MasterChef is a show for home cooks getting a chance to elevate their dishes and learn from world-renowned chefs. For some it’s an opportunity to get into a restaurant, for others it’s just a way to perfect their cooking skills. So it’s only natural that there are going to be good, bad and ugly dishes that the contestants present to the judges. Usually, the bad dishes show up early in the season. However, in season 8, there were some pretty terrible dishes all the way through to the semi-finals. Here’s a list of the 12 worst dishes on MasterChef season 8.
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12. Mark’s Caramel Swirl Pancakes
In episode 3, “America’s Grocery Bag,” the first mystery box challenge seems like a pretty easy one with very basic ingredients for the contestants to create whatever dish they want. However, the judges pick three of the worst dishes to try and then make the contestants cook them again. Mark’s caramel swirl pancake with potato latkes, apples and bananas was just dreadful as the pancakes were undercooked, the fruit was raw and the hash brown looked like a piece of meat. His second dish isn’t much better, but it’s really his attitude toward the judges that make him the first chef to head home.
11. Heather’s Eggs
“Shell Shocked & Scrambled” saw a lot of bad eggs, but Heather was the stand-out for the worst during the fifth episode’s elimination challenge. While Sam’s were runny, judge Christina can’t even keep Heather’s eggs in, as she spits them out. She tells Heather her eggs are inedible and gray from all the black pepper, and then sends her packing.
10. Jeff’s Deconstructed Cupcakes
In “MasterChef Returns,” the elimination round is a tough one. Jeff somehow messes up his cupcakes and presents “deconstructed” cupcakes with candied almond-raspberry crumble to Gordon. Gordon sees through Jeff’s nonsense, and says it tastes dreadful. He calls it Jeff’s worst performance. However, there are dishes that are far worse that keep Jeff in the competition.
9. Reba’s Coconut Shrimp
In that same episode, Reba presents coconut shrimp with asparagus and coconut sauce. Gordon says it looks dreadful and is overcooked, rubbery and chewy. He says the dish just doesn’t work, so her time is up in the MasterChef kitchen.
8. Sam’s Rack of Lamb
Sam was definitely “Silenced by the Lambs” in this episode 6 elimination challenge. Two of the three judges disliked his rack of lamb. Aaron thought the sauce was congealed and the lamb was too rare. And Gordon calls it unappetizing after he spits it out.
7. Yachecia & Gabriel’s Chicken Roulade
During this episode 13 tag team challenge, two groups really stood out for making terrible dishes. Yachecia and Gabriel had a hard time communicating, and they end up presenting a very tiny portion of what is supposed to be chicken roulade. They called it stuffed chicken thigh with potato gratin and red wine sauce. Gordon loves the potato, but unfortunately, chicken was supposed to be the star of the dish, which Gordon calls a disaster.
6. Caitlin & Adam’s Japanese Fried Chicken
Also during “Gordon’s Game of Chicken,” Caitlin and Adam present an embarrassing dish, according to Christina. Their Japanese fried chicken with miso-potato puree and sake slaw is not good, and Gordon says it looks like a soggy, disgusting chicken nugget. Gordon blames the terrible dish on the fact that they never tasted it before their presentation.
5. Jeff & Caitlin’s Mexican Platter
Tag team challenges were rough this season. During episode 14’s “Mexican Tag Team Challenge,” the pairs were expected to make a platter of Mexican food, which included homemade tortilla chips with pico de gallo, spot prawn ceviche with shaved radish, lamb shoulder taquitos garnished with avocado crema, red snapper tacos with homemade tortillas and cabbage slaw, chicken lollipops paired with peanut mole and churros with a Mexican chocolate sauce. Jeff and Caitlin did a poor job of executing the platter. Gordon felt Jeff was overbearing, which resulted in a terrible platter that Gordon said looks like dog food. Unfortunately, this disaster tray sends Caitlin home.
4. Yachecia’s Chicken and Pork Tortellini
Yachecia was a fan and judge favorite throughout season 8, but she’s presented some real doozies of dishes. Her chicken and pork tortellini with ricotta, chicken broth, roasted tomatoes and pesto during “Chopsticks & Pasta’s” elimination challenge is a great example of her terrible dishes. Gordon thinks combining chicken and pork in a tortellini is a ridiculous idea. He also felt the stuffing inside was like canned food, and calls it her worst performing dish. Mind you, this was in episode 16!
3. Gabriel’s Cannelloni
Blame it on inexperience, I guess, but Gabriel just didn’t know what cannelloni looked like when he was assigned the pasta during the same episode’s elimination challenge. Christina explains that it should be round and not flat, and adds that the filling is not great. Gordon tells Gabriel that the plate is dreadful. In the end though, Gabriel seems to get a better deal by getting sent home, as Gordon tells him he’s going to pay for him to attend culinary school, and Aaron offers him a job in one of his restaurants after he finishes school.
2. Jeff’s Mediterranean Salmon
With only six contestants left in “Something Fishy,” Jeff gets only 20 minutes to cook an elevated salmon dish. And time was not on his side. In the end, he presents a raw Mediterranean salmon with cheese-tomato relish and fruit-cucumber gratin. He tries to tell Gordon he wanted it to be raw and sushi-like, but Gordon is just disgusted with him at this point in the competition, just two episodes away from the finale. It’s this dish, and his poor attitude, that send Jeff packing.
1. Yachecia’s Sweet & Hot Salmon
As I said before, Yachecia really had the potential to go far, but she really missed the mark on some dishes. Her sweet and hot salmon with braised Swiss chard, Tuscan white beans and citrus cream sauce in the same episode, “Something Fishy,” looks disgusting, according to Gordon. She went into the presentation feeling confident it was one of her best dishes, but Gordon tells her she screwed it up 100 percent. He spits it out, calls it horrible and says it’s the worst dish he’s tasted at that stage of the competition in MasterChef history. And it’s this dish that also sends her home.
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Season 8 of MasterChef has three contestants heading into the finale. And all three are very different chefs. Dino is a dancer from Brooklyn who has presented a variety of very “out there” dishes, and most of the time they’ve worked, which is why he’s one of three vying for that trophy. Eboni is a mom from Chicago who has prided herself on coming from the hood and nothing, and now she’s a finalist on MasterChef. Her dishes are basic, but elegant, and it’s fun to hear her tell stories of how she cooks for her family. And last, we have Jason, a music teacher from Massachusetts. He also has a very strange way of cooking, but it works for him. He often talks of applying his classroom teachings and music in the kitchen, and that is probably why he’s made it into the finale.
My pick to win is Dino. But truly, it’s anyone’s game.
Which dishes did you think were the worst this season? Which do you think were the best? Who do you think will take home the trophy? Is there anyone you think should have made it into the finale that didn’t? Let us know in the comments below.
The two-hour MasterChef finale airs Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 8/7c on FOX. Want more news? Like BuddyTV’s Facebook page.
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Contributing Writer, BuddyTV