MasterChef

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Top 5 Compete, Part 2

Top 5 Compete, Part 2

Aired: 8/28/13

The five remaining contestants have been brought to a ranch outside of Los Angeles to cater a very special lunch party thrown by a mystery host. Judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot introduce celebrity chef Paula Deen.

Everyone climbs aboard Paula's tractor and she takes them to a pasture, where they learn that this will not be a group challenge. Each contestant will be responsible for cooking and serving to one table holding ten guests of local charity volunteers.

Paula has handpicked five proteins that celebrate her signature cuisine. Each competitor will have to prepare one Southern-style dish with at least two sides.

As the winner of the last challenge, Luca gets to assign the main ingredient to each of his competitors. He chooses pork chops for himself and doles out catfish to Natasha, alligator to Jessie, shrimp to Krissi and chicken to James.

After lunch is complete, Paula will choose two superior dishes, and those competitors will be safe from elimination in the next challenge and move straight to the final four. The contestants are given 90 minutes to prep, cook and serve their entrées to the guests.

After half an hour passes, the judges check in with Luca, who explains that he chose pork chops to play it safe. Meanwhile, Jessie has decided to deep-fry her alligator, a protein she's never cooked before.

Although he had what seemed like the simplest dish to prepare, James' oversized chicken breasts end up raw in the middle. With just minutes to go before he has to serve his guests, he throws them back into the oven.

Paula and the judges get feedback from the diners. Krissi, Luca and Jessie all get rave reviews. But one of James' guests sends back a raw chicken breast, and Natasha's table complains that her catfish is undercooked.

With all plates served, Paula must choose her top two dishes. She decides to send Luca and Jessie straight to the top four. That means that Krissi, Natasha and James must compete in a Pressure Test.

Back in the MasterChef kitchen, Luca and Jessie are escorted into the pantry, where they make game-changing decisions that will impact what happens next. Together they must assign a dish from each of the judges' flagship restaurants to one of their competitors.

Targeting Natasha for elimination, they give her Gordon's seared scallop salad. They choose to have Krissi prepare Joe's fillet Rossini. That leaves James to re-create Graham's Greek yogurt panna cotta.

Once they sample the items they'll be replicating, the cooks are given 45 minutes to prepare one serving of each of the judge's dishes. After a quarter of an hour ticks by, James puts his panna cotta in the refrigerator instead of the blast chiller. Luca and Jessie fear that Krissi is overcooking her fillet. Joe says it takes a lot of courage for Natasha to wait to put the scallops into her pan with just three minutes left.

When time is up, the judges start by tasting Natasha's appetizer. Visually, she is missing a bit of sauce and some truffle, but her scallops are cooked beautifully. Although it's not perfect, Gordon calls it a bloody good effort.

Next up is Krissi, who manages to exactly match Joe's presentation. But when Joe cuts the beef open, it is slightly overcooked. Still, Joe calls the dish impressive.

Finally, James presents his dessert. While the flavoring is good, the panna cotta isn't set properly. In the end, the judges send James home. Luca, Jessie and Natasha are left to compete in the final four.

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