‘MasterChef’ recap: Top 14 Compete

Before you tune in for tonight’s episode of MasterChef, make sure you are all caught up on last weeks mayhem with your weekly recap! And last week was one you did not want to miss, as it was a battle of the sexes of no mercy.


Last week the show opened with the top 14 chefs being transported to their team challenge location, which ended up being a small diner. Inside sat Joe, Graham and Gordon casually eating a meal and ushered the contestants top line up to await the announcement of their challenge.

It was then announced that in two teams of seven, the chefs would split the diner and work the busiest shifts of the day. The twist came when the judges informed the chefs that they would be choosing the team captains and chose for the red team Christine and for the blue team Willie. No one thought anything of a girl and a guy being chosen until the judges also told the chefs that they would be picking the teams with a classic boys verses girls competition.

But if you thought that was it, it was not as after the teams split there was one last thing to do. Gordon Ramsey was not happy so he had each team pick one member from the opposing side to swap for a teammate. The ladies chose Christian, who blinked in shock when the news was announced later saying, “Me, by myself, and all women? Who would not love that?” And then the men chose to take Victoria, who had no hard feelings as she knows her only mission on this competition is to impress the judges.

So how does the judging occur exactly? During the meal, the diners usual customers got seated on either the red or blue side and were given one MasterChef dollar, red or blue per section, per patron and if they enjoyed their meal, they tip that team in the jars near the front of the restaurant. The team with the least tips would then go into a pressure test.

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The teams were sent to their kitchens and it seemed Willie and Christine, who would act as the head of the kitchen and making sure all the food leaving the kitchen was to par, had it together as they each split the roles and gave their own pep talk. My personal favorite was Christine’s line, “If you do not have something to say to me, don’t speak.” Laying down the law she was.

As the service began Christine was in great control as Courtney described he readership as, “an iron fist,” which may sound negative but proved effective. Unfortunately Willie fell to the pressure as he was in a brand new experience where he had to run a kitchen, something he had never done before. Plus no service can never go perfectly as a cat fight with Leslie on the men’s team erupted due to his over oiled food and inconsistency as Daniel piped up against him while Willie stood there unsure of how to proceed. Leslie’s attitude remained his usual because since he is the oldest in the competition, he considers himself to be the most knowledgeable. I would love to see a reunion episode where cast members reflect on their behavior or if they felt the camera put them on display in a negative light.

On the red teams side, there was an incident where one raw piece of chicken was served and Elise struggled creating a perfect club sandwich and it took all of Christine’s encouragement yet determination to get her through it. But at least none of their tables walked out on them. That happened to the blue team twice. The result of Willie’s disgruntled leadership and Leslie’s angry, the kitchen became so backed up that two tables of four persons each, so eight possible tips, walked out the door. Despite all of the drama both sides finished their tickets and were able to call it a somewhat successful challenge. Remember everyone this is not an episode of Hells Kitchen because both teams can actually complete a service.

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After counting all of the tickets the judges revealed it was a difference of five tickets that determined the winner and with 87 tips, it was the red team. The glow of pride on Christine’s face could not be missed as the entire team would be safe from elimination and one member of the blue team would be going home. Naturally there was another twist back in the MasterChef kitchen though where Willie as Team Captain could choose to save himself or save three of his teammates. Like the big man that he is, Willie chose to save Francis, Victoria, and Daniel, leaving himself, Leslie, Cutter and Dan Wu to face the pressure test. It was these four men that faced the incredible challenge to bake a three-layered red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting.

At judging time, it was Willie’s cake the shined as he admitted he has baked several red velvet cakes in his day. Leslie’s came in a close second and it was Dan Wu’s cake that received real criticism due to its hard structure. Finally it was Cutter’s cake that was turned down for being too sweet and then Cutter cracked. He began to argue with Leslie and called him a, “one trick pony” causing Leslie to laugh, which only fueled Cutter more. Following his argument with Leslie, he turned on the judges and began to fight with them over what their definition of “too sweet” was and Joe struck back by telling him that every time they criticize him, he gets defensive.

With an explosive, “Baking sucks for me!” the judges left to deliberate and selected Willie and Leslie as the two automatic safeties and it was then between Cutter and Dan Wu for the title of worst cake. In the end Dan Wu was sent home and Cutter was somehow safe despite his attitude. It is moments like these that remind the audience and the contestants that what the judges are truly looking for is the best home cook, and even if your attitude sucks, you too can win.

Tune in tonight for another episode and check back here tomorrow for another recap!
image courtesy of Dara Kushner/INFphoto.com

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