MasterChef Episode Recaps

Top 14 Compete

Top 14 Compete

Aired: 6/28/11

The remaining 14 competitors find themselves on the California coast on the beach at Point Magu with an unusual cooking challenge before them. While the contestants ponder a group of picnic tables, a Harley-Davidson, and a couple of food trucks, Chefs Gordon Ramsay and Graham Elliot ride up on motorcycles. Joe Bastianich trails behind on a Vespa, and when Gordon asks him what took him so long he replies, "That may be fast, but this is stylish."

The judges welcome the contestants to the Pacific Coast Highway and present their challenge. They will have an hour and a half before 101 motorcycles descend on their camp. The chefs will be split into two teams, and their task is to give each of the hungry bikers a hearty, handmade sausage sandwich and an accompanying topping.

Every biker will taste a sausage from each team and then cast his vote for his favorite sandwich by revving either the blue or red handle bar on the Harley. The first team to hit 51 votes will win the challenge. The losing team will face a Pressure Test, and at least one contestant will be eliminated.

Tracy and Esther had the two best dishes at the last challenge and are named team captains. Blue Team leader Tracy makes her first pick, Alejandra, based on her amazing flavor profile and ability to hold up under pressure. Red Team captain Esther chooses Derrick, because he's familiar with making sausages, something she has no idea how to do.

Tracy rounds out the Blue Team with Christian, Jennifer, Erryn, Suzy, and Giuseppe. Esther chooses Adrien, Jennie, Ben, and Christine. Based on the schoolyard-pick selection process, Max is the last person to be chosen; he winds up on Esther's team. He says he doesn't care about his last-pick status, adding that he needs "to prove himself so these scumbags don't discount me." 

As the challenge begins, Tracy takes charge of the Blue Team and suggests making an Italian sausage with a sweet honey and caramelized onion sauce. But the Red Team seems to have too many cooks in the kitchen, and the committee has a hard time settling on a plan. When they come up with the idea for an avocado cream sauce, Ben reminds them of their biker audience. He says that knows this crowd, and they want one thing: "beer, beer, beer, beer." They opt to create a beer-soaked pork sausage with drunken onion-and-pepper relish.

Despite her team's opinion, Tracy changes their topping to a spicy, caramelized onion, removing the peppers from the mix. The Blue Team cooks off a little bit of their seasoned sausage meat and, happy with the filling, begins casing.

The Red Team moves on to casing even though they didn't taste their meat. Chef Ramsay interjects that he's concerned about the texture of their filling. They cook one link, then he tells them, "It's like barbecued dog$#*@." So it's back to the drawing board for Esther's group.

With 45 minutes until service, the Red Team adjusts their seasoning and grind to create a more coarse sausage. In the meantime, Joe and Graham deem the Blue Team's topping too sweet, but Suzy decides not to adjust the flavor.

Max and Christine have trouble with the Red Team's casing, and when they hit the grill, the sausages are too tight to cook properly. The group is forced to shift gears and make uncased sausage patties before the bikers hit the scene.

When the choppers arrive, the Blue Team hands out links to the hungry crowd, but the Red Team tries to stall because their food isn't ready to be served. Even so, once they get their food out, early votes are going to the Red Team. After Joe tells Tracy's group that they're losing votes over a topping that's too sweet, they adjust by adding peppers. Despite a close race, the Blue Team wins by ten votes, and the Red Team is told that they will have to take the Pressure Test.

This challenge comes with a surprise twist: only two members of the Red Team will be competing. Esther is told to pick the weakest two members of her group. She chooses the two people who were in charge of the casing, Max and Christine. Derrick, Adrien, Jennie, and Ben join the Blue Team members in the gallery.

Esther is given the option to save one of her teammates by sacrificing herself, but she instead chooses to join the safe contestants in the gallery. Max and Christine are then given the challenge to prepare three amazing steaks in 30 minutes.

The Southern girl is confident that she can bring down the New York City boy in a competition to prepare a trio of filets in three ways: rare, medium, and well done. Christine channels her anger into her cooking, while her teammates cheer her on. While Max staggers his preparation, Chef Ramsay is disappointed to see that he's cooking his medium steak in the oven, which will heat it up too quickly. Then Christine makes the curious choice of starting her medium and rare steaks at the same time and gets emotional as pressure mounts.

When the 30 minutes are up, the judges sample the selections. Graham finds that Max's rare steak has a better sear than Christine's - but only on one side. Joe feels that Christine's medium preparation lacks salt, while Max's has a nicer seasoning. And when Gordon cuts through the well done beef, he finds that Christine's is undercooked by three minutes, while Max's was just 50 seconds off. But in the end, the judges decide that Christine's overall cooking skills are better, and 18-year-old Max is sent home.

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