Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, Joe Bastianich
MasterChef is back this week with the Top 6 home cooks in America. The latest team challenge has the contestants in the commercial kitchen of WP24, Wolfgang Puck's modern Asian restaurant in Los Angeles' Ritz-Carlton. When there were only six of us left during my season, we, too, had to cook in a commercial kitchen: it was the boys versus the girls at Hatfield's, a Michelin-rated restaurant, and after a painful dinner service, Becky, Monti, and I pulled off the biggest victory of our lives thus far.
This season's restaurant challenge, however, is of mixed gender: Natasha leads Jessie and Luca, while Bri is team captain over James and Krissi. We then get a sound bite of Krissi saying she hates Asian food — whaa?! And then we get James lamenting over how his teammates consist of a vegetarian and a gal who doesn't eat Asian food. (I feel for you, James!)
And just like during Season 3, Gordon Ramsay is the expeditor. And when you've got Gordon yelling out orders and telling you to hurry up, believe me, service is a straight nightmare. Luca on the red team mucks up the shumai during the appetizer service. One of my favorite dishes to eat at dim sum, shumai is a pork and shrimp or crab dumpling, its name meaning "cook and sell." But once entree service begins, it's Krissi on the blue team that screws up the prawns. In the end, after the judges receive feedback from the WP24 patrons, they decide the blue team falls short, and so Bri, James, and Krissi enter the dreaded pressure test.
In this pressure test, the cooks have to break down a squid and make calamari served with a side of marinara sauce. I like my calamari lightly dusted with flour, cornmeal, and dried herbs. The marinara sauce should taste bright yet garlicky. All three cooks don't serve stellar calamari, but Bri ends up going home a second time. When asked how she knew her calamari was done, she says she cut it open and knew by the texture. But it's difficult to be a strict vegetarian and compete in a culinary competition such as MasterChef. I've been surprised at how long Bri has lasted in the MasterChef kitchen. She is almost like the Season 4 counterpart to me: I couldn't see my food, she doesn't taste her food. But admirably, Bri made it to the Top 6 and even came back with a vengeance after being given a second chance. Best of luck to you, Bri.
Tune into FOX next Wednesday for two back-to-back episodes of MasterChef, beginning at 8/7c on Fox. It's down to the Top 5. Do you agree Bri should've been the one to go home this week? For all things MasterChef please visit www.fox.com/MasterChef.