The big apple, the city that never sleeps, the city where big dreams are made of, whatever you want to call it, I call it MasterChefVille (not really), as tonight, the MasterChef contestants head to New York City in the good old US of A!
We begin with a luscious look at the Sydney harbour as the contestants all go about their daily business, including Kate who just avoided elimination.
Some guy visits the MasterChef house carrying with him an envelope. It turns out to be Anthony Bourdain, to Michael’s excitement. Everyone is equally surprised when they see him.
They all sit down and he congratulates them for coming this far. He tells them that he’s come to their hometown (Sydney) and now he will repay the favour, taking them to his (New York). I don’t think I have to tell you how excited the contestants were when they hear this!
Some details, they are leaving today, they will be in NY for a week, they will need the envelope (which contains a few room keys to a fancy hotel and the plane tickets, two of which for Alana and Billy are business class tickets as a reward for a great job last week) and they are leaving now!
They must meet the judges at Liberty Island when they arrive, so they quickly pack with so much excitement and are soon on their way to the airport. They happily board their planes, especially Billy & Alana who enjoy business lounge before heading on their business class plane ride!
The contestants are toasting their way to NY as Billy & Alana lie in their flatbeds, wow, so jealous haha.
They arrive in NY and it isn’t long before they pass some famous landmarks. They are all still in utter shock. They go for a bit of a sightsee before heading to Liberty Island, the home of the Statue of Liberty. Matt, Gary & George await them and remind them, this is no holiday.
They welcome them to ‘the time of their life’, NYC! Matt tells them that what they are about to do will eclipse everything they have ever done before!
Gary tells them that their first challenge will see them travel to all parts of the city, saying that today; they need to dig their fingers into the city. What makes the cities culinary heart beat?
For their first challenge, each person will be sent to a different part of the city and they must use their location as inspiration for their own dish.
The winning dish will give the maker a sneak peak at tomorrow’s challenge. The loser will go into an elimination held at the end of the week and that person will go into lockdown, no more challenges, no more outings! Wow, heaps is at stake.
They have 3 hours to explore their corner of NY and bring the judges their creation. They must go to the International Culinary Centre where they will have 90 minutes to cook their dish.
Gary gives them some clues as to where they will go. He gives Alana a statue with the Greek flag on it. She will be going to Astoria, NY’s little fish.
Sun gets a weird knife thing and she is going to the lower east side, famous for their delis.
Michael gets a hot dog stand to represent NY’s famous food stands.
Hayden gets an ironic cap saying ‘Harlem’. Kate is going to Chinatown, something she doesn’t feel confident with.
Dani gets the Brooklyn Bridge memento and will therefore be going to Brooklyn. Ellie gets a small hand bag which suits Gary quite well. She will be going to the meat packing district!
Billy gets a Pizza man statue, and will be going to The Bronx.
Gary reminds them to make a dish that ‘represents’ their location, something that confuses and terrifies the contestants. George tells them they will be expecting a dish able to inspire the guest chef tonight, a 3 star unnamed Michellin winner.
With that, they are off to their corner of NY.
After the break, the contestants are off to their area and Dani arrives in Brooklyn and discovers the community feel to the area. She visits Farmacy, an old fashioned soda restaurant. She tries a homemade soda before the owner takes to various other locations.
At one point, there is a brief product placement of the iPad. She continues to explore, trying rhubarb, a whoopee pie and even goes to shop at a local grocery store.
Hayden is now looking around Harlem and stops at Claudio’s barber shop for a bit of a shave, finding out a bit about the Harlem culture.
He explores the borough’s African American culture and works out what he will cook straight away.
Meanwhile, Michael is out exploring street food and loves how the idea doesn’t constrict him to one area of NY nor does it confine him to one cuisine. He cooks a taco and goes shopping, knowing what he wants to cook!
Meanwhile, Dani, Michael and some of the other contestants arrive back at the culinary centre and I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t get to see the other contestant’s locations.
They quickly all arrive, get their chef whites on and begin to cook their food. They are all a bit annoyed that they don’t know where anything really is and there are a lot of people sharing the one kitchen, but they all quickly get into their dish.
The judges visit Hayden and compliment his moustache. They find out he hasn’t tasted the fish he brought from the markets and he gets right on it, only to find out, they don’t taste all that good.
This causes him a few nerves.
He hopes that he can improve the dish by adding a lot of spices and herbs.
Meanwhile, Billy is doing two dishes. We have a look at his time in the Bronx and see he was inspired by the street art. He is very inspired by the use of Tabasco, opting to make a dressing, also making an Osso Bucco. The judges wonder if he’ll get his dish done in time but he’s confident he will.
He has his Osso Buco on in the pressure cooker and begins on his clams.
