Wednesday, August 17, 2011

MasterChef: Finale

It took two hours
to narrow three down to one.
Congrats, MasterChef!

At this point there are only three chefs left in the competition: Adrien, the server from California who has a great sense when it comes to flavor, Jennifer, the blonde beauty queen who started off rough but has excelled in most challenges, and Christian, the stay at home dad who loves fish and is a dick. You can probably tell from that who I don't want to end up in the top three but of course that is up to the judges. The initial challenge this week is a mystery box. When they open up their boxes they see a familiar friend, this guy:

Hello again.

One of their very first challenges was creating a dish from the most popular meat in America, chicken, and they are put to the test again - probably to see how far they've come. Chicken is extremely versatile so each chef comes up with a very different dish.

Christian makes a chicken breast with an herb butter sauce and bacon on top of carrot puree. Jennifer uses a thigh and a breast wraps them in bacon and stuffs them with apples. Adrien goes a different way and braises only the dark meat in a mixture of herbs. While the judges are walking around Jennifer and Christian talk smack about one another and Adrien kinda hides in the back. Surprisingly there is no mention of the MasterChef line of cookware. I guess they took care of their marketing responsibilities in the middle of the season. 

At judging, Ramsey automatically grosses me out when he says the carrot on Christian's plate looks like a skidmark. His plating is not pretty, but his dish is tasty. Adrien's plate has such a small amount of chicken on his plate that I am sure he's going to get thrown a side eye from Joe, but he doesn't. His dish is delicious and Joe, a self-proclaimed rice snob, compliments his rice. Jennifer also gets praise for her dish but Graham points out that the breast is a tad overcooked.

Adrien ends up winning which doesn't get him much as far as immunity or a rose or whatever you can win on other reality shows but he does get to choose his dish's central ingredient first for the elimination challenge. This week they get to pick from Joe's three favorite ingredients to cook with (and probably to eat, but then again, he's really skinny): octopus, veal and mushrooms. In a possible strategic move to keep Christian away from seafood Adrien picks the octopus (the only reason I think this is not completely strategic is because Adrien really seems to like octopus and states that the first thing he remembers tasting was an octopus dish), Christian gets to pick next and decides to screw over Jennifer by picking the veal and leaving her mushrooms. But then - TWIST!- with a cheesy smile [why wasn't one of Joe's ingredients cheese?]  Jennifer reveals she's from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania - the mushroom capital of the world! Looks like Christian made a boo-boo.

Find out who the top two are and who earns the ULTIMATE CULINARY BRAGGING RIGHTS after the JUMP!
After their 10 minutes of shopping (I wish it were more like Supermarket Sweep cause at this point I'm bored and sleepy) they return to the MasterChef Kitchen and are greeted by the Ghosts of MasterChef past in a boisterous round of applause. Jennifer is brought to tears. When prompted, Ben Starr (I missed him!) says he thinks Adrien will win and eventually rule the culinary world, Crazy Christine says Jennifer will win and since no one else is willing to say they they want Christian to win, Suzy [probably] gets paid to say she wants Christian to win so that she will have been knocked out by the best. Whatever.

The three chefs begin their dishes with the past contestants standing in the rafters above. Could they not afford chairs for them? 

Adrien prepares a pulpo - an octopus dish with rice and beans. His plating is gorgeous.

This time, his rice isn't that great but he nailed the octopus. Christian made braised veal with mashed potatoes and a vegetable medly. Even Suzy thinks his vegetable medley is lame and says that 1982 called and wants it back. The same can be said about her insult. Joe rips his plating apart, takes the veal off, cuts it properly then replates it for Christian. It's cooked well and tastes good. Jennifer who I think took the biggest risk, made a mushroom ragout with a mushroom and egg yolk ravioli. Her risk paid off as her dish is praised by all three judges despite its need for a little more seasoning. 

Adrien is announced in! At this point, Christian is pooping in his pants:
It happens.
Jennifer is then announced at the other chef who will move on into the final two. 

