MasterChef Episode Recaps

Top 5 Compete, Part 1

Top 5 Compete, Part 1

Aired: 8/28/13

Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot introduce the final five home cooks to some special guests. The judges' children - Joe's sons Ethan, age 11, and Miles, age 13; Graham's son Conrad, age 2; and Gordon's son Jack, age 13 - will be putting together the ingredients for the next Mystery Box Challenge. The kids go into the MasterChef pantry to fill the crate with 15 items.

When the kids return to the kitchen, the contents are revealed - white chips, chocolate spread, ketchup, peanut butter, coconut, marshmallows, pineapple, passion fruit, bacon, cheese slices, maple syrup, bananas, blueberries, strawberries and puff pastry. The players have one hour to prepare a restaurant-quality dish using these ingredients.

As the contestants work, Ethan, Miles, Conrad and Jack walk through the kitchen with their dads to check in with the players. When time runs out, the judges and their sons take one last look at all of the dishes and choose the top three standouts. But before they taste the players' food, the boys are off to bed.

First the judges want to take a closer look at Luca's pineapple Napoleon with white chocolate. Gordon is impressed by the stunning presentation. Joe calls it top-notch.

The second dish they examine is Jessie's vanilla cream puffs with coconut and fruit. Graham likes the flavors, and Gordon says it's cooked perfectly.

Finally, James brings up his passion fruit turnover with blueberry mint puree. The judges are surprised by his technical ability.

James is named the winner, and he joins the others in the MasterChef pantry. He learns that he will not compete in the next Elimination Test, guaranteeing him a spot in the final four. In addition, James will determine which dishes his competitors will prepare.

The judges give him three options: marinated botan shrimp with sea urchin and caviar, a soft-shell crab sandwich, or Vietnamese noodle soup with slow-cooked pork.

Upon tasting the three dishes, James determines that the soup will be the most difficult for his competitors to replicate. The four contestants sample the broth and then head into the pantry to select their ingredients, after which they have 70 minutes to re-create the soup.

As the clock winds down, the four cooks present their dishes to the judges. Natasha is up first. Graham says the proportions are good but the broth is too sweet. Gordon notes that the pork is cooked perfectly. Joe wishes she had used more salt.

Luca's soup has a great color and the flavors are well-balanced. Graham tells him he should be really proud of himself. Gordon says it's mind-blowing.

The judges are impressed by the presentation of Jessie's soup. Joe says it has depth in spades and is very close to Gordon's original dish.

Krissi's soup includes all the ingredients and flavors, but it is overspiced. Graham calls it a valiant effort. Gordon thinks there are too many noodles but the foundation is there.

Gordon, Joe and Graham have a difficult decision to make and take a few minutes to confer. They commend Jessie and Luca for getting so close to the mark, ultimately naming Luca the winner. Both chefs move on to the final four.

The judges were also impressed with both Natasha and Krissi's soups. They send Krissi upstairs to join the other saved cooks, as Natasha wipes away tears because she thinks she is going home. But the judges tell her she has been given a reprieve and will not be going home because there was no weak dish in this challenge. All five cooks will compete again.

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