Sun is working on an orange based dish. We look at Sun’s adventures in the lower east side where the New Museum of Contemporary Art building has really inspired her. She wants to make a cake and the Katz diner and its pastrami loving atmosphere draws her into it. There she discovers a woman who recommends a honey cake.
The judges visit her and wonder why she would want to make a cake she has never tasted. They are also concerned about the fact she wants to stack her cake! This could either be a really good thing or a really bad thing.
Meanwhile, Alana visited the Greek neighbourhoods of NY and became inspired to make a savoury custard on her plate. She was very inspired by what she saw overall and wants to make an Australian dish that would translate well in the US.
She has her custard on and begins on her lamb racks. George announces there are only 60 minutes left and Dani is making many dishes including a rhubarb cake and a whoopee pie. Meanwhile, Sun is nervous about her cake and she is running out of time. She is rushing around all over the place and finally gets it in the oven, but is it too late?
Meanwhile, with 45 minutes to go, I see George and Gary in the funniest scene of the season, announcing the following:
‘Uptown, Midtown, Chinatown…. FUNKY TOWN’ thanks to George who added that last bit on the end there. My god, I couldn’t stop laughing, I think it was the Rockstar fingers George was holding up that got me!
Gary really wanted to go see EVERY area the contestants visited and George calls it a truly beautiful challenge.
All contestants are off and running. Kate visited Chinatown and will be making a ginger lobster with rice and bok Choy. She describes her time in Chinatown before telling us about her time in Red Egg, her main source of inspiration. Chinatown looks like the best and most colourful places visited tonight.
Kate knows that she is playing with fire when it comes to her lobster as there are so many things that could go wrong.
Meanwhile, Ellie, who searched the meatpacking district, a place of high end fashion that used to be a huge butchery district in ages gone by, is struggling with the stove and cooking her meat.
Ellie is worried about her flavours and whether they will blend well. Meanwhile, Dani is feeling the heat when it reached the 40 minute mark and needs to get her whoopee pie on.
As she makes it, it looks like what she wants but it tastes horrible by the sound of it! She goes with it anyway.
Alana is now smoking her lamb racks and every other contestant is now upping the anti as the music becomes deep and bassy.
The judges visit Michael and are impressed with his dish thus far noting the flavours and the look of the corn he will be using. Gary tells him to be weary about the chilli going into his dish.
Meanwhile, Sun is waiting for her cake to finish and she is just annoyed by the agonizing wait.
Dani is now up to piping her whoopee pies as Sun pulls her cake out of the oven, happy with the look of it.
Alana on the other hand is less than impressed with her smoked lamb racks which are overdone. She can’t do anything about it and will just have to hope someone has done worse than her.
The contestants continue to plate up and meanwhile, Alana is now in a happier mood, knowing her dish may not be all lost. She butters up the judges by giving them both a complimentary baklava.
They now have 15 minutes and Sun is having trouble cutting up her cake as it is too warm. It crumbles at the cut. Kate is happier however with her lobster tasting brilliant. I can see a good dish getting plated up here.
With plating time approaching, panic entails as people crowd the essential areas of the kitchen like the hot pans.
Dani takes her whoopee pies out of the oven and see they have overcooked; not a good sign. Her cupcakes are also not very enviable. She begins to cry under the pressure as she realises her egg cream milkshake is the only good thing going for her. She can hardly contain herself; she is just balling her eyes out. She will just have to bite the bullet and go with her original dish with the cupcakes and whoopee pies.
Meanwhile, with six minutes remaining, the contestants quickly plate up and there is panic ensuring everywhere. At times, the atmosphere is just too fast for me to catch up, there is so much going on.
Sun’s cake I can see is not looking too good, but it could get better! Meanwhile, most people have brilliant looking dishes as time is up and there are a few people proud of their efforts. On the other hand, Sun is very upset; hoping someone else has done as badly as she has. She cries as she watches the top layer of her cake fall off of the dish.
With cooking over, the contestants meet the judges in a fancy looking room as they wrap up the day by telling them that the three Michellin star winning guest judge is Eric Ripert. And who else?!
Matt tells them that with Eric here with them, they better have made the best dish they have ever made! He tells them what is at stake and it aint good news for the loser! God, how bad would it be to go into lockdown!
First up for tasting is Hayden’s dish. He has plated up a Spice Encrusted Catfish which Eric identifies as ‘north of Manhattan’.
The judge’s taste and Gary scrunches his face up asking what the greens are. He reveals they have been pickled and the judges just love them! George wants a whole bowl of them! Gary loves the combination of the entire dish, even that troublesome catfish.
Next up is Kate who feels happy with her dish- Ginger & Scallion Lobster. Gary thinks it is her prettiest dish to date, calling it restaurant quality.
Eric likes the simple look and complex taste factor and overall, it gets brilliant reviews!
Up next is Alana and despite the burnt Lamb Rack, she is very confident about her dish.
