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'MasterChef' recap: Hugging it out over surf and turf

Season 5 | Episode 7 | “Top 15 Compete” | Aired July 7, 2014

Tonight on MasterChef, enemies became friends, and friends, well, got a lot less friendly.

Sworn enemies Ahran and Leslie were paired up in a classic “Surf and Turf” challenge, but did they make it through without yelling at each other? And what about Francis B. and Christian? They seem to get along well, but what happens to their relationship—and their cooking—when they are forced to create a dish together?

Someone goes home tonight, and it is absolutely not someone you would ever expect!

Read on to see which duos deliver perfectly matched up surf and turf, and who goes home over an overly greasy egg roll. You never know what’s going to happen in this MasterChef kitchen!

Paired-Up Challenge: Courtney Assigns the Pairs

Whenever a chef gets an advantage in the kitchen, he or she always tries to find a way to take out his or her competition. Sometimes this means giving the best chef in the kitchen a difficult ingredient or time limit. In this situation, Courtney has the opportunity to challenge two of the best chefs to work together: Christian and Francis B. Courtney pairs up these two, thinking that their egos will clash and their dish will suffer. Does her plan work?

Courtney also wants Leslie out of the Leslie GIFcompetition. Some would say it’s because she doesn’t like his attitude, but I think she knows he is the most experienced chef in that kitchen, and that he is a threat to her chances of winning. So who does Courtney pair up with Leslie … ? Ahran!

This is could be bad. This could be really bad if it turns out to be anything like the wedding episode…

Then the rest of cooks get paired up:

Dan + Cutter, Jaimee + Elizabeth, Daniel + Willie, Francis + Elise, and Victoria + Christine.

The challenge: Surf + Turf

The time: 60 minutes (five minutes to plan, 55 minutes to cook).

The dishes must be one cohesive dish, not two separate items on a plate.

The teams race to the MasterChef kitchen, quickly throwing their dish ideas together. Leslie defers to Ahran’s idea of a Pork Belly Kimchi Tostada, and Francis B. and Christian agree to do an all-American Steak + King Crab Cream Sauce. Dan starts planning his dish with Cutter, but instead of gathering ingredients, they being to argue. Dan’s idea is not a whole dish … It’s not a mash-up of surf and turf. As Dan and Cutter argue, the clock winds down and they are left with only seven ingredients in their basket.

Daniel and WillieAs each team starts cooking, Gordon checks on Leslie and Ahran. Surprisingly, they are working very well together. Ahran is giving straightforward directions, and Leslie is following them and letting her lead. It is a beautiful sight to watch them mend their differences and cook together.

At the end of the challenge, all seven teams plate beautiful, well designed dishes—except Dan and Cutter. Because they ran out of time and had only a few ingredients, their plate looks lackluster and simple compared to the others.

Who shined in this challenge?

Victoria + Christine’s Pork Belly–Wrapped Monkfish and Green Apple Risotto

Jaimee + Elizabeth’s Red Snapper and Lamb with Carrots and Feta

Ahran + Leslie’s Pork Belly–Stuffed Kimchi Fried Rice Tostada

Willie + Daniel’s Seared Ahi Tuna and Miso Fried Chicken

Who was in danger?

Francis L. + Elise’s Blood Orange Lamb and Crab RisottoVictoria and Christine

Francis B. + Christian’s King Crab Cream Sauce Moroccan Rib Eye

Cutter + Dan’s Seared Venison and Seared Tuna

Victoria and Christine come out on top with their winning risotto. Not surprisingly, Dan and Cutter’s dish not only sends them to the bottom four, but sends their dish straight to the garbage. Joe doesn’t even take a bite: He goes straight for the trash bin.

Dan and CutterTwo more chefs have to be sent to the pressure test. Is it Francis L. and Elise? Or is it kitchen “favorites” Christian and Francis B.?

Shockingly, it’s Christian and Francis B.—their steak completely underwhelms Gordon Ramsay. Their dish lacked all of their flavorful New Orleans, Miami, multicultural flare. What happened? How did they cook something so bland and unoriginal?

The difficulty in becoming an early frontrunner on a show like this is staying consistent. If a chef brings a lot of creativity and flavor in the first few challenges, can he or she continue to cook that way throughout the season? Unfortunately, Christian and Francis both lost their edge this week, and now have to cook in the dreaded pressure challenge.

The Pressure Challenge

The teams are disbanded. Now it’s just man to man to man to man. One of these home cooks will be going home after this test. The dish they must cook? A FRIED VEGETARIAN SPRING ROLL.

A spring roll? Sure, we’ve all eaten them at some point in our lives, but have you ever made one? There’s the veggies, and the sauce, and the roll itself … but how do you cook one?

Dan, being born in China, has the biggest advantage in this challenge, much to the detriment of Cutter, who is still upset from losing the first challenge.

What the judges are looking for:

A light, golden, crispy, well-stuffed and flavored vegetarian spring roll, with an amazing dipping sauce.

These chefs have 60 minutes to cook six spring rolls and a delicious sauce.

Spring Roll Results

Christian: Best spring roll of the night—great flavor.

Cutter: Underfilled, too sweet, no heat or acid.

Francis B.: Overly greasy from pan-frying them.

Dan: Delicious sauce.

Despite Cutter having a “trashed” dish in the first test and an overly sweet spring roll in this challenge, he is saved, and is not sent home tonight.

Dan, with his inedible surf and turf, is also safe and does not go home, because he makes an incredible sauce.

Christian cooked a great steak and the best spring roll of the night. He is also safe.

At the end of this pressure test, it was Francis B. whom the judges wanted to send home. Even though he is a great chef, he struggled with consistency. He was on top one week and on the bottom the next week.

Everyone is the kitchen was shocked to see Francis go, as he was labeled an early frontrunner in this competition. Best of luck to Francis B.

My Favorite Moment: Leslie & Ahran Hug It Out

HugMy favorite part of tonight’s show was the reconciliation of Leslie and Ahran. Joe said it so perfectly: This was a “marriage of two cultures, coming from two generations, coming together to make one delicious dish …”

After the eruption of anger and emotion that flared up during the wedding challenge, it was nice to watch both Ahran and Leslie put away their differences and come together to cook something absolutely beautiful. Ahran even posted on Twitter to explain that she and Leslie have actually become friends, and that they have put their disagreements behind them.

Next week:

It’s another team challenge, but instead Elizabethof being on a military base or a beach for a wedding, they have to cook in a diner! You won’t want to miss the remaining 14 chefs flip pancakes and scramble eggs in a classic American diner.

P.S. Did you think the judges were right in sending Francis B. home?

MasterChef airs Mondays at 8/9C on Fox.

 

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