Masterchef 4 Quick Recap: Back to the start and food fit for a King (S4E24)

Quick recap to cover last week’s episode of MasterChef. I’ll try not to go too much into the drama, because that takes up too much of my time and I’m really over it at this point. I’ve had enough, am sick and tired of it, and probably won’t ever watch MasterChef again after this season unless I’m extremely drunk or bored.

So we start off with another mystery box, and more sensationalist stuff about the prizes and how important they are. I wonder if the money that they display is actually real money, or “monopoly money”.

The challenge is to recreate their initial audition dish that won them the apron in the first place. Natasha made Hanger steak with chimichurri and empanadas. Luca has his broccoli rabe ravioli with parmigiano-reggiano sauce, and Jessie made the sea bass en croute.  It seems like an odd challenge to me that has more of a novelty factor than anything else. If the initial dishes were already so good and “masterchef quality”, how much can they do to really make it better?

Indeed, to me, none of the finished dishes are particularly impressive. Luca tried to elevate his dish by improving on the cheese sauce (which ends up failing) and garnishing with some tomato concasse (fancy named basically peeled and diced tomato flesh) and microgreens. Not really that impressive of an effort in terms of an “improvement”, but since the dish was solid to start with the judges still like it. When Gordon first went up to his station, tasted his cheese sauce, and said it tasted “weird”, that caused me to raise my eyebrows because vague feedback like that is usually prime fuel for the artificial drama engine. However, if Luca did end up simmering his cheese sauce, then that is a cause for concern. Cheese sauces should never really be brought above 170 degrees, especially a delicate cheese sauce like one that would be used to dress a ravioli. Cheese is full of proteins, and if you cook it at too high of a temperature, the proteins coagulate and press out all of the other stuff like moisture and fat. That is why you often see a shiny film of grease on top of a cheesy pizza. The sauce can become extremely grainy, greasy, and unpleasant to eat. Gordon raises a good point that if Luca really wanted to make a cheese sauce, folding it in to the sauce at the last minute until the cheese just barely melts is a good method.

Small but interesting sidenote that the judges’ feedback has been getting much more genuine. That tends to be the case in the later stages of the competition, as the “gimmicks” get weeded out. I find myself agreeing more and more with the actual feedback the judges are giving, for the most part at least.

Natasha’s dish for me looks the most impressive. I LOVE the plating. It’s extremely artistic, and takes you on a journey that guides you on how you should eat the dish, with the use of sauces as interludes. She did a pretty phenomenal job of tying two oddly paired components (skirt steak and empanadas), with one component leading to another. It makes sense, it’s beautiful to look at, and I think her dish truly showed the most improvement.

Jessie did her sea bass en croute again, and this time sliced it open to show off the (hopefully) perfectly cooked layers in the interior. It’s a smart but risky move, as if the knife wasn’t sharp enough it may have completely destroyed the delicate fish. She serves it with some mushrooms to help enhance the dish. A good effort, and the judges praise the dish, but it just didn’t seem like the changes that she (and the other contestants) made were all that difficult to execute. I’m not impressed.

Jessie is chosen as the winner, with Natasha in second and Luca in last. She gets the pick of three “king” ingredients to choose from: grana padano cheese, kobe beef tenderloin, or king crab. She picks an ingredient that she’s never worked with before (kobe beef) in hopes that Natasha will pick the cheese and leave Luca with the crab, which he has struggled with before. But Natasha plays to her own strength, picking the crab as the ingredient she wants to work for and leaving Luca with the easiest ingredient to work with.

Luca is making a veal cutlet stuffed with Grana Padano, braised radicchio, and frico. Frico sounds like a cheese lover’s dream. I want it in my mouthhole right now.

Natasha makes a chilled soba noodle salad with fresh vegetables and the king crab. It’s really a phenomenally easy dish to make as long as you cook the noodles and crab properly, cut the vegetables with the proper knife skills, and make a delicious vinaigrette. It’s a dish that can definitely show off the sweetness and savoriness of the crab. I wonder if she uses the “roe”, which to me is definitely the most flavorful part of the crab.

