MASTERCHEF airs a new episode tonight on FOX called the “Top 16 Compete.” On tonight’s show a mystery-box challenge has the Top 16 chefs preparing dishes using canned foods. The winner will work with former “MasterChef” champion Luca Manfe and “MasterChef Junior” winner Alexander Weiss to select a specialty dish for the elimination round.
On the last episode, contestants had to prepare an upscale seafood menu for a beachfront wedding. After an emotional challenge, tensions were high, but both teams completed their dinner for the wedding guests. The team who most successfully finished the dinner was safe from elimination, while the losing team faced the pressure test featuring a traditional American meal with steak and fries; Jordan was sent home. Did you watch the last episode? If you missed it we have a full and detailed recap, right here for your enjoyment.
On tonight’s episode, in the next mystery box challenge, contestants must prepare a unique dish using various canned foods. The winner will have a significant advantage in the next round and, with the help of MASTERCHEF winner Luca Manfe and MASTERCHEF JUNIOR winner Alexander Weiss, determine which former MASTERCHEF champion’s specialty dish each contestant will prepare in the elimination round. Find out who will stay and who will be sent home
Don’t forget to join us for our live recap tonight at 8:00pm when MasterChef Season Five on Fox airs. While you wait for the recap, let us know how you like the fifth season of MasterChef so far.
The judges wait as the home cooks file in – it’s down to top 16. They take their places at their stations in front of their mystery boxes. Graham welcomes them and says they’re just getting started with the torment. Gordon says they can lift the box and see what awaits them. Tyler is hoping for rabbit or squirrel and Christine wants bone marrow. They do a count of three and lift. It’s canned food with no labels on them!
Gordon says everyone uses tin cans – what an odd #MCMysteryBox. Big Willie is confident because he’s used to canned foods. Elizabeth says this is a doomsday preppers dream come true. Joe says they can open as many or few cans as they want. They also get milk, eggs and flour to make their dish. As always, the winner gets an advantage in the next challenge. They have one hour and the challenge starts.
They go to work opening cans with manual openers. Elise makes a face as she samples a can. The judges go back and look at the cans they have opened. Fruit salad, asparagus, chick peas and others. Elizabeth is making a soup with a potted meat topping like borscht. Ahran only opened up the canned fruit and is making a cake. Jaimee is flummoxed and ready to cry.
Francis L is making seafood soup with a Thai flavor. Ahran tells Joe she is making sponge roll cake with fruit filling. Victoria tells Gordon she’s making a potted meat fritter and she says she really wants to shine in this one. Jaimee finally decides to make a soup, but there’s only 10 minutes left. The judges talk about who’s making smart decisions and who’s struggling.
Joe says this challenge really sorts out which cooks can think on their feet. They are on the last 60 seconds of their challenge and then Gordon counts it down and it’s hands off. Victoria is excited that this dish will put her on the map. Francis L is also optimistic. Gordon announces three great dishes they want to try. First is Elizabeth with her first time in the top three.
She brings hers up and says it’s borscht with crispy chickpea and ham topping. Gordon tries it and says the condensed milk is offset with the spices and says he would never think it came from a can. Graham also likes it and says she did a great job. Joe samples and says it’s rich and a good flavor depth. Next up is Victoria, also with her first time in the top three. She’s overjoyed.
She’s made a potted meat fritter with spicy ketchup and sauteed salad. She used eight cans of ingredients – five of them meat. Graham says it’s really good and is a great use of the ingredients. He says the fritters could have been smaller, but it’s a good job. Gordon says it’s very gastropubby what she’s done. He says they’re not pretty, but they are flavorful.
Joe calls Ahran up and says she used very few cans. She’s made a rolled sponge cake with flavored whipped cream and fruit inside it. He said this is the smartest dish that was made and says the sponge cake is light and wonderful. He compliments her for thinking of dessert and being brave enough to only open one can. Gordon tells her she has the biggest balls in the competition.
The judges tell the top three well done but that only one gets the advantage and says it will be like never before. Gordon announces that the best dish of the night was Elizabeth’s. She’s excited that she’s finally won. She heads back to the pantry with the judges so she can be in control of the elimination test. Today’s elimination challenge them is announced by a chef that has been in her spot.
It’s Luca, last year’s MasterChef winner. He says he’s been running a catering company called Dinner with Luca, has had a baby and his beautiful cookbook My Italian Cookbook and is opening a restaurant in Brooklyn later this year. Graham then welcomes the winner of MasterChef Junior Alexander. He tells Gordon he’s been giving cooking lessons and has just kept on cooking.
Joe says they’ve got #2MasterChefs there for her. The first advantage is that she doesn’t have to cook and then she gets to make a decision about the dishes. She will choose who has to cook which dish. The judges and Elizabeth head back out. She goes upstairs. Graham tells the other cooks that at least one of them will be going home.
Gordon then announces Luca and Alexander into the room. Each is holding one of the dishes. Courtney is excited to see Luca – she says she was a big fan. Christine says Alexander is fierce. They each made one of their signature dishes. Luca made pancetta wrapped veal with radicchio and apples in a white wine sauce. Willie is intimidated about the restaurant quality dish.
