With a heavy heart I bid farewell to my vegetarian chef, Bri. I will not lie. When I found out that she was a vegetarian, I expected her to leave in the first few weeks. Her tenacity, personality, and will power quickly turned me around. I will miss Bri a lot.
This episode of Master Chef brings the chefs together with another Mystery Box Challenge. Inside the mystery box, however, is not ingredients but family members! We are presented with Jessie’s mother and father, the wife of Luca, James’ fiance, and Eddie’s girlfriend, Natasha’s husband and son, and Jordon’s father. The only one missing is Krissy’s son who was taking the Standardized Test. They were able to bring him in via video-call with a tablet, but it was a bit heartbreaking seeing her reaction to when he was not there. It humanizes her a lot but at the same time it is not enough to make me begin rooting for her again. While I do feel bad for her, I do not support her in this competition any longer.
To fit the theme of this mystery box challenge, the chefs must prepare a meal that revolves around their loved ones. This means that they have free reign to create whatever dish they want. Luca decides upon a halibut risotto, Jordon makes a curried butternut soup, while Jessi struggles with the fact that her parents are watching over her shoulder from the balcony. Apparently they are tough critics and they are not afraid to voice their opinions as she cooks.
Once time is up, the chefs must present their meals to the judges. The top three chefs who presented to the judges were Natasha, Jessie, and Luca.
Natasha’s dish was Green Curry with coconut, roasted corn and rice. The flavors were spot on even though she had forgotten her chicken stock earlier in the challenge. Joe questioned the spiciness but he admitted that everything came together beautifully. A good sweetness with the corn to compliment the spiciness of the curry.
Jessie presented a roasted duck with a blackberry red wine reduction sauce, Brussel sprouts, and pecans. Graham asked Jessie’s parents if she has improved during her time on the show to which they responded with a hearty yes. Ramsay claimed the dish was visually beautiful, restaurant quality in presentation while the duck was cooked to perfection. Pink with the fat rendered nicely.
Luca’s pan-seared halibut with white asparagus and risotto won over the judges. Ramsay loved the use of mint, the searing of the fish, and the flavors of the risotto. Joe was pleased with the perfection of the risotto and he complimented Luca on how the dish seemed to be perfect in terms of being a love letter to his wife.
In the end, Luca’s dish comes out on top. The judges consider his dish to be the one that stood out the most as a tribute to his wife and that it was a love letter on a plate. For having the best dish, Luca gets some advantages in the next round. The first is the typical safe-from-elimination. The second is the ability to pair the remaining chefs up for the elimination challenge.
The elimination dish for the evening is Sushi. Not just any sushi, mind you, but an entire plate of several popular sushi dishes; from rolls, to the traditional sushi, to tempura. Luca makes it very clear that he is targeting Natasha (for he openly says it and Natasha is not ashamed to admit that she believes that Luca would target her) by teaming her up with Krissi – who despises sushi with a passion. James and Jordon are teamed up thus leaving Eddie with Jessie. To make things even more complicated, this is a tag-team challenge which means only one chef will be cooking at a time until the judges tell them to switch.
Jordon and James believe they are the strongest but their overconfidence causes them to mess up several times throughout the challenge. Jordon messes up his first urchin (uses his fingers to scoop it out and washing the meat) while James is unsure on how to fillet some of the shrimp and fish. Natasha delegates Krissi expertly and to Krissi’s credit, Krissi listens. Eddie and Jessie are the ones who seem to struggle the most, however, as Jessie is not too familiar with sushi and Eddie has never prepared it in his life.
When the challenge is over, the contestants present their meals to the judges. Luca’s plan to trip up Natasha by teaming her up with Krissi backfires. Krissi, not wanting to be eliminated, listens to everything Natasha has to say when it comes to how the sushi is prepared. This, combined with Natasha’s familiarity with sushi, puts the two of them on top.
Jordon and James, the supposed “dream team” of the three groups, proved that their egos got the better of them. The first mistake came when the two of them forgot to salt any of their food. The second, and most grievous was how they treated their shrimp. Unable to decide how exactly to cut them, the duo basically ended up butchering the shrimp. To make matters worse, they couldn’t help snickering as judge Joe commented on the shrimp’s appearance – much to the disdain of Ramsay and Joe.
Fortunately for Jordon and James, Eddie and Jessie’s meal was worse. Eddie messed up the rice and uni while Jessie failed to butcher the fish properly. To their credit, the chefs took equal responsibility for the failure of the dish. The Uni was inedible due to the fact that the intestinal track was left inside. Joe challenges Eddie to eat the uni but Eddie does not and neither does Joe.
The judges do not share Eddie and Jessie’s view that the meal was 50/50. The believe that Eddie’s complete and utter lack of knowledge for sushi was what really spiraled their team into the abyss. It is because of that, in a shocking twist, that Eddie is the one being sent home.
It is amazing how one of the top competitors of the show can be sent home so easily. It’s a huge shame as Eddie was one of the front runners and I genuinely liked him. To his credit, he said that he will be leaving with his head held high for the simple fact that his elimination was solely based on a food he does not have experience with as opposed to one he cooks all the time. Great attitude, Eddie! You will be missed!