MASTERCHEF “Top 11 Compete” Review

MASTERCHEF “Top 11 Compete” Season 2, Episode 11 – This week’s MasterChef was filled with all sorts of extravagant food items, starting with a mystery box challenge featuring 4 pound lobster and ending with an elimination challenge that utilized $500 black truffles as the primary ingredient.

The lobster Mystery Box challenge should have been a sweep for Christian, but he was too confident going in and ended up being a train wreck during preparation. Chef Elliot asking if anyone thought their dishes should be in the top three seemed to be a completely fabricated set up to get Christian to raise his hand only to be smacked down by the judges. If they were going to bother asking, why didn’t they taste his dish and then rip it apart? Was the purpose of that question just to point out that Christian was being arrogant?

Christian wasn’t in the “top 3” (I still hate that they call these dishes the top three without tasting all 11 dishes) and as a result, he started acting up, chomping through his food while the judges reviewed Jennifer’s dish. Chef Bastianich called him out on his behavior, which I thought was appropriate, but a part of me also appreciates that at least Christian’s lobster dish was not going to waste like the other untouched dishes undoubtedly go.

Having won the Mystery Box challenge, Jennifer chose black truffles as her aphrodisiac ingredient. I’m not sure how many of the home cooks in that MasterChef kitchen have ever had the luxury of cooking with such an expensive ingredient, but it seems like a handful of them were familiar with black truffle and were able to put out a few lovely looking dishes.

Right from the beginning, I thought Jennifer’s decision to decline her immunity and cook in the elimination round was a stupid move. It should have been a no-brainer. She’s not there to cook black truffle, she’s there to win MasterChef. If she had been given the choice to cook while maintaining her immunity I could have understood her desire to present an incredible dish, but in this situation I can’t imagine why she would have risked it all. It was also strange to hear the judges praise her courage when she made the decision, only to hear them tear her apart for her stupidity when she wound up in the bottom three.

Erryn had a terrible night and nothing in his dish worked. I actually appreciated the way he approached the judges table with his failed dish. He made no excuses and he didn’t try to pitch the dish as some kind of subtle take on the challenge. He simply set it out there and admitted to his failure. Because he was so honest about it, I liked that the judges gave him the opportunity to resign from the competition. It was an honorable way for him to leave considering how badly his dish turned out.

This episode seemed to have more of the gimmicky MasterChef over-production that I haven’t noticed too much in the more recent episodes. There was even an annoying product placement bit for the MasterChef knife that seemed like it belonged on a late night infomercial. I’m hoping we won’t see much more of that kind of stuff as the season progresses since it is an obnoxious distraction from the excitement of the competition.