Masterchef (2010) s09e03 Episode Script

The Judges Do Battle, Part 3

This season on MasterChef, everything has changed.
Because this season, the judges do battle.
Every home cook we bring here into the MasterChef kitchen Is competing for a MasterChef white apron.
Each of us have just eight aprons.
Just eight chances to find America's next MasterChef.
If a judge chooses a home cook to wear one of our aprons We become their mentor.
Gordon: Previously Game on, boys.
our search for the next MasterChef began.
One of us is going to become your mentor.
- ( exhales ) - Who's it gonna be? Gordon: 15 home cooks impressed us with their culinary skills - Great job.
-earning a coveted white apron.
- I got an apron from Gordon! - ( cheering ) Tonight only nine aprons remain - This is gonna be tough.
- Whoo-hoo! - as the last home cooks - Come on.
scramble for a place in the competition.
The final apron goes to - Gordon:And then - You are the top 24.
It's time for your very first mystery box challenge.
- Lift! - ( all groan ) I told you that this year things are gonna be tougher than ever before, and I meant it.
Right, let's see what we've got.
- Joe, how many aprons you got left? - I've got two aprons left.
- Two.
Aarón? - I think I have four aprons left.
I've got three.
One of us is gonna find America's next MasterChef.
- That's right.
- Let the battle begin.
( cheers, applause ) Narrator: First up are two talented home cooks who hope to win a white apron I'm coming out with an apron, for sure.
by putting their own twist on their family's fried chicken recipes.
You've had my dad's Southern chicken.
It's kind of unreal, you know it is.
My name is Farhan, I'm 25 years old, I live in Chicago, Illinois, and I'm a third-year dental student.
My dad has owned a series of restaurants, and that's really where my love of cooking came from.
Whoo-pah.
This is my spice cabinet.
I love to combine American dishes and change things up by using Indian flavors, and I think that's what's really gonna set me apart.
My name is Gerron.
I'm 25 years old.
I'm from Louisville, Kentucky, and I'm an English teacher.
Out of seven siblings, I'm the first person in my family to go to a four-year college and graduate.
Growing up in a rough neighborhood, cooking, for me, was a way out, and that's exactly the opportunity that I want to provide for my students.
( cheers, applause ) - Let's get that chicken, bro! - Yeah! Farhan: MasterChef is gonna give me the platform to show America what Indian food is all about.
- Welcome, guys.
- Gerron: Oh, my goodness.
Indian could really be the next Tex Mex.
All that needs to happen is it needs to be packaged in the perfect way, and I'm the person to do that.
Both of you, welcome to MasterChef kitchen.
- Thank you.
- Aarón: Now, to take a place in the MasterChef competition, you only have to impress one of us.
And if you have what it takes to get more than one offer, then it's up to you to choose who you want to be your mentor.
And if you're smart, you'll pick me.
( both laugh ) So, it looks like we have a fried chicken cook-off comin' our way.
- Fried chicken challenge.
- Yes, we do.
Yep.
You have 45 minutes on the clock.
Time starts now.
- Let's go, Farhan, let's turn it up.
- Let's do it, baby.
Making that Mumbai marinade.
What about you, brother? I hear you.
I'm over here making my brine for my Nashville chicken.
We gon' turn it up.
You know, it's funny.
There's a lot of camaraderie between both of them.
They're nice, likeable guys.
But here's the deal.
I need a home cook with killer instincts, creativity, heart.
They want to take risks.
My aprons are going to people who already have great palates, abundant food knowledge, and real technique in the kitchen.
Entirely different from me, let me tell you.
I'm looking for students.
As long as they're willing to learn, I'm willing to teach them everything they need to become America's next MasterChef.
- Farhan? - Yes, sir? - What's in there? - This is actually my dad's secret tandoori chicken blend.
Wow.
I've adapted it to be buttermilk instead of yogurt, and it's my mom's cilantro coconut chutney.
And we're gonna fry that up on a buttermilk biscuit.
So it's my family's story, coming to America, on a plate.
Your story sounds extremely similar to mine.
- I'd love to hear it.
- Trust me, Aarón.
I've been watching you on TV since I was a little boy, - so this is a dream come true for me.
- I appreciate it.
- Good luck.
- Thank you.
Gentlemen, 25 minutes remaining.
- Yes, Chef.
- Thank you, Chef.
Gordon: Gerron, give us an insight into what you're making.
Yes, Chef, I'm making a Nashville hot chicken with a vinaigrette-based slaw and also a sweet heat sauce.
It's my mother's recipe, and so the way we traditionally do it is a paper bag, and you season the flour to give you that Nashville smoky, sweet, and spicy.
Gentlemen, ten minutes left.
The last ten minutes you have to finish your dishes.
( sizzling ) The spices in this kitchen are intoxicating.
It smells awesome.
I've had fried chicken a thousand times, but Farhan's tandoori chicken sounds amazing.
Just over 90 seconds to go.
Farhan's got his biscuits out.
- That's a good biscuit.
- 60 seconds.
There's a lot on the line tonight.
Gerron, you got this, brother.
- Got this, dawg.
You got it.
- Ten, nine, eight Chefs: Seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.
And stop.
Hands in the air.
Well done.
- Good job.
- ( chefs clapping ) Gentlemen, bring your dishes down to the front, please.
Let's go.
Aarón: Let's taste.
So, Farhan, tell me what's in that dish.
Farhan: What we have here is my dad's tandoori chicken recipe on a black pepper buttermilk biscuit with my mom's cilantro chutney and a tamarind honey butter.
What should it look like inside? So, the chicken should be nice and moist and juicy.
Hopefully, you should see a nice glisten.
( exhales ) That is one of the best things I've ever tasted in this kitchen.
The texture from the coconut, it works beautifully with the floral nature of the cilantro.
That chicken is moist, and none of the spices are competing with one another.
Thank you, Chef.
Uh, I love it.
It's so nice to see that Indian culture blending into the American.
You've nailed it.
Great job.
Thank you, sir.
Ooh, that was a nice bite right there.
Good dish.
Let me think about it.
Gerron.
Young man, describe the dish, please.
Gerron: This is a Nashville hot chicken with green cabbage and a red cabbage slaw made with a vinaigrette and a sweet heat sauce.
Love the spice.
- Thank you.
- It's got that heat, sweet.
- And the fire.
- Thank you, Chef.
I just love to have seen a little bit more finesse on plating it.
- Yes, Chef.
- But, yeah, your mum taught you well.
She did.
Thank you, Chef.
Thank you.
Good amount of heat.
Extremely well seasoned.
If I had to change one thing, don't be afraid of putting that slaw on the bottom of that bread.
'Cause that slaw is good.
Thank you, Chef.
Do you feel you have to spice to others' taste or to your own taste? So, for me, Chef, I spice to others' taste.
But when you eat a Nashville hot piece of chicken, you expect it to be hot, Chef.
- It's good.
- Thank you, Chef.
But his dish is good, too.
I want someone who really wants it.
I'm hungry.
Gordon: Remember, we started out with eight aprons each, so we must be absolutely certain on who we choose.
You both could leave here tonight with an apron.
Or you may both end up empty-handed.
All three of us might offer you an apron.
If that happens, it's down to you guys to decide who you want to mentor you throughout this whole competition.
With that said, Joe, two phenomenal performances.
Any of them good enough to give an apron? Wow.
( exhales ) I like both of you.
But today I'd like to offer it Gerron.
Yes.
What I like about you is you have the hunger.
Thank you, Chef.
Over to you, Aarón.
I'm gonna offer this apron to you, Farhan.
Don't let me down.
Thanks a lot, brother.
Good job.
Home cooks, it's not over.
Someone else might offer you an apron.
( breathes deeply ) Oh-ho.
There are gonna be some decisions to be made.
Aarón: I'm telling you.
- ( exhales ) - ( exhales ) Two strong dishes.
( exhales ) But there's something in this individual that I think can go far.
Two strong dishes.
( exhales ) But there's something in this individual that I think can go far.
Whoa.
- Whoa.
- ( groans ) Whoa.
So, there is a massive decision to be made here.
- Oh, man.
