Last year, Whitney Miller rose from
college student to MasterChef when she was able to define perfection on
a plate on the long-awaited finale of the summer oif 2010's most-watched
new series. Now we begin chapter 2, as amateur cooks from all around the
country have their wares sampled by celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay &
Graham Elliot and noted wine expert & restaurateur Joe Bastianich in the
hopes of following in her footsteps to win a life-changing prize:
$250,000. It's a competition unlike any other to see who will go from
home cook... to MasterChef.
Simply put... Be the best... or go home.
It's time to cook. The first challenge
for the 100 chefs to be invited out of the thousands who applied... you
have ONE hour to cook your signature dish. If you want an apron, it has
to be equal parts delicious, ambitious, and creative.
First up, Jennifer Behm (34; realtor from
Wilmington, DE), a former beauty queen who got her culinary chops on her
own after she couldn't take any more of her mothers' TV dinners. She
describes herself as a boy with boobs who loves to wear heels and won
Miss Delaware USA in 2000. Her dish: Coconut Curry Lentil Soup with
Spicy Shrimp. Graham loves the shrimp. Gordon says they don't put
carrots in curry. It's a 2-1 decision... for YES! Joe being the sole no.
Then comes the first parade of fail.
Including... an impromptu physical.
Next, Albert (51, trucker from Kiln, MS)
operates heavy equipment and proves that he isn't above showing his ass.
Seriously. He has an eagle tattoo on one of his cheeks. For obvious
reasons, he washes before plating. Today, he's operating on a Triple
Tail 'Gator with Sausage & Alligator Jambalaya. For all the things that
the judges have eaten... this is Joe's first reptile. Gordon says it's
an overgrown mess, but Joe liked it. It's a sweep!
Mike (36; firehouse lieutenant from
Milton, MA) sees cooking as an escape from the daily grind of Cambridge
Ladder 2. He's firing up a pan-seared panko-crusted halibut with risotto
and lobster Newburg sauce. Joe gives it a no, and not because he's a
Yankees fan (C-Note: Joe's our favorite judge at the 'net). It's up to
Gordon... and it's a no. But if he doesn't quit, then Ramsay himself
guarantees that he'll earn a spot next season.
Monica Chung (28, pianist from NYC)
compares cooking to performing. She is her own worst critic, with
something to improve every time. She serves up a traditional Korean
bibimbap, vegetables with rice and a fried egg. She gets a 3-0 sweep for
an apron! Joining her: Aaron (grilled eggplant with chorizo), Kayla
(lamb pumpkin stew), and Elin (shrimp & grilled polenta), making six
aprons. The bar is raised.
Tracy (32, sales consultant from Coral
Springs, FL) is next. She has a Mushroom Risotto Cake with an egg and a
mushroom-risotto-cake-killing truffle oil. Gordon thinks she put her
apron up in flames. I think he's right. The dish itself is good, but the
truffle oil kills it. This is going to be a tough decision. The judges
split... for a yes. One more chance. But no more pretentious BS.
And a lady who thinks that she is trying
out for "X Factor" (coming this fall to Fox!). But singing cook Angel
(37 from Cleveland) gets another shot.
Christian (33, event planner from Las
Vegas) is going ambitious with his play... body sushi, served off of
this... curvaceous body. Now she can say that Gordon Ramsay ate sushi
off of her. That's the good news. The bad news... no apron. Cover up,
Next up, Pauline (51, realtor from
Calabasas, CA) is bringing Gordon Ramsay a taste of her home... Scotland
(Fun fact: Gordon's from Glasgow). She cooks up Scottish Salmon and
Haggis en Croute. If you don't know what haggis is... it's the heart,
liver, kidney, and lungs of a sheep cooked in its own stomach. It's
actually pretty good. But then again, I'm an eighth Scottish on my
mother's side and one of my best friends (C-Note: Hi, Colin) is
Scottish, so... Joe's not a fan. Graham is a fan. Gordon... isn't a fan
either.... of that apron, because she's getting an apron!
Finally, we have from Gloucester, MA,
Christian Collins (21, stay at home dad). He has two kids with one of
the way. He's been working in restaurants all his life, but he hit a
bottom point. He decided that cooking was his true passion, and his life
turned around. He's cooking a "Shipwreck Stew" with Lobster, Shrimp, and
Shellfish. Gordon thought it was intense and packed with flavor. Joe
says it sings. We end the day on a high with a sweep to the next round.
Could Christian Collins be the next Masterchef? We'll find out, but
first... the search continues tomorrow.
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