Tonight, it is one of those eliminations you just don’t want to lose, one based in New York. And from what I’ve seen, it’s going to be a fiery one!
The episode starts with a sweeping look of NY before we see Sun, Billy, Hayden and Dani dress up for tonight’s elimination. They all get to wear chef whites tonight instead of the traditional black aprons. We hear words from the four contestants as they express their thoughts on the elimination at hand.
Tonight, the elimination will be held in Harlem, where Hayden had to find inspiration in the very first challenge. I doubt though that this challenge will resemble that of Sunday. Matt Preston welcomes them to Harlem and to the elimination challenge where one of them will go home. Matt Moran is also there.
Preston tells them that the reason why they are standing there is because they stumbled in NY. We recap why each contestant is standing there today.
Moran tells them to roll up their sleeves and show them what they’re made of. They are in front of the famous and delectable Sylvia’s. Sylvia and her family will be joining them for lunch, a lunch the contestants will be cooking.
Sylvia’s son Kenneth and granddaughter Trenness come out and welcomes them to Sylvia’s restaurant before telling them what ‘soul food’ is.
Today, they will have to cook with love, it is the secret ingredient. Dani thinks she can cook like that. The judges and the contestants go into the restaurant to taste the dishes they will be cooking today.
They will be cooking four dishes each; three being the same for all of them and one being different for all of them.
The catch, none of them will be getting recipes. The three dishes they will be cooking today (all of them) are the Sylvia BBQ ribs, Sylvia’s fried chicken and Sylvia’s Macaroni and Cheese. All of these seem like fast food or pantry food; but they are complex plates using a heap of different flavours!
The side dishes they have to cook today are Okra Gumbo, southern style black eyed peas, Collard greens and Candied yams and of course the potato salad.
Hayden will be cooking the gumbo, Sun will be cooking the potato salad, Billy will be making the Collard greens AND the black eyed peas (he gets both as they are easy) and the candied yams are therefore going to Dani. They taste the sides and they are all pleased if not perplexed.
They will have 90 minutes to prepare the dishes and everything they need is in the kitchen provided.
Their time starts and they frantically begin their challenge. Kenneth continues to remind them to cook with love, but I don’t think that will be happening.
Meanwhile, Ellie & Alana, looking lovely, arrive at Daniel Boulud’s restaurant and sit down to their four course meal before going to their private MasterClass to learn a few tips.
Ellie reminds us that someone is leaving today, throwing us back into the challenge. Each contestant is frantically beginning on their chicken butchering. Hayden realises there are only three fryers (and four contestants), aiming to snatch one up early. Sun on the other hand, does not start on her chicken, starting on her potato salad so they can chill in time.
Kenneth & Moran come to Dani’s bench where she is preparing the Candied Yam. She tells him all the sweet flavours she is putting into the sweet, sweet dish however Kenneth reminds her that it is not just a sweet dish.
Next up Hayden, and he begins on his gumbo. Kenneth tells the Gumbo virgin that putting TLC into the dish will help him.
Billy is making his sauce for the chicken while the chicken is marinading in buttermilk. Meanwhile, Sun is starting to break down her chicken but she is concerned with time, deciding to rub on some spices and throwing it in the fryer. This may be too little.
With 60 minutes to go, Kenneth and Moran talk about the contestant’s progress and they notice that the contestants are trying to put their spin on the dishes, which Kenneth doesn’t think is a good thing; condemning some things the contestants are doing including Sun’s butchering.
Sun has created a marinade using anything she can, throws it on the ribs and throws it in the oven. Dani is also making a marinade but seems to be putting more effort into it. Billy is working on his macaroni cheese.
As Kenneth comes over to Billy’s bench, he is doing his Collard greens. Kenneth tastes the greens and thinks they need more flavour.
Meanwhile, Dani pours some sugar into her marinade not realising, it was SALT! Yuck!
Back after the break, we get a few flashes of some of the Harlem neighbourhoods before returning to the heat of the kitchen where Dani has added salt into her marinade.