George thinks the frenching of the lamb is brilliant and Eric thinks it is a sophisticated dish!
They taste and Matt immediately notices the burnt lamb but overall, they love the dish and love the smoked flavours.
Next up is Ellie who is beaming in her cutaway, kind of giving it away that her Dry Aged Beef is a winner. Eric can even pick up that she has visited the meat markets. Eric mutters that the meat is good during tasting and compliments her dish on its taste and style.
She leaves beaming as I suspected.
Up next is Dani who had quite a bad time in the kitchen today, plating up her Egg Cream thickshake and cupcakes.
It doesn’t take long before she breaks down but justifies her dish as being inspired. She makes her soda and the judges are hesitant, but LOVE the Egg cream soda immensely. They then taste her cupcakes and while Gary loves the flavours and sweetness but Matt tells her the cooking isn’t too good. Matt does highlight that Dani has brought Eric his first ever Egg Cream Soda, so she has been able to present a dish from a corner of NY that Eric has never explored.
Now to Michael and his ‘food cart’ inspired dish. He dons a food cart vendor’s hat and finishes the 43rd St Taco he has presented to them. Very interesting concept he has there.
The judges taste and Gary loves his performance and his dish. Overall, the dish is a success but Eric is missing the avocado. George feels like he should be paying Michael for his dish! He actually does pay him, like a true food cart customer would.
Sun comes through with her cake and is very embarrassed, even causing Eric to laugh. She explains her day in NYC. She’s not happy at all but the judges go ahead and taste.
Gary tells her she has missed the idea of turning it into a dessert with George telling her the concept isn’t there. She goes off sighing heavily. She is not happy at all.
Next up is Billy who presents his dish with a smile (in his cutaway, he is very happy, suggesting a good dish). His dish is Clam and Pepper spray. He has decorated his dish to represent street art and has even given them all a pepper spray thing to spray their dish with. Overall, the judges love the creativity and marketing potential the dish presents.
Next is his Osso Bucco In Pedro Ximenez which has been decorated with some kind of ‘blood splatter’ effect.
The judges taste this second dish and while George was concerned it wouldn’t cook, it did, and fabulously. Matt however is a bit confused by some of their flavours however Eric thinks he has created a NY dish.
With that dish over, the judges first tasting in NY and they agree that there are six good dishes and two disastrous dishes. They quickly choose the losers without hesitation and move off to reveal the news.
After the break, the judges meet the contestants yet again to wrap up the day. Yet again, they discuss what is at stake. Dani just hopes she doesn’t go into lockdown.
Matt tells them that six of them could be considered for top dish of the day, but he ultimately just calls three of them. They are Alana, Michael & Billy. Overall, it is Eric who announces that the winner of the challenge is Michael! With that, Michael will get an exclusive insight into tomorrow’s challenge.
Matt presents him with a black envelope which contains this insight before he is told to take Billy & Alana for a trip outside, however the cannot find out what is inside despite the fact Alana & Billy cheekily want him to.
After this, George announces that Ellie, Kate & Hayden are safe, leaving Dani & Sun in the bottom two.
Gary wraps up where they both went wrong. Gary then announces that Dani is safe with Sun going into lockdown and elimination at the end of the week.
With that, she tearily goes into a week in NY without any exploration or any challenges. I reckon that has to be the worst feeling ever!
With that, the other contestants head into The Renaissance New York and are happy to see their luxurious rooms.
With that, we leave with one more shot at that black envelope!
What a brilliant start to NY week. While this episode had a lot of rushing around and a lot of very busy scenes, it was a nice way to begin with week. In a way, when you’re trying to show people at home the magic of New York, how they did it tonight was good, but only just good. I would have rather missed out on seeing some of those locations if it meant ALL contestants would spend at least a few hours of one day in that location.
Some amazing dishes were plated up and some pretty terrible ones as well. That twist of sending a contestant into lockdown; well I’m just trying to work out if it is tooooooo evil for the show! Maybe not, but I do feel for Sun.
Before I finish up, I’d just like to apologise if there are a few spelling or grammar mistakes in the blog above, or if there are area’s that just don’t make any sense at all. I do blog as I watch and watching this episode after blogging the three hour finale of DWTS has really taken it out of me and I just hope this hasn’t resonated into my posts. I choose not to proof read my articles as it takes up more time and I begin to double think things that I write which may cause some of my opinions to not translate correctly. I hope you enjoyed this blog nevertheless.
Also, just remember about the poll on the main page of our website asking you who you think will win this year’s title! The poll will refresh after every impending elimination so make sure you keep checking up and voicing your opinions. The poll is all thanks to AndrewB!!
I’m keen on a second outing into the big apple tomorrow night, so until then, have a good night.
Courtney’s Verdict: 9.0/10