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'MasterChef' recap: I'm the captain now

Season 5 | Episode 15 | “Top Six Compete” | Aired Sep 1, 2014

Tonight on MasterChef, the top six must complete a grueling restaurant challenge in order to make it into the top five. Up until this point, everyone has cooked in a pressure test except Courtney. Will she be safe again in the balcony, or will her team end up in the bottom?

After seeing many great chefs go home over the last few weeks, it’s hard to guess who will be going home tonight. Will it be Christian, Jaimee, Cutter, Leslie, Elizabeth or Courtney? Based on the trailer, Leslie and Cutter have a hard time working together during the team challenge. Does that mean one of them will go home tonight?

At this point, it all comes down to the food. Who can consistently cook the best food when he or she is under pressure? My money is on Elizabeth or Leslie. Read on to find out which team triumphs in the restaurant challenge and who goes home tonight.

leslie week 15Team challenge: Restaurant takeover

This week, the top six must run a dinner service at Los Angeles’ famed Sunset Marquis Hotel. This hotel is famous for playing host to every major rock band in the world. These chefs will be cooking in the gorgeous Cavatina restaurant.

Because Leslie and Jaimee won last week with their dim sum dish, they get to be team captains. Leslie picks Cutter and Elizabeth; Jaimee picks Courtney and Christian. What worries me about this challenge is that both Leslie and Jaimee have been leaders before, and neither of them could pull their team together. In the wedding episode, Leslie’s leadership was usurped (#ImtheCaptainNow), and Jaimee couldn’t find her voice in the football episode. They each have an opportunity tonight to learn from those experiences and do better—but will they?

Each team gets a few minutes to study the menu and learn how to prepare each dish from Cavatina’s executive chef, Michael Schlow. These moments are golden because each contestant is getting a mini-master class with a phenomenal chef. Even if they get sent home, they can say they learned how to make gnocchi like Chef Schlow makes it.

Speaking of gnocchi, tonight’s menu consists of Prince Edward Island mussels, Parisian gnocchi, Mediterranean sea bass and New York strip steak. Each team has one hour to prep and two hours to serve their appetizer course and their entrée. Also, Chef Ramsay will be expediting each order. Gordon is notorious for testing his kitchen, making sure each dish is served absolutely perfectly.

im the captain now gifTensions on the Red Team begin to rise as Cutter and Leslie begin to clash. They almost come to blows, but Chef Ramsay is able to pep-talk them through it. When Leslie was telling Cutter to “look at him,” all I could think of was Captain Phillips: “Look at me. Look at me. I’m the [MasterChef] captain now.”

On the Blue Team, Jaimee gives up her position as team captain to Courtney. But soon after, Courtney gives up her position as team captain to Christian. Once Christian takes leadership of their team, their kitchen gets back on track, and orders start flying out of the kitchen. As time ticks down, both teams both do really well and are able to get out all of their orders.

After surveying the customers’ likes and dislikes, Gordon and Graham confer about which team did the best. They are taking into consideration not just the taste of the food, but how each team overcame its challenges. After deliberation, Gordon and Graham decide:

Winner: Red Team

Finally! Leslie does not have to cook in tonight’s pressure test!

Pressure test

With the Red Team safe in the balcony, that means Leslie, Cutter and Elizabeth have all made it into the top five. Jaimee, Christian and Courtney must now compete against each other to save themselves from elimination. For the first time this entire season, Courtney must cook in a pressure test. Do you think she can handle the pressure?

Tonight these remaining three chefs must cook an incredibly difficult dish. They are tasked with cooking a classic French dessert: croquembouche. Croquembouche is a very tall, cone-shaped treat made with stacked puff pastry bites. Each puff pastry bite must be filled with cream, and stacked with a small bit of caramel to hold the shape together. Spun sugar must also be swirled around the outside of the finished cone.

Every week it feels like the pressure tests are getting harder, and this is by far the most challenging. Most people have never even heard of croquembouche, let alone baked one. Jaimee should definitely have the upper hand in this challenge because she has made one before.


Courtney: Visually beautiful. Only person with spun sugar. Light and delicious.
Christian: Uneven color and shape. Nice crisp puff pastry. No spun sugar.
Jaimee: Great shape. Too much visible caramel. No spun sugar.

Best dish:

Sent home: Jaimee

Jaimee is a wonderful chef, and it was great to see her on the show each week. Gordon says goodbye to Jaimee with a big squeeze and a possible offer to work in one of his restaurants. She may be going home, but that doesn’t mean she won’t find success in other ways. Best of luck to her.

Next week

red team week 15And then there were five. Next week we head into the final few episodes of MasterChef season 5. With only five contestants left, the competition is about to get fierce—really fierce. Everyone seems genuinely comfortable with one another in the kitchen, but that could change at any minute. With only five competitors left, who are you rooting for?

MasterChef airs Mondays at 8/9 C on Fox.