Episode 21 The top 8 arrive at Big Bear Lake where they will cook fish for the three judges. Winners from the last challenge, Beni & Evan, are Team Captains and flip a coin to see who gets first pick.
Beni wins the toss and gets to choose whether she will pick her team mate or the type of fish her team will work with. Beni wants to pick her teammates and so the Red Team members are Ben, Quani & Sophia.
That means Evan’s Blue Team members are Ariana, Gracie & Sammy.
Now Evan gets to pick between Salmon or Halibut. He picks Salmon, so the Red Team will cook Halibut. During the cook time Evan helps Sammy who is having trouble frying the potatoes. On the Red Team Sophia drops the fish in the sand and Beni helps her cook a new one!!
The judges try both dishes. The Blue Team’s Salmon is nice and pink, has crispy skin and the seasoning is spot on. The fish tastes delicious and the potatoes and veggies are cooked nicely. The Red Team’s Halibut is cooked well, but it is a bit over seasoned and the grilled veggies are still raw. The winning team is … BLUE TEAM!!!
For the Pressure Test the Red Team has to make Éclairs. Beni’s Strawberry Éclairs are firm and the strawberry cream works very well as a filling. Sophia puts big chucks of pineapple in her éclairs and the dough ends up undercooked. Christina says, “It’s never a good idea to put fruit directly into the Pate a Choux dough, whole fruit is best saved for fillings or glazes. And pineapple is especially fibrous.” Next, Quani’s Chocolate Éclairs are troubled. They are super flat and kind of fall apart when Aarón tries to lift it off the plate. Luckily, the flavors are there. “They actually taste pretty good, Quani.” Ben’s White Chocolate Éclairs are amazing. The shells are baked perfectly and the white chocolate cream filling is beyond yummy. Gordon says, “OMG. These are so good. I want everyone here to try a bite!” And they do. And they agree.
Not surprisingly, the best box of Éclairs belongs to … BEN!!!
Beni is also safe. That leaves Sophia and Quani. And the young home cook heading to the top 7 is … Quani! Sadly, that means Sophia is going home.☹ Christina says, “Sophia, you are an amazing cook. And an amazing person to watch in the kitchen. Let your creativity continue to guide you. It’s very special.” Group hug and promises to keep cooking. Then Sophia says, “I think Ariana will win in the end. She is one of the best cooks I have ever met! Good luck to everyone though!”
Episode 22 The top 7 find canned food under their Mystery boxes. They must open the cans and make a dish out of at least one canned item. By the looks of it, not everyone has used a hand held can opener before, and some of them struggle getting the tops off the cans. But they do. And they cook their hearts out. And three of them get called to the front for tasting. The first best dish belongs to Sammy. He made Smoked Sardines over pickled cabbage. Gordon says, “Somehow you managed to smoke these little guys perfectly and make a fantastic dish. I love the simplicity. Well done.” The next dish belongs to Evan. He made Pumpkin Sweet Potato Ravioli. Aarón says, “No one would believe this elevated dish started in a can. It looks beautiful.” And it tastes beautiful too. Evan hit this one out of the park. And the last best dish belongs to Gracie with her Peach Cake. Christina says, “It is moist, it is light, it is peach perfect young lady. You are baking beyond your years!”
And the winner is … EVAN!!! He is not safe, but he wins an advantage for the Elimination Challenge.
Aprons on! Everyone has to cook a cut of beef, and Evan gets to decide who gets what cut, including himself. Evan takes the Filet Mignon. He gives the Flank Steak to Beni, the Hanger to Ariana, the T-Bone to Ben, the Rib Eye to Sammy, the Flat Iron to Quani, and the New York Strip to Gracie.
During the cook time Beni’s steak appears to be burning on the grill. Evan goes to her station to warn her to turn down the heat. He says, “Yes, I want to win. But Beni is my friend and no matter what I am going to help my friend.”
Time is up so fast. Sammy’s Rib-Eye is overcooked, it has become tough and chewy. Gordon says, “This is too bad, Sammy. You had the cut everyone wanted, but you left it too long in oven. One thing though, this seasoning is very good. It’s something I would like to have again.” Beni’s Flank Dish looks a bit messy on the plate, but it tastes amazing. When she walks back to her station she stops to give Evan a hug and thank him for helping her save her dish from ruin. Ben did not adequately sear the fat off the T-Bone and it tastes too fatty. Some of the meat is cooked nicely though, and Aarón says, “There are some great bites here, for that I’m grateful.” Evan’s Filet Mignon is as good as it gets. It has an incredible sear on every side and the herb butter he melted on top makes it taste even better than it should!!! Christina says, “This is the best filet I’ve had in all the MasterChef shows. I want to keep eating.” Gracie nailed the cook and presentation of the New York Strip. Gordon says, “You have done justice to this beautiful cut of meat. This is as good as any cook in my kitchens could make. I’m serious. You have blown me away young lady.” Ariana has a nice cook on her Hanger Steak. Aarón says, “I like the way you marinated your cut. You were able to make it tender and delicious. I just wish it had more of a sear to hold in all those flavors.” And Quani’s Flank Steak is seriously undercooked. Christina says, “Quani, I’m afraid you spent too much time chopping too much garlic. Your steak needed more time on the grill, and less garlic. It overpowers my palette.”
EVAN & GRACIE cook the best steaks of the night.
Sammy & Quani are the bottom 2. And sadly, the young chef going home is … Quani. ☹ Aarón says, “Quani, I’m really sorry to see you go. I have enjoyed watching you grow as a chef in these past weeks. I hope we get to work together in the future, because you are going to become a great chef one day.” The judges and chefs take turns giving Quani individual hugs goodbye. Quani is all smiles. He says, “I had so much fun here. I wish I wasn’t going home. And before you ask Chef, I think Evan will probably be one of the winners. But it could be anyone, because everyone here is that good.”