MasterChef is down to the top 16 and this episode actually gets pretty intense. For the first time in MasterChef history, one of the cooks presents a dish that they didn’t actually make, which is a huge deal.

Tin Can Mystery Box Challenge

The cooks come out and the judges promise that, though they’ve been through a lot already, they’re just getting started. They start off with a new Mystery Box challenge and lift their boxes up to find tin cans, which I think is a great idea. Gordon Ramsay says that every house has cans, but most of those cans have labels. The cooks’ cans don’t have labels. They can open and use as many as they like as well as their staple pantry of ingredients.

The cooks start opening their 52 cans to try to find out what’s inside and get started. It’s a real array of stuff. A lot of the cooks only open a few cans and get started right away, but poor Jaimee is just stumped. She ultimately decides to make a soup, but she isn’t too optimistic about it. 

Francis L., meanwhile, is taking quite a unique approach. While everyone else is discarding the juices from the cans, he’s experimenting and using them in his dish. It’s risky and it sounds to me like it could end up being pretty gross. Hopefully, it’ll work out. The judges also approach Victoria while she’s cooking and say that she’s gotten this far, but she hasn’t really stood out yet. Could this be her chance? Meanwhile, Ahran’s going pastry.

Mystery Box Winner

The judges call up the three dishes they want to take a closer look at. They call Elizabeth up first. This is her first time being called up, and she’s really excited. She made Borscht and it goes over really well. They call Victoria up next and she’s so happy to finally be recognized. She made a potted meat fritter and used eight cans. It tastes good despite not looking that attractive.

Lastly, they call Ahran up. She had said that she wanted to win twice and really stand out. She made a sponged roll cake, and the judges call it the smartest dish. She really made great use of her pantry and she didn’t use very many cans. “You may be 18 years of age, but right now, tonight, you have the biggest set of balls in the competition,” Gordon says. (Nobody else made a dessert.)

Ultimately, the judges pick Elizabeth as the winner and she is so happy that she finally won. She will get a huge advantage in the elimination challenge.

Surprise Guests

The judges take Elizabeth to the MasterChef pantry and tell her that they’re not going to be the ones to tell her about the challenge. They have a special guest. It’s Luca, last year’s winner. He has his own catering company and is expecting a baby. He also has a cookbook called My Italian Kitchen, which is available now, and he’s opening a new restaurant in Brooklyn.

But that’s not the only surprise the judges have in store for Elizabeth. They also bring MasterChef Junior winner Alexander out. He’s been doing cooking lessons for young kids and just kept on cooking since he won.

Elizabeth’s Advantage 

Each winner has a dish with him, which Elizabeth does not have to cook. She also gets to decide who has to cook which dish. Elizabeth and the judges come out, and the judges reveal Luca and Alexander to everyone and they are all so excited. They each made one of their signature dishes that the cooks will have to make. Luca has pancetta-wrapped veal, while Alexander has a passion fruit panna cotta. That kid is incredible.

Elizabeth is very strategic in her choices, of course. She has always seemed like she would be a very tactical competitor. She chooses Cutter to cook the panna cotta because he has “bearish hands,” which is a little rude, but he doesn’t seem all that surprised. She then goes to list Christian, Jaimee, Christine, Ahran, Francis B., Vitoria and Tyler. Tyler’s actually excited. The cooks go to taste the dishes and just try to take everything in.

The cooks rush off and try to figure out what to get from the pantry based on what they tasted and start cooking. These dishes are no joke. Courtney says that Elizabeth chose her for Luca’s dish because she sees her as a threat. Christian says that he doesn’t know or care why he was chosen for Alexander’s dish, but he’s not that good with desserts. The judges say that’s probably why he was chosen for this. 

Gordon Ramsay starts criticizing Willie because he’s not cooking the way Luca did and says that Willie could be the one to go home. I seriously hope not. Gordon talks to Luca about it right in front of everyone and Luca doesn’t think Willie should be cooking this way. Alexander, on the other hand, thinks that Jamiee and Tyler are doing well. Cutter, meanwhile, is panicking and doesn’t really know what he’s doing.

Jaimee’s Disappearing Ramekin

Poor Jaimee starts running into some huge problems. This is just not her night. Somebody took one of her panna cotta’s off of her tray. This is a huge deal. Who would do that? Is someone trying to sabotage her? She’s not really sure what’s going on, but she runs into even bigger problems with her dish: she only has two left, and they both puddle.


Luca and Alexander leave the judges to start tasting. Courtney’s up first and she’s really proud of her dish. The judges seem to agree with her, though, because they like it. They talk about why Elizabeth chose this dish for her and Elizabeth is not happy. She really has made her feelings about Courtney known throughout season 5.

Big Willie’s up next, but he cooked his meat twice, which was a problem. He might go home this week. Christian comes up and he’s very hard on himself. There’s too much gelatin in his dish and it’s the worst thing he’s made. Elizabeth was smart picking him for the panna cotta. Cutter’s up next and he says that Elizabeth picked him because desserts are his Achilles’ heel, but it actually goes over really well, which I’m happy about after Elizabeth called him out like that.

Jaimee’s Ramekin Mystery Solved

Jaimee’s comes up and she’s visibly upset about her missing ramekin and the way her dish came out. She says she’s embarrassed. Her dish looks terrible, but it tastes pretty good. Her situation is pretty dire, though.

Tyler’s is looking pretty off too. He actually says the judges should wear blindfolds, but then Gordon Ramsay says that for the first time, someone brought them a dish that they did not cook. He tells Tyler to stay where he is and walks to the back. Everyone, including Tyler himself, is shocked and confused. Gordon comes back with Tyler’s ramekins. He got confused about where he put them and took Jaimee’s instead. It was a mistake. 

Gordon Ramsay believes him, but he says he and the other judges need to deliberate. They ultimately decide that rules are rules and they send him home. This is such a sad and terrible way to go. It really does seem like an honest mistake, but each cook has to plate his or her own food and the judges have to taste what’s plated. Tyler apologizes to Jaimee and she actually apologizes back because this is just a sad situation. Tyler actually takes it really well and is really understanding about being eliminated, though.

Courtney’s Second Win

Gordon Ramsay also announces the winning dish that will have a huge advantage in the next challenge. It was Courtney’s dish. She’s happy to be validated, but it doesn’t feel as good in light of everything.

MasterChef airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Robin Lempel

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV