MasterChef: TV Dinner

You know what I love about MasterChef?  No theme song to sit through until we get to the show!  You know what else I love?  Mystery Box challenges!

For some reason I feel like this is our first true Mystery Box– the first set was different for each home cook and the second was like, Christina’s choice?  I don’t know how those themes invalidate them, but in my mind they do.  This week’s Mystery Box had a fun theme: breakfast!

This box includes sausage, bacon, smoked salmon, eggs, tomato, asparagus, banana, berries, and English muffins.

This box includes sausage, bacon, smoked salmon, eggs, tomato, asparagus, banana, berries, and English muffins.

Before the home cooks get to work, Gordon Ramsay announces that they’ll be cooking with a chef they could learn a thing or two from: Graham Elliot!  While the home cooks have one dish to make in 30 minutes, Graham ups the ante and decides to whip up three– one for him, one for Christina, and one for Gordon.

Graham's dishes on the left; top home cooks' dishes on the right.

Graham’s dishes on the left; top home cooks’ dishes on the right.

The top three plates that the judges taste are Nick’s breakfast three ways, Katrina’s blood sausage frittata, and Derrick’s expertly plated breakfast trio.  The winner of the advantage in the elimination challenge is… Derrick!  Aside from not having to cook, he heads into the pantry to determine the fate of all other home cooks.

In the pantry, Christina, Graham, and Gordon show him some creatively packaged TV dinners to chose from.  The home cooks must elevate this dish.  From Christina’s salisbury steak with broccoli and mac & cheese, Graham’s meatloaf with mixed veggies and potatoes, and Gordon’s turkey with gravy, green beans, and mashed potatoes, Derrick picks…


Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy, broccoli, and macaroni & cheese!  Olivia is embarrassed to admit that she doesn’t know what salisbury steak is.  She’s not alone– Hetal, the vegetarian, doesn’t know what she’s making either.  Somebody must tell them, though, because everyone secures their ground meat for the task at hand.

There’s another twist before they start cooking, though; Derrick gets another reward in that he can target a home cook of choice that has to stand idle for 15 minutes while the rest start.  Derrick selects Christopher, who only gets 45 minutes to cook while his competitors get the full hour.  Here are the results:

L to R, top to bottom: Nick, Christopher, Veronica, Hetal, Jesse, Shelly, Olivia.

L to R, top to bottom: Nick, Christopher, Veronica, Hetal, Jesse, Shelly, Olivia.

  • Christopher may not have had time to remove his ring mold from his mac & cheese, but his dish is both delicious and beautiful enough for Gordon to suggest they take 15 minutes away from him on every challenge!  He compares himself to both Jesus and Godzilla, and he’s become my fan favorite.
  • Hetal comes up to present in tears.  “Don’t eat it; it’s so bad.”  Hetal not only couldn’t taste her own beef, but she also had a mushroom allergy preventing her from tasting her own gravy.  That distracted her and ruined her whole plate.
  • Olivia’s plate goes over very well– a punch in every component!
  • Shelly’s seasoning is “Jamaican” Graham go crazy.
  • Veronica completely missed the objective.  She plated hers like TV dinner, despite being told by the judges not to.
  • Nick’s Italian twist on the dish goes over very well.  I laugh when he says his grandmother’s secret is to add parmesan… nah dude, that’s just how you make meatballs if you’re Italian.
  • Jesse’s looks bizarre.  The venison is extremely dry and bright white in color.

The top two are announced: Nick & Olivia!

The bottom three are Hetal, Veronica, and Jesse.  Sadly, both Veronica and Jesse are sent packing.  I’m glad to have Hetal still here; I like her!  Let’s see how Nick and Olivia do as team captains next week!

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