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April 24, 2014

'MasterChef' Judge Graham Elliot on Ben's Carrot Cake: 'My Mouth Really Had an Orgasm'

by Graham Elliot, posted Jul 12th 2011 12:30PM
Graham Elliot is a world renowned chef and judge on Fox's 'MasterChef' who'll be guest blogging for AOL TV from time to time this season. Here are his thoughts on this week's episode ...

It's great to get out of the kitchen in the field challenges and see the competitors cooking in professional kitchens and for the public -- not just the judges. But when Gordon handed over his kitchen to the cooks AND they had to cater a party for the Hollywood clientele -- I knew it would be a tough ride.

As the cooks get to know each other better, the team picking gets more interesting. They take into consideration friendships, talent, and the ability to follow their lead. Ben ended up with Charlie's Angels and Christian chose more of a variety.

As team leaders, Christian and Ben had very different styles. Christian is decisive and made his own menu and assigned courses while Ben was all about teamwork and feedback. I can't say there is a proven formula for winning. It really comes down to execution. Does the food taste good?

For the vegetable course, Adrien was great with gazpacho but getting the textures right on a duo was tough -- you don't want a layer to get stuck in the cup -- which is exactly what happened. There is a fine line between a puree and a soup. Suzy's wasn't as pretty but the texture was right on.

For the beef course, Derrick was doing a beeftartare and Christine did a beef wellinginton. I think everyone watching at home knew how this would go -- Christine's beef wellington looking constructed and delicious -- I would have welcomed that second layer because that meat looked so good. I love beef tartare but Derrick's dish looked like a seared gloppy meat mess.

Giuseppe's profiteroles were a disaster and he changed course. Esther on the other hand -- stuck with her plan through three batches and then still failed on the filling. I admire her for trying to get the choux right – but before the point of no return -- change course! Her team ended with a sad fruit cup or "shot." That could have taken 20 minutes. BUT I admire Ben for trying to sell it so hard to the crowd. He didn't give up.

Then the pressure test -- baking is tough but they all managed to get an ok sponge cake -- so it was down to filling, construction and taste. It was down to the wire -- I think my hands were sweating as they finished icing.

Jennifer's "Banana Split Cake" tasted awesome and a great idea. What more can I say about Ben's carrot cake with cream cheese icing -- my mouth really had an orgasm. Tracy's basil chiffon may not have looked amazing but it had a nice light taste and I thought the flavor was inventive. Both Esther and Christine's cakes looked and tasted like they were put together in a panic - which they were. I'm really surprised they even got them done. In the end Esther's was the worst and she had to leave. She's only 28 and has already accomplished so much. I expect we will see more from her.

See you back in the kitchen next week!

'MasterChef' airs Tuesdays, 9PM ET on Fox.

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