Living in MasterChef - Only Five Standing

And two of them are the worst-tempered, egotistical, wretched people in the show.

Such a pity. I realise that this is not Hell's Kitchen and they need not work well others and play nice in the sandbox as managers, but still - who wants a woman who is stuck in high school and thinks that beating other women up is the way to handle people and a woman who rides all others as lesser beings and can't be civil to her fellow contestants to win? The answer is no, no one does. Forget the other prizes involved, I don't feel they deserve or can handle the cash prize involved any more than they can handle people.

I digress.

This is it: we are down to the last five contestants. It is now 4 September (this aired last Thursday; the new episode will air tomorrow night). The new "regular" television season will begin very soon. It is time to wrap this "off-season" chow and move on. We are all ready to see who will (well, has) become the new MasterChef.

The remaining contestants are James, Luca, Jesse, Krissi, and Natasha. If you have read my last MasterChef post, you know the two I don't care for. Not that you wouldn't be able to guess in a moment if you watch MasterChef - the descriptions I gave are right on the money.

The interesting part of this group is that the two I least like are both extremely talented home cooks. James - well, James is likable enough, but how he managed to stay in while Jordan killed himself overdoing everything he touched up until he was voted off the island by the judges is a mystery. Actually, it isn't, but when we first saw Jordan cook to get into MasterChef, we both thought he was going to be in the very top contestants remaining. It was shocking how fast he lost control.

James is still here, however, at least of this moment. Still, I doubt he will remain in the competition past this episode.

Luca is fun and quite a great guy, as well as a good home cook. He tried out last season, they declined to bring him in but said he should try in the next season's applications, and here he is. He started out well, got stuck in his rut (he's from Italy and cooked almost nothing but Italian food) and now has pulled out ahead of the pack. I have no objections to him winning or placing second. Anything else would disappoint.

Jesse is the best of the female contestants, both of those gone and those remaining. As impressed and completely baffled as I was by how far Bri made it in this show - as a vegetarian, in a show where protein is a major component of nearly every food challenge given - I just knew as we all did on some level that she could not win. It is not at all conceivable that a vegetarian can cook every meat when she cannot overcome whatever it is that made her give up on proteins to taste what she's made! I thought she was quite good to get as far as she did, but not able to go further. Jesse, on the other hand, can cook alligator. I think she can cook anything. Luca, on the other hand, can cook all the meats but alligator. He won't have run into this yet.

Today they will be working with Paula Deen on a luncheon. This woman has the worst Southern accent, just unreal. She sounds uneducated. Some do, obviously. She may know cooking and well, but this was filmed just before all that brouhaha came out about the disgusting and horrifyingly prejusiced comments. I mean, who says stuff like that? At first it was that this happened a long, long time ago, but no, some of it has just happened. She is not painted in a very good light at the moment. But she is here on MasterChef and we shall see what happens.

So the remaining contestants are going to cook Southern food. Each one will get a protein to cook. Natasha may sink here, as she is from South Africa, her mother from Argentina (that explains the thick black hair, her only really nice feature), and her father is from Croatia - quite a mix of cultures and backgrounds - such a pity she is so close-minded. But she is unfamiliar with Southern cuisine, and maybe - just maybe - she will be out of this competition this time around. (I will grudgingly admit that I tend to doubt it, however. She has proven to be a formidable opponent, even if she is a miserable bitch.)

The meats will be Kentucky chicken, Alabama pork chops, Georgia shrimp, Mississippi catfish and a little gator tail. (I guess the gators are everywhere, so they don't get a state designation. Luca has won the last test, so he selected his meat first: the pork chops. Natasha got the catfish, Jesse got the alligator, Krissy got shrimp, and James the chicken. James, of course, is relieved, but I have noticed that anytime someone gets chicken - or something that they feel comfortable with - they sink. So I have to think that Natasha and Jesse will excel with meats outside of each person's comfort zone, but James will get cocky and Krissy of course is just going to be midline, and Luca... well, that could go either way.

Krissy apparently knows Southern foods - she is making fried green tomatoes and collard greens (because no one down south eats that...), but who knows how the shrimp will turn out.

