'MasterChef' Recap: Gordon Ramsay's Wild Kingdom
'MasterChef' Recap: Gordon Ramsay's Wild Kingdom
Last night brought some pretty crazy auditions. How did tonight's group of MasterChef hopefuls fare? Well, as much as I am not a fan of giving yourself a nickname, that's still not as out there as cooking with a monkey.
The first group of would-bes includes 24-year-old Felix, who's pretty poised for having to be the first person through that massive door. Maybe it has something to do with her "straightforward" attitude. She's shocked that Gordon Ramsay isn't a fan of her dish, and that seems to knock her back on her heels a bit. Gordon isn't a fan, but Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot are, although Graham cautions as he hands over her apron that she shouldn't get cocky before the competition even starts.

Next is 30-year-old restaurant manager Luca, who talks about his mom...so of course we have his mother flying in from Italy just to surprise him in the prep kitchen. We get subtitles as he and Joe trade words in Italian, which is neat. But can he cook well enough? Joe and Graham split their votes, leaving Luca's fate up to Gordon, who turns him down but says that "I want to see you back next year." The poor guy looks honestly crushed, but at least he has his mother there to comfort him.

Oh, and apparently Wal-Mart is the official grocer of MasterChef, whatever that means. Yay for advertising.

Moving on, we hand out a few more aprons to several very excitable people with questionable dance moves (but can you blame them?), before we get to a Brazilian artist who's bold enough to tackle dessert...but forgot her rolling pin. In the end, that doesn't hurt her though, because she gets a unanimous "yes" from the panel.

Following that, we get a quartet of cowboys. Most notable among them, 40-year-old Mike is cooking for his sister, who died in a car accident six months earlier. "I'm on a mission to win this thing in her name," he says, before he literally rides into the room on his horse, which decides to relieve itself while Mike is cooking. This is not something you'd see on any other cooking competition series. Despite that, though, Mike earns "yes" votes from the entire trio, and his sister would be proud.

As heartwarming as that is, there are a few more eyebrow-raising moments: we're treated to a witch, a guy with a monkey, and another one with a hand puppet. Unsurprisingly, none of them move forward.

Our attention then turns to a husband and wife who have a little friendly competition between themselves. His lobster and her pizza get them both aprons, with Gordon saying his money is on the wife.

A selection of hopefuls comes and goes, before we get to a guy with a harmonica named Bubba. Joe thinks he's not knowledgeable enough and his venison is overcooked. "An apron would be wasted in this case," he says bluntly. Graham disagrees. Once again, Gordon gets the final say, and he keeps Bubba in the competition.

It's time for another montage, this one with more aprons being handed out, before Craig gets his chance with the judges. "I want that apron like a fat kid wants cake," he tells us. He's a comedian, but Joe does not approve of his taking a blowtorch to his rollatini. Despite that, Joe's the only one who supports him, and Craig goes home.

The next notable contestant to step up is stockbroker Frank, who makes the mistake of admitting that he didn't taste his food prior to serving it to the judges. That doesn't go over well with Gordon, but Graham and Joe take a chance on him.

The evening closes with Joel, who's been serving our country in the Army before he showed up in the kitchen. He's emotional as he tells the panel that he wants to own a restaurant and name it after his son, who drowned five years earlier. "I'm still here, I just don't know why, so this has to be the reason," he insists tearfully. Graham and Gordon vote him into the competition.

As I mentioned in last night's recap, this episode is likewise a highlight of what is both good and bad about MasterChef: the fact that we're dealing with aspiring cooks who could be you or me. They don't have the experience of working professionally and most notably, existing in a professional cooking environment. I can understand wanting to stand out amongst the competition, but when you get just one shot in front of a panel that includes Gordon Ramsay, I don't know if you're making the best impression when you show up with a monkey or a hand puppet.

Having said that, the flip side of the coin is that anyone has a shot to take the title, even if you've never gone to cooking school or, as in yesterday's installment, happen to be blind. That's something that is always awesome in my book.

Do you have a contestant you think could go far in the competition? Tell me your early favorites below, and tune in next week to see the end of the auditions.

For more from Brittany Frederick, visit my BuddyTV writer page, and follow me on Twitter at @tvbrittanyf.

(Image courtesy of FOX