While MasterChef‘s elimination rounds have typically focused on dignified craft and culinary finesse, the location-based team challenges have skewed far more populist. Past assignments have included feeding marines, hotel guests and beach bums, and tonight’s audience is in the same salt-of-earth tradition: the prospective MasterChefs must prepare steaks for 101 hungry cowboys.

The steaks are, once again, sponsored with laughable aplomb by an international grocery chain. Note to the media marketing moguls: when your pimping involves this many spoken and onscreen brand mentions, the viewer is taken out of the program and begins to question why your product is in such dire need of attention. Product placement is a fact of life, but a little more subtlety would be welcome.

Monti and Frank captain the red and blue teams, respectively; they’re forced to switch sides after assembling their preferred teams. Monti’s menu choices seem to be deliberately contrarian — she opts to prepare sweet potatoes in spite of their long prep time, and chooses spicy green beans over the more traditional baked variety. Frank’s menu selections are more democratically tailored to his teammates’ strengths. They supplement their steaks with¬†barbecue¬†sauce, garlic mashed potatoes and corn on the cob.

Monti’s choices backfire predictably, as they run out of sweet potatoes early on and never quite recover. They’re handily outvoted, and are placed in the uncomfortable position of bickering for one safe slot in the pressure challenge. Josh and Becky advocate for themselves, while Monti casts the deciding vote to exclude Felix from elimination contention.

The challenge involves cooking six different eggs in four different styles: soft-boiled, sunny side up, poached and combined in a three-egg omelet. Monti faces aesthetic criticism for her sunny side up egg and omelet — they’re a bit raw and a bit ugly respectively — but her flavor is universally acclaimed.

Becky’s omelet and poached eggs are standouts, but her soft-boiled egg is thoroughly undercooked. Josh, meanwhile, has a hard time impressing Josh with anything but his sunny side up egg. His soft-boiled egg is revealed to be even rawer than Becky’s, sealing his fate on the show.

Josh has continually demonstrated talent in the team challenges, but often struggled with the demands of the more specific individual rounds. He leaves the show on good terms, however, as Gordon extends a permanent invitation for tutelage in his own kitchen.

Ted Kindig
Contributing Writer

(Image courtesy of FOX)

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Ted Kindig

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV