Team challenges were my least favorite thing at MasterChef. Even though I only participated in one team challenge, they are ALWAYS the most challenging. The timeline is impossible, the quantity of food needed is huge, and the pressure of Chef Ramsay yelling at you is tremendous. In this challenge it would be magnified by the fact that you’re cooking in HIS Hollywood kitchen!
Cocktail party… ninety minutes… Ben Starr said it best, “Can somebody bring a straight jacket over here? Gordon Ramsay has LOST HIS MIND!” I love Ben’s leadership of the blue team. He is the type of chef that cooks would love to work for. Christian’s leadership while more direct- I think is less effective in most cases.
Christian’s team comes out ahead in this challenge. Ben’s blue team struggled with desserts throughout the challenge – ironic because Esther is a BRILLIANT baker, check out her newest project Batch From Scratch Cookies. I’m not surprised that the blue team’s beef wellington won 100% of the beef vote.
This takes Ben and his Charlie’s Angels team of ladies (Esther, Jennie, Alejandra, Suzy, and Tracy) into the pressure test. Today’s test: six layer cake. I have to say this would have been a daunting challenge for me. This is the first challenge from both seasons of MasterChef that has intimidated me.
I love that Jennifer chose to play with classic flavors of a banana split. If I was wearing black apron in the MasterChef kitchen, I would have tried to go in the direction of a s’more: chocoate cake, marshmallow fluff icing, chocolate ganache, and graham cracker crumbs. That said, I don’t know if I could have pulled it off.
I can totally relate to Esther, Christine, and Tracy getting flustered in the two hour cake challenge.
Ben Starr shines again in judging with his Carrot-Pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting and candied hazelnuts. I tried this cake when I was at Ben’s house for 4th of July- like Graham Elliot, “My mouth had an orgasam”. That cake is UN-BELIEVABLE! BTW- Ben’s recipe is in Taste of Home’s MasterChef Magazine which is on newstands NOW… go buy 10 copies.
The bottom three are Suzy, Christine, and Esther… Suzy says being in the bottom for the first time is like being served humble pie. But in the end, Suzy and Christine are safe, and it’s Esther’s turn to take off her apron. Again, I can’t stress what and AMAZING baker Esther is. Her flavor combinations are out of this world: Sparkling Lemon Lavender, Whiskey Iced Ginger, Cardamom Caramel Macchiato… I know I will defer my lack of baking skill and be ordering some of Esther’s cookies for future catering jobs that I get via EatDrinkEXPERIENCE.
For more fun insight on the next episode of MasterChef follow me on twitter @AlvinSchultz. And as always, the ONLY place to watch MasterChef in Houston is at SWAYE Bar (3730 Washington Avenue @Yale) Drink Specials, and food by yours truly.