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!
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!
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.
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.
The electrifying episode starts with the 7 remaining home cooks walking into the Masterchef Kitchen. It’s time for this week’s Mystery Box Challenge and inside is a hot cup of coffee! They have to cook a Master Chef level dish with coffee beans as the star ingredient. During the cooking time Stephen is at the station in front of Derrick who can see everything he is cooking. When Gordon asks Derrick if he is intimidated by Stephen’s beef dish, Derrick responds that he respects Stephen as a cook, but he is not too impressed. Derrick thinks his fancy-schmancy dessert is going to be a winner.
When time is up the first best dish belongs to Derrick who made a Carmel Latte Panna Cotta. It looks fabulous. The judges say it has a nice texture and tastes wonderful. Gordon says he wouldn’t change a thing. The next best dish belongs to Hetal. She made a Coffee Chocolate Cake. It is really scrumptious and the coffee flavor pops. Graham says her plating is amazing. And the last top dish belongs to Nick who made a Vanilla Coffee Cake. It looks great and tastes delicious. Christina is impressed by the way Nick layered the coffee flavors into his dessert. In the end the judges decide that the best of the best belongs to … Nick. His first Mystery Box win! Derrick, who was so sure his dish was in a different league than Hetal and Nick’s looks quite irate (see pic at top of blog post).
Now it’s time for the Elimination Test. Since he won the Mystery Box Nick is safe from elimination. The judges have already decided that the home cooks will work in teams to make a Party Platter. Nick gets to pick who will be cooking with who. He strategically pairs Claudia & Hetal, Tommy & Katrina, and Derrick & Stephen. Initially there is a lot of trouble between Derrick & Stephen. They start out fighting with each other, but in the end they work well as a team. Hetal & Claudia start out well, but fall apart in the end because they don’t manage their time well. And finally, Tommy & Katrina are having trouble the whole sixty minutes! Katrina keeps yelling at Tommy who can never work quite fast enough to get the job done.
At last time is up and the first cooks to present their work are Derrick & Stephen. Their platter looks stunning; the chicken is delicious, the shrimp is wonderful, the burger is cooked well, and the chips are nice and crunchy. Next, Claudia & Hetal’s platter presentation is so awful it looks like someone has already eaten it. The mushrooms on the burgers are burnt, the shrimp is not even cooked and the rest of it is “just okay.” Christina says it could be their funeral platter. Finally, Tommy & Katrina’s platter also looks dreadful. The chicken is appalling, the burgers taste okay but look terrible, the chips are very soggy and Graham says the shrimp are disgusting! A total fail 😦
Not surprisingly, the judges decide the best Party Platter belongs to … Derrick & Stephen. Hetal & Claudia are safe because their platter was a tiny bit better than Tommy & Katrina’s, who are left in the bottom. One of them is going home. Gordon says the one who is safe is … Katrina. Which means Tommy’s time in the Master Chef Kitchen has come to an end. Before Tommy says his final goodbyes he predicts Derrick will be the final winner. As the fashion designer/home cook from Chicago dramatically dances and spins his way out the Master Chef doors Graham calls it the “Greatest exit of all time.”
I liked this episode so much because I enjoyed seeing how the cooks handle finger foods, like Pigs-in-a-Blanket. We tried them at home and they were easy to make and actually super delicious. Next week – THE RESTAURANT TAKEOVER!
The thrilling episode starts with the 8 remaining cooks walking into the Masterchef Kitchen. It’s time for the next Team Challenge. The Team Captains are winners from last week’s Elimination Test, Tommy and Hetal. Tommy’s Red Team is Katrina, Nick and Stephen. Hetal’s Blue Team is Claudia, Olivia and Derrick. In this challenge there is no meat, just veggies. The teams will be cooking for a dining room full of vegetarian cooks and restaurateurs. Hetal is very excited because she thinks she will do well because she is a vegetarian.
The Blue Team is making Chickpea-Cauliflower Curry with Coconut Rice and Tomato Gravy while the Red Team is making Butternut Squash with Black Lentils and Mushroom. When Gordon checks on the Blue Team almost nothing is cooked and Hetal is having trouble as the leader. The Blue Team’s rice is watery and they want to toss it out. On the Red Team Tommy is getting annoyed with his teammates because they are not taking his direction. Later, Tommy finely has it with his team rushing his plating and he yells “SHUT UP!” When it’s time to serve the meals each of the fifty guests tries an entrée from both teams. They must vote for their favorite dish, Blue or Red. The votes are tallied and the winning team with 13 more votes is … THE RED TEAM!
So the Blue Team is going to the dreaded Pressure Test. They will be cooking with animal heads! Pig head for Claudia, Lamb head for Hetal (who is absolutely horrified), Fish head for Derrick, and Cow head for Olivia. During the cooking time the most dramatic thing that happens is that Derrick almost starts a fire by dropping a flaming torch on the ground! Someone from the show has to come and take it from him before he gets hurt. Sixty minutes flies by and time is up.
Hetal is up first to the bench with her Braised Lamb Tongue and Cheek. It tastes good but it’s a little overcooked and there is too much rice. Derrick made Tandoori Halibut Cheeks. His dish looks appealing but the fruit gives it an odd flavor. Claudia made Pig Ear and Cheek Tostada. It has a good crunch it is really delicious. And Olivia made BBQ Beef Cheek. It is a good idea but Gordon cannot really taste the beef cheek due to the sauce. The judges decide the best dish belongs to Claudia. And the one going home is…… Olivia whose dish lacks a beefy taste. Before she leaves Gordon gives her a hug and asks her who she thinks will win. Olivia says, “I think the next Master Chef, the person that deserves it the most and embodies it and lives it and breathes it is Katrina.” Nice.
Time will tell. There are now only 7 cooks left. The competition is really heating up.