MasterChef

Hello MasterChef fans!

Monday night the remaining eight amateur cooks faced another stressful team challenge -- cooking for 200 hungry kids! Anyone who is a parent knows how frighteningly hard kids are to please. In fact, if you are a mother or father of three, that usually means you'll end up making three different things for dinner! This challenge really boiled down to knowing your customer. The pressure to win them over was intense, but in the end, the red team emerged victorious.

Initially we judges had serious concerns for the red team. Unable to wrap our heads around the idea of a fried chicken nugget burger, we feared they were making a huge mistake. It seemed a bit gimmicky and conjured up thoughts of deep fried Twinkies or Snickers bars -- or worse -- school cafeteria food! But the red team had strength in their ability to be flexible and take our constructive criticism seriously.  Recognizing that their initial idea wasn't going to cut it, they had the good sense to make a change for the better and worked together as a unit to get it done. Christine didn't seem to be a terribly assertive or decisive leader, but at least she knew when to heed the advice of teammates, which unfortunately, is more than I can say for the blue team.

With Christian manning the ship, the blue team might have been screwed from the beginning — cook he sure can, but play nice with others? Not so much. Kids read between the lines and they know when things aren't quite right. Standing on the blue team's side of the block just felt oppressive. Honestly, I'm really not sure whose food was genuinely better that day -- it was clear the kids enjoyed both, but positivity and cohesiveness was the vibe of the red team, and you have to consider the effect that had on the children. For the blue team, hostility and dissention amongst the ranks is what was inadvertently being marketed to those kids. Ironically, Christian said it himself, this was on some level a popularity contest -- and you can't fool kids -- they see behind the façade and know what the real deal is.

Executing a proper soufflé puts the fear of God in seasoned, well respected chefs, as they are amongst the most difficult things to get right -- a true test of one's ability in the kitchen! At this point in the competition, Gordon, Graham, and I felt they could or should be able to handle it. As Jennifer, Adrien, Christian and Derrick got to work, I admit our own insecurities started to get the best of us.  Fear crept in that no one would produce something of quality, but that could not have been further from the case. All four soufflé's were shining examples of perfection -- cookery at its best! This is what we want to see in this competition, and what we expect from here on in. Much to the dismay of the so-called peanut gallery upstairs, there was no way could we eliminate anyone based on what was put forth. Who knew soufflé would be their saving grace?

Tune in Tuesday at 9/8c on Fox as the cooks take a journey back to their own childhood, and Christian's ego pushes one member of the MasterChef team too far. Thanks for reading everyone!

Joe