Two hours tonight. I’ll try to remember that in sixty minutes. One of my favorites went home last week. I hope none of them go home this. The first challenge is cooking for 300 elementary school kids, and they’re both picky and pretty blunt about what they do and don’t like to eat, so this should be plenty terrifying for them. Krissi, you still have more enemies than friends. I’d say shut up, but there’s no point; you won’t. Two teams; the captains were determined last week, and I’m sure they’ll call them over soon. They’ll be making an entrée and a dessert.

OK, Jessie (one of my favorites) and Jordan (one of this season’s assholes). Jessie picks Lynn. Jordan’s pissed. He picks Savannah. Jessie’s not happy. She picks Bethy. Jordan picks James. Jessie picks Beth. Jordan picks Eddie. Jessie picks Bime.  Jordan picks Johnny. Jessie picks Natasha. Jordan picks Krissi. Jessie picks Bre. Jordan picks Adrianna. Jessie picks Luca. If it weren’t for Jordan pontificating, I wouldn’t be able to keep up. He picks Howard. Jessie picks Malcolm, leaving Jordan with Kathy as last choice. Jessie tells us Kathy’s a weak link. Jordan lies that everyone on his team can cook, and assumes a dictatorship. That’ll go well. The healthy meal must consist of a protein, a starch, a veggie, and a fruit. Jessie gets to pick first. Her team picks corn because kids don’t like greens. They decide to go with chicken teriyaki and a strawberry crumble. Jordan’s team is going to do spaghetti and turkey meatballs with green beans and an apple crisp. That’ll be six hundred meatballs. I don’t know if they can make that many in an hour. The judges think the dark sauce on the chicken teriyaki will turn the kids off. Depends on which grade level; the younger ones might be.

Jessie’s meat crew is having problems with cooking chicken; Krissi’s bitching about the lack of meatballs, but I’m pretty sure she’s the one who claimed she could make them. Shut up, Krissi. Gordon talks Jordan into changing the meatballs into chopped meat for a meat sauce. Jessie’s sauce is too salty, so they’re adding water. Gordon’s also worried about the rice and veggies being cooked separately. He goes to interview the kids about food preferences. They look like they’re kindergarteners. None of them have heard of chicken teriyaki. They have to start plating and the green beans on the blue team aren’t done. Hordes of screaming children descend upon the two teams like a plague of locusts. There *are* some older kids, so I’m holding out hope for the red team. The announcer says there’re 301 kids. Good thing blue team switched to meat sauce, but they don’t have plates to serve. The teams are floundering with service.

Joe interviews the kids and is surprised so many like the chicken teriyaki, but the pasta is really going over well. Blue team’s beans are getting dinged, but the red team is falling behind in service, which means they’re losing votes. The judges are mixed, but overall prefer the teriyaki since the red team sweetened it up. I think the fact they missed several plates will hurt them. And it’s a fairly massive rush towards the blue team, looks like. But as they settle down, it looks more even, so the teams can’t tell. The percents are 58 and 42. Red wins! Most excellent. They had the better veggie and dessert. When they sweetened up the teriyaki, it made it kinda taste like BBQ, which a lot of the kids liked. And if I’d paid attention to the upcomings, I would’ve known Blue lost since Krissi’s yapping during the pressure test. Jordan’s team turns on each other, and him. Jordan claims it was his team’s inexperience in serving large amounts of people; Joe calls him out for his lack of leadership. Gordon announces that three of them will not be competing in the pressure test. He drags out telling us who gets to determine who’s safe so we can have a dramatic cut to commercial break. Just before we do, he heaves a sigh and looks up at the balcony. This means nothing. I suspect it will be up to Jordan, not Jessie, because it has been in the past. And IIRC, in that upcoming, Krissi’s snarking at Jordan. I don’t believe Jessie would choose to keep him safe. I know Jordan will keep himself safe.