Jessie is marinating the kobe beef in an Asian marinade and serving it with some glass noodles and assorted Asian vegetables. She forgets the butter, and Natasha is in full on competition mode and doesn’t give her any. Jessies sounds like she got confused and expected there to be butter on her station, which would probably be the case with the staple pantry in a mystery box, but this isn’t a Mystery Box. Luca plays the nice guy and throws her a stick of butter, and Jessie is able to finish her dish. She leaves off the papaya salad.

Judges love Natasha’s dish. I’m sure it was a delicious dish that showed off the crab, but again as with the mystery box I’m not impressed with the technique or creativity behind the dish. From a culinary mind filled with as many incredible ideas as Natasha’s, I expected something a little more outside of the box.

Luca’s dish earns rave reviews. Graham mentions that there is a little bit too much cheese in the filling, and I agree. Grana padano is a rich and powerful cheese, and in the mini-roulade it looks like there is almost as much cheese as meat. Joe mentions that some acidity would be a nice contrast to the dish (though I don’t think a slaw is really the right answer). I agree with that sentiment (rich veal, rich stuffing, rich frico), though I wonder if the braised radicchio might have done the trick. Can’t taste though, so don’t know.

Jessie’s dish gets rave reviews, until Gordon steps up to the plate. He starts off positively, then as if flipping a switch, criticizes the noodles for being greasy (always a risk with glass noodles which absorb oil like a sponge), and asks to taste the salad. The judges apparently think the salad is the best thing since blast chillers were invented (which I don’t buy, judging by the less than convincing acting of Graham and Joe) then rip into her for leaving the salad off the plate.

Personally, I don’t think the salad should have been on the plate, ESPECIALLY  with the noodles. The flavors that Jessie put on the plate were a pretty classic blend of Chinese and Japanese flavors, and the salad is a distinctly Thai dish with thai flavors that don’t really meld with what she already has on the plate. Even if she took the noodles off and used the salad instead, the kobe beef with ponzu butter doesn’t really sound like it would pair well with a classic green papaya salad. She could have completely changed the marinade on the beef and gone with some thai chili, lemongrass, and fish sauce in a Vietnamese “shaking beef” style, but even then I think the judges would have criticized her dish for other reasons. I think Jessie had an idea of what she wanted her dish to be, and the green papaya salad, delicious as it may be, just didn’t fit into that idea. I completely support her decision to leave it off, though of course this is reality TV and they had to find something to knock her for and this was the ammunition that they needed.

Unsurprisingly, Jessie gets sent home. Ever since that last episode with the tiff with Krissi, her likability has plummeted and the producers have been setting her up for elimination. While a Luca-Jessie final was anticipated by many, it wasn’t really an option, especially if they had maintained Jessie’s goddess-like aura of do-no-wrong. The audience would be torn over who to root for, and no matter who wins a significant chunk of the viewers would be heavily disappointed. Now, it’s easier to achieve a satisfactory result, and if you have any sense about how reality TV works at this point it should be obvious who wins even with out actually watching the finale. Predictable, as always.

Though she wasn’t a character that I connected or identified with strongly, I still felt a strong twinge of compassion at seeing her tearful departure. Having been in that position myself, and gone through those emotions, I can’t help but feel sympathy. Despite the aura of perfection that has surrounded her much of the competition, Jessie is human after all and her disappointment at making it this far but falling short is understandable. I have nothing but the utmost respect for her and know that she will definitely have a bright future (perhaps as Paula Deen’s successor???).

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About Michael Chen

A contestant on season 3 of FOX's MasterChef! Tune in on June 4 and 5 at 9/8c to watch me compete in the top 100 home cooks in America!
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45 Responses to Masterchef 4 Quick Recap: Back to the start and food fit for a King (S4E24)

  1. M86 says:

    I haven’t been keeping up with Ben’s blog, so I’m not sure what has been said about this season, but I still say Season 2 was the best, with Season 1 close behind. This year, Masterchef has really taken a turn for the worse, even more so than Season 3. It’s barely watchable anymore, with the Walmart butt-kissing, the over-production of the filming, and the extreme drama and even hatred… Some of the stuff Krissi said almost equated to death threats. It’s truly sickening and ruins the whole show. And I’ve been watching Season 1 & 2, and the connection between contestants was so refreshing and it made me smile. Ugh, sorry, but I just needed to get that off my chest.