- In a moment.
Gerron, you have got my seventh apron.
Now, put that apron on, and let's see that smile.
Because you have got yourself the greatest mentor in the history of MasterChef.
Team Joe.
Now, my friend, Farhan, big decision.
What I'm most excited about you, Farhan, is you understand how important food is to tell your story and how much you want to make your parents proud.
Farhan, your family, your history, that's very important.
You've got a great foundation, but you've got a long way to go.
and I can turn you, young man, into America's next MasterChef.
( sighs ) Just reach out and put your hand on the apron of the chef that you decide will be your mentor.
( sighs ) Man.
- Sorry, Gordon.
No hard feelings.
- Whoo! So, what do you think, Chef? Well, first of all, I'm delighted.
It was a tough decision.
Both of you put a great foot forward, and you're gonna get someone that's gonna be with you - every step of the way.
- Gordon: Well done, you two.
But you've got the worst two mentors you could've picked.
( laughs ) - Good night.
- Oh, yeah! - Yes! - Let's do this, boy.
- Yes, baby.
- Well done.
I can't believe I said no to Gordon, man.
I know.
Oh, my gosh.
Oh, yes.
( cheers, applause ) Yeah! Yeah! - We did it.
- We did it, bro! Both: We did it! I'm so proud, happy for you.
Who did you get? - Aarón! - ( screams ) Farhan: Aarón and I just had an instant connection.
We both bonded over the immigrant story.
He's done for Mexican food is what I want to do for Indian food, and for me this is a dream come true.
- I love you so much.
- I love you, too.
- I'm so proud of you.
- Thank you, baby.
You did it.
Gerron: Today is the best day of my life.
I'm on cloud nine.
I'm speechless.
Nothing can take me down right now.
Man.
That dish is good.
Aarón: He's just getting started.
I got the next MasterChef right there - with me along this ride.
- Yeah? I have a two-seat car, buddy, and he's riding right next to me, all right? Into the sunset.
Tye: Thank you guys.
I'm ready.
You got me ready.
Narrator: Up next, three home cooks who put their twist on Gordon Ramsay classics.
I have a lot to live up to.
I can't fail.
Go hard or go home.
I'm Tye, I'm 42 years old, I'm from Laurel, Maryland, and I'm an assistant professor.
This is a slam dunk, right? I'm six-foot-three, and for nine years I lived and breathed basketball.
That was my life.
Ooh, ready? Basketball's taken me all across the country and internationally as well, which has given me the opportunity to taste foods I never would've imagined.
Cooking is a way for me to bond with my family.
- Going all the way.
Thank you.
- You got it, Mom.
I'm ready to give it my all, and I want that apron.
Whip these people in into shape.
- Yep, I'm gonna do it.
- Like the kids, there we go.
- We got it.
- I'm Alecia, I'm 30 years old, I'm from Grand Rapids, Michigan, -and I'm a day care owner.
- Come on in.
I take care of all two-year-olds, so my life is crazy.
And this, my friends, is where all the magic happens.
I cook for my kids, I cook for my daycare kids, I cook for my husband, and my style of food is comfort food, so it'll warm your soul.
My food is like a big ol' hug.
- I love you.
- That's right, man.
Getting to cook for Gordon Ramsay, I can't tell you how excited I am.
( cheers, applause ) My name's Darrick, I'm 34 years old, and I'm an aviation systems engineer from Peoria, Arizona.
( cheering ) Darrick: I'm a self-taught cook, but I've actually been to quite a few of Gordon Ramsay's restaurants and been so inspired by the dishes he made that I've turned it into this amazing love for cooking.
- Good to see all three of you.
- Thank you, Chef.
I'm gonna prove myself in the MasterChef kitchen to everybody in America, especially Gordon Ramsay.
Right, welcome.
Now, three home cooks, each doing a Gordon Ramsay signature dish - in the MasterChef kitchen.
- Wow.
You three are either brave, foolish, or both, probably.
( laughs ) Gordon has just three aprons left.
If you get an apron from Gordon tonight, it'll be a miracle.
Joe: Three home cooks, each doing a Gordon Ramsay signature dish - in the MasterChef kitchen.
- Wow.
You three are either brave, foolish, or both, probably.
( laughs ) Gordon has just three aprons left.
If you get an apron from Gordon tonight, it'll be a miracle.
Now, listen carefully.
We started out with eight aprons each, so, for the first time, our reputation is on the line, so we take these decisions so seriously.
Now, to win an apron and a place in MasterChef, your food, this year, has to convince at least one of us that you are worthy of that incredible apron.
If more than one of us offer you an apron, then you get to choose your mentor across this competition.
Joe: Are you three home cooks ready? - Yes, Chef.
- Absolutely, Born ready.
Your 45 minutes starts now.
So, three home cooks walk into this kitchen with the bravado of replicating three of your signature dishes, Gordon, but they're gonna interpret your dishes with their own flair.
I mean, I've never seen anything like this before, ever.
It does make me slightly anxious because these guys tonight are doing it on their own, and in 45 minutes.
I mean, it is a tall order.
Alecia: How we feelin', guys? Feelin' good? - Heck, yeah.
I got this.
- You ready for this? Ready.
We're 10 minutes in.
35 minutes remaining.
- How's it going? - Doing all right.
Little behind.
- Let's get it.
- Okay, Alecia, tell us, what is your dish? Today I'm making my fish and chips.
It's called Oh, My Cod, with a lemon aioli dipping sauce and also a tartar sauce as well.
That's very dangerous, the batter, the fries.
- Why fish and chips? - My husband can eat anything that's fried, smothered, and covered.
I met him and he was way too skinny and I fattened him up 40 pounds.
- 40 pounds on your husband? - 40 pounds, yes.
( laughs ) Let's go, guys.
Darrick, what is your dish? A rendition of Gordon Ramsay's sticky toffee pudding with dates.
Wow.
Do you have any idea how difficult that is? We haven't got three hours.
Sir, I'm gonna get it done in 45 minutes, and you are going to love it.
This thing takes months to master.
Why try that now, tonight, with such short time? So, this is a dish that I fell in love with it at one of your restaurants.
And so you gonna try to imitate the master or are you gonna try to reinvent it? Well, Chef, I do know for a fact that Chef Ramsay tends to steam his sticky toffee pudding.
Today, mine will be baked.
- Okay.
- You've got to get that in the oven.
They take 20 minutes to cook.
- Yes, Chef.
- Come on.
Gordon: Tye, give us an insight to the dish.
My family, we like to come together over food, and, typically, we have really big cookouts.
And we love burgers.
So I am making your grilled lamb burger with an olive tapenade sauce, a Mediterranean cucumber and tomato salad with a Greek vinaigrette.
A lamb burger is so unforgiving.
What fat did you put in the middle in order to help it? I used the panko and milk breading to kind of bind it and make it a little bit more moist.
- Best of luck.
- Thank you very much.
Just under 20 minutes to go.
We always speculate on what's the most difficult dish.
Tonight we can get the answer.
Gordon, what is the most difficult dish of the three? Oh, without shadow of a doubt, the sticky toffee pudding.
Oh, it's starting to caramel.
You know, Joe, it's a finessed, unctuous, rich dessert that takes time to rise, time to cook, and more importantly that incorporation of dates, you know, it's a bugger to get right.
Darrick, his biggest problem is, if they're undercooked and he starts to tip it out - Plop.
- plop.
I don't know if mine's gonna fully cook.
Alecia, I mean, look at the fish, the fish is out on the tray, so what's gonna happen in the next three or four minutes, the batter's gonna go really soggy and it's gonna be a mess.
I would not be cooking the fish before the fries.
- Alecia: How you doing, Tye? - I'm doing good, yup.
- Trying to close it out, how about you? - Good.
Tye, she's put the burgers in the oven.
If they're still in the oven, those lamb burgers are overcooked.
They are big, so I'm just hoping that she takes them out and lets them rest.
Darrick, two minutes to go.
Yes, Chef.
And yours are still in the oven.
- Yes, Chef.
- And there's no toffee on there.
- No, Chef.
- Are you mad? Yes, Chef.