Alexander made passion fruit panna cotta with coulis and hazelnuts. Cutter says it looks like something from a five star restaurant. Joe tells the cooks that Elizabeth will pick who cooks which dish. She assigns panna cotta to Cutter and says his bear hands may not be able to do it. Christian, Jaimee, Christine, Ahran, Francis B, Victoria and Tyler also get the dessert.
The others have Luca’s veal dish. They let the home cooks taste the panna cotta. Jaimee is so impressed with it and she’s confident she can recreate it. Courtney says Luca’s dish is perfectly balanced and she thinks she can kick ass. They each have 60 minutes to make their assigned dish. Graham starts the clock ticking and they run off to the pantry.
Willie is going on the flavor profile of Luca’s dish but doesn’t know what radicchio is. Elizabeth tells the others she’s just chilling with Luca. Gordon says you have to prepare the veal and then let it rest. The panna cotta is very technical because of the precision of the gelatin. Courtney says Elizabeth picked veal for her because she sees her as a threat and thinks she can only make desserts.
Christian says he doesn’t know why she gave him the panna cotta but says he’s trying to learn. Willie is making veal and says he’s going to sear it and then wrap it in the panchetta. Gordon is concerned because he’s cooking the veal twice and it may be dry. Gordon says that’s not the way to cook the dish and says he may be going home tonight.
Alexander also watches from upstairs as the home cooks scramble. They are halfway through the test. Gordon asks Luca about Willie’s approach and he says he wouldn’t do it himself, but says he may be inventing a new dish. Alexander says Jaimee is doing the panna cotta well and is in the proper order of steps. He says Tyler also looks good.
Gordon comes to see Cutter and says he looks in a panic. He’s never cooked or eaten panna cotta and has made a huge mess. They’re down to the final steps when Jaimee realizes someone has taken a panna cotta off her tray. She’s not sure if someone is trying to sabotage her or just made a mistake. Her first panna cotta puddles and then her second and she doesn’t have her third one. She’s devastated.
Graham calls down Elizabeth and the two champs. Luca wishes them all luck and says the judges are all geniuses. Gordon thanks them both and they head off. Courtney is up first and she cooked the veal. The sauce looks good and she did sage leaves and cheese inside. Gordon tastes it and says the veal is nailed even though her veg is slightly charred.
She says she was given the veal because it was difficult and was hoping she would stumble. Graham says it looks like Luca’s dish and says it’s delicious. Joe asks if she’s cooked veal before and she says she hasn’t. Joe says it’s amazing and he likes the charred veg that Gordon criticized. She’s thrilled and thinks her performance sent a strong message.
Big Willie is up next and he thinks he’s done well. Gordon asks if he listened to Luca and he says he did. Gordon tastes and says it’s dry as he thought it would be. He says the sauce is perfect, but because he didn’t follow the directions and his dish is overdone. He says he thinks he has one foot out the door. Gordon says he better hope someone made a bigger mistake than he did.
Christian is up next with panna cotta. He says he’s disappointed with his plating and caramel. He says he knows he could have done better. Graham cuts it and says it’s like cheesecake. He says there is way too much gelatin and it’s the worst dish he’s made.
Cutter comes up with panna cotta and he says Elizabeth knows desserts are his Achilles heel. Joe tastes it and says it’s really good. He says his consistency is spot on and says the plan to take him out was a fail. He tells him good job.
Next is Jaimee. She’s upset about her third one being gone. She tells Graham it’s just mush. She says it’s the first time in six years it didn’t set up. Graham tastes it and says it’s like a really good pudding. She thinks it’s a nightmare and is so embarrassed.
Tyler brings up his panna cotta and it’s a mess because he had to hit it against the plate to get it out. Gordon tells him this is the first time a contestant has brought them a dish they did not cook. Tyler stares down in shock. He asks what he means and Gordon marches to the back of the kitchen and Tyler is freaking out.
Gordon goes back to the chillers and pulls out another tray of ramekins. He brings them up and asks him what he sees. He says those are his ramekins. He says he put his on the top shelf but Gordon says he put four ramekins in and he pulled out four. He says he has served them Jaimee’s dessert. Tyler apologizes.
Gordon says he believes him and thinks he was just running around with seconds to go. He says this is a first. He says the judges have to confer. Joe says they can’t taste his dish because he broke the rules. Gordon says it was a mistake but Joe says rules are rules. They come back out and Gordon says you have to be judged for what you put on your plate.
He says that you can’t judge what’s on a plate if you didn’t make it. He says this contravenes the rules of MasterChef. Gordon tells Tyler that he’s off the show. Tyler is floored. Gordon says he’s been doing well and they never saw it ending like this. Gordon tells him he’s good and should keep cooking. Tyler thanks them and apologizes. He also apologizes to Jaimee and says he didn’t mean to hurt her.
Tyler is told to take off his apron and he goes. He says he’s devastated but thinks it was a fair decision. He hugs Big Willie on his way out the door. Gordon tells the others that it was a sad ending and says the competition has to go on and says there is one dish that was a standout. Gordon says the winner will also get a game changing advantage in the next challenge.
Courtney wins the advantage and Gordon says she nailed it 100%. Courtney is happy but says it doesn’t feel as good because of all the drama of the night. The judges wish them goodnight and that’s it for tonight’s episode of MasterChef.