MASTERCHEF airs a new two hour special tonight on FOX tonight called the “Top 5 Compete; Top 4 Compete.” On tonight’s show the five remaining chefs create dishes inspired by loved ones. The winner will avoid elimination while the others will be tasked to prepare rare protein dishes. Later, the Top 4 face one last team challenge.
On the last episode, in the next team challenge, the remaining home cooks took over a high-end restaurant in Los Angeles. Before the dinner service began, teams met their surprise dinner consultant for the evening, Chef Gordon Ramsay, who was working alongside them. The team whose dinner service received the best reviews would be safe from elimination, while the losing team competed in the next pressure test and created their own croquembouche. Did you watch the last episode? If you missed it we have a full and detailed recap, right here for you.
On tonight’s episode, after the remaining home cooks are surprised with a few VIP guests in the kitchen, each home cook will create a dish inspired by one of their loved ones. The home cook with the best dish will be safe from elimination and move on in the competition, while the remaining home cooks must go with their guts as they prepare rare protein dishes and battle for a spot in the Top Four. Later, the judges announce a final team challenge that will determine who will advance to the Top Three. Find out which contestants demonstrate how far they’ve come in the competition in order to earn a spot in the finale and move one step closer to winning a life-changing grand prize.
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.
RECAP: We are down to the final five of #MasterChef. It’s Elizabeth, Cutter, Leslie, Courtney and Christian. Tonight is a two hour head to head edition to claim the title. There is a giant mystery box waiting down front for the chefs. Gordon says to start with the small mystery boxes at their stations. There is nothing under them! Graham says the most important ingredient is under the big box. It lifts and we see family members of the finalists.
It’s the #MCFamily reunion. Cooper, Courtney’s six year old brother is there and he runs to give her a hug. She talks about missing out on so much. Christian’s fiancee Jasmine is there and hugs her man. Elizabeth’s husband Ross is there – they’re newlyweds. Cutter’s dad David flew in from Texas and Cutter says they are BFFs and his hero in life. Leslie’s wife Paula is there and she says it’s so lonely and quiet and home.
Graham tells them that the mystery box will see the home cooks and their loved ones going to get ingredients for their favorite dish. David says steak. Jasmine says it’s seafood gumbo. Cooper says mac and cheese, Paula says lamb and Ross says meatballs and grits. Gordon tells them to make an elevated version of their favorite dish and they’re off and running. Cutter talks about how his dad adopted him when he was five and married his single mom.
Leslie says his wife is his soul mate and is a wonderful mother. Cooper tells Courtney he thinks they’re going to beat everyone. Joe says this is a great day to bring in their loved ones. The family members are all up in the gallery watching them cook. They worry that Jasmine may have stumped Christian with gumbo in just an hour. They also wonder how Courtney will elevate mac and cheese. She’s doing truffle and lobster. Yum!
Everyone is hard at work on their dishes. Gordon asks Christian how he’ll get gumbo done that fast and how he’ll elevate it then wishes him luck. They have half the time gone. Elizabeth explains about polenta and says in the South, they use grits. There are a little more than 10 minutes left and everyone is scrambling. The judges think Leslie is in the pole position and they wonder about Elizabeth since she has two rustic ingredients.
The families cheer down to the wire as the home cooks are plating. They’re hands in the air. Courtney blows a kiss to her little brother. The judges go to take one last look to decide which three to taste. First up is Courtney’s mac and cheese. She says she did lobster mac and cheese with truffle and a fried quail egg. Gordon says it looks perfect and it’s elevated.
Joe says he was worried when Cooper asked for mac n cheese. Joe tells her she’s made a perfect dish with a lot of technique. He congratulates her. Next chosen is Christian with his seafood gumbo. He says it has crawfish, crab and andouille sausage. Graham tastes and says it’s got flavor beyond belief. He says anyone would want to eat this dish.
The final dish chosen is Elizabeth’s. She made herbed grits nd brocolli rabe with her meatballs. Joe says it’s a beautiful collection of flavors. Gordon is wowed and says it tastes like they’ve been cooked for hours. The judges talk and reach a decision. Graham announces that the winner of the challenge is Elizabeth. They tell her this means that she’s officially in the top four. Her husband says he’s really proud.