Is it time to change your plan? Or change your pants.
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Register now at CampMasterChef.
com.
Two minutes to go.
Yes, Chef.
And yours are still in the oven.
- Yes, Chef.
- And there's no toffee on there.
- No, Chef.
- Are you mad? Yes, Chef.
Is it time to change your plan? Or change your pants.
I love this guy.
What about you, Joe? I'm not so sure.
The proof will be in the pudding.
Come on, Darrick, make it work here.
Tye: Come on, guys, keep it together.
He's got 'em out.
60 seconds remaining.
What? Make sure you love it, come on.
- Ooh, those chips look good.
- Tye: Good, good.
Gordon: This is it.
Ten, nine Judges: Eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.
And stop.
- Hands in the air.
- Alecia: Good job, guys.
- Very good job, well done.
- Aarón: Wow.
You got it, you got it.
Very carefully, please bring your dishes down to the front.
So, three crazy home cooks came in here tonight to win an apron with your signature dishes, Gordon.
Let's get this started.
Right, so, Alecia, describe the dish, please.
Alecia: Today I present fish and chips with a lemon garlic aioli and tartar sauce, with seasoned fries.
How'd you make the batter? I used rice flour with soda water, all-purpose flour, little bit of beer, and egg.
It's good.
What wasn't right tonight was your timing.
That fish didn't need to be cooked until at least four or five minutes to go.
That way, it's crisp on the outside, but the basics are there, let me tell you.
- Yes, Chef.
- Thank you.
- Excellent sauces.
- Thank you.
The batter needs help, but the fish is well-seasoned and flaky and moist.
The tartar sauce is really herbaceous and fun.
- Well done.
- Thank you, Chef.
Darrick, describe the dish, please.
Darrick: Today I have made you a sticky toffee pudding with dates and a caramel topping.
Did Gordon like it? Honestly, Chef, I don't know if Chef Ramsay liked it.
The beauty of this particular cake is it has to be seasoned well.
And you did that with the spice mixture in there.
It's rich, and you gotta be careful with that.
Yes, Chef, thank you.
- Tye.
- Hi, Chef.
Explain the dish, please.
Tye: I have a grilled lamb burger with an olive tapenade sauce and a Mediterranean cucumber and tomato salad with a Greek vinaigrette.
So I'm hoping when I slice in here, it's not bright white.
They look moist.
So, you cooked the burgers beautifully.
But you've put so much milk and bread in that patty, it's actually wet.
So there's like a soggy taste in the center, which is really weird.
Listen, it's good, it's not brilliant.
I love the idea of the grilled onions.
They're sweet.
They counterbalance the gaminess of the lamb.
All the other components are really speaking to me.
It's just the texture's off with the patty.
Thank you, Chef.
- Nice cook on it.
- Thank you.
The overall flavors are nice.
Thank you, Chef.
Whoever gave you the idea of putting bread and milk in a hamburger? My mom.
Mother doesn't always know best.
I'm finding that out, Chef.
Let me remind you of something, we started with eight aprons each.
So we're picking our mentees extremely wisely, but at the same time, you only have to impress one of us.
Some of you actually did better than I expected.
I've only got one apron left, so this is a big decision for me.
I'm gonna say Alecia no.
Darrick, I'm afraid it's a no for me.
And, Tye, good try, but just too many mistakes for me.
Thank you, Chef.
Well, I don't agree with you.
I do have an apron.
Two.
Aarón: What? Three crazy home cooks came in here tonight to win an apron with your signature dishes, Gordon.
( sniffling ) - What's he doing? - What? That was amazing.
That was as good as mine.
Keep on cooking like that, you are going far.
Get an apron on.
Good job.
Thank you so much.
( crying ) - Oh, my God.
- Gordon: Wow.
( cheering and applause ) Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Open! Come on, Darrick! - Oh! - ( clamoring ) Darrick: I just got an apron from Gordon freaking Ramsay.
- Oh, my God! - I'm so proud of you.
Darrick: He liked my dish so much, that he honored me with three of his aprons.
It'd be nice to keep all three and have extra lives like a video game, but I don't think I get that.
Oh, Daddy's gonna be so proud of you.
Oh, my God.
So, Aarón, are one of these two home cooks worthy of one of your aprons? ( sighs ) ( cheering ) Yeah! Yes! Aw! Good job, Mom.
Even thought I'm disappointed not to get a MasterChef apron - We're proud of you, Mom.
- Aw, thank you.
Darrick and Alecia are great cooks and I hope one of them wins the next MasterChef.
Narrator: As Alecia and Darrick join the top 24 Gordon and Aarón have two aprons each and Joe has just one final apron remaining.
Oh, my God.
It's really real.
Gordon: Welcome, come on down.
Narrator: And, with so few spots left in the competition Gordon: The stakes are high.
You're battling, we're battling.
the bar has been raised.
- Woman: No.
- This time there is no room for any excuses.
Narrator: Only the most skilled Sal's pasta looks spot-on.
- confident - I am doing lobster bake soup.
- Sounds wicked good.
- It is wicked good.
and creative home cooks I'm impressed.
I would hire you in a second flat.
Thank you, Chef.
earned a place in the MasterChef kitchen.
- Lindsey.
- Thank you, Chef.
- Stephanie.
- Thank you, Chef.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Boy, do I see potential.
- Narrator:And - Sal.
with Joe handing out his final apron ( cheering and screaming ) Gordon and Aarón are left with just one apron each ( music playing ) as the final home cooks of the night compete for the two remaining spots in the top 24.
I'm Juni.
I'm a disability analyst from Raleigh, North Carolina.
Hi! I would consider myself a middle-aged suburban housewife trapped in a gay man's body.
With my cooking, I always try to draw inspiration from dishes that I've had when I was young.
About six years ago, my mother was deported to Mexico.
It was tough.
Everything around me was just a mess.
So, when I'm cooking, that's my happy place because it always reminds me of her.
This makes my heart warm.
I think that if my mom could see me right now, she would be so proud of me.
Love you.
I'm so proud of you.
Oh, my God.
This is the dream, boy.
My name is Nik, I'm 29 years old and I'm from the Cayman Islands and I'm a model.
I think a lot of people are shocked They're like, You're a model? I didn't even know you eat, much less cook.
And I'm like, Dude, I'm from the islands, what do you mean? We have to cook.
It's, like, mandatory.
( laughs ) This is the kitchen.
This is where the magic happens.
I live, eat, breathe Caribbean food.
I represent the Caribbean.
And we're very chill, but I'ma bring the heat.
( laughs ) I'm gonna walk out of there and I'm gonna have that apron on, and I'm gonna represent Texas.
I'm Chera, I'm 48, and I was born and raised in Austin, Texas.
My cooking revolves around Texas and what I learned growing up with my family 'cause they all love to cook.
Don't mess with me in the kitchen because I've won a lot of recipe contests.
This home chef knows what it takes to win.
Muy caliente! My name is Ashley, I'm 28 years old, I'm from Opa-Locka, Florida.
( cheering ) I decided to leave my teaching career behind a few months ago in order to pursue my dreams of cooking.
My own mother has looked at me crazy for leaving my job and career behind.
Gordon: Welcome.
Come on down.
- Oh, my God.
- Whoo! But there is nothing that's gonna hold me back from being the next MasterChef.
Welcome to the MasterChef kitchen, all of you.
Tonight, all of your signature dishes are hot, spicy, and hopefully good enough to win an apron.
Yes.
Gordon: Two aprons are still available.
Joe's already given out all of his aprons, but Aarón and myself each have one left, which means we have to be very, very meticulous in our choices.
All right, so your 45 minutes starts now.
I got those jalapenos open.
They're smelling spicy.
- Chera? - Yes, sir.
Please tell me, what's the dish? So, the herb-encrusted lamb is gonna have all fresh herbs, a little bit of oregano, rosemary, and some sage.
Then I'm gonna do a roasted jalapeno with some roasted corn.
And then I'm gonna flambé a little of that tequila to make the saucy tequila onion jam.
So we're gonna bring the heat today.
There we go.
Hot.
Ah! Just kidding.
( chuckles ) Juni, talk to me about what you're making.
