Tonight she begins the competition with a serious advantage. First, she doesn’t have to cook. Chef Ramsay tells her she can ascend to the balcony in her “glamorous heels” to watch. Second, tonight’s cheftestants will compete in pairs, and she gets to assign the duos.
She pairs Christian and Francis B; Jaimee and Elizabeth; Victoria and Christine; Cutter with Dan Wu; Willie with Daniel; Ahran and her mortal enemy, Leslie; Francis L and Elise.
The challenge: one hour to team up on surf and turf.
Cutter and Dan Wu immediately clash in the pantry. Cutter thinks their two proteins won’t marry well. Christian says, “to be honest wit’ you, Francis B is awesome, the dude is great, he can cook his ass off,” so they’re off to a love fest.
Ramsay asks Cutter if he and his partner are ok and Cutter says they are definitely not, it’s turned into a “wild tangent” mystery box. “I am so pissed off at Dan Wu; he does not listen to anything; I know I’m probably going into a pressure test because I have an idiot as a partner who just wouldn’t listen to me.”
Wu tells the camera, “Cutter, under pressure, when things aren’t going well, he flips out.”
Leslie and Ahran, the oldest competitor and the youngest, are making a pork belly tostada (layered with pork belly, crab guacamole and kimchi fried rice). Ramsay tells Ahran, “Leslie’s your bitch.” Ahran has developed a newfound respect for Leslie, and Bastianich calls their dish “harmonious…a true marriage.” The two hug it out and the hatchet is buried, for the moment, and not in each other’s heads.
Dan Wu and Cutter’s plate is greeted with “what the f___ is that?” from Ramsay. Cutter says they “ran out of time in the pantry,” and it’s all Wu’s fault. Ramsay points out the obvious: they could’ve each grabbed a basket and filled it up and then worked it out at the workstation. Their dish, a seared venison loin over a puree of cauliflower and parsnips, and seared ahi tuna marinated over a three-radish salad.” Ramsay says it’s “possibly one of the worst dishes in this competition so far.” Cutter tells Bastianich, “you don’t have to eat it.” Restaurant Joe responds, “I’m a judge here, I know how to do my job.” He theatrically drags a trash can over to their work station and tells Cutter to “do the honors.” Dan Wu says he refuses “to play the blame game,” and describes what Cutter did as “a cowardly thing.”
Francis L and Elise are next up with rack of lamb with crab risotto, yogurt and caviar, topped by blood orange foam. Ramsay likes “the quirkiness” but is unimpressed. “The lamb looks like a dog chew; the caviar looks like frog spawn.”
Jaimee and Elizabeth serve lamb and red snapper with carrots and kale. Bastianich says it’s a “concept on a plate,” that captured exactly the spirit of what they were looking for when they said surf and turf.
Willie and Daniel have prepared seared ahi tuna with buttermilk miso fried chicken. “The flavors are there and it has character,” Ramsay says.
Christine and Victoria make pork belly and monkfish with green apple risotto. “Labor intensive and creative,” the team shines.
Christian and Francis B have put together moroccan spiced rib eye with king crab and roasted red potatoes. Ramsay is “underwhelmed,” by what he characterizes as “bland” “school dinners.” He tells them they each have one foot out the door.
The winning dish belonged to Victoria and Christine — up to the gallery — easily safe. Also safe are Leslie and Ahran; Willie and Daniel; Jaimee and Elizabeth. Barely safe are Elise and Francis L, though they’re at the bottom.
The four worst must face off in the pressure test: Dan Wu, Christian, Francis B, and Cutter must cook spring rolls with a delicious dipping sauce. Christian loves them but he’s never made them before; neither has Cutter. “Thanks for the softball toss to Dan Wu who screwed me,” Cutter says bitterly. They are all provided with the exact same ingredients, only limited by their imaginations. Wu uses the pasta maker to roll out his wrapper. Bastianich tells Christian ominously that they could send more than one home. One of Cutter’s spring rolls falls apart in the fryer and he has to scramble to make an extra.
Christian serves a vegetable medley with a spicy sweet sauce, with good flavors, “better than average.”
Francis B’s filling is out of proportion and his spring rolls are greasy. Bastianich wrings his out on a napkin.
Dan Wu includes water chestnuts, oyster mushrooms, snap peas, scallions and red pepper, with a sriracha, soy, ponzu, and plum sauce. Ramsay expected it to be a “master class” but says it was not Wu’s best work.
Cutter’s are all dough with hardly any filling, and he only provides a teaspoon of unbalanced sauce. Clearly he blames Wu, telling Bastianich, “sometimes people don’t work that well together.” Bastianich tells him, “sometimes you don’t work that well on your own.”
Christian is sent to the balcony for the best spring roll of the night. Dan Wu did not meet expectations, but the saving grace was his sauce, and that sends him to the safety of the balcony. Cutter and Francis B are both “in big trouble.” Cutter makes it to the balcony; Francis B is sent home for his greasy spring rolls and “gloopy” sauce.
MasterChef Season 5, 2014 Recaps
MasterChef Season 5, Episode 4 recap
MasterChef Season 5, Episode 5 recap
MasterChef Season 5, Episode 6 recap