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'MasterChef' crowns season 5 winner

Season 5 | Episode 18 | “Season 5 Finale” | Aired Sept 15, 2014

Welcome to the season 5 finale of MasterChef! It has been 18 weeks since we first laid eyes on the top 30, and tonight, we are down to the final three! This has been such an incredible season. We have seen these amazing home chefs cook in local diners, football fields, rock-and-roll hotels—they even catered a wedding! Nothing has been predictable this season, with some fan favorites going home early and other chefs holding out longer than anyone would have thought.

Tonight we get to see the final three—Leslie, Elizabeth, and Courtney—face off in the toughest challenges of the season. Who will be crowned the winner of MasterChef season 5? Will it be the king of the pressure tests, Leslie? Will it be the queen of the balcony, Courtney? Or will it be the princess of flavors and presentation, Elizabeth? Read on to find out!

50 chefs finaleCooking for 50 Chefs

This two-hour season finale starts out with a bang. What is the first challenge these three finalists must overcome? Cooking for 50 chefs, from 50 states—and not just any chefs, some of the best chefs in the country! Tonight these home chefs will be cooking an entrée that must blow away chefs like Cat Cora, Susan Feniger, Jeff Goldman—chefs who have been on shows like Top Chef Masters, Ace of Cakes, Iron Chef America, and more. What a privilege, yet what an incredibly daunting task! I think each chef has what it takes to cook a standout dish, but will their nerves get the best of them?

Leslie, Elizabeth, and Courtney have 90 minutes to cook 50 world-class, restaurant-quality dishes to secure a spot in the final. The top dish will advance to the final right away, and the bottom two dishes will face off in a pressure test. Thankfully, they don’t have to cook 50 dishes alone! Six of this season’s best chefs have returned to help out their fellow competitors. Leslie gets the help of Ahran and Christian, Courtney gets Daniel and Willie as his sous chefs, and Elizabeth gets Jaimee and Victoria.

These top 50 chefs are expecting incredible flavors, presentation, culinary magic, and raw talent. How do you serve something to the best chefs in America that they have never seen before?


Leslie: Filet mignon w/ herb gnocchi—Cooked perfectly, a classic combination
Courtney: Pan-seared halibut w/ beet dashi vermicelli—Well-cooked fish, great broth, sophisticated
Elizabeth: Pan-seared red snapper w/ cauliflower trio—Every component works together, restaurant quality

Best Dish: Elizabeth

leslie finalePressure Test: State Cakes

Because Elizabeth had the best dish, she automatically advances to the finale. That means Leslie and Courtney must face off in a cake challenge—a three-cake challenge, to be exact. Courtney and Leslie must cook three different cakes from three different regions in America: a New York cheesecake, a Florida key lime pie, and a Boston cream pie. They only have two hours to do this. Whoever cooks the best of three cakes moves on to the finale.


New York cheesecake—smooth cut, looks perfect, crispy crust—BEST
Florida key lime pie—very sweet, not enough lime flavor
Boston cream pie—Cream not set, visually imperfect—BEST

New York cheesecake—messy-looking, burnt crust
Florida key lime pie—beautiful, great flavor, baked perfectly—BEST
Boston cream pie—lovely ratio, well-set cream, too much salt

Best Cakes: Courtney

Because Leslie accidentally used salt in place of sugar in his Boston cream pie, Courtney advances, and Leslie is sent home. That’s rough!

elizabeth finaleFinal Battle: A Winner Is Crowned

Now we get to it, the final two: Courtney and Elizabeth. These two ladies have made it past dozens of challenges, setbacks, and fierce competition. These incredible chefs are about to go head-to-head for a chance to win $250,000, their own cookbook deal, and the title of America’s MasterChef.

Elizabeth has won every team challenge she has been in, and she has never had to cook in a pressure test. Courtney has won a lot of Mystery Boxes and is a true series competitor. Their final challenge? The best three-course meal of their lives. One appetizer, one entrée, and one dessert.


Elizabeth’s Dishes:
Grilled octopus w/ chickpea + chorizo salad—Looks fantastic, well grilled, slightly overcooked, great flavors
Spiced rack of lamb w/ red quinoa + carrot purée—Undercooked, amazing rub, great quinoa, restaurant knockout
Grapefruit semolina cake w/ poached plums + ground pistachio—Delicious, great texture, well balanced, smart

Courtney’s Dishes:
Crispy pig’s ear w/ dandelion + fennel salad—Assertive dish, crispy ear, well-dressed salad, explosive sauce
Sumac duck breast w/ spring vegetables + farro—Visually gorgeous, crispy duck, buttery sauce, elegant
Cherry meringue w/ chocolate + almonds—Elevated, not the best presentation, well flavored, intellectual

After waiting for what feels like an eternity, and after Elizabeth’s husband faints from the pressure (who wouldn’t faint when a quarter of a million dollars is on the line?), Gordon, Joe, and Graham say those magic words: “And the winner of season 5, and this year’s MasterChef, is………[drumroll]…….. Courtney! courtney photo

I would say Courtney and Elizabeth have been pretty evenly matched all season. I know a lot of viewers have said that Courtney was a shoe-in (pun intended) from the beginning, but you’ve got to admit that she is a great chef. If a network were to give her a show, I would watch it.

Thank you for joining me every week to recap and relive our favorite moments on MasterChef. It has been an awesome ride! MasterChef is done for the season, but it will be back next spring. How do you feel about this season? Did your favorite chef win? What did you think of the challenges this season? Leave me a comment below; I would love to hear your thoughts!

If you missed an episode or want to catch up on any recaps, check out all of EW Community’s MasterChef recaps here.

MasterChef on Fox

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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