I'm making the chile relleno.
I have been a vegetarian for over ten years, so what I'll be stuffing it with today is gonna be potatoes, sautéed onions, garlic, broccoli, Manchego, and various spices.
We've had some extraordinary vegetarians participate in this competition over the years.
Doesn't mean that I don't know how to handle some meat 'cause I've handled a lot of meat in my days.
- ( squeals ) - ( laughs ) Guys, just under 20 minutes to go, come on.
You got this.
Nik, give us an insight into what you're making.
I'm making a Cayman-style lobster with turmeric and dill rice.
How you gonna incorporate the spice? I fried the Scotch bonnets whole and that's where the heat is gonna come from.
Got ya.
One of the most powerful chilies on the planet.
Oh, but it's the most flavorful and the heat is gonna give me that apron.
Great.
- Bring it out, y'all.
- Whoo-hoo! - So, Ashley? - Yes.
Tell me about the dish.
It's a decadent chocolate spiced brownie with candied pecans, a spiced whipped cream, and a chocolate ganache.
Do you know the kind of risk you're taking coming in here and baking a dessert? I am willing to take the risk.
I've given up my career as a teacher to throw myself into the culinary industry.
So, I've had to be risky in life to get in front of you today.
Gordon: Right.
Just under 15 minutes to go.
Plenty of time.
Let's do it.
Guys, you've got one apron each.
What are you guys thinking? What's the strategy? My strategy is I'm looking for the best student, the student that can become America's next MasterChef.
That's the heat, you guys.
- Check it out.
- Yes.
My picks are all about heart.
There's no need to change that right now.
Oh, the heat is in there.
Gordon: Under five minutes to go.
This is it, come on.
You got this, you guys.
Bring the heat.
Ashley's brownies are out the oven.
Oh, come on, baby.
Come on, come on, pepper.
Juni, what are you doing right now? I am frying this pepper.
You know you have two minutes.
- Gotta get it on the plate.
- Ugh.
Go, pepper, go.
What's Ashley doing? It's still hot and she just poured ganache on it? - It looks like it's falling apart.
- Gotta let it set first.
That apron is slipping through her fingers right now.
60 seconds remaining, come on.
- You got this, let's go.
- Move, y'all, move, move, move.
I'm trying, I'm trying.
- All right.
- Ten Judges: Nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.
- Gordon: And stop.
- Joe: Hands up in the air.
- Gordon: Well done.
- Whoo! Good job, guys.
Oh, my God.
Four very passionate home cooks.
All your dishes tonight brought the heat.
Now it's time to find out if they're good enough for an apron.
Gordon: Unfortunately, guys, Joe's already given out all of his aprons, but Aarón and myself each have one left.
So this is gonna be tough.
Chera, describe the dish.
It's an herb-encrusted lamb chop, and then I did a roasted corn and jalapeno salsa, and then a saucy tequila onion jam.
Wish you would've seared that a little bit better.
So I'm having trouble even getting through all that fat.
That flavor's gonna be there, I promise.
I think the most redeeming part of this dish is the corn or the hash that you have on the bottom of it.
I like the fact that you took time to develop flavor on the grill, but I think the lamb is really underdone.
I know I can do better.
Tell me about the corn underneath What'd you do? I roasted it and it wasn't really getting that sear, so I put it directly in the fire to get that pop and sizzle on the outside.
Heat is there.
I love the caramelization on the outside.
However, unfortunately, it's undercooked.
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
Juni, describe the dish, please.
So, you have a chile relleno stuffed with potatoes, broccoli, and served over a chipotle tomato sauce.
I garnished it with red cabbage and a drizzle of crema.
It's way too much sauce.
It's taking away any of the texture from the chile and the crunchy bits on the outside, but let me tell you, the flavor of that chile relleno is magical.
Really reminds me of, like, a Texas Mexican household, which I love.
- Good job.
- Thank you.
The chile relleno is done beautifully.
Heat is there, sauce is delicious.
However the presentation, just show a bit of finesse.
- Yes.
- It's like putting on your clothes, dress up smart.
Do the same to the plate and you elevate the dish.
- Understandable.
- Thank you.
Thank you, Chef.
Nik, describe the dish, please.
So, it's Cayman style lobster with turmeric and dill rice, bell peppers and some Scotch bonnet in there.
- And then you added bacon as well.
- Exactly.
You're aggressive with chili and I like that.
Lobster is sweet.
The rice is cooked perfectly.
I just don't see the bacon working here.
Okay, that's good to know.
Thank you.
So, lobster's nice.
It's cooked beautifully.
However, the dish needs a broth.
It needs something to counteract that heat.
I mean, we don't normally make it with a broth.
- Right.
- But I can totally make a broth.
Unfortunately, this is a competition and I have to judge you on what you put on a plate.
Yeah.
Thank you.
So, describe the dish, please.
I have my Maya chocolate spiced brownie with candied pecans and a decadent chocolate ganache.
And the pecans, what'd you do? I toasted them and then I candied them in melted sugar and some salt.
The brownie's delicious, - let's get that right.
- Thank you, Chef.
You just wanna dive in there.
But it needs something tart.
Spoonful of creme fraîche to counteract that richness.
- Yes, Chef.
- Delicious.
Miss Ashley, what kind of chili did you use? I used cayenne and I used chili powder.
You did a great job of balancing the heat 'cause I'm getting it in the back palate, which is wonderful, but I think it's a little sloppy.
I think you rushed it.
I think you have to let all those wonderful ingredients set.
- Yes, Chef.
- And then you'll get a better product at the end.
- Yes, Chef.
- Thank you.
Four home cooks who all brought the heat, some more successfully than others.
Gordon: Now, listen, very carefully.
Two aprons are still available.
Joe's already given out all of his eight aprons, but Aarón and I each have one left.
Aarón: And I'm not gonna give this away lightly.
I've connected with somebody here, and I'm gonna take this home cook all the way to the finale.
Gordon, you have a stake in the game, you in? Yeah, I'm gonna make this even more interesting.
Oh, my God.
Gordon: You've just started the beginning of your dream.
Holy ( bleep ).
( cheering ) I got an apron from Aarón Sanchez! I'm so happy! I know that my mom's not here to see me right now, but I know I'm gonna make her proud.
Whoo! It means the world to have my family here.
Everyone one in Opa-Locka needs to turn the volume up, and I'm not gonna let you down, Gordon.
No room for the hesitation! Wow, what an incredible brownie.
Watch your back.
- No, I don't think so.
- No, no, no, trust me.
Good luck 'cause you're gonna need it.
Aarón: I might be a little loco, but I know talent.
Juni is the one that I believe in the most.
Ashley was the one.
Hold on, there's someone missing.
- Joe? - Yeah, Joe.
Aarón: You okay? Would you mind clearing the table? Thanks, Joe.
( laughs ) Fighting over the scraps.
Let's get on with it.
Time to start cooking.
Narrator: Coming up, the top 24 face their first mystery box.
Lift! All: Oh! This year, things are gonna be tougher than ever before.
Narrator: And Watch carefully.
a high stakes challenge - There we are.
- Whoo! turns up the heat.
This is crazy.
Each one of you were given an apron by one of us three.
Wine and bourbon together? Aarón: And tonight - Oh! - ( bleep ) you let us down.
- ( cheering ) - Yeah! Hello, hello.
Farhan: I'm so excited to be in the top 24 home cooks in America.
I could be sitting in the dentist chair right now operating on somebody, but instead I get to cook for Gordon, Aarón, and Joe, some of the most renowned food experts that the world's ever seen.
- Welcome! - Let's go, Chef! Stephanie: I cannot believe that I'm here.
This is the most magnificent kitchen that I've ever seen in my life.
Every appliance that you need, the pantry's fully stocked, every detail is impeccable.
And seeing MasterChef across the line is, like, -it's incredible.
- Yes! Whoo! I am just so, so excited.
You have to pinch me, because Gordon Ramsay has chosen me Yes! to be worthy of the pin on my apron.
To represent him and his name? That's big shoes to fill.
So, I have to bring it every single week.
Welcome to the most famous kitchen in America.
