MasterChef Episode Recaps

Top 3 Compete

Top 3 Compete

Aired: 9/4/13

The remaining three home cooks - Natasha, Luca and Jessie - enter the MasterChef kitchen to face their final Mystery Box Challenge. Judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot each have a crate in front of them. Joe's contains $250,000; Graham's holds an example of the potential winner's own cookbook; and Gordon's houses the coveted MasterChef trophy.

As with every Mystery Box Challenge, the contestants have to prepare, cook and present one incredible dish using all or some of the ingredients inside the box. For this task, each of the competitors must remake the dish that started their culinary journey at MasterChef. However, it must be an elevated version that shows how far each and every one of them has traveled.

Natasha must re-create her empanadas with skirt steak. Luca must update his broccoli rabe ravioli. And Jessie must put a twist on her sea bass en croute. After 60 minutes, the judges will rank the dishes first, second and third. The winner will get a life-changing advantage.

This time around, Jessie has decided to do a thinner wrap on her pastry. Natasha is going to try to enhance all of her flavors and is infusing saffron into the dish. With just ten minutes to go, Gordon tells Luca that his sauce tastes weird and tells him to start it again.

When time is up, the judges sample Natasha's empanandas. Gordon says he loves the vibrancy. Joe tells her he thinks she has the grit and the skill to win the competition.

Next up is Luca. Graham finds every component in his dish other than the sauce to be perfect. Gordon doesn't like this cheese sauce either, but he hopes that Luca will bounce back in the next challenge.

Finally, Jessie serves her sea bass en croute. Joe tells her it is gorgeous and he loves the mushrooms that she's added to the updated dish.

Luca is undaunted by the fact that he came in third and vows to fight his way to the finale. Jessie is declared the winner, putting Natasha in second place.

For her advantage in the final Elimination Challenge, Jessie will get the first pick from three of the world's finest ingredients. Natasha will get to choose from the remaining two options, leaving Luca without the ability to decide his fate.

Hoping to leave Luca with the most difficult ingredient, Jessie selects Kobe beef from Japan. Ignoring Jessie's strategy, Natasha chooses the Alaskan king crab. That leaves Luca to work with his dream ingredient - Grana Padano cheese from Italy.

With 60 minutes on the clock, Jessie decides to go with Asian flavors for her beef. Natasha takes a risk by making a cold soba noodle salad. Luca is making a veal cutlet stuffed with Grana Padano along with frico - a cheese, potato and onion tart.

Luca is the first to present his dish to the judges. Joe says the veal is perfectly cooked and the frico is exactly what it should be. But he tells Luca that the dish overall is a little too rich and could have used some bright acidity to cut through the fat.

Next up is Natasha with her cold king crab yakisoba salad. Gordon calls it phenomenal. Although Joe thinks it's too heavy with peppers, he feels it showcases the crab in an intelligent way.

Finally, Jessie presents her Kobe beef. Graham compliments her flavors, and Gordon says the meat is beautifully seared.

In the end, Natasha and Luca move on to the MasterChef finale, and Jessie is sent home. But in a happy twist, Joe tells Jessie that she is welcome to come work at any of his restaurants.

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