All the family members come down to say goodbye. Cooper kisses his sister and the rest share hugs and kisses and they leave. Gordon thanks them as they leave. Elizabeth goes in the pantry with the judges to discuss the elimination test. They show her plates with the four others’ faces on them and Gordon says she gets to assign a protein to each plate.
First is an ox heart. Gordon says he loves to cook these and says they are 100% muscle. Next is veal brains that Graham says are very delicate and easy to overcook. Next is lamb’s tongue and Joe says it can quickly become inedible. Gordon says the last are buffalo testicles. He says without proper technique, it can be a mouthful no one wants to eat.
Graham tells her to put one on each face and then they all come back out. She heads up to the balcony. Gordon tells them she doesn’t have to cook and Graham says she got to pick proteins for each of them. Graham shows the four proteins and explains what they are. Gordo asks if they’re excited and Christian says he’s never cooked any of this.
They tell them to go to the pantry to find out what they were assigned and tell them they have one hour. Christian got brains. He’s squeamish. Leslie got the tongue. Cutter got the heart and she gave Courtney the balls. Elizabeth says Courtney is her biggest competition and hopes the testicles will trip her up. The chefs all get to work. Gordon says he thinks the brain is the hardest ingredient but Joe says it’s the testicles.
Christian says he boiled them and Joe says they are going to be very mealy. He says he’s going to put them in a pasta. Joe is skeptical. Leslie is working on the tongue and says Christian has the worst. He jokes that he would be nervous if he had brains. Christian is struggling #CookingBrains. Elizabeth sees that Christian looks scared and the judges think she may have done him in with that protein. He’s running around like crazy. Christian is doing a brain parmesan pasta and there are just 30 minutes to go.
Courtney says she’s not afraid of the testicles. She’s doing a vegetable stock and medallions. Cutter says he’s cooking the ox heart like a filet and they tell him it will take hours to cook. Leslie is working on his tongue and is braising it with bok choy. He tells Gordon he’s confident that he’ll be in the top four and it’s down to the last 15 minutes.
The judges chat and express worry about Christian’s panic and Cutter cooking too thick of a cut of meat. Leslie looks good and so does Courtney who says she kicked this challenge in its testicles. Gordon says this is the lats two minutes in the MC kitchen for one of the home cooks. They count down to 10 and it’s hands off the dishes.
Joe starts with Christian who is very upset with himself. He says his only hope is that it tastes good. He says he never cooked it before and didn’t maintain his time well. Joe tastes and says he’s a better cook than this. Joe says he used too much oregano and Joe say the brains are delicious but the rest of the dish pulled him down. Graham is next and says the brain is cooked perfectly but the rest of the dish is a mess. Graham says the dish doesn’t make any sense.
Courtney is up next with her fried testicles. Gordon says it’s the most glamorous he’s seen a testicle. He congratulates her on a job well done. Graham is next and says it’s really delicious and that no one would know what it was. She’s thrilled and says she showed Elizabeth that she can do anything. Leslie is called down next and presents his tongue and potato puree.
Gordon tells him the presentation is a little clumsy. He says he didn’t clean out the cartilage off the back. Gordon says the cook and flavor are good but the meat wasn’t cut right. Joe tastes and agrees that it wasn’t cleaned well and has a lot of garlic in it. Last up is Cutter with his seared ox heart with chili sauce. Graham says it’s the first time he’s seen his personality on his plate.
Graham says the presentation is great and then tastes and says it’s cooked beautifully. He congratulates him on a job well done. Joe tastes next and says it’s delicious and is cooked about as well as it can’t be. He says the rub he used made the dish. Graham calls them all down and Graham says there were two stand out dishes. He tells Cutter his was one but the best dish of the night goes to Courtney. They are both safe and head up to the balcony.
Joe announces that either Christian or Leslie will go home. Gordon stops Joe at the last second and they talk some more. They have some more debate over which of the two should leave. Gordon says this is their toughest decision so far and says the person leaving is Christian. He’s devastated. Graham tells Christian he’s one of the best cooks they ever had at MC.
Gordon says he hopes he continues on with his dream and offers to invest in his food trucks. Christian thanks him and then he goes up and hugs it out with the three judges. Christian asks who’s going to win it and he says he thinks, hands down, that it will be Elizabeth. He heads out.
The final four come back into the kitchen. There are only two cooking stations set up so they will be cooking in pairs. The winning team earns a place in the top two and the losers go head to head for the third spot. As the winner, Courtney gets to pick her partner. She chooses Elizabeth. That leaves Leslie and Cutter who sometimes don’t get along.
