Tonight's episode began with our 18 home cooks being introduced to the Master Chef kitchen - which has its own bar and restaurant - and I must admit I was envious to see it, because I would give just about anything to be able to cook there.
As an aside, are there other Canadian readers who are bummed that we don't have the same kinds of opportunities here? There is no Master Chef, Hell's Kitchen, or Next Food Network Star in Canada - so we are left to dream and speculate about the dishes we would prepare if only we had the chance.
In the first challenge, the home cooks were moved to their Master Chef stations where they were tasked with preparing, cooking, and presenting a dish using the ingredients in a mystery box located at each station. The finalists were told that the winner of this challenge would receive a huge advantage.
Inside the boxes was duck breast, kale, rhubarb, dark rum, sweet potatoes, fresh bananas, five spice, and maple syrup and the finalists had only 60 minutes from start to finish to complete their dishes.
As the cooking took off in full force, a spectrum of dishes began to take shape from the off beat like Scott's Duck Profiteroles, to the spectacular like Felix's Seared Duck Breast with Chinese 5 Spice. In the midst of it all, a kitchen fire started in health food chef Helene's oven who had the bad sense to laugh after Gordon Ramsay pulled the flaming tray to safety and nearly burned his hands. His response: "You've got your neck in a noose," which is the first time this season a little "Hell's Kitchen" Ramsay came out to play.
In the end, three cooks were called up as having the standout dishes of the day - and in a surprise twist, these turned out to be the judges least favourite dishes. They were : Ryan's Balsamic Glazed Duck Breast with Caramelized Bananas, Samantha's Pan Seared Duck Breast over Sweet Potato Rhubarb Puree, and Scott's Profiteroles with Mashed Sweet Potato and Duck Breast.
After some deliberation and an apparent attempt to throw Samantha under the bus by Ryan who reminds me of Max Kramer from last season, Samantha was sent home.
One of my early favourites from the audition, tough talking Felix, was the challenge winner with her pan seared duck and was ushered off by Chef Ramsay to find out her huge advantage: a trip to the Master Chef pantry where she was in control of the first elimination test. Each elimination test during Master Chef will see at least one person leave the competition and Felix gets to choose the style of food or the dish that everyone must cook - with the one thing she cannot control: the theme of the challenge - and today's theme: the judges most intimidating dishes.
With that in mind, she had to choose between Joe Bastianich's Italian Risotto, Graham Elliot's Classic New England Clam Chowder, and Gordon Ramsay's Beef Wellington (the same dish that had our Hell's Bitches flapping in the wind tonight over at Hell's Kitchen).
In the end she chose risotto and, best of all, didn't have to compete. But for the rest of the cooks who only had 45 minutes to make a dish stunning enough to keep them alive, the stress in the air was palpable all the way to my living room!
The judges tasted each dish and while they were impressed with Frank's Clam Artichoke and Blood orange Risotto, and David's Gooseberry Roasted Poblano and Scallop Rissotto who Graham Elliott said was the best thing he had tasted in a long time, the misses were every bit as big.
First up, Helene with Undercooked Saffron Rissotto and a scallop basket that Joe Bastianich disliked so much he said: "The Rice is undercooked and the scallops are a joke."
In the end, risotto champs David and Frank were selected as team captains for the next round and the cook to go home was Dave Mack with a grainy Morrell Mushroom Risotto.
It would be disappointing to go home that early, but I think it's very clear that everyone who made it this far onto a show like Master Chef is a winner in the kitchen and I hope Dave Mack, whereever he is, is very proud of himself!
With theme for tonight's elimination being Risotto, I hope you'll try my Kitchen Witch Risotto with Prawns and Shitake Mushrooms!
To read last night's Hell's Kitchen recap, click HERE.
Until next time everyone, happy cooking!
Bring the daily magic of The Kitchen Witch straight to your inbox every time a new one is written.
Or you can subscribe by rss feed...
Subscribe in a reader