She dumps her sauce and begins again. Meanwhile, Hayden continues to work on his Gumbo, hoping it doesn’t break down to mush on the hot bench.
Billy is making his black eyed peas and as he tastes, he his happy with it, and he’s quite vocal about his liking of his side dish.
As people begin to arrive, Dani is working on her macaroni cheese and Dani adds her chicken to the fryer. With Hayden’s chicken going in the fryer as well, that leaves one more vats free.
Billy gets his chicken in fast leaving Sun without a fryer. Dani burns her hand in the process as we reach the ten minute mark. Sun needs to get her chicken on and she begins to panic. The contestants don’t let her in and she begins to give Hayden some flack. When Hayden gets his out, Sun’s go in with only a few minutes left.
People are now mingling in the dining room as Dani continues to suffer from her burn. She forgets about her chicken that burns in the vat. She is laughing and crying at the same time.
With one minute to go, Sun just doesn’t look like she will finish and with 30 seconds to go, things just happen left right and centre.
The boy’s are happy but Sun is just cut up about her potato salad.
Meanwhile, Kenneth, Trenness and the judges sit and wait for the food to be delivered to them. Sun’s is first as Kenneth declares the chicken and potato salad unappetising. They don’t like the salad at all and they just don’t like the macaroni and cheese.
There’s just nothing positive coming out of this. Well, not quite, they do love the ribs quite a lot.
She will just hope others don’t do as ‘good’ as her.
Hayden’s dish is next and they love the look of this dish much better. Trenness is a bit worried about her ribs. As they taste, they love the macaroni cheese but hate the ribs. They don’t like the gumbo either.
Next up is Dani’s dish who as she plates up smells some nice flavours. When the judges get the food, they immediately notice the burnt wings.
They begin tasting with the chicken and Matt Moran says the chicken was burnt because the oil was too hot, saying the inside of the chicken wasn’t too bad. Overall, she must have done well as there wasn’t anything too negative. There wasn’t much of a review at all.
Billy’s is last to be plated up and they seem to like the look of his dish the best. They taste his black eyed peas first and with warming music, they love it to bits. They also like the chicken, the macaroni and pretty much everything. They can also taste love! Aww.
With that, tasting is done and they thank Sylvia’s descendents before gathering the contestants for the result.
Matt Preston tells them that one of them will be going home before interviewing them about their week in New York and the challenge at hand.
Sun would love to win but is just concentrating on being in the top seven. Dani talks about her teary week as she breaks down again. Oh, Dani. You’ve been so out of character.
The judges then go through each of the contestants pro’s and con’s with a few giveaway cutaways again being shown again. I love Sun’s somewhat sarcastic surprise when she realises her chicken was undercooked. A cheeky shot of Hayden was also funny.
Billy & Dani are particularly happy with their results. Billy’s dish was so good, he is saved first and is over the moon.
Matt turns to Dani and then reveals that she is safe. She breaks down again and it may be the last time she does!
It is now down to Sun and Hayden and isn’t it obvious who goes, if it wasn’t so already? Matt announces that Hayden is safe and Sun is going home. She is somewhat unenthusiastically calm and sombre and it’s as if she has lost her mojo, although she’s not the most animated person anyway. She is however such a nice person and you can see this through her hugs goodbye. It was as if they were farewelling a relative. It was quite sad actually.
I think the best part of that episode was seeing Sun’s lovely dog at the very end; how cute was it!
So overall, a nice episode again let down by a few cutaways, but let’s not discuss that. Sun’s elimination was surprisingly sad. Maybe it was because this ends the main bulk of NY week or maybe because it was such a heartwarming challenge. Or maybe it was just sad to see Sun go! I must say, if all eliminations were like this, MasterChef would be doing so much better!
With Sun now out of the competition, the poll on the front page of this website asking you for your opinion on who will win the season has been changed. Go back and refresh your opinion and if you were a Sun fan, who would you pick now?
Courtney’s Verdict: 9.0/10