Joe Bastianich, in his role as "shifty saloon keep," looked out from under his natty bowler and explained the challenge: Each team would be charged with cooking 101 steaks and sides that the cowboys would vote on, and the first team to hit 51 points would win.
Because of her surprising success last week, Monte - along with the always impressive Frank - were team captains and, school yard style, would once again be choosing their teams.
Frank chose wisely - putting together a dream team consisting of Becky, Josh, and Felix.
Conversely, Monte, with a promise to be the best team captain Master Chef has ever seen, filled her team with the under dogs of Season 3, ending up with Stacey, David Martinez, and Christine.
But in a surprise twist, the chefs didn't get to stick with the teams they selected and were, instead, asked to switch!
With Monte giving the lazy eye to her arch nemesis Becky and Frank trying to corral
The blue team went with more traditional cowboy fare of roasted corn, garlic mashed potatoes, New York Strip steaks, and Stacey's barbecue sauce.
As the teams got going there was the odd catastrophe; Christine's grilled corn caught on fire, Becky overcooked some of the steaks, and we were once again left on the edge of our seats wondering if the red team was going to have enough sweet potatoes for 101 hungry cowpokes.
On the blue team, Joe and Gordon waxed rhapsodic over Frank's leadership abilities, while the red team continued to peel sweet potatoes, and before you could say dag gum it, 101 horses and their riders appeared on the horizon.
The cowboy cookout had begun!
Everything seemed to be going according to plan, but because the plates were so large (and as predicted) the red team ran out of sweet potatoes very early into the competition. As they valiantly worked to catch up, Monte's original dream of being the best team leader alive was shattered.
In the end, despite the apparent sweet potato deficit, the red team managed to stay in the game and put up a good fight. But it wasn't enough to beat Stacey's sauce (I hope that recipe is in the season 3 cookbook) and the blue team was victorious!
This meant that three members of team red would be going into the dreaded pressure test and after some team discussion, it was decided that Felix would be exempt today. That left Becky, Monte, and Josh pitted against one another to perfectly cook a poached egg, a three egg omelet, a sunny side up egg, and a soft boiled egg in a challenge that would require a great deal of of skill because, to quote Monte, "eggs are big time bitches."
In order to get this pressure test right, the eggs would have to be perfectly timed and with Monte up first, I was holding my breath!
The girl who everyone doubted as having no skill was, once again, in a position to show us that she has what it takes and, certainly, in this challenge she didn't disappoint coming up with the perfect poached, and soft boiled eggs, an acceptable omelet, and a delicious sunny side up egg that was just a tad undercooked.
Josh and Becky struggled more - in particular with the soft boiled egg - and on the basis of a fluffy, perfectly cooked omelet, Becky was selected to stay and Josh had to remove his apron. To the good, Chef Ramsay had some wonderfully encouraging things to say about Josh and his cooking and I am hopeful that he will go on to continue his passions.
As for me, you know I like to live vicariously through the world of food tv, so for today, I'll share an original egg recipe with you. For a quick lunch or easy weeknight dinner, this just can't be beat!
Mushroom and Gruyere Omelet
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