The episode starts with Gordon and Christina going to meet the top 3 cooks in their home environments. First the chefs drop in on Brandi’s 5th grade class in Irvington, Kentucky. She plans to cook upscale southern cooking. Next, they travel to Las Vegas and visit David and his daughter at his home. He wants to overcome his self-doubt and make something that will impress the judges. And finally, they go across town to see Shaun at his house. He wants to go broad with Asian flavors and do some special techniques.\
Back in the MasterChef Kitchen the 2 guest judges are Chefs Daniel Boulud and Wolfgang Puck. Previous contestants and family members also arrive to cheer on the three finalists. They will have to create the best three-course dinner of their lives, four plates per course!
Manny says he thinks David will win because his cooking is so precise. Dan says he is on “Team Brandi” because she has got real soul in her food. And Andrea says she thinks Shaun will be the winner because he thinks outside the box and is willing to take risks.
Brandi made a bourbon-braised crispy pork belly glazed with apricot barbeque sauce over a butternut squash-parsnip purée with a rhubard-swiss chard slaw on top. The Pork Belly looks stunning, it tastes good but Daniel and Gordon argue in French about the parsnips and butternut squash mix. Wolfgang and Gordon liked the unique slaw.
David made beet-cured salmon topped with a soft-boiled egg and a shredded phyllo dough topped with salmon roe and a little dollop of caviar. The egg yolks are cooked beautifully, nice and runny. The Salmon needs more seasoning but still tastes luscious. Wolfgang liked that the dish looked like a bird’s nest but Christina did not think that it was the best looking dish.
Shaun made a miso halibut cheek with a vadaouvan carrot purée, pickled mushrooms and uni foam. Gordon says it is visually stunning, but tastes nowhere near as good as it looks. The fish is great but the mushroom flavor is too strong! Gordon says you never ever pickle a morel mushroom!
Shaun made coffee-ancho spiced-rubbed venison loin with a plum-venison demi garnished with a balsamic Cipollini onions, some smoked plums, garlic-shallot cream, some truffle and nice beautiful fiddleheads. Gordon says it is visually breathtaking and delicious. The Venison is like butter. All the judges love it.
Brandi made a cast iron-seared duck breast over andouille mixed greens, with a blackberry demi-glaze, ramp hush puppies and pickled white strawberries. Gordon and Christina disagree about the presentation but the duck is cooked perfectly and tastes delectable. The judges thought the hush puppies were not needed.
David made savoy cabbage-wrapped guinea hen and a foie gras served with morel and yellow wine cream sauce with sautéed fresh morel mushrooms and Thumbelina carrots. The hen is undercooked! The seasoning and sauce are exceptional. His flavors were very good but his technique was lacking.
Brandi made white cornmeal madeleines with a bourbon caramel sauce, a white chocolate mousse, spiced candied pecans and bourbon glazed peaches. The dessert looks beautiful and the southern flavors are good but the madeleines are not light and fluffy in the center! The cornmeal made them too heavy! Brandi looks heartbroken. 😦
David made fresh cherries, pitted and stuffed with a cherry compote and then glazed with a white chocolate red glaze, a chocolate crémeux, a Kirsch-Chantilly cream, garnished with a cookie crumble and some gold popping candy. It is visually stunning with complex textures and is full of flavor. But Gordon says don’t glaze, dip and stuff a cherry unless you can make it taste better than it does naturally. Ouch.
Shaun made a salted caramel dark chocolate tart with a raspberry coulis. It is a simple and elegant dessert. His tart slices nicely and tastes wonderful. He nailed it.
The judges discuss all the dishes. They are looking for someone showing passion, technique, creativity and something they haven’t seen before. After weeks and weeks of cooking the next winner of MasterChef is … Shaun.
Shaun says, “I think I’m done with deejaying. My heart is in food. All of my dreams came true today!”
David says, “Shaun deserved to win. I’m happy for my Vegas brother.”
And tearful Brandi says, “I’m proud that I’ve shown my students and my kids that they can reach for their dreams that they can get out there and they can do whatever they want. I’m glad that I put myself out there, I’m glad that I took the risk!” (Her son also looks very sad)
Until next season … keep on cooking!