Yep, knew it. Honestly did enough. Yeah, right. Of course someone he thinks he can beat. Howard. I’m surprised he picked James, tho. He says he doesn’t want to face him in the pressure test. Joe reminds him he can save himself, and he promptly does so. I have to admit I kinda prefer that they all have to make a dish, rather than that one test where they had to name all the ingredients in a pot of chili in the first season. Ah, cheesecake. Yes, that takes some skill. Eddie says he doesn’t even like cheesecake, which worries me. Joe agrees, after Gordon picks Johnny. Adrianna cuts herself. Gordon says the secret is in the base. Kathy’s making a berry compote. They have about 30 minutes left, and the cheesecakes should be baking now, Gordon says. Savannah says she’s making a salty caramel topping. Adrianna’s making a topping with guava paste and mangoes. Eddie’s oven is smoking. Oh dear. In his talking head, he’s wearing a different outfit than he is in the kitchen, tho, so I’m hoping that’s from a future interview. It sounds like he wasn’t able to close the pan correctly, and it’s leaking, so he puts aluminum foil on the bottom and tries to get it to cook more quickly. I’m afraid that’s going to mean he’s turning up the heat, which isn’t a good idea. Johnny’s putting pineapple on his, which the judges think is a bad idea. Kathy’s compote looks restaurant quality, according to Joe. They don’t like the idea of Adrianna’s guava paste. I think they’ll be surprised. Krissi’s first up, and Jordan starts trash-talking it. It fell, but it looks good when Joe holds the slice up. He says it’s light and restrained. Graham says it’s rich and creamy, and the raspberry is the right amount. Gordon also praises it’s appearance and taste, calling it sublime. Johnny’s next. He added coconut and a pile of whipped cream to the pineapple. Joe says the crust is too thick, but the cake itself has a good texture. The texture of the pineapples, however, is too fibrous. We don’t get to hear what the other judges think.

Kathy’s up now. Graham likes the topping and the cheesecake itself. Eddie’s called up. He also put a mixed berry compote on top, and when it’s cut into you can see the compote leaked into the cheesecake and colored it, so it looks very messy. Oh, dear. But Gordon tells him it’s a bloody good effort. Savannah’s next. It looks awfully thin when Graham slices it. Turns out the base is too thick, and the topping wasn’t done well. He tells her she may be going home. Joe thinks she’s throwing the competition to help Johnny stay in. He gives her a bite. She admits it’s too sweet and the crust is too thick. She tearfully says she’d like to stay. Joe tells her they’re there to find the next MasterChef and we cut to commercial. When we come back, we get to see that bit again. Short-term memory. Gordon and Joe are down on Adrianna’s cake before Gordon even cuts into it. I’m not sure he even tries it. Graham tells her it didn’t go the way she wanted it to. Joe tells her the crust is like sand, and it may have just bought Savannah another day in the kitchen. Eddie, Krissi, and Kathy are the first to join the gallery. Johnny nailed his filling, so he’s safe. Both Adrianna and Savannah interview in talking heads.

While Savannah’s teary, she’s wearing a different shirt, and Adrianna isn’t. I’m guessing it’ll be Adrianna, but I’ve based my guesses on that before and been wrong. I should point out Savannah also sounds like an “after-the-fact” interview. But it’s Adrianna. I think it was the canned guava, and Gordon implies as much. In the second hour, during the mystery box challenge, Gordon participates. Kathy,  you’re nowhere near as much of a loudmouth as Krissi. The elimination challenge twist has something to do with a lack of a mixer. Gordon has the chefs do a 180, then somehow manages to get into a chef’s coat and come strolling casually through the back doors. I suspect there was more cutting than we saw, since we had a couple of talking heads tossed into the footage. The ingredients are: black cod, black and white sesame seeds, shiitake mushrooms, baby beets, ginger, cauliflower, soy, rice wine vinegar, and miso paste, according to Joe. I can also see long grain white rice, what looks like either Chinese snow peas or edamame, and berries of some sort. Definitely an Asian theme. I’d broil the cod with a marinade of the soy, rice wine vinegar, and sesame seeds, and do a stir fry with the mushrooms, ginger, and cauliflower. Not sure where I’d put the miso; I’m unfamiliar with it. Possibly in the veggies. Since there’s only an hour, I might not have time for a dessert, but if I did I’d crystalize some of the ginger and then add some berries to it, and serve it over the rice with milk, if there is any. Natasha’s feeling the Asian fusion. Gordon claims he knows what he’s doing and asks Joe and Graham for their ideas. He also says sixty minutes is too long. He wanders up to the gallery. Eddie’s wearing the sweater I saw in the talking head earlier, so now I’m worried.

Thirty minutes gone and Gordon’s having a cuppa. This is giving the others some confidence. He finally starts in, and Joe gives him some crap about fixing a salad. Sounds like he’s doing a bit of a stir fry. Graham and Joe make fun of his accent before strolling among the others. Luca tries to get Joe’s opinion of his miso sauce. Johnny tells Graham he hopes Chef Ramsey isn’t doing fish and chips, since he is. Joe tells Howard his station’s a disaster and expresses the hope he’s not on the bottom. Howard says it’s time for him to be on top. Graham tells everyone there’s one minute left and they’d better start plating, then they start counting down from ten seconds. Gordon gets to go first, but the others get to go take a look and a taste of the sesame-crusted black cod over flavorful rice (I know there’s ginger and basil and mint in it; don’t recall what else he said) with caramelized cauliflower and a miso-peanut sauce. That makes sense; I seem to recall miso is very salty and the nut will help cut that. The judges say someone did something appalling, and plated raw fish.

Dramatic commercial cut. And then we replay that part, including the talking heads and reactions. Interestingly enough, Howard interviews that he’s looking around, wondering if someone did sashimi, when Gordon calls him up. It looks done to me, but I’m guessing he is. Joe throws the whole plate in the trash. The first plate they call up is James. Pan-seared crispy black cod with shiitake mushroom salad and miso vinaigrette. Crispy cauliflower something, too. Joe and Graham both think it’s delicious, and Gordon says it has finesse. Next is Beth, whose dish Graham says looked like something out of a restaurant and similar to Gordon’s. Black cod with sesame seed crust and caramelized beets and cauliflower, with a miso vinaigrette. Graham says it’s cooked perfectly. Gordon is equally enthused. The final dish is Luca’s, I’m guessing from the way the camera keeps lingering on his plate. Jordan, of course, is pissy. Joe asks him what he’d said about the sauce, and then tells him it’s amazing. Gordon tells him “great job”. Before they can announce the winner, there must be a dramatic cut to commercial, which will be followed by a replay of Gordon pausing and all three chefs’ talking heads.

So, my browser froze and I’m typing this in Word now, hoping that my save draft went through first. (It did).

Luckily, when we get back from commercial, Luca is announced as the winner fairly quickly, and we move on to his advantage for the elimination challenge, which explains the clip of him walking off with what is possibly the only mixer. (I don’t know exactly how to refer to the “coming up on” clips, and the wordpress spell checker doesn’t like “upcoming”, so I think I’ll just call them clips and hope y’all figure it out.)

The elimination challenge is dessert. Luca’s choices are two dozen cookies, a dozen cupcakes, or a traditional layer cake. He will also be safe from elimination, so is choosing for everyone else. Hmm. If he’s not baking, then he’s going to get to steal a mixer from whomever he considers his strongest competition. I hope it’s Jordan. He picked cupcakes, and after the reveal, the judges tell him about the mixer. Yes! Jordan better have some good muscles. Luca explains it’s karma for saving himself in the pressure test. They have 90 minutes.

Bime doesn’t do baking, so he’s stumped. Everyone’s kinda lollygagging while Jordan goes to town on the butter with a whisk. Jordan assures us he’ll still be here after this. Commercial break. Thirty minutes gone, and Gordon says he hopes the batter is in the oven. Bethy sounds like she’s overextended herself; she doesn’t do a lot of baking but has about three different kinds going. Graham and Joe don’t think much of Malcolm’s filling. Jessie’s test muffins don’t look good, and her talking head is in the outfit she’s baking in. Kathy’s also trying something she hasn’t done before.

The judges discuss various contestants as the clock ticks down past five minutes. Evidently, they also have to pack them in a box. Bethy’s toasting nuts with a blowtorch with less than a minute left, and the countdown begins even as I type, once more.

Howard’s up first. He has a Tahitian vanilla bean cupcake with a white chocolate cream frosting. It looks like he also grated some chocolate over them. The one Joe holds up is lopsided, and Howard says he doesn’t even eat cupcakes. Joe asks if he upset him earlier, and reminds him it’s the elimination test. Commercials. Looks like someone gets dropped on their head on SYTYCD next week, and my guess is that their partner will be going home, as Mary tells him “You cannot put someone in danger.”, over scenes of her being loaded into an ambulance.

Back to Joe telling Howard it’s an elimination test. He’s wearing the same outfit in his talking head. He used extract, not the bean himself, but Joe tells him he did a good job. Gordon likes the topping. We don’t hear from Graham.

Malcolm made buttermilk cupcakes with mascarpone frosting and rum banana cream. I wonder if Joe and Graham will actually try them. Graham does, but the cupcake is extremely dense. Gordon sticks his tongue out and says he’s been kicked in the bollocks. Malcolm’s talking head outfit is also the same as what he’s wearing, so I’m going to stop taking note.

Bime made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla and chocolate whipped cream frosting, and shaved chocolate on top. Graham praises them. Kathy’s next. Jordan swears about them. They’re vanilla with chocolate peanut butter and peanuts. She put different bottoms on some of them, so they have to try one of each. Joe doesn’t sound very impressed.

Bethy brings up her mix of banana foster cupcake with mascarpone cream cheese frosting, raspberry limeade cupcake with lime butter cream frosting, and an almond chocolate cupcake with hazelnut liqueur topping. Gordon says they’re visually stunning. He likes the bananas foster one, and we don’t’ get to hear any more before Jessie is called up. Her cupcakes are very small. She interviewed earlier that she let Joe intimidate her into second guessing herself. Her offerings are a vanilla bean cupcake with hazelnut and cream cheese frosting, and a chocolate coffee liqueur cupcake with cream cheese frosting. That’s the one Joe tries, and he tells her it’s a bit of a letdown. Graham tries one of the vanilla ones, and shows her that due to the size, they’re very dense. Gordon tells her the chocolate one is dry, and tells her for him, it’s her worst performance in the competition. She may be going home.

Finally, it’s Jordan’s turn. He made vanilla bean cupcakes with “a hint” of basil, and mascarpone frosting with a mini chocolate truffle with cayenne. Gordon tells him he has a surprise for him; they’ve invited a special guest to taste them. I’m not surprised when they call up Luca. Gordon asks him if he’s going home or safe. Luca says he’s 100% safe; they’re delicious. He asks if he can keep the cupcake and tells Jordan “Good job” as he runs back to his station. That’s chivalry.

Gordon also thinks they’re delicious. Sounds like he’ll be this season’s asshole-who-can’t-be-beat. The judges take some time to discuss who’s leaving, and who will be the team captains next time. The first one named is Bime. Wonderful! But they say Bethy’s cupcakes were even better. The three worst are called up:  Malcolm, Kathy, and Jessie. I won’t miss either if it means Jessie stays.

Malcolm is called forward first, but isn’t safe. Kathy’s safe, so now I’m worried, but the only problem they had with hers was the decoration. I just noticed Malcolm has really weird piercings through the tops of his ears. It’s the last I’ll see of them, though, as Gordon sends him home and Jessie back to her station.

Next week, they’ll be serving firefighters, and Krissi loses it. Howard, Bre, and Kathy are who I can see over the pressure test montage, and it sounds like the whole team is sent home, including Luca, James, and Lynn.

Sidenote: I’m having so many browser issues, I finally had to copy the whole thing over into a Word document so I could spell check it, but 45 minutes later, I still can’t publish it. If I live blog next week, I’m just going to do the whole thing in Word to begin with.

Nina Lisa

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