MasterChef Episode Recaps

Top 13 Compete

Top 13 Compete

Aired: 6/26/12

Judges Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, and Joe Bastianich greet the 13 remaining home cooks in the MasterChef kitchen and announce another Mystery Box Challenge. Once again the contestants must prepare, cook, and present a stunning dish using nothing but the ingredients hidden in the box.

Inside the box they discover $15 worth of top-of-the-line ingredients from Walmart, including a T-bone steak and a selection of such fresh produce as corn, watermelon, and peaches, along with paprika, cayenne, and sour cream. The competitors have just 60 minutes to make a dish that any of the judges could sell at one of their restaurants for more than $40.

As they walk around and inspect the cooking, the judges find that for the first time in the competition, Frank is not making an Italian dish. Felix is doing a roulade, which leads Chef Ramsay to question her choice. Becky has decided not to use the steak and instead is making a dessert that she hopes will stand out among all the entrees being prepared.

After observing and tasting throughout the challenge, the judges identify three excellent dishes. They begin by asking Frank to bring his dish forward and commend him for moving out of his comfort zone. After tasting his grilled T-bone steak with corn, slaw, and cream sauce, Chef Ramsay tells Frank that he has reaffirmed his position in the competition.

The next home cook to make the top three is Tanya. She brings her tarragon T-bone steak with braised cabbage and corn puree to the judges' table. Graham congratulates her for making it to the top three for the first time and tells her if she keeps cooking like this, it won't be her last time in the top.

The final cook in the top three is Becky, who did not use the steak. Instead she presents a caramelized peach with a peaches and cream puree. Joe informs her that by going "out of the Mystery Box, it paid off big time." Graham says, "It's beautiful because of its simplicity."

After tasting all three dishes, the judges choose Tanya as the winner of the Mystery Box Challenge. She now gets a huge advantage in the next stage of the competition. Escorted by Gordon, Joe, and Graham into the MasterChef pantry, Tanya is now in control of the Elimination Test.

She learns that the theme for the challenge is the judges' favorite desserts. Joe states his is the Italian classic tiramisu. Graham prefers the all-American strawberry shortcake, while Gordon selects a British trifle. Then the judges explain to Tanya that she has immunity and does not have to cook, but that as the winner she gets to decide which cook will prepare which dessert.

Four contestants will make tiramisu, four will prepare strawberry shortcake, and the final four will present a British trifle. The judges will select the worst in each category, and one of those three cooks will be sent home.

Tanya chooses Josh, Stacey, Becky, and Monti to make the trifle. She puts Scott, Christine, Mike, and Tali on shortcake, and she picks Frank, David, Anna, and Felix to make tiramisu. Frank, the Italian cook, is confidant that he can rock the tiramisu, while Joe questions David's cream filling.

Becky, who is known as the dessert girl, tells Chef Ramsay that she feels a bit vulnerable because the trifle has so many elements. Monti was unaware that the dish should include a liquor-infused sponge on the bottom, so she borrows ladyfingers to rectify her mistake.

The four cooks making the shortcake have the simplest task of the three groups. Nevertheless, Graham fears that Scott has over-kneaded his dough, and Mike appears to have over-decorated his dessert.

When time is up, the judges begin by calling up the four cooks who made tiramisu. Felix is unhappy with her presentation, as are the judges. Joe is frustrated that she added macadamia nuts. Gordon tells her that it's her worst performance so far. In contrast, Anna's presentation in a glass dish impresses the judges, and Frank's plated tiramisu is also beautiful. The judges shoot down David's version, which also contains nuts.

Next up are the cooks who prepared the trifle. Joe tells Josh that his tastes like a banana split, not a trifle. The judges praise Monti's attempt at the British dessert. Stacey makes an Italian trifle rather than a British version, and Gordon commends her for a bold move that pays off. Last, Becky brings a stunning looking dish to the table, but the taste does not equal the presentation. Graham tells her that if Tanya's intent was to get her eliminated by giving her the trifle, she may have just accomplished her goal.

The strawberry shortcake cooks then bring up their dishes. First up is Mike. Graham comments that it looks like Mike shot his dessert and dragged it back to the plate. Christine included other berries in her shortcake in an attempt to get out of her comfort zone. Gordon struggles to find the namesake berries in the classic strawberry dish. Tali's strawberry foam gives the dish a concentrated flavor. Scott's pastry is not flaky, and the berries are not glazed. The judges are disappointed.

After tasting all the offerings, the judges chose Stacey's as the best dish of the challenge. They also select the worst cook from each group. Felix made the worst tiramisu, and Scott is in the bottom group for his strawberry shortcake. Gordon struggles between two cooks who made below-par trifles, deciding that the worst belongs to Becky. In the end, the judges ask Scott to turn in his MasterChef apron.

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Season/
Episode
Episode Title Description Air Date Expires
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09/15/2014 05/25/2015
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