Thursday, June 6, 2013

Master Chef Season 4, Episodes 4 and 5 "That was a Bitch Move"

This week's two delicious hours of Master Chef began with the first team challenge of the season and the cooks were tasked with preparing a healthy lunch for a picky group of over 300 elementary school students.

Divided into two teams - red and blue - the cooks who had the best two dishes in last week's elimination test, Jessie and Jordan, were selected as captains and were tasked with choosing teams school yard style.

Stick with the Meatballs

When the teams were selected and the cooks began to plot their menus, both looked like they might have some kid appeal. The red team decided on Chicken Teriaki, corn and a strawberry crumble for dessert, while the blue team went with pasta, turkey meatballs, marinara sauce and an apple crisp

For a great turkey meatball marinara sub click the link to my recipe
From the get go there was concern as to whether or not the blue team would be able to crank out 600 meatballs on time and in an 11th hour decision Jordan decided to forgo them and turn the whole deal into meat sauce.

Even while he did it, I knew it was a bad idea because, let's face it, kids love meatballs. Hell, adults love meatballs - and taking them out of the game lost him what I thought, was a big advantage.

Conversely, the judges also had reservations about chicken Teriaki as a dish young kids would go for and after Chef Ramsay's initial impressions of the sauce, the red team went back to the drawing board to make it sweeter and more kid friendly.

In the end, after a close battle, the red team won by a margin of 58% red to 42% blue.

The Pressure Test

While the red team celebrated victory, the blue team was faced with having to compete in a pressure test that would send one member of the team home. Krissie, who was channeling her inner Real Housewives of New Jersey persona throughout the episode, unabashedly called out team captain Jordan as being frazzled and a poor leader. But Jordan didn't let her intimidate him, and after saving two members from elimination, he was given the choice to stay and compete in the pressure test and send another blue team member to safety, or go to safety himself.

We all make judgements about people when we watch these shows and, generally, they aren't based on much reality, but for me, when Jordan copped out on his team and chose safety for himself I was surprised. To my mind, the reason the blue team lost was a lack of organization and the decision not to make the meatballs - both things Jordan was directly responsible for. Knowing that, I don't understand how he could go to safety with a clear conscience.

As Krissie said, "That was a bitch move," and I agree with her. When you take on the role of captain, in whatever endeavor, you also take responsibility for your team.

Moving on.

I was excited  this evening's pressure test was all about cheesecake and impressed once again by what Krissie brought to the table. As the veteran of one too many cheesecake fails, I was super impressed by how creamy and perfect the cake looked - and I want to know how to make the raspberry bombs on top!

Other noteable cheesecakes came from Cathy and Eddie who were both safe from elimination.

Not so much for Adrianna. Although her cheesecake looked good, she poured a guava topping that came from a can over the top that the judges unanimously decided had a funny taste and was sent home.

So two weeks in a row and two big surprises for me. You could have knocked me over last week when they sent Sasha home - but that's what I like about Master Chef; there's always something new to keep you on the edge of your seat!

Chef Ramsay Joins the Kitchen

On that note, in a surprise move, Gordon Ramsay joined the mystery box challenge (a half hour after the rest of them got started) and cooked a benchmark dish the chefs could all aspire to.

Sadly, Howard missed the tutorial and after serving raw fish was subjected to Joe. With a grand toss of the dish into the garbage, he mumbled Dirty Harry style  "This is the kind of crap that helps you get sent home."

I don't know about anyone else, but I was swooning.

People, I like my Bastianich when he gets his culinary rage on.

Luca Gets Revenge

The winning dish came from Luca and I couldn't have been more thrilled. Not only did Joe think his sauce and technique was amazing he got to choose from three desserts for the elimination challenge: 24 perfect cookies, 12 beautiful cupcakes, or a classic layer cake.

Luca chose cupcakes, which I thought was a smart move because it's so easy to dry them out, but it was his next advantage that made me happy - Luca got to choose one cook who would have to prepare the cupcakes within the time restraints without a mixer and in an act of beautiful retribution, Luca chose Jordan - another bitch move for sure!

In the end, the cook to go home tonight was Malcolm and Captain Jordan, who made amazing cupcakes after all, lived to fight another day!

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