MasterChef Season 8 Episode 11 “Vegas Deluxe & Oyster Shucks” begins with the top 12 home cooks in Las Vegas to cook for Caesars Palace 50th Anniversary. Captain Dino gets to pick his whole team first or which protein his team will cook, sea bass or rib cap. Dino chooses people, so Captain Daniel gets to pick his protein and he chooses the fish. Dino’s Red Team is Jason, Eboni, Adam, Jenny & Cate. That means Daniel’s Blue Team is Catlin, Yachecia, Jeff, Gabriel & Newton. The VIP guests will vote on the dishes and the losing team will face the dreaded pressure test.
At the start of the cook time Daniel’s Blue Team quickly agrees on a menu. Dino’s team shoots down all his ideas and comes up with their own plan. Dino says he’ll try to make sure it isn’t the worst idea in the world. And Gordon asks, “Is Dino going to run the Red Team or is the Red Team going to run Dino?” 😮 Dino takes charge but they end up having a hard time getting the cook right on the steak.
The Blue Team is not able to complete their plates because Yachecia’s barley does not cook in time. Gordon tells her she should not get angry with him and it will be near the 60th anniversary by the time they get the Blue Team’s dish out. They have to go without it. MasterChef Champion Shaun is back again as VIP, he’s expecting a lot from the home cooks.
The Red Team serves Rib Cap with Parsnip Purée, Chanterelles and Romanesco with Hazelnut Crumble. The Blue Team serves Poached Sea Bass with Pickled Leeks, Turnip Purée and Stuffed Squash Blossom.
With 68% of the votes, the RED TEAM wins by a landslide! Captain Daniel picks two home cooks from his team for the pressure test. He chooses Yachecia and Newton! Newton says, “Path of least resistance. Old man. They want me outta here. I’m their strongest challenger. Daniel, he’s the captain. He’s the one who should be on this pressure test. What a lucky SOB he is. Thanks for driving the bus over me fella.”
Newton and Yachecia have to make Las Vegas on a plate – champagne poached oysters. The oysters need to be shucked. The capellini needs to be made from scratch. The tarragon beurre blanc needs to be draped over the oyster. The cucumber batons need to be cut perfectly. And the delicate dollops of caviar on top need to look beautiful. The home cooks will need finesse, timing and confidence to pull it off. Yachecia is panicking because she has never made anything like this before. She leaves her pasta in a pile instead of hanging it to dry before cooking. Newton knows he is out of his comfort zone but he is confident he can pull it off. But he is going too slow, can’t open his caviar jar and does not get everything on the plate before time is up!
Newton’s dish is incomplete, no caviar and no beurre blanc. His batons are not uniform. But his oysters and pasta are cooked perfectly.
Yachecia’s dish has all five elements. Her oysters are poached beautifully but her beurre blanc and her pasta are too thin. And the pasta is greasy.
While the judges deliberate:
Newton says, “Ten months ago I had a stroke, and spent most of January sick and in the hospital. It’s a huge sacrifice for my family to be here, and for that, I owe them a MasterChef Trophy. There’s no way I can go back home right now.”
Yachecia says, “Food and ministry are the two elements that I’m most passionate about. Now I have the opportunity to take my food dream to whole different level. This is extremely important to me.”
The person who executed their champagne oyster dish just a touch better, the person returning to the MasterChef Kitchen … is … going to be revealed NEXT WEEK!?!
Spoiler Alert! It is Yachecia! 🙂