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MasterChef recap: Family Reunion

Unlike last time, someone is sent packing this week.

Posted on

Greg Gayne/Fox


TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Reality TV

This week, the crew is told they’ll be divvied up into two teams to cook a family-style dinner for a family Gordon Ramsay has invited. Gordon keeps saying how special this meal is because the people are so important. Olivia thinks it may be the Kardashians; Tommy’s pulling for Prince William and Kate. But if you’ve read the title of this episode, I think you know exactly who’ll be eating their food.

The judges decide that Derrick and Claudia will serve as captains. “This is going to sound cocky,” Derrick begins, “but it’s time I’m captain.” This is the alpha male-iest thing Derrick’s said so far. With his sleeveless shirts and his deep-V-necks, we’re starting to see more of Derrick’s torso than ever before. Part of me wonders if he just says screw it and goes shirtless one of these weeks. Derrick chooses Nick, because they’re both Italian and Italians know family style, he explains. Claudia taps Katrina for her tenacity, Stephen for his veggies, Hetal for no announced reason, and Shelly because she was the only one left. That means Olivia,Christopher, and Tommy and his neon-green shirt so bright it nearly washes out on my TV are with Derrick. Claudia’s “not overconfident like Derrick is,” but is methodical so she’s feeling good, she shares. With that, they set off to whip up an entree, two sides, and a dessert.

On Claudia’s red team, she wants to do a roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and broccolini. There’s no dissent and her traditional, cohesive menu is set in under 10 seconds. Derrick wants his blue team to go Italian which to him means a rack of roasted lamb, baked ziti and a caprese salad. For such a self-proclaimed strong threat, Derrick’s a bit discombobulated when it comes to selecting a menu. “We’ve seen great cooks crumble under the pressure,” Christina Tosi ominously reminds us. Prep gets under way and Claudia describes her meal to Gordon, who rattles off cooking times by pound for chicken: his way of hinting that they won’t get all this chicken roasted in time. After Claudia says it should be fine, Gordon steps up his warning: “Don’t undercook them.” Stephen comes to her aid and says they’ll halve the birds, and in turn, halve the oven time. Claudia agrees and the poultry is quickly bisected.

On the blue team, Derrick has assigned Christopher to the pie crust for their chocolate mousse pie. During frequent progress checks, Christopher says things are “going” but his shaky voice further undercuts his less-than-informative report. Gordon, Christina, and Graham Elliot are discussing the lack of a big picture vision by Derrick for the meal, noting that once on a plate, this food will be a bit of a hodgepodge.

Despite the splitting, the red team’s chickens still aren’t in the oven yet. Katrina says they’re not dry enough and she and Claudia get to squabbling. At this, there’s a lovely shot of Gordon exasperatedly rubbing his face. “Get those clucking chickens in the oven. You serve a bloody raw bird, you’re going home and they’ll kick you out of your own house,” Shelly rightfully tells us. Finally, the birds hit the rack.

Gordon circles back to Derrick and tries to point out that he probably shouldn’t serve two very similar dishes comprised mainly of tomato and cheese. The light dawns on dear Derrick, though it’s Olivia who comes to the rescue, suggesting to swap the caprese salad for a strawberry and arugula number. The pie crust continues to plague Christopher. “Chris. You had one job,” Derrick tells us. Great line, sir. The crust isn’t done, though it’s not going to get more done if Christopher keeps opening the damn oven to poke at it. Derrick conveys this in a harsher manner and finally comes over to supervise that the oven will remain closed so the dough can cook. Out comes Nick’s ziti and it looks so amazing. One glance reminds me of my Italian aunts, who always nailed that perfect cheesy crust: a little blackened, a little crunchy, but still perfectly melty underneath. On the opposite end of the “we eat with our eyes so this must look good” spectrum is the blue team’s chocolate mousse pie, which looks like a puddle of dog poo with some nuts thrown at it. Upon sight of this monstrosity, Gordon gives us an “Oh dear” while Christina tsks.

With seconds to spare, the red team’s chickens aren’t out of the oven yet and Derrick is running around like a madman with his lamb racks. Overall, this was a helluva messy showing by nearly everyone (save Nick and that freaking ziti). Easily the sloppiest team-cook we’ve seen (or perhaps edited to look as such.) Nevertheless, Derrick’s confidence remains unfazed. “We went above and beyond. The lamb is perfect. The ziti is perfect. But I hate the pie and we could go down on dessert.”

NEXT: Time to vote.