Thousands tried to make it where you're standing, but you are the talented 24 that made it.
One of us gave each of you an apron.
It's on you to prove which judge identified America's next MasterChef.
And with that title comes some incredible prizes.
Not only will you be crowned best of the best, you will win a cool quarter of a million dollars.
Amazing.
Joe: And the greatest prize any home cook can hold in their hands, The MasterChef trophy.
The talented eight individuals that I gave an apron to, I'll be mentoring all the way to the finale.
Do me proud.
If I gave you an apron, you got the heart and you got the passion to go all the way, and you also have me as your mentor.
If I gave you an apron, you're being mentored by one of the world's most successful and prolific restaurateurs.
I expect at least two of you to make the finale.
You guys are currently standing in the most amazing kitchen in all of America.
You'll have access to the finest ingredients you could ever dream of, and the best equipment anywhere around.
We've set you up for success.
The best stoves, the best ovens, the best equipment Viking, they are incredible, so there is no room for any excuses.
- All: Yes, Chef.
- Right.
It's time for your very first mystery box challenge.
On the count of three, lift your boxes.
- Oh, my God! - One, two, three, lift! - ( woman groans ) - ( man sighs ) - Cheese! - Cherry.
- T-bone.
- Everybody's thing is different? Interesting.
Gordon: Now, you all have an ingredient that is native from your home state.
An ingredient that screams where you're from.
- Perfect.
- We wanna see you turn that incredible ingredient in front of you into a dish you, your family, and your hometown can be really proud of.
Yes.
The person with the very best dish of this mystery box challenge, will get a huge advantage in the upcoming elimination challenge, which, believe me, is gonna be very difficult.
You'll have just one hour to make us one incredible dish that shows us that you belong in those aprons.
Your one hour starts now! - Let's go, guys.
Come on.
- Out of my way! Thank God I wasn't wearing heels.
Showtime, showtime, showtime! Blood oranges.
Five-second rule.
It doesn't apply.
I'm all orange because I'm Florida, the orange state.
Shrimp, squid.
Being in Miami, there's all these Latin communities battling over whose ceviche is the best.
And I think, Okay, I'm gonna do a ceviche.
I'm gonna use a lot of seafood, and I'm gonna make sure that the orange really wraps around the proteins.
Excuse me, excuse me, excuse me, - excuse me, excuse me.
- Where is chicken stock? Since I'm from China, I got pork belly.
So I'm making a braised pork belly, cauliflower purée, and caramelized beets.
- Gordon: Okay, let's go! - I cooked this dish in China, like, at least three times a week.
Watch the step.
- Let's go, let's go.
- I got this.
Go sexy or go home.
- Let's go, people! - Wow, this is it.
For me personally, one of the most exciting nights of the year because it's our first MasterChef mystery box challenge, and it sets the tone.
Here we go.
We've given them each one ingredient that represents their home state.
I'm sorry.
What are we looking for in those ingredients? So, first of all, to pay them respect, Joe.
More importantly, give us a little modern twist on what you grew up with.
- Let's go, Texas.
- Aarón: I'm looking for big, bold flavors, and something that's a window into each one of these home cooks' personal style.
If I mess up this dish, I'm not gonna get welcomed back to Texas.
You have to be able to be versatile, take an ingredient that's thrown at you and execute excellent food using an ingredient you might not have chosen yourself.
Let me not cut myself.
( groans ) Get it, baby.
I'm from Los Angeles, California, and I got beautiful California spot prawns.
And even though, I'm from California, I am making a New Orleans style barbecue shrimp.
It's a family recipe.
My grandpa, he came here from Greece, and they settled in Louisiana.
And I can't wait for the judges to taste this.
I am from Houston, Texas, and today I got a Texas T-bone.
I feel like I'm in my zone.
I gotta bring everything I've got.
I am not letting go of that Gordon Ramsay pin.
I'm from Michigan.
Michigan is known for their cherry, so I'm gonna make cherry stuffed French toast, with cherry cream cheese, with a cherry reduction glaze, and chocolate covered bacon.
Growing up as a kid, my dad would always make big spread.
My favorite was the stuffed French toast, so this is a tribute to him.
- Farhan.
What are those initials on your apron? - Yes? - They're your name, Aarón Sánchez.
- All right, so explain to me the ingredient that you have there that you're celebrating.
I'm from Chicago, Illinois.
So we have walleye, a beautiful white fish.
- And so my plan is to crush in some spices.
- Mm-hmm.
And I'm gonna do sort of my mom's home-style potatoes.
So it's using turmeric, paprika, and mustard seeds.
And for the sauce, I'm making coconut moilee.
So it's a Southern Indian coconut based curry.
Something that my mom makes me every time I'm home from dental school, and it really speaks back to me.
A lot of pride involved, right? - Yes, Chef.
- I like to hear that.
Good luck, Farhan.
- Okay, stick with it.
- Thank you, sir.
28 minutes remaining.
- Right, Stephanie.
- Yes, Chef.
Remind us again where you're from.
I am from Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Now the ingredients that screams New Jersey, what are they? Yes, the lovely Jersey tomato.
- What are you doing? - So I'm doing a tomato frittata.
Gonna do a little bit of basil, goat cheese, shallots, some garlic, red bell pepper, a little bit of jalapeno for heat.
Nice and spicy, kinda like me.
I had eight aprons to give out, - and you were one of them.
- Yes.
So if you're gonna give me a frittata on week one, I need it to be the best frittata ever.
- I got you, Chef.
- Good luck.
Guys, just over 25 minutes left.
Perfect.
- Hey, Matt.
All right.
- Joe, how's it going? - Team J.
B.
How you doing, brother? - I'm doing all right.
What ingredient did you get from your home state? I'm from Iowa, so I got corn.
- What's the dish? - I'm gonna do a sweet corn purée.
This is a succotash with some corn in it.
I'm gonna do chicken with skin on.
And then I also have some pan-roasted carrots, and there's actually crispy chicken skin.
This is chicken skin? - That's the chicken skin, yeah.
- That's a nice idea.
- It's a little greasy.
- It's a little greasy.
- Good luck, Matt.
- Thank you, Joe.
Beautiful! Let's work some magic.
- Juni, what's shaking? - Hello! So, you're representing where? Remind me.
I am from Raleigh, North Carolina, and I got sweet potatoes.
Give us a little insight into your dish.
In North Carolina, me and my friends, we go out and we have brunch, you know, all the time.
So, I'm gonna be making a sweet potato biscuit, and I'm gonna add my Mexican flair to it by doing chorizo and a jalapeno hollandaise.
And I'm also gonna be doing a sweet potato mash.
I think that's a beautiful thing.
I think it's gonna tell a nice story.
Best of luck.
Don't let me down.
- I won't.
- I'm counting on you.
You're one of my stars.
- All right? - All right.
I'ma keep shining bright.
Yes, get it, girl.
Get it.
Oh, this cheese tastes really, really good.
- Ashley.
- Yeah, Chef.
Remind us about the ingredient that you had under your mystery box.
I had some beautiful Florida oranges.
So, I'm taking it with a little Cuban vibe today.
- Okay, good.
- So I'm doing a pork tenderloin with fresh mojo, with a spicy orange mustard here.
- Good.
- And there's gonna be some chopped up bacon that goes into that.
- Careful, Chef.
Careful, Chef.
- ( bleep ) Make some fire.
- You just singed my hair.
- Oh, I'm sorry.
It cost a fortune.
Emily.
Tell me the dish.
I'm from Wisconsin.
Cheddar cheese.
- I mean, it's in everything.
- Cheddar cheese, fantastic.
We're doing a baked mac and cheese, - using a little bit of Gruyére and cheddar.
- Wow.
Broccoli stems, which is my favorite part of the broccoli, - crispy skin chicken thighs.
- I have to tell you something.
This is one of the most beautiful chicken thighs I've ever seen.
- Thank you.
- Just between me and you, come here, are you the smartest cook in here? I think I come with the most wide breadth of knowledge.
- The smartest contestant with my apron - Mm-hmm.
- Smartest judge.
- coached by the smartest judge.
We got this thing won.
- Good luck.
- Absolutely.
