It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… no, no, it’s just a plane. A plane flown by none other than chef extraordinaire, Gordon Ramsay… maybe? The editing here is highly questionable. C’mon, MasterChef! Let’s stick to what you’re good at: food and bleeping out Gordon Ramsay tirades. Thankfully, we get both in the latest installment.
Our Top 15 home cooks arrive at Camarillo Air Museum for their next team challenge. They’ll be cooking lunch for 101 Veterans from all branches of the U.S. military. The winning team will be selected solely by the Vets’ votes, not by our judging panel of Gordon, Christina Tosi, and, the always charming, Aarón Sánchez. It’s a lot of pressure for our cheftestants — not only do they want to survive another week in the competition, but they want to show their gratitude to these service men and women with a nice meal. So, like, not serving them raw meat would probably be a good start. Don’t worry, we’ll get to it.
THE TEAM CHALLENGE
Since Alejandro dominated in the lobster skills test last week, he’s automatically a team captain. He’s also given one other advantage: After the remaining contestants split themselves into two teams of seven, Alejandro can pick which of those two teams he’d like to lead. It’s really an even mix as far as top talent goes, but Alejandro opts for the Blue Team: Shaun, Brandi, Andrea, Diamond, Nathan, D’Andre, and Dan. Which leaves David, Terry, Katie, Diana, Tanorria, Manny, and Eric for the Red Team. The Red Team selects David as their captain, and both teams are tasked with making a hanger steak dish complete with one sauce and two sides. Did MasterChef choose hanger steak as the protein for some airplane humor that didn’t quite, um, land? One can only hope.
The Red Team
Hanger Steak With Mushroom Bourbon Sauce, Mac ‘N’ Cheese, and Zucchini
Out of the gate, the Red Team seems pretty together — how could they not, with Terry on their team? Why they didn’t select the proven team challenge winner as their captain is the greatest mystery of our time. Regardless, David is doing well. They opt for a simple salt and pepper seasoning on the meat to let Terry’s sauce really shine. As Christina surveys the Vets, people seem to be enjoying their dish — that is until she happens upon one Veteran who received his dish without any sauce… and three who were saddled with a plate full of raw meat. It’s not great. Manny, who had been slicing the meat, gets a delightfully bleeped out mouthful from Gordon. The team tries to recover in the end, but things aren’t looking good.
The Blue Team
Hanger Steak With Chimichurri Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, and Brussels Sprouts
The Blue Team has the exact opposite problem of their opponents: They are a bit of a mess as the challenge begins. Gordon swings by to taste their potatoes and finds a bland mess, he has D’Andre come over to taste for himself. Instead of taking the spoon from Gordon, D’Andre leans in to taste from it while it’s still in Gordon’s hand. Gordon is appalled. I get it, D’Andre, we’ve all wanted to be spoon-fed by Gordon Ramsay at one time or another, but there’s a time and place for everything. Currently those are: “every night” and “in my dreams” respectively. The team also runs into an issue with Shaun’s honey citrus marinade, which, as he was warned would happen, burns once placed on the grill. Lesson of the day: Sugar and hot grills do not mix. They manage to recover and win high praise from many of the Vets, especially for their chimichurri sauce.
After a surprisingly emotional voting sequence, in which each veteran walks forward to select red or blue as their favorite meal of the day, a plane overhead reveals that the Blue Team took this one, and they took it in a landslide. Christina reveals that the Blue Team earned 77 out of 101 votes. So, Alejandro and co. live to cook another day, while David and his teammates will face a pressure test back in the MasterChef kitchen.
THE PRESSURE TEST
On the Pressure Test menu tonight is some good ol’ American comfort food: fried chicken. Each cook will have to break down a chicken into two breasts, two thighs, two drumsticks, and two wings, and then fry up those babies to make a perfect box of crunchy, delicious, fried chicken. There is one final twist: Not all seven members of the losing team will be facing elimination. The team has three minutes to select one member to save; if they can’t come to a decision, all seven will be sent home. It’s a random, seemingly useless twist, and I love it.
NEXT: Oh captain, my captain