Unfortunately, tonight’s episode title refers to his dishes, not his masterful insults, which is a shame. A clipshow of Gordon Ramsay harshly skewering various past contestants would have been more interesting than what was actually shown. Instead, the top 12 chefs left have to replicate one of Gordon’s signature dishes, one that he’s served in his famed eateries more than 300,000 times. Up comes the dome and we see that it’s a perfectly cooked beef Wellington. Into the dining room the home cooks file and sit in groups of two, ready to taste and deconstruct the signature dish.
The dining room looks like a Crayola box exploded. Well, it’s mostly Tommy’s shirt. As is tradition, Derrick has foregone sleeves this evening. He dives into the dish, calling himself a surgeon as he picks apart the layers of what he decries as “the most perfect bite in the culinary world.” Easy, Derrick. Gordon’s not listening. You don’t have to suck up so hard. Hetal reminds us yet again that she’s a vegetarian and I’m starting to get sick of hearing that she doesn’t understand how to cook meat. She instead cuts the meat apart and talks about feeling every fiber of the cow’s muscle. Sigh. We’re also treated to B-roll of Katrina, dining opposite Derrick, letting out a hearty guffaw. Perhaps Derrick told her a rock & roll joke, because, y’know, he plays the drums and stuff.
After the meal, it’s directly to the kitchen, where they’re told to cook at the station beside the person they just ate with. Since this is such a specific instruction, you just know there’s a related twist around the bend. But for now, everyone’s underway with Challenge Wellington. Hetal’s cooking this meal by touch, which is fine, except she’s forgotten the fat in the pan for the steak. Oops. Stephen and Gordon have an intense-off, where they both shout weird things at each other, culminating in Stephen half-yelling that if he had met Gordon 35 years ago, they’d be good friends by now. Gordon agrees and they high five with conviction. And now I’m having visions of what 13-year-old Gordon was like. I wonder if he was a bully or the bullied?
Most of the dozen are struggling when it comes to wrapping the filet in the puff pastry, but Katrina’s having extraordinary issues, to the point the judges have noticed holes in her dough from 20 paces. She doesn’t know what happened, she complains to us in her confessional. Gordon has meanwhile rushed over, uttering “Oh dear,” over and over. He sounds like my grandmother when she’s worried she won’t get a seat at bingo night. “It’s not going to be pretty. It’s a mess,” she apologizes to Gordon, while he’s standing there, going, “Damn, damn, damn,” like he’s a scratched record stuck on repeat. I’ve asked this before, but why does Katrina always get such a pass from him? He’d be all over most other cooks who have this much trouble, yet Katrina is exempt from a stern lecture? This time, his handholding ends with his reminding her to focus on her sides and sauce.
Nick’s simmering his sauce while Christina Tosi…flirts(?) with him. I’m not sure what else to call her dubbing him a “beefcake.” He’s cooking beside Kerry, who I don’t recall having seen before, except for the beginning of this episode where he tells us he has a daughter and wants a food truck so bad. Hi, Kerry. You’ve gone from no airtime to a ton. I think we all know what that means…
Time’s nearly up, and the judges instruct the chefs to leave the Wellingtons whole and the sauce on the side, so the telling first slice can be more of a reveal. Here comes the twist regarding the pairings: each twosome is now a team and each team will send up only one Wellington for judgment. Winners are safe from elimination; four losers go on to recreate another of Gordon’s dishes that’s even harder to execute. Loser of that contest says goodbye. “Your entire fate rests on sending forth the right dish,” the cooks are told. Since they haven’t been sliced yet, it’s all a crapshoot as to the cook and it comes down to each pair discussing and/or arguing about who pulled it together better. Well played, MasterChef.
Olivia and Shelly huddle together. Olivia wants hers to go; Shelly wants to talk technique. Oof. Katrina and Derrick quickly decide to send Derrick’s, which looks strong, and I feel like Katrina skirted the chopping block yet again. Stephen gives zero f—s as he points out “my near-perfect puff pastry is better than that” before pointing at Sara’s. Bluntness aside, he’s right. Christopher is concerned with the cook on Hetal’s filet, as is Hetal. Tommy doesn’t put up a struggle against Claudia, whose dish will be used.
NEXT: Katrina whines more. That’s new…