Thank you, sir.
Last six minutes.
Here we go.
- ( grunts ) - Oh, my God, it's perfect.
- Thank you! - Wow.
Fascinating.
I mean, some incredible sounding dishes.
Emily and Ashley looking very strong.
Have to do a little bit more creme fraîche.
Yet I'm really concerned with Stephanie.
She's doing a frittata.
She's doing an omelet in the mystery box? - I can make that in five minutes.
- Sal, how you doing? Um, I'm feeling good about my flavors.
I'm a little bit concerned about Sal.
He was given the Santa Barbara spot prawn, and he's making a New Orleans dish.
Aarón: Yeah, it sounds really confused and scattered.
90 seconds remaining.
Come on.
Joe: You should definitely be getting the food on the plate.
Got it.
We wanna taste your states on those plates, guys.
Come on.
Last minute.
Come on.
Aarón: Taste, taste, taste.
Let's go.
Get a beautiful portion out there.
Let's go.
Chefs: Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.
- Gordon: And stop! - Joe: And stop! - Hands in the air.
- ( cheering ) Joe, Aarón, and myself watched you all very carefully across that mystery box challenge.
Some of you really impressed us.
Each judge will bring up one of the talented cooks that they gave an apron to.
Joe: The first dish tonight is from a home cook that I personally put into this competition.
They made comfort food with old style flavors.
Please step forward Emily.
Bring it up.
Wisconsin is in the house.
I mean, I think being in the top three in the first challenge, is definitely putting me up there as someone that is a major competitor.
And I think everyone should definitely watch out.
Okay, Emily.
So, you're from? - Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin.
And your ingredient was? It was cheddar cheese.
You're kind of a Cheesehead, aren't you? I am a Cheesehead to the max.
- Packer backer.
- Packer backer.
All right, what's the dish? So we have a broccoli cheddar Mac and Cheese, topped with crispy chicken thigh.
We have a little Gremolata bread crumb on top, crispy broccoli tops, and then a white wine cheddar sauce on the side.
Mac and cheese, you made cheddar.
Did you put any other kind of cheese in there? Gruyére.
I have to say, Gruyére and cheddar, two great cheeses of the world put together.
And you can really taste that, because they do work well with each other.
But what's really impressive here is that everything is cooked.
Like, this chicken thigh is about as textbook as you can get.
Moist in the middle, crispy on the outside.
I think you're a smart cook.
This is a smart dish.
- Very, very impressed.
Thank you.
- Thank you.
Miss Emily, do you feel that out of your fellow competitors here, you're more informed food-wise - by virtue of what you do? - Yes.
Food is my life.
So, food anthropology Now I work on the research side of the food service industry.
What you did here that's so expert is the idea of cooking down that broccoli in such a way that it gives you that beautiful, almost sulfuric taste to it, which is great.
The cook on the chicken is expert.
I think maybe cut that chicken in such a way that it's a little bit better incorporated.
Cut chicken's gonna run out before the pasta does.
- Yeah.
Mm-hmm.
- You know what I mean? I hate to say this and give Joe any kind of credit, but he definitely saw something in you right away, and it's evident in the overall execution of this dish.
- Well done.
- Thank you, Chef.
Chicken's amazing.
I mean, that's how we cook chicken in the restaurant.
It's to that standard.
I love what you did with the presentation.
It's like it's out of a gastropub.
Wow.
Very cool, very hip, very modern.
This dish is a 90-minute dish and you've made it in 60 minutes.
So, you've really thought about it properly.
When you think like that in this competition, you're gonna go far.
Great job.
- Thank you, Chef.
- Thank you.
So the second dish that we would like to dive deeper into, a dish created by a home cook that I brought into this kitchen.
Tonight, they showcased an impressive display of culinary technique.
Please step forward Farhan.
( cheering ) I'm on cloud nine.
Wow! The top three out of 24 people.
It's incredible.
I think it shows the other competitors that, hey, I'm not just a dental student.
I'm a serious chef, and I know what I'm doing in the kitchen.
All right, so, Farhan, you're representing Illinois.
Talk to me about your dish.
Farhan: So I had some fantastic walleye.
So I made my own little spice blend using the long peppercorns.
Crusted the fish, pan-seared it, and then it's my mom's home-style potatoes, and then the bottom's a coconut moilee sauce.
And the spice rub I created myself.
It has a lot of fennel, mustard seed, cumin, coriander.
That's what I really wanted to shine through.
I gotta say, you did such an unbelievable job getting a crispy skin outside of that fish.
By seasoning it with such a generous hand, you were able to blossom all those spices.
They became alive.
You allowed them to be harmonious, but not overpower a very delicate fish.
That's the genius of this dish for me, personally.
The potatoes are great.
They're kinda cooked down.
They're a little rustic in nature.
I think the sauce is very pungent and very strong.
I mean, you could've toned down the amount of it.
- Yes.
- Allowed it to be a little more brothy.
But overall, I think all the components are strictly you, strictly unique.
And that's why I gave you an apron.
Thank you, Chef.
It's an honor.
Why so much spice? I find comfort in spices.
So I use spices as my paint colors - and the plate is my canvas.
- Fish, stunning.
You know, it's got that heat.
It's moist.
It's crispy.
The sauce, delicious.
And I love those potatoes.
It could be a little bit crispier.
You know, if you want that sort of texture.
But here's the thing, you've got such control over your cooking, but also you've got that level of finesse as well.
You know your spice.
You are an original spice boy.
- Brilliant.
Well done.
- Thank you.
Gordon: Wow, what a start.
The third and final dish we'd like to taste is from the home cook that I gave an apron to.
This dish had a lot of flair, great harmony.
Taylor: I'm looking at my dish, and I know it tastes amazing.
I want this so bad.
Please step forward Please say my name, please say my name.
The third and final dish we'd like to taste from tonight's mystery box challenge is from the home cook that I gave an apron to.
This dish had a lot of flare, great harmony.
Please step forward Ashley.
Thank you.
Taylor: I'm happy for Ashley, but I'm disappointed I'm not in the top three.
I just really wanted to impress Gordon.
So, I have to step it up moving forward.
Ashley, describe the dish, please.
So, I got those beautiful Florida oranges.
And the dish is a mojo pork tenderloin, which is a herb, garlic, and citrus marinade with mashed sweet plantain, and the sauce is orange juice, yellow mustard, dry mustard, and orange blossom honey.
Mm-hmm.
And then the mash? So, those are sweet plantains that I've mashed with some creme fraîche, bacon, some parsley, orange juice, and orange zest.
Wow.
Delicious.
The pork tenderloin's amazing.
I love the sear.
I love the way you sliced it.
The glaze of the oranges, it's just delicious.
Pork and orange, it goes hand and glove, and so it's a lovely combination.
But it's more than the glaze, 'cause it's got that spice, it's got the heat.
- It packs a punch.
- Thank you, Chef.
When you start to shine this early on in the competition, not only does it send a strong message to everybody standing behind you, but for me it confirms that I was 100% correct handing you that apron.
- Thank you so much.
- Thank you.
Amazing.
Joe:Great technique on the sauce.
The pork loin is perfectly cooked.
The colors are appealing.
If I came to your house for a dinner party and you gave me a plate of food like this, I would be happy.
But if I went to a restaurant in Miami and was paying $100 for dinner, I would probably expect a little bit more.
So, I think, Ashley, your evolution is gonna be seeing how you can evolve the plate and make them a little bit more restauranty, if you will.
- Okay.
- Because it's MasterChef.
- Yes.
- Not MasterHomeCook.
- Correct.
Yes, Chef.
- Got it? - Good job.
- Thank you.
- ( whispering ) Congratulations.
- You, too.
Thank you.
Gordon: Three great dishes.
Emily's dish was really impressive.
Good, but just Aarón: I like Ashley's.
Ashley, you know, the oranges I mean, they stuck out.
Ashley's plate was too sweet for me.
- Emily and Farhan for me.
- Yeah.
Gordon: And Farhan, a little bit too spicy.
That's true.
Three incredible, sophisticated dishes that really shone beautifully, but there can only be one winner.
