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'MasterChef' Judge Graham Elliot: Whose Dish Was Close to Being Inexcusable?

by Graham Elliot, posted Jul 18th 2011 10:00PM
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 ...

Here we go yo, here we go yo, so what's so what's so what's the scenario?!

Well this week's scenario was cooking "a la bling" cuisine. The contestants' reactions to challenges are always fun for us, but particularly so when they realize they're cooking with ingredients that are rare and expensive.

When we opened the supersized Mystery Box with the giant lobsters, it was a classic reaction to witness. Our culinary and art departments had researched and collaborated to make sure that tank and water were all set up right for the lobsters.

When it came time to get down and start cooking, Christian was getting in his own way again. While working in an aggressive manner with the equipment, a piece of plastic broke off from a processor and got into his food. It all went downhill from there -- things were falling and he spilled fish stock on his pasta, thus ruining it. It's beautiful to see calmness and grace in the kitchen, and a horror when anger rears its ugly head.

For the record, i feel Joe was right to put him in his place when we were critiquing Jennifer's baked lobster (which was great by the way).

I was especially impressed by Derrick's butter poached lobster dish. His excitement when he got called up reminded me of how real this is for the cooks. He looks like he's a hard edgy rocker type, but he is so earnest and wants to learn to be a better cook. I loved that he literally ran up to the podium with his dish. He doesn't cook with lobster much but he made an amazing dish. It's what the competition is all about.

Back to Jennifer ... she won her second Mystery Box in a row, which is totally impressive. The theme of the next challenge was aphrodisiacs, and we had A LOT of debate over the ingredients. Oysters were a shoe-in, and we really wanted our cooks to get an opportunity to use truffles. For the third ingredient, we debated between chocolate, pomegranates, asparagus and artichokes.

In the end Jennifer picked the black gold truffles! Most of the cooks hadn't worked with them before and it's a tricky ingredient to tame due to it's heady aroma and flavor. Joe, of course, has a "truffle guy" who pulled up in this cool European van for the "transaction."

Jennifer had the advantage of not cooking and just taking immunity, however she decided to cook because she had a dish in mind. Besides, she's also not the type to sit something out. It was a very bold move on her part.

In the end, Tracy's velvety sweet corn soup was incredible; she absolutely nailed it. Giuseppe's dish really hit it home as well. He made a pasta dish inspired by something he had on a date with his wife. He embraced the truffle as well as the overall theme of the challenge. It's great to see him produce an amazing dish.

Poor Adrien. He's so good with flavors and this time it seemed to bite him on the ass. The truffle mash separated and released all its oils, resulting in a greasy mess. This was the opposite of an aphrodisiac dish -- this was a mood killer.

Alejandra delivered some bad veal cutlets, with truffle leeks and marsala sauce. Jennifer, who could have been relaxing with some champagne, delivered a dish that was very close to being inexcusable.

I totally admired Erryn for stepping up and admitting his dish was the worst. He is a young guy with a lot of passion for food, and I expect nothing but great things from him.

In the end it was Tracy and Giuseppe who had the best dishes, so they will be the team leaders in the field challenge on Tuesday night. Good luck guys!

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As someone who knows zip about cooking, this show is so captivating. Things are getting pretty intense! Christian is defintiely getting too confident, I agree Joe was right to put him in his place (though Joe is scary in general haha). And Jennifer -- huge risk, but I'm glad she took that road. Same with Erryn, very noble of him...and Adrien even tried to stop him -- man. So many good cooks, and good people, I don't want (almost) anyone else to leave!

July 19 2011 at 1:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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