MasterChef Episode Recaps

Top 6 Compete

Top 6 Compete

Aired: 8/8/11

The remaining six home cooks arrive at the acclaimed Los Angeles restaurant Patina at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Chef Gordon Ramsay tells them that they won't be eating in the restaurant; they'll be cooking there.

This time Suzy and Tracy, who won the last Elimination Challenge, will be team captains. Tracy picks Adrien and Jennifer for her Blue Team. She says that she didn't choose Christian because she doesn't want any conflict and wants to be the unquestioned leader of her team.

Suzy selects Ben and gets Christian because he's the last man standing. But she says that she's thrilled to have him for her Red Team, saying that she feels she has the stronger group of cooks.

The contestants must now take over the restaurant for 25 regular customers. They will prepare, plate, and execute two of Patina's appetizers and entrees and try to match the high standards expected at the Michelin-starred establishment. "You guys are in the trenches," Chef Graham Elliot says. "This is culinary warfare."

Both teams head to the kitchen and meet the head chefs from Patina who will demonstrate their signature dishes: hamachi, lily risotto, scallops, and beef two ways.

Christian comments that the food is very intricate and plated with super finesse. Ben is astonished that they use rulers to plate the food. Chef Ramsay observes that the Patina chef makes it "look so easy," but he cautions the contestants, "Trust me, it's not."

The challengers have a difficult time prepping for service right up until the diners begin to arrive. Chef Ramsay will be calling the orders from the pass, adding to the pressure the contestants are feeling. When he starts to call orders, the Red Team is not in the kitchen, and Chef Ramsay loses his cool, warning Suzy to take control of her kitchen.

As the orders mount, the tension in the kitchen escalates, the cooks are overwhelmed, and Chef Ramsay becomes increasingly more frustrated. Ben is over his head doing scallops and beef, so Suzy switches him to the hamachi station.

While Suzy's Red Team tries to get on track, the Blue Team hits its stride and starts sending appetizers out to the dining room. Chef Ramsay remarks that the Red Team members are "fragmented."

"They're not working as a team," he explains. "They need to talk to each other." Judge Joe Bastianich warns that customers may walk out soon if they don't get some food.

Christian finally gets appetizers out to a cheering crowd. In the meantime, the Blue Team is working on entrees, until Joe discovers a hair in the food. Adrien is blamed for the mishap. But then Chef Ramsay questions the team about the preparation of the steak. "If it was cooked any more," he says, "it would be beef jerky."

As the Blue Team scrambles to recover, the Red Team steps up. Almost two hours into dinner service, both teams settle into a groove. But the customers are giving mixed reviews. Many dishes are not meeting their high expectations of a world-class restaurant.

As they are about to complete dinner service, Chef Ramsay springs one more very important order at the teams: a VIP table. He tells them, "You're cooking now for the owner and the executive chef."

Each team prepares all four dishes for Joachim Splichal, the owner of Patina, and Tony Esnault, the restaurant's executive chef. Their feedback, as well as comments from the customers, will help determine the winning team. But ultimately the "MasterChef" judges will make the final decision.

When service comes to an end, Chef Ramsay acknowledges, "That's exactly what it's like in a professional kitchen on a daily basis, seven nights a week." Graham adds, "You guys should be very proud of yourselves."

The next day in the "MasterChef" kitchen, the contestants find out who served up the win in yesterday's restaurant takeover. Suzy's Red Team is victorious and is sent to the gallery to watch the Blue Team contestants face the Pressure Test.

Tracy, Adrien, and Jennifer must scale, filet, and de-bone a salmon; come up with ten portions; and cook one of those filets perfectly. Chef Ramsay gives a quick demonstration of the process. Then the three cooks, who have little-to-no experience with preparing a whole salmon, have 45 minutes to figure it out.

Adrien takes more than half the time to scale the fish, while the two women begin cutting the filets. Jennifer is the first to get the fish off the bone, while Tracy struggles with the task. With 15 minutes left, none of the chefs have begun to cook their filets.

When time runs out, Jennifer is the first to present her salmon. She said it was "a hell of a lot harder" than she thought it would be.

Adrien's filets are not cleanly sliced. Graham tells him that the scoring is a little deep, which runs the chance of overcooking the fish. And he observes, "That did happen." Chef Ramsay tells Tracy that her filets are nice and symmetrical, but the fish needed to cook for another 90 seconds.

Jennifer and Adrien are safe and are sent upstairs to join the other contestants. Chef Ramsay turns to Tracy proclaiming, "You've been amazing across the board. But right now is where it ends. The passion that comes out of you is extraordinary. Continue following your dream."

And Graham has some good news for her, "We want to offer you a year's worth of 'MasterChef' cooking classes . . . Go there and use their hundred years of expertise to help you continue your food dreams, and you can come back and work in any of our restaurants."

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