow contestants from Season 6!

20 year old Nathan is the Captain of the Blue Team. He will be leading Andrea, Katie, Barbara, Dan, Shaun, Brittany, Alejandro & D’Andre. 40 year old Terry is the Captain of the Red Team. He will be leading Brandi, David, Diamond, Tanorria, Eric, Manny, Lisa Ann & Diana. For some reason there will be no Pressure Test following the team challenge 😦 so the judges will be deciding who gets kicked off the losing team based on their observations during prep, cook and service.

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The wedding is taking place on a very windy hill and it a big challenge to the home cooks. Huge gusts of wind blow the Red Team’s fires out and knock their plates off of tables. Terry freaks out at first, but Gordon coaches him to get things back on track. The appetizers start leaving the kitchen in no time.

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On the Blue Team Nathan is screaming his head off trying to get people working together. Barbara starts cooking the scallops too soon, then she makes a horrid vinaigrette, then she has trouble plating. Shaun steps in to cook the scallops, but he burns them. Unbelievably, the Blue Team then starts to serve the appetizers raw! They barely pull it together.

The lamb entrée is also tough for the Blue Team. Even though he says he knows exactly how to do it, D’Andre can’t get the cook right on the orzo and the bottom burns. Luckily, Nathan’s leadership improves and Shaun gets the lamb perfectly medium rare and saves the dish for his team.

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On the Red Team Manny has trouble getting the lamb cooked properly. He sends it up raw not once, but TWICE! Gordon tells the Red Team to get it together or he would shut the whole thing down. They need to feed the guests before the wedding speeches start! Terry helps everyone calm down and they get the plates out.

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It is a close call, but in the end the winning team is announced by the bride tossing a colored bouquet of flowers. And the winning team is …

THE RED TEAM! Manny catches the red bouquet and is super happy!

20160630_111405Alejandro, Katie, Shaun & Nathan are the first to be saved by the judges at the wedding. Back in the MasterChef Kitchen Andrea, Dan and Britany are also saved, leaving D’Andre and Barbara in the bottom. Gordon tells D’Andre that he is getting one more chance to show he has what it takes to be a MasterChef Champion and that means Barbara is going home 😦

There are now 17 home cooks are left. I liked this episode because I was happy to see Nick again. I also noticed that Brandi really knows her meats because she was the only home cook who noticed the lamb was raw. Cooking lamb perfectly is very important.