MasterChef Episode Recaps

Top 11 Compete

Top 11 Compete

Aired: 7/18/11

There are now 11 remaining cooks who are set to battle it out for the grand prize of $250,000 and the coveted title of "MasterChef." This round of the competition kicks off in the "MasterChef" kitchen, where the judges Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, and Joe Bastianich explain the latest Mystery Box challenge.

They reveal that this time there will be two mystery boxes: the small one in front of each contestant and a large one that rests before the three judges. The contestants will have to prepare, cook, and present one incredible dish using all or some of the ingredients found inside the box - and nothing else.

The contestants first look at the content of the small boxes in front of them. These contain vegetables, puff pastry, and butter. Then the group gathers to unveil the judge's mystery box, the biggest in "MasterChef" history, and find an aquarium full of live lobsters.

Each chef grabs a live, four-pound lobster. After the contestants prepare their dishes, the judges will select three presentations to taste. The winner will have a huge advantage in the next stage of "MasterChef."

The cooks are given one hour and 15 minutes to create a sumptuous lobster dish. Joe calls it a massive challenge because the four-pound lobsters are inherently tough and challenging to cook.

Christian tells Joe and Graham that he feels he has a good chance of winning the challenge because he's from the fish-friendly town of Gloucester, Massachusetts. But when he starts to encounter issues, his temper creates chaos in the kitchen. The judges take notice of his aggressive cooking style.

When the cooking is done, the judges select the three best-looking dishes. First up is Derrick's butter-poached lobster. Gordon says that he's "lifted the elegance to a completely different level." Next is Alejandra's Thai-style grilled lobster, which Chef Ramsay calls her "best dish so far this competition."

Before announcing the judges' final choice, Graham asks if any of the contenders thinks their dish should be the final top contender. Christian raises his hand, but Graham tells him that he isn't and that when a chef cooks angry, that anger comes out in the food.

Instead, the judges call Jennifer up to the judges table. As Graham critiques her baked lobster, Christian is eating and not listening to the evaluation. Joe threatens to kick him out of the competition, telling him to "put the silverware down and behave like he belongs" in the "MasterChef" kitchen.

The judges pick Jennifer, who wins her second Mystery Box challenge in a row. She enters the "MasterChef" pantry and chooses the aphrodisiac ingredient everyone must cook with during the next competition. Forgoing the options of oysters and artichokes, she makes the decision for each chef to get a $500 Perigord truffle to use in their dish.

Jennifer has one more choice to make. She can compete with the luxurious ingredient but be at risk for elimination, or she can sip Champagne in the gallery while her competitors cook. She decides to stay and compete, relinquishing a guaranteed spot in the Top 10. The contestants are given 60 minutes to prepare something "unique and romantic." Joe believes that there are two camps in the kitchen: the inexperienced cooks who think that truffles have to be put on steak, mashed potatoes, and a vegetable and those cooks who are making intuitive dishes that support the truffle flavor.

Graham tells Tracy that he "wants to go to third base" with her truffle and sweet corn soup. And Christian redeems himself with a pan-seared filet with a truffle-infused custard that Gordon dubs a hit.

Giuseppe's tagliolini elevates him from his normal middle of the road spot. But Adrien's messy seared filet with truffle mash is a total miss with the judges. Gordon says that it looks like his granddad turned his colostomy bag on the plate.

Erryn has burned his filet and made mushy potatoes, so he presents a truffle steak with yellow carrots in Brussels sprouts basted in truffle butter. Erryn's dish is so bad that he doesn't even attempt to sell it to the judges.

Maya's veal cutlets with truffles, leeks, and Marsala sauce also doesn't pass the judges' muster. Nor does Jennifer's presentation of under-coddled eggs.

With judging complete, Tracy and Giuseppe are picked as the winners. Erryn, Adrien, and Jennifer end up in the bottom three. Gordon tells Jennifer that she's safe. He then declares that there is one dish that is the worst ever prepared on "MasterChef." He gives the individual who cooked it a chance to step forward gracefully, take their apron off, and acknowledge that their time is done. Erryn accepts responsibility for his dish and leaves the show. And Adrien is allowed to get back in the game.

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