MasterChef started with thousands of hopeful cooks, but after last week’s double elimination, it’s down to eight home cooks. And this week, they have to work together again, but this time they get to pick their own teams. Plus, they have not one but three pressure tests before eliminating someone.

Picking Teams

The cooks start off by cooking in pairs, and they get to pick their own teams this time, which is nice, but could also get awkward. These people aren’t exactly known to get along on MasterChef. Everyone seems to want Elizabeth. “I wish I had been popular in high school,” she says. Courtney asks Daniel, but he says no. It really is like high school all over again. Elizabeth eventually chooses Leslie when he says that Elizabeth can have total control. He really sold himself to her.

Chicken Parts

After splitting off, they learn that they’ll be cooking chicken, but then Gordon Ramsay says that each team only gets to cook one part as he starts to cut the chicken up and describes the pieces. Each team has to pick up a random box from the pantry with a chicken part in it. And they rush off to get their chickens and ingredients, but they won’t know about their chicken part until after they get their ingredients, so they have to prepare for anything. Unsurprisingly, Big Willie and Cutter immediately have problems.

They open their boxes and find that Big Willie and Cutter have chicken breasts, Elizabeth and Leslie have oysters, Courtney and Christian have legs, which they’re excited about, and Daniel and Jaimee have wings, which they are not happy about. Then they rush to get to work and the pressure is on. The judges start talking about the surprising teams, especially Leslie and Elizabeth. “He’s a crafty old dog, the old schmuck,” Gordon says.

Daniel and Jaimee are having problems because Joe doesn’t think that their dish is an entree, but Cutter and Big Willie are still having worse problems. Gordon does not like what Cutter’s doing. Big Willie didn’t like Cutter’s chicken and dumplings idea, and Gordon completely agrees. He also doesn’t like that he’s putting his chicken breast in a broth. They eventually decide to drop the dumplings. Courtney and Christian are really confident, though, and Elizabeth and Leslie are the clear frontrunners. They’re even feeding each other.

Judging the Chicken Challenge

Elizabeth and Leslie are the first up. They have curried chicken oysters and Joe loves it. He calls it a “dreamy dish.” Gordon calls it “delicious” and “phenomenal,” but he says the smartest part was Leslie sticking to Elizabeth. He learned all of her tricks and didn’t have to do much.

Jaimee and Daniel are up next with their chicken wings, and Graham says it’s good but should have been cooked longer so the skin could be crispier. Joe says it looks like a nice dish he would get at an airport. He likes it, but it wasn’t great. They did a good job of combining their styles, though. “That was confusing,” Jaimee says. I completely agree. 

Gordon then calls up “Laurel and Hardy,” which is Cutter and Big Willie, and their dish is completely different from what Gordon saw before. They have a roasted chicken breast, now without the hollandaise. “Thank god,” Gordon says. Their chicken is bland and their asparagus has the butts on it. They had the best chicken part, but they failed.

Finally, Christian and Courtney are called up, but they talk about what it was like working together first. They’re both great, so they should be a great team. They have a braised leg and thigh, and Graham loves it. Gordon says he would have liked to see more work on it; he likes some of it, but he hates the brussels sprouts and tomatoes.

The judges deliberate while the cooks talk to each other about their dishes. Daniel and Jaimee comfort each other, meanwhile, because they’re so nervous. In the end, Elizabeth and Leslie are safe, and Leslie finally doesn’t have to do a pressure test. Courtney and Christian are also safe, which means Cutter, Big Willie, Daniel and Jaimee are facing the dreaded pressure test.

Pressure Tests

They’re having a new kind of pressure test this week, though. Graham says he should really say “tests.” He says they’ll have three different challenges, saving one home cook each time, with the last being a head-to-head battle. Gordon says that they just did a chicken challenge, “but what comes first, the chicken or the egg?” They have to make eggs.

For the first challenge, they need to make a poached egg, and they only get one egg so they have to get it right or else. This really is a pressure test. Big Willie says that the secret is to sing “Amazing Grace” three times to make the perfect poached egg. 

Cutter breaks his egg at the end, but the judges still need to look at them. Jaimee’s is good. Graham’s worried about Big Willie’s, but it’s great. Daniel actually breaks his egg too, and he loses the yolk and Joe doesn’t even taste it. “If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny,” he says. Gordon looks at Cutter’s egg, but he also tastes it and it’s good, so it’s a shame. In the end, Big Willie is safe. “Thank you, Jesus,” he says.

Now Jaimee, Daniel and Cutter have to make egg yolk ravioli, which looks really good to me. Joe says it’s incredibly technical and difficult to make. They get started and the pressure’s on. It’s a poached egg with a wrapping of pasta. The judges watch Cutter and are really confused about why he’s using a fork. “Gently, Cutter, gently,” Gordon says.

Joe tries Jaimee’s first, and she’s nervous. Joe cuts it up and doesn’t say anything. Graham tells Daniel that he didn’t seal his enough, but Gordon doesn’t say anything about Cutter’s either. The judges talk and Gordon says that Cutter’s safe.

Now it’s Daniel and Jaimee against each other, which is so sad because they were on the same team. They have to make a cheese souffle and they quickly get to work, but they’re both having trouble and are taking too long. They both get their souffles into the ovens, and now they wait. Gordon has them look at the other’s souffle in the oven while they wait, and they all look basically the same. This is going to be a close one.


The judges try the souffles and even Big Willie is nervous on the balcony. They both had great souffles with different weaknesses, but in the end Jaimee is safe and Daniel is sent home. I was really rooting for Jaimee, but it’s sad to see Daniel go. He quit his job for this, but he plans on opening a bar.

MasterChef airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Robin Lempel

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV