Thursday, May 23, 2013

You're a Bit of a Freak for Beaver: Master Chef Season 4 Episodes 1 and 2:

It's been a long wait but finally, everyone's favorite cooking competition, Master Chef, is back on TV and my early prediction is that Season 4 is going to be delicious!

And how could it not be?

With a cast of judges like Chef Graham Elliot, restauranteur Joe Bastianich, and Chef/Food World superstar Gordon Ramsay, we're enlightened at home not just by food reviews but by the way they're delivered.

 Where Gordon Ramsay has oft been edited depicted to be a shrill, cruel, drill sergeant in the Hell's Kitchen and Restaurant Nightmares version of his persona, in Master Chef, we, the loyal home audience are treated to a kinder, gentler version of our tousle haired culinary golden boy

And thank goodness for that because I nearly had an aneurism during last week's debacle on Restaurant Nightmares and wanted none of the drama this evening as I settled in to watch home cooks from across America compete for a coveted white apron that would signify they would go on to the next round.

There were many interesting and talented home cooks to stand out from the pack of 100 finalists in episodes 1 and 2, but I would be remiss if I didn't begin by highlighting Bryan from Texas who specializes in cooking road kill.

After the judges had tasted a round of bear, ostrich, and macaroni and cheese made with breast milk that made Gordon Ramsay projectile spit into a bucket, they were presented with "Stripped and Shaven Beaver" from Bryan.

While I always assumed beaver might taste a bit like chicken, Graham Elliott was quite steadfast in his opinion that it tasted like beef.

Joe, who had never eaten beaver prior to this, was unable to give much of an opinion, but when Chef Ramsay asked him if he was turned on by the beaver, Bastianich gave it a thumbs down.

Despite all this, Ramsay and Elliott who apparently both like to eat beaver, prevailed and Bryan was given an apron to carry on with the show.

Moving on...

 Delivery driver Jordan who lost his mother to brain cancer, made a much more serious impression on the judges with his Ancho Chile Tostada and Cilantro Mint Aioli. When asked what he thought about the competition he said:

"I don't screw around There's some competition out there  but food wise I don't see a lot of technique. I'm going to bring you technique."

All three judges agreed and Joe Bastianich, who I am dubbing "The Tin Man" because beneath his tough exterior is a guy who gets frequently and lovably misty, issued the first fighting words of the season: "That dish was one of the best opening dishes we've ever tasted; you are the one to watch."

Other highlights of the evening included a marriage proposal, a fish fileting challenge, a single mom named Chrissie who I fear I might fall in love with as I did Christine Corley of Master Chef past, and Sasha Fox who I am already in love with.

And how could I not be?

With lines like "put a little Sasha in your mouth baby" this fabulous, gospel singing, culinary Divah presented a riff on fried chicken and waffles that to me, was nothing short of genius: Southern Fried Cornish Game Hen with Crepes and a Maple Bourbon Sauce.

Thankfully, all three judges said "Amen," and we can look forward to more Sasha Fabulousity in Master Chef episodes to come.

Ditto for former NFL player Eddie, a contestant from last year, Luca, and many other amazing home cooks.

I honestly can't wait to see what this season is going to hold and hope you'll subscribe to The Kitchen Witch to come along with me for the ride!

Now let me dream big... if I were to serve an initial dish to the judges it would be...

Crispy Thin Crust Spinach Pine Nut and Feta Pizza!

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1 comment:

  1. Even I'm trying to watch some this year - a gal who used to be from Winnipeg, but lives in MN was one of the finalists. She is the one with blue hair. Not sure if I missed her all together yesterday, I saw about 3 seconds where Joe said that her dessert was "boarding school pudding" or something like that. Could be interesting!