Cutter and Leslie both hate this and Cutter says he hopes Leslie can get his head out of his ass. Leslie says it’s fine with him. They each have to choose from a box from their two home states. Cutter and Leslie have to choose between Texas and California and the ladies have Pennsylvania and New York. They have to cook an appetizer and entree that are restaurant quality.
The teams debate and Leslie agrees to go with Cutter’s box to avoid an argument. They ladies agree to go with the Pennsylvania box. They each bring out their boxes. In the Pennsylvania box is a lot of fruit, produce, venison and Amish cheese. The Texas box has catfish, ribs, prime rib, corn, butter and he’s thrilled. They each head to their stations.
Elizabeth says they have to win because she doesn’t want to face off in a pressure test against Courtney. Cutter wonders how they can elevate catfish. Graham says he would stay away from the catfish. Gordon says he would make a Waldrof salad from the girls’ box. The men tell Gordon they are making spareribs for the appetizer and ribeye for the entree. They are making a mixed veg puree. The ladies tell Joe the app is trout on poached pears with apple butter beer sauce.
The entree is venison medallion marinated in root bear seared medium rare. Joe wishes them luck but seems skeptical. Cutter hacks his finger open and curses, calling for a medic. Cutter thought he cut it off and Gordon distracts him and says he just took his nail off. Leslie says this means he’s carrying the team for right now. He comes back to it and tells Leslie it hurts but will be all right.
The ladies debate over the flavor profile of something and then decide to change to a mash. Elizabeth thinks Courtney is micromanaging her and doesn’t like it. Cutter debates about making biscuits and Leslie yells at him to make a decision. The women are arguing now too. Gordon comes and asks what the hell is going on – they both made the same sauce and Elizabeth is annoyed. Gordon tastes the puree and spits it out and says it’s vile.
Elizabeth says they need to get past this and get it on the plate. Cutter is upset because their sauce isn’t reducing because it’s all fat. He’s panicking. They are down to the last two minutes. The women are plating together and Gordon says they won’t finish if they don’t get a move on. They count down from 10 and it’s hands off. The judges go first to the red team appetizer.
They bring up pan seared rainbow trout with poached pear and apple butter vinaigrette. Gordon says it looks like something from a finger buffet gone wrong. He says the trout tastes nice but says it tastes like their performance – underwhelming. Graham says cheese and fish shouldn’t go together. He tells them it looks like fish sticks.
He tastes and says the pear and sauce and cheese are nice but the fish makes no sense. Elizabeth says she should have stood up to Courtney and said it was a bad idea. The guys bring up their spareribs appetizer next. Gordon asks what the f- is that? They tell him it’s ribs with a rub and corn and onion. He says it’s not restaurant quality and says it’s depressing.
He shakes Cutter’s hand and mocks him for using just salt and pepper in the corn. He says he pressure cooked the rib then seared it. Gordon says it’s not a BBQ house, it’s the MasterChef kitchen. Joe calls it cave man food. He asks what they were thinking. He says they could have made a biscuit. Leslie says he never heard anything about a biscuit.
Joe says the ribs are good but it’s not elevated – it’s just corn on a plate and ribs. Leslie blames it all on Cutter. He says he’s going to take him down if they go to the pressure test. The red team’s entree is venison tenderloin medallions. Gordon says it looks beautiful. He says there’s a great sear and the cook on the venison is perfect. He says the mash is lumpy.
Joe tastes and says the plate needs a veg component and that it doesn’t feel like they collaborated. He says they are two of the best cooks they’ve had so it’s a disappointment. The guys bring up their entree. It’s a ribeye steak with potato, turnip and carrot puree. Graham says taking off the bone is a mistake because it helps keep it tender.
Leslie throws Cutter under the bus about the deglazing of the sauce. They nitpick at each other. Graham tastes and says the steak is great and has good flavor. He says there is too much mash and that it doesn’t have enough seasoning. Gordon says the sear on the steak is perfect. He cuts in and says the steak is good but is undercooked. He says the veg is embarrassing.
He tells them they lack in harmony when working together. Cutter is aggravated at Leslie. Gordon calls them all down front. He tells them there were some highs and lows. He tells them they are talented individually but not so much when paired. He says the winning team was only marginally better than the other and announces that Courtney and Elizabeth won it. They head up to the balcony.