    Another thing I noticed: It seems like every dish presented this season, the judges liked (for the most part)… There really wasn’t anything awful. From Season 2, I remember Suzy’s pork belly dish with cloves and Adrian’s filet in the aphrodisiac challenge where Ramsay says it looks like his grandfather’s colostomy bag’s contents. Maybe it’ s just me.

    Okay, on to Season 4. Blah. I might give Season 5 a chance, but if it’s anything like this season, I’ll join Ben in not watching it. I’ve talked to several of my friends who loved Masterchef, and they echo my opinion. I’m surprised Ramsay is letting it get this way… He seems somewhat level-headed.

    • Michael Chen says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It really has taken a turn for the worse, eh? Though there were definitely some shockingly poor dishes this season (Lynn’s pavlova that some of my friends said looked like a bleeding..well you fill in the rest). I don’t know if I can necessarily compare the number of poor dishes this season to past seasons accurately.

      • M86 says:

        Michael, I hope I didn’t offend you with my “Masterchef season ratings”. You were among my favorite in Season 3… and when Gordon asked if you had a girlfriend and you said you were gay… My heart just melted (and I’m not an emotional guy!) I’m a gay male myself, and I know what it’s like. But, I know how overproduced the show is too.

        Lynn did have a bad dish, but I think the reactions from the judges was stupid. You have Graham taking off his glasses and trying to view it at eye level. It’s just way over the top now.

      • Michael Chen says:

        no offense taken at all! :)

  2. Fika says:

    hey michael, thanks for posting the recap on your blog! your recap and ben’s are so much fun and refreshing because it shows what regular viewers can’t–the tricks and editing.
    anyway i’ve watched the finale episode and well, let’s just say that yours and ben’s prediction about the winner was right. somehow after read your blog, i can predict what’s gonna happen next, and then amusing myself because those prediction were coming true. i’m waiting for your final post about masterchef recap! lots of love from indonesia :)

  3. Thank you so much for posting these recaps, they help restore my faith in humanity after watching MC… I probably won’t watch any further seasons, which is sad, because I like the initial idea, but I can’t take the artificial drama. Now if they come out and do a Michael Chen & Ben Starr cooking show, that I’m gonna watch ;)

    • Michael Chen says:

      Haha, well for that to happen we have to prove that we are engaging enough to draw a wide audience. And you are doing your part by reading the blogs and leaving comments! so thanks!

    • Deborah says:

      I would watch Luca, Jessie, the turkey, and miniGraham. They should be “running” some sort of small farm-to-table place, with lots of poultry hijinks.

  4. Kelsey says:

    Thanks for posting these recaps. I definitely don’t think I will be watching this show any more in the future. This season has turned vile, with all the contestants portrayed as backstabbers (whether or not that is true), and the focus is not on the cooking anymore. Isn’t a show called MasterChef supposed to be about cooking. Ever since Ben (and now you) started breaking down how this show really works, I have been able to basically predict who will be eliminated at each challenge, and in most cases, the elimination (IMO), was unjustified. Of course, I was not there to test the food, but it seems like there was some serious manipulation with the production to get specific people out. After a certain individual was saved in Las Vegas, I think at that point it became clear that it had basically been decided who was going to be the winner of the show.

    I really love both your and Ben’s posts. They add the education about cooking/ cooking techniques that have been missing from MasterChef USA, and I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • Adriana Crnjac says:

      I am Natasha’s mother. If you are Natasha’s friend on her personal Facebook account “Natasha Crnjac” please read the long comment I posted on Friday 9/13. I posted the same comment on her MC monitored Facebook account “Natasha Crnjac Masterchef 4″ The comment was removed almost immediately (and I do not believe Natasha removed it). I posted the comment because I had to get off my chest what had been bottling up since the taping of the finale back in April. Going back to your comment about the elimination in Las Vegas – raw burgers followed by undercooked lobster, it begs the question ?

      • Michael Chen says:

        Hello Ms. Crnjac! I’m honored to see you read my blogs, and I hope you’ve enjoyed my posts :).

        I’m not friends with Natasha on Facebook just because my general rule is