Commercial break then it's the actual finale. We get another recap of the two remaining chef's journeys (it's been like one month if even) and how much they have grown.

It's at this point that Chef Ramsey declares, "The heat is on!"

I agree then dance around my living room (seriously, how can you not to this song?). As a last surprise to the contestants their families are brought in. Everyone cries. Ben Starr cries and I want to hug him:

The cooking is on! They are each expected to create an appetizer, main dish and dessert. They are seriously back to back in a tiny little cooking area. I guess it's their version on a gladiator ring.

While cooking, Adrien's mom yelled "Chocolate Boy!" and I hear, "chancla boy!" and having been hit by a chancla

The time runs out and both have created dishes that sound deeee-licious.

Round 1: Battle of the Appetizers!

Jennifer made perfectly seared scallops with a slightly cooked egg but left an abductor muscle on one scallop which is a big no-no. Adrien created mock taquitos stuffed with spot prawns wrapped in blanched jicima and plated beautifully. It's lacking prawn and may be a little too bright in it's flavors.

Round 2: Main Dish Showdown!

Jennifer decided to make chorizo, apricot and jalapeno stuffed quail which she has never cooked before. They are cooked perfectly and Ramsay appreciates her courage. Adrien served a beer braised short rib with ancho chile and chocolate flavors which created a mole-type sauce. The judges swoooooon over this, but wonder how much of the dish's amazingness is from the pressure cooker.

Final Round: War of the Desserts

Jennifer made a lame poached pears and apples with marscapone cheese. They agree it's ok - nothing special. It's lacking. Adrien at least tried to make a chipotle chocolate cake soaked with passion fruit and blood orange. unfortunately it ended up being dry. Poor guy.

After long deliberations (probably more like 5 minutes) they declare the winner is:

Which makes Adrien:

Yay for her! She is $250,000 richer and I really hope she went and rubbed that money in Christian's face then sanitized it. So, I survived my first season of MasterChef. The one thing I gained from this is the sadness that I can't cook like these people and didn't get to try Jennifer's mushroom ravioli dish and Adrien's braised short rib.

Do you think the right person won? Can you cook any of those dishes? If so, will you make them for me? 


  1. Here we go...

    1) I have figured out why I HATE Christian. Maybe just *another* reason, not THE reason. He is billed as the stay-at-home dad. WTF? I thought he was "trying to stay clean and get custody of his kid." So really, he's just an unemployed dillhole who likes to talk a big game about his kid.

    2)Rice. I love rice. All kinds. But sometimes (read: twice this week) I crave plain-ass white rice. Nothing special, just seasoned with some salt. I have a feeling Joe would hate me for that and try to ban me from ever eating rice again. Snob. (But, I like Joe a lot. His inability to control his (hater) facial expressions really warms my heart because I am the same exact way.)

    3) They are supposed to be home cooks but yet have experience cooking octopus?! Dude, I need to step up my game. Do you think HEB has octopus?

    4) Chairs. Yeah, I never understood that. 2 hour challenge, stand and watch. What? I did see that grandma was allowed a chair. That was nice. I wonder if she had to provide a note from her doctor so they would give that to her.

    5) Speaking of grandma, when the family stuff happened, it was sweet. But when they showed Ben Starr all emotional and physically trying to fight back tears, I lost it. I <3 Ben Starr. Isn't he from Dallas or something? Can we track him down and make a roadtrip out of it?

    6) I like that the judges used "ballsy" multiple times to describe Jennifer. I also would use that word. In my job, I find it hard to find court-appropriate alternatives for slang, like ballsy, so I appreciate it when people can use the colorful, super-descriptive words I want to use. I think it was ultimately her balls that won Jennifer the competition. With the egg yolk ravioli and the quail, she showed that she was willing to take risks to be the best.

    7) I'm super glad Jennifer won. I was able to relax while watching the show once Christian was eliminated. I really didn't care whether it was Adrien or Jennifer, so long as it wasn't Christian.

  2. I am in for visiting Ben Starr and glad that Jennifer won too even though I may have been cheering a little more for Adrien. Christian was just gross.