Cutter and Leslie are facing off in the pressure test. Leslie says he has seven kids and grandkids and can deal with pressure. Cutter is ready to take Leslie out. They put on their pressure test aprons and Gordon says Leslie is facing pressure test number six – no one has ever done that many and survived. Cutter giggles when they refer to Leslie as a stay-at-home dad and calls him a joke.
Leslie tells him to put up or shut up and put it on the plate. For the next challenge they have to use the ingredients from the box they rejected. They get to use the California box. Elizabeth thinks Leslie will win this since he does so well in pressure tests but Courtney thinks Cutter will take it since he’ll be cooking his heart off.
The California ingredients include sea urchin, gourmet chicken, yellowfin tuna and more. Joe shows them sea urchin risotto and says this is an incredible dish. Graham says he would do Jidori chicken teriyaki. Gordon says he would do tuna nicoise with quail’s eggs. Gordon tells them they have to make all three of the dishes. OMG. Cutter curses. Gordon says they are expecting exact replicas.
Cutter says they make as well take his apron now. They have 90 minutes to cook and head to their stations. Leslie is excited about cutting Cutter out. Leslie says he hopes Cutter likes Texas since he’s headed home. Gordon says he can’t wait to see this and taste the results. Joe says this will be the most intense battle in the MC Kitchen. Graham says it’s Ali-Frazier.
Joe and Gordon discuss timing and says the chicken should be started first and that the risotto must be started when there is just 25 minutes left. The girls watch and see that Cutter is starting the risotto with an hour to go. Graham comes over and asks if it’s a practice run and he says it is. Graham says it’s the last thing to cook. Leslie laughs with glee that Cutter is already screwing up.
Graham tells Cutter to get centered and focus and tries to help him calm down. Courtney says this is intense since the three dishes are all so hard. Graham says Cutter is moving but maybe not right. Gordon says the glaze for the chicken is important and delicate. The girls try to coach Cutter and Leslie says to let him lose on his on and stop mothering him.
Gordon asks why the girls want Cutter to win and Leslie says they’re scared to face him in the finals and know they can easily knock Cutter out. They are down to the last 25 minutes. Gordon says Leslie is doing well and Cutter is manhandling ingredients and is clumsy. They are both starting their risotto. Cutter is smiling and seems less stressed with two minutes to go.
Gordon tells them to hurry up and plate. They have 75 seconds left to go. Leslie delivers his and Cutter runs down and barely makes it. It’s hands in the air and they are done. Leslie forgot his quail eggs for the salad. Cutter says he feels awesome and thinks he nailed all three dishes. Joe tastes the risotto and says one looks better. Leslie says Cutter’s risotto looks bad.
Joe tastes Cutter’s first and says the flavor is good. He tries Leslie’s and asks how much wine he used. He thanks them and walks off without comment. Joe says one had a better cook and one had better flavoring. He gives it to Leslie. Graham comes to taste the Jidori chicken teriyaki. Cutter says his looks more like the dish they showed.
Graham tastes and Leslie says it looks dry. Graham asks how long it was in the oven. He moves on to Leslie’s and says he doesn’t see as much glaze. He tells them both good job. Graham says they both were overcooked more than the other but one had better sauce. He says the better chicken was Cutter. They are tied. It’s down to Gordon’s dish and Leslie forgot his eggs.
Gordon tastes and critiques the cook on Cutter’s tuna then says the quail eggs and potatoes are cooked nicely. He says the tuna was cut badly. Gordon tells Leslie his nicoise looks clumsy. Gordon tastes and says the tuna is cooked beautifully. He says the dressing is delicious and the potatoes are overcooked slightly. He tells them it’s neck and neck.
The judges talk and they ask which tuna was better. Gordon says the cook on Cutter’s tuna was way off and Cutter says Leslie forgot the eggs. Leslie says Cutter’s plate looks better but that his tuna looks like sh*&. Gordon says the winning nicoise salad and in the final three is Leslie. He tells him that he nailed the salad and can live without the quail’s eggs. He heads up to the balcony.
Gordon tells Cutter he has grit and determination but then the big guy breaks down in tears. Joe calls him big boy and tells him to come say goodbye. They hug it out. Cutter takes off and the others applaud him as he goes. We see a flashback of Cutter’s journey.