Tonight's winner congratulations goes to the dish that was cooked by Ashley, congratulations.
- Aah! Oh, my God! - Congratulations.
Gordon: You're safe from elimination.
- Congratulations.
- Thank you.
Now, take your well-earned place up on the balcony.
- ( squeals ) - Off you go.
Ashley: I wanted to make Gordon proud, and winning this first challenge validates the pin on my apron.
Please return to your stations.
With me as a mentee, I'm gonna be high risk, high reward every single time.
Each one of you were given an apron by one of us three.
We handed out those aprons, 'cause we believe in your ability, your passion, and your potential.
And tonight, three of you let us down.
Each judge now has to identify just one home cook that we gave an apron to to go into a three-way battle for survival.
The home cook that I gave an apron to let me down tonight because you didn't use your time wisely.
Sid.
The home cook that I felt let me down this dish was overly sweet, the plating was a mess.
That home cook is Alecia.
The home cook that I gave an apron to put so much grease on the plate that it was inedible.
The home cook that will be cooking again tonight is Sal.
What can I say? Really let me down.
Gordon: Sid, Alecia, Sal, all three of you come up to the front.
Everybody else, head up to the balcony.
Alecia: I am disappointed 'cause I played it safe with the French toast.
I've always been a fighter and I feel I kind of let my family down.
I'm definitely going to step it up and just show Chef Aarón I deserve this apron and I'm going to make him proud.
Gordon: For survival tonight, I want all three of you to make your version of this classic all-American dish, a dish that America was built on.
Tonight, I'll show you how I make steak and mashed potatoes.
Steak and potatoes may seem simple, but they are surprisingly difficult to get right.
Make a mistake tonight, and it is a giant disappointment.
But before I show two of you the door, I'll give you an insight to how I perfect mine.
We season both sides, every ounce of that steak.
Pan on, piping hot.
Tablespoon of oil in.
Roll it around.
A couple of cloves of garlic, fresh thyme.
You want great sear on the steak? 90 seconds each side.
Once we got a great sear, we go in with the butter.
Tilt the back of the pan so it cooks that line of fat, and baste.
Out she comes.
And then from there, we let that sit.
And now we're gonna start the sauce.
Touch of butter in there.
Put those shallots in there.
From there, deglaze a touch of cognac.
From there, add beautiful beef stock, a tablespoon of demi, a little hint of cream.
That will thicken it up.
Now, mashed potatoes.
Make sure that once you cook the potatoes, you steam them.
You start mashing.
Now I'm gonna start working in my cream and my butter.
Finish off with some fresh chives, and you've got the most amazing, beautiful mashed potatoes.
And in my house here in America, that's exactly how we perfect steak and mash.
Now, tonight, it's not three cook and one goes home.
Three will cook and only one will be safe.
I was this close to the elimination challenge, and knowing that two of the three cooks are going home, odds are definitely not good.
Thank goodness I'm not down there.
I'm glad I'm not you right now.
Tonight, it's not three cook and one goes home.
Three will cook and only one will be safe.
Aarón: Sal, Alecia, Sid, we want you to make your version, a steak and mash that can keep you in the competition.
Joe: Now, for two of you, this is your last 30 minutes in the MasterChef kitchen.
- Got it? - Yes, Joe.
Your 30 minutes starts now.
( cheering ) Alecia: Back home in Michigan, I cook steak and mash for my husband -at least once a week.
- Cheese, cheese, cheese.
So I definitely feel like I'm going to nail this and prove to the judges that this girl can cook her ass off.
I definitely think I have an advantage because I grew up cooking steaks out over an open fire out on our ranch.
So, I know I got this in the bag.
Let's go, guys! ( cheering ) All right, so, Gordon, what needs to happen in these 30 minutes in order for them to be successful? Gordon: Tonight I want their version of steak of mash, but, you know, evolve it.
In the simplicity of this challenge, you have three of the most difficult MasterChef problems.
Wrong wine in the sauce, undercooked potatoes, and temperature on meat.
The pressure's immense tonight.
There's only one person staying, so the pressure is really on.
My heart is pounding.
It's like an adrenaline rush.
It's something like I've never done before.
I've jumped out of planes and had less of a rush.
- Let's go, Alecia! - Come on.
I ain't giving up, guys.
I wanna be here so bad.
I'm in it to win it, no matter what, and nothing's gonna stop me, because I'm the next MasterChef.
Sorry, boys, but this girl is here to stay.
Gordon: 21 minutes remaining.
- Here we go, baby.
- First thing, start the mash.
And the secret behind a great mash is cut the dice smaller, so they cook quicker, and then let them steam.
I got it, guys.
Gordon: From there, get that cast-iron pan on, and get it absolutely piping hot.
Take the steak out, season it beautifully.
Gotta get that steak in.
Gordon, what does a medium-rare look like for you? Gordon: A great sear, top and bottom, sides as well, so there's no visible white fat anywhere.
- Woman: Ooh, there we go! - From there, start the sauce.
The sauce can go a million directions.
Cream based, brandy based, mushrooms.
15 minutes remaining.
- Halfway.
- Come on, guys.
Let's go! All right, Sal.
I'd hate to lose one of my team members on this first elimination test.
What are you doing to personalize it? So I'm gonna do a Parmesan mash.
I'm gonna throw a little bit of butter and cream in there.
I'm gonna make a sauce with a little bit of wine and bourbon.
Wine and bourbon together? ( squealing ) Uh, you know I guess, I'm gonna go with the wine.
Learn and listen.
Good luck.
Yes, sir.
Right, Sid.
Give me an insight into your steak and mash.
What are you doing? I'm making steak with a golden Yukon mashed potatoes.
My father would always do his creamed mushrooms and onions.
So the bed for that steak is gonna be in reference to my dad.
You can do this.
I wanna see the Sid I met when I gave you that apron.
- Please.
Let's go.
- Yes, Chef.
Thank you.
Ashley: Keep it up, Sid.
Put some love into that food.
- Alecia, how you doing? - I'm doing perfect, Chef.
So give me a description of your dish.
My husband is definitely a meat and potatoes kinda guy.
He loves steak.
So, right now I'm making a mushroom and onion glazed steak with a loaded mash, with heavy cream, butter, chives, bacon, and made with a lot of love.
Right.
So, look, I haven't given up on you at all, okay? I believe in you.
I know you're gonna follow through.
Yeah, I'm ready.
Yep.
Don't give up, okay? You're doing great.
- Smells good in here.
- Yeah, it smells great.
- Ten minutes remaining.
- Ashley: Come on, Alecia.
Alecia's steak is out.
Sal as well.
- Sid's steak is out.
- Looking good, Sid.
- Yeah, Sid! - Whoo! - ( applause ) - Way to go, Sid.
Oh, Sid's flaming up some brandy.
All right, Sid.
This is what? That is hot.
What is it, though? You falling asleep here? No, I'm not falling asleep.
No, you're not falling asleep.
That is gonna be my sauce.
- That's your sauce? - Yes.
You want it that syrupy? Uh, I'll thin it down a little bit.
Sid, do you have the stamina to do this? Are you tired? Yes, sir, I do.
Uh - All right, Sid, good luck.
- Thank you, Joe.
Coarse salt.
Wow.
Fascinating.
So, I'm a little bit concerned about Sid.
Okay, so So Sid has made, like, a cognac sauce, but he over-reduced it.
It's like syrup at this point, so kind of going against everything that you demonstrated.
- Potato masher.
- Sid looks flustered.
Potato masher? Sid's running a little bit behind.
Sid is just kind of discombobulated.
He's running to the pantry and grabbing different things.
Where is the potato masher? It's not looking good for Sid.
I cannot find a potato masher - for the life of me.
- Oh, my God.
- ( sighs ) Oh, dear.
- ( mumbling ) Salt.
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( mumbling ) Salt.
Joe: So, I'm a little bit concerned about Sid.
- Sid looks flustered.
- Potato masher? Sid's running a little bit behind.
( groaning ) Come on.
Poor Sid.
He is a little frazzled.
Where is the potato masher? Get it together or you're going home.
I cannot find a potato masher for the life of me.
- Oh, my God.
- Oh, dear.
There it is.
Oh, dear.
Last three minutes.
That's still plenty time to finish off, guys.
Fresh chives, fresh parsley, make sure that mash is not too wet.
- Beautiful.
- Alecia right now is in front of both the guys.
Yep.
Absolutely.
She has a fighting spirit right now.
You can see she's animated, she's moving quickly.
Gordon: Sal, unfortunately, made a stupid mistake.
- Great job, you guys.
Let's go.
- Didn't flambé that sauce.
Finish strong, finish strong.
Come on.
Last minute to go.
- Aarón: You got it, Sid.
- It looks so tasty.
Gordon: Start thinking about your plating.
- Taste everything.
- Joe: We're looking for a classic American steak and potato dish, one you would serve to your family at home.
Chefs: Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.
- And stop! - ( cheers and applause ) - Yes! - Flavor, flavor, flavor.
All three of you, well done.
Very carefully bring your dishes down to the front, please.
- Let's go.
- Alecia: I'm so happy with my dish.
I know I perfectly nailed the sear on my steak.
But, please, baby Jesus, let it be medium rare.
Two people are going home.
I have no room for error.
All right, Sal, first thing's first.
You are wearing my pin.
I'm not here to save you, or anyone for that matter.
All decisions will be informed by the opinion of the three judges together, okay? - Is that clear? Okay.
- Yes, sir.
What's the dish? Sal: I made a pan-seared steak, with a red wine reduction sauce and some Parmesan cheese mashed potatoes.
Mmm.
You caramelized the steak well.
Too bad you cooked it a perfect medium instead of a perfect medium-rare.
The sauce, for me, is too thick.
You're definitely missing some technique on the potatoes.
The flavor of Parmesan is good.
That's a plus.
But when it starts to taste like like glue, that consistency means that you let the starch build up in the potato itself too much.
Yes, sir.
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
The cook on the steak I mean, we're talking a minute from being medium-rare, so I'm not gonna really take you to task on that.
I'm gonna tell you where this needs a lot of work and improvement.
I don't like the sauce at all.
It's very reduced.
It's gelatinous.
It needed to be developed a lot more by cooking the shallots out, and it just tastes like it's not developed yet.
It needs to be realized over time, and it's just hard to overlook that.
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
( whispering ) I don't ever wanna be down there.
Alecia, describe the dish, please.
Alecia: I have a seared steak with a mushroom onion sauce, with a mashed potato loaded with bacon, scallions, and salt and pepper, cream and butter.
Now that's perfect.
( whispering ) Yes.
Thank you.
That is beautifully done.
So, the base of the sauce, what's in there? I started off with butter, and then garlic, thyme, mushrooms, onions.
And then I added red wine, a little bit of beef stock, and at the end, I added cream.
So, steak is delicious.
Really good, indeed.
The color on the steak is beautiful.
However, for me, visually, a little bit scrappy on the plate.
A little bit loose in terms of the fat.
So, big no-no there.
I wish you'd plated that with some finesse.
It's just a shame you didn't dress it a little bit better.
- Thank you.
- Thank you, Chef.
- Alecia.
- Chef.
Mmm.
The cook on the steak is spot-on perfect.
I think the potatoes are great, but the garnish is a little confusing.
I feel like it's one of the basting elements that you should've omitted and not put on your presentation.
So, my concern is that sloppiness, because it can be that make or break.
I wanna make you proud, Chef.
I see so much finesse in the way that you cooked the steak, but now I gotta really think about is that enough to keep you in this competition.
Thank you, Chef.
- Sid.
Food photographer.
- Yes, sir.
- Yes.
- What's the dish? Sid: This is a sautéed herb crusted steak, with a beef stock, sautéed onions, and mushroom sauce, and a little bit of golden Yukon mashed potatoes.
So, it should be red in the middle.
Kind of the same as hers, nice crust on the outside, pink with a dead red center.
Correct.
What this steak looks like could be the difference between you staying here in this competition or heading home.
Let's see.
Wow.
Sid, what this steak looks like could be the difference between you staying here in this competition or heading home.
Let's see.
What do we got? Ooh! Wow.
- Wow.
- Another perfectly cooked medium-rare steak.
( whispering ) That looks really good, yeah.
It's rendered properly, and you do have a nice crust on it, but those onions and mushrooms? You see, these you cooked separately from the pan sauce, right? And the consequence of that is your sauce is broke.
Your potatoes are a nice try to achieve what Gordon did, but they lack salt and are lumpy.
So, some pros and cons, Sid.
( sighs ) ( whispering ) I feel so bad for Sid.
Have a little taste of that bit there.
Right.
A little taste there.
Sid, one thing that needs You know it, I know it.
- Pepper.
- Steak's cooked nicely.
It's lacking seasoning.
The sauce is broke.
The mash is okay.
But as always, with anyone I give an apron to, or anyone in this competition, I just want more.
Every time we cook in this kitchen, cook for your life.
- I understand, Chef.
- Thank you.
Thank you.
Okay, you three, please come around to the front.
We each gave one of you an apron.
So this, for us, is a very big decision.
We need a moment.
- A steak and mash are staple.
- Yeah.
They should've all nailed it, but they didn't.
Joe: Alecia's dish, the sauce bumbled a little bit.
Yeah, but she really did the best job with the cook on the steak.
Yeah.
Joe: Sal just doesn't listen.
I think there were just so many technical problems with his sauce and procedures that it all kind of fell apart in the end.
I mean, we asked for medium-rare.
The other two delivered medium-rare.
He didn't.
Aarón: The cook was proper on Sid's steak.
Gordon: It was medium-rare.
He got that right.
You could go back to that steak anytime throughout dinner and it'll still be juicy from top to bottom.
But he forgot the most important thing, the seasoning.
Only one of these home cooks will stay in the MasterChef kitchen.
Tough decision.
Yeah, it's a tough one.
Yeah.
Let's do it.
My heart's beating fast.
Bad luck.
Man, tough first night in the MasterChef kitchen.
We're gonna lose two home cooks tonight that we have given aprons to.
Sal, tell me, do you think you're staying? - Yes or no? - Yes, Chef.
- Sid, are you staying? - Yes, I am staying, Chef.
Alecia, are you staying? Yes, Chef.
I'm here to stay.
Alecia, you have made mistakes tonight, but here's one thing you have got right.
You are staying.
Take yourself up into the balcony.
( cheers and applause ) - Good job, Alecia.
- Congrats.
Alecia: This feeling is just amazing.
Like, this takes the cake.
Thank you, Jesus.
I know that my children at the daycare are shouting for, Miss Alecia! Miss Alecia! And I just know that my family back home will be so proud of me.
This time gone from them is not wasted.
This is all for us.
Sal, Sid, not a good night for you two.
The dishes didn't work in the end.
Sorry.
I'm very humbled to be able to make food for three wonderful judges, and it's been an honor.
I'm gonna continue mastering the way I can cook to at least absorb what you've taught me here.
Sal, Sid, don't stop cooking.
- Thank you, Chef.
- Gentlemen, can you please leave your aprons at your stations.
One love, fam.
- Love you guys.
- Way to go, Sal.
Let's go, guys.
Go, Sal, Sid.
It's disappointing me that I didn't go a lot further here.
Just sometimes pressure hits you and everything breaks down.
But this has inspired me, so I'm not gonna stop.
I'm too young to stop.
- Good night, gents.
- Good night.
- Yeah, Sal! - Nice job, Sal.
Sal: I know I'm a great cook, but I clearly still have things to learn.
So, it stinks to be the first one out.
- Man.
- Next time.
But I'm gonna keep going after the dream to start a supper club, and this is just one step in my very long journey.
Narrator: Next week - Crabs! - ( screaming ) a Gordon Ramsay master class - Oh, my gosh.
- Wow.
- Wow.
- I have no idea how I'm gonna do this.
leaves the top 22 - ( groans ) - Aah! shell-shocked.
-And - This is the reason I gave you the pin.
while some home cooks claw their way to the top - Ah, there we go.
-others - Feel like I'm gonna faint.
-crack under the pressure.
We hate to see people in our own apron walking out the door.