James has a problem - the chicken cutlets are huge and there is too much chance that it will be undercooked. Somehow, too often this season, people have undercooked chicken, the one and only killer mistake. Other food will maybe make one sick, but undercooked chicken is too often a death sentence. Yuck.

It is amazing how fast these challenges go by.

Natasha is having trouble with her catfish sticking to the grill - the buttermilk is to blame for this - so she is going to do something different to ensure that this will not be raw. James, by way of contrast, has assured the judges that his chicken was cooked properly, but it was pink, as in raw. So he stuck it back in the oven for the remaining four minutes. Somehow, four minutes will not be enough.

Everyone is happy with their foods except James. They are each dropping their dish off at the appropriate table, giving the people an overview of what they made, and then heading back to wait. The top two dishes will move forward, the rest will be in a pressure test.

People are raving over the pork chops and alligator; the shrimp and catfish is okay, the chicken is raw. They are allowing James to cook it more (which is a departure from the norm, but I guess they did not want the table of revelers to be screwed out of a meal), but he is definitely going into the pressure test with raw chicken. Unsurprising.

Natasha's catfish is undercooked. She will be going to the pressure test. James has the worst issues, but Natasha is the next one there. I suspect that Luca and Jesse will move on as the top two, and Krissi will end up in yet another pressure test. She has been in every single pressure test, but this is not because of her cooking as much as her piss-poor attitude.

Paula will be telling the chefs who is moving forward to the top two positions (dishes). She thanked all the contestants, and then said that the top two going forward are Luca and Jesse! Yahoo! And Krissy, who was sure hers had the best presentation and taste, looks pissed off. I had to laugh. So did Luis.

Krissy is too typical and predictable at this point.

Luca and Jesse are safe from elimination and are heading into the pantry to make game-changing decisions regarding the elimination test and the three in it. If Luca and Jesse are smart, they can kill off one of the bigger pains - Natasha or Krissy. James is not a real threat.

There is an appetizer, an entree and a dessert, covered up in front of each chef. Chef Ramsey has the appetizer, a scallop salad with curry, fresh perigo truffles. The entree is Joe's, a fillet Rossini. The dessert is Graham's Greek yoghurt panagata. Whoa, that looks hard. If it were me, I'd give Natasha the entree, Krissy the dessert, and James the appetizer. But that is just me. Luca gave the appetizer to Natasha. Jesse gave the entree to Krissy. And James gets the dessert. He is completely sunk. James can't manage desserts at all. He knows it, too. He described it as a "death sentence". Smart man.

Forty-five minutes to make the dishes. This will be interesting. What a pity. They should have given James something much easier to keep his easy to beat butt. And then, Luca said he wanted James to stay in the competition! Huh? Then why give him a dessert, something you know - KNOW - he cannot do?! Stupid. Very tactically thoughtless.

Natasha works fast but keeps things moving along very well. She keeps her station fairly neat, she is organised and works without getting too stressed out. James is doomed and he knows it. Krissy works, but she is sloppy as hell and gets far too stressed out. She gets bent out of shape too easily. Personally, I would use that to my advantage... throw a few hundred comments about what a stupid, poor cook she is, get her all riled up and watch her implode. I would enjoy it.

Natasha's plating is not great, but the taste is great, and he gives her credit for pulling it off and making a bloody good effort. Graham wished there would be more vinaigrette. She lost points on the plating.

Krissy has a plate that looks good, and the meat is more medium than medium rare, but delicious. Rats. Joe did not think she had it in her - I didn't either, but if she'd gotten the appetizer, she might be gone.

James... his dessert looks horrendous by comparison. He said it looks close, but I don't see that. The panicotta isn't set. It is lumpy. They all liked the taste, but the panicotta got him sunk. He's done.

The three judges went off to confer and Krissy chatted with James, and Natasha was on her own. But James knows he is history. So do we.

They did not torture the remaining three long at all. They told Krissy and Natasha to say good-bye to James. Gordon told him to go back home, marry his fiancé, and continue cooking as well as get into a kitchen.

James told them in response to Gordon's question as to who will win that Luca will be the number one chef. That was nice. No one has said Krissy will win. Heh, heh, heh...

Onto the next battle!


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