The MasterChef Top 16 have much to be thankful for: They all survived a baking challenge and have made it one step closer to kitchen glory, they are treated to a second week with charming guest judge Aarón Sánchez, and they get to witness not one, but two up-close-and-personal cooking demonstrations by Gordon Ramsay. Honestly, I could watch Gordon cook all day long. The only downside to seeing a master at work is then when we cut to the home cooks manhandling precious, precious lobster, I’d like to toss my TV out the window. They’re still learning, I guess!
THE SKILLS TEST
Our cheftestants’ first challenge of the night is a speedy skills test: They’ll each have 20 minutes to butcher a lobster, making sure to extract every piece of meat possible and laying it out on a slab for all the world — but mainly the judges — to see how handy they are at cracking shells and removing full, meaty lobster tails. Are you drooling yet? The home cooks gasp as Gordon pulls complete claws and pushes out little rolls of meat from the legs, and it’s hard not to join in.
After watching Gordon work some magic over that lobster slab, the contestants are up. A lot is riding on this skills test: Not only does each cook have the potential to embarrass him or herself in front of our esteemed panel, but if the judges deem their lobster less than perfect, they’ll be forced to cook in an elimination pressure test. If Gordon and Co. are happy with the amount of lobster meat they see, the cook will be sent to the Balcony of Safety for the night. So extract that lobster meat like you’ve never extracted lobster meat before, cooks!
Turns out, some of our cooks were taking better mental notes during Gordon’s demo than others. Brandi, who doesn’t see much fresh seafood in Kentucky, has never cooked with live lobster before, but you can hardly tell from the end result of her skills test, Brandi is safe for the night. Joining her is Diamond, who had #fail written all over her before the test started: Diamond is a vegetarian and the idea of killing a live lobster was nauseating. The gal rose above it though and produced a well-butchered lobster. Gordon was impressed.
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The most impressive lobster, however belongs to Alejandro. When Gordon, Christina, and Aarón come by Alejandro’s station, Gordon calls the cook out for a random piece of meat sitting on the corner of the slab. Gordon looks like he’s going to toss the guy out of the kitchen for serving up some mystery meat, but instead, lauds Alejandro for taking the challenge one step further than even Gordon did. The man found meat where no meat seemed to exist. And that ladies and gents, is what a real American hero looks like. It’s also what the winner of the skills test looks like, and Alejandro wins an advantage in next week’s team challenge.
NEXT: Gordon Ramsay, spinner of (pasta) gold