Top 15 Compete - Recap

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We open with a recap of last week’s overtime pressure test at Ramsay’s Las Vegas restaurant, Burgr. Luca and Kathy went head-to-head to decide who would be eliminated... and Kathy was the loser.

Tonight, we get the most difficult Mystery box in the history of Masterchef!

Inside the Masterchef kitchen, the contestants arrive, waiting to find out who won the head-to-head challenge. The doors open and in walks Luca to a round of applause. Gordon welcomes him and Krissi is upset,Kathy was her only friend on the show.

It’s Mystery box time! The contestants are nervous;whomever wins the Mysterybox challenge is exempt from the elimination test. Additionally, the winner gets other advantages.

The contestants lift their boxes to find things they can’t even identify.There are Russian, Spanish, and Chinese ingredients that the hosts refuse to even identify. The chefs have to discover and conquer every ingredient in sixty minutes, beginning now!

Jordan immediately begins tasting everything in front of him and is disgusted by many of the new flavors. We’ve identified the slice of meat as being elk; another ingredient is Spanish smoked tuna. Cod liver pate, Chinese ground moss (which Krissi calls Chinese pubic hair). Bri bravely places the ground moss in boiling water, which is precisely the right way to handle it.

Eddie is focusing on the elk even though he has no idea what animal the meat came from.

Jordan is focusing on a mixed salad of sweet and bitter flavors. Bime is sauteing what he believes are clams and eels. Lynn is making a tartar with lemon zest and Gordon looks concerned.

Time expires and several very different dishes have been prepared.

The judges peruse the dishes and decide three stand-outs to taste: first up is Eddie’s elk steak. Gordon asks him what the meat is and Eddie says he doesn’t know but it’s gamey. The purple item is a Japanese sweet potato. Gordon thinks the balance of the dish is stunning. Graham is impressed with his use of lemon in the greens.

The second dish to examine is Jordan’s cold salad with tuna and baby eels on black moss. Bowles is impressed that he put the flavors together. Gordon thinks the balance is precise; Jordan used almost all of the secret ingredients.

The third dish in the top three is Bime’s elk flank with baby eels and sweet potato. It’s a surf & turf attempt and Joe thinks it’s wonderful.

Eddie, Jordan and Bime wait to find out who the winner is... the judges promise it will be the biggest advantage to the winner in the history of the competition. The winner is Eddie!

Eddie is invited back into the pantry with the judges; he is in control of the elimination test. The judges present their theme: filled pasta.

Eddie is offered three choices of pasta, each with their own difficulties presented. Eddie doesn’t have to cook in the challenge but he gets to pick which stuffed pasta everyone else will have to make.

Back in the kitchen, Eddie heads to the balcony and the judges reveal his selection to the contestants: agnolotti!!

Joe invites a very special guest to show the contestants how it’s done: his mother, Lidia Bastianich! Lidia is a chef, tv host, author and restauranteur. Krissi is delighted to meet Lidia and leaps for joy, star-struck, meeting her idol.

The contestants applaud for Lidia who greets the judges. Lidia and Joe put on their aprons... but Gordon offers one more twist: Eddie now gets to decide which two other competitors will not get to watch Lidia’s demonstration of the agnolotti!!

Eddie explains that he is thinking strategically: he removes James and Lynn. Lynn admits that he’s never made agnolotti, so now he’ll have no idea what to do, without the benefit of Lidia’s demonstration.

Lidia begins by making egg pasta from scratch, by hand. Joe is her sous chef as they cook. Beef, salami, roasted chicken, assorted meats are being blended for the filling. Their finished product is beautiful.

James and Lynn are allowed to return, now that the demonstration is over. The contestants have sixty minutes to make their agnolotti dish, beginning now!

James and Lynn are lost. Howard decides to put his own twist on the agnolotti by using bell peppers and jalapenos. The contestants are kneading their pasta dough and varying their fillings. Jonny is making a maple-alfredo sauce and Lidia is stunned at the inclusion of maple syrup.

Lynn is using a blender to mix his meat filling; every other contestant is using a grinder. Gordon asks Lynn if he’s going home tonight. Lynn is sweating.

Lidia thinks that adding bell peppers is unusual. James is making a ricotta filling in a tomato vodka sauce. Lidia is now meeting Krissi and Krissi says she is more excited to talk to Lidia than she would be to Jesus Christ.

With five minutes to go, the pasta is being boiled. Beth is having trouble bringing her water to boil. Beth panics and puts her agnolotti in the frying pan. They each plate their pasta during the final seconds and the cooking is over.

Now all of the judges--including Lidia--will taste the dishes. James’ dish is up first. He made agnolotti alla vodka; Lidia thinks the stuffing and taste are good.

Next we have Lynn. Neither James nor Lynn saw the demonstration. Lynn made a short-rib and ricotta filling. Gordon thinks it’s under-seasoned and the pasta is folded wrong. Joe is unimpressed as well. Joe credits Eddie’s selection of Lynn for Lynn’s trouble.
Jonny is up next: he made a butternut squash agnolotti with maple syrup alfredo. Lidia can’t get passed the maple flavor. She believes it tastes like a dessert, not as a pasta dish.

Jessie’s dish is next: an oxtail & short-rib filled agnolotti. Gordon thinks it’s delicious.

Krissi is up: she made a swiss chard agnolotti in butter sauce. Lidia thinks it’s very good, well-balanced. Krissi is ecstatic that Lidia likes her dish.

Beth’s dish is next: cheese and herb agnolotti. Graham likes the idea of the filling but the pasta is, of course, undercooked. The judges all saw her difficulties with the water. Beth realizes she could be eliminated because she can’t boil water.

Howard’s bell pepper pasta is next. Howard used cumin and Lidia doesn’t think the dish is harmonious. She tells him to get connected to the basics and the classics, rather than flying off the handle. Howard is beginning to cry again and Joe is telling him that he’s sick of Howard’s act. Joe really lets him have it and calls Howard a narcissist in denial.

Lidia has picked the two best dishes from the two top competitors tonight: Krissi & Jessie. Jessie’s dish won overall. Krissi & Jessie are team captains next week--Jessie has been team captain before and won.

Now, for the bottom four: Jonny, Lynn, Howard and Beth. All four disappointed the judges. Jonny and Beth are asked to step forward. Gordon explains that on any other night, they could be going home tonight, but luckily for them, Lynn and Howard are even worse; Jonny and Beth are safe tonight.

Lynn and Howard are on the chopping block. Gordon tells Lynn that his pasta was his worst dish so far in this competition. Gordon asks the loser to leave the kitchen in a dignified manner. Gordon says that the loser knows who he is and he wants him to remove his apron and leave. Do the honorable thing. Gordon doesn’t name Howard’s name--Howard takes the hint and removes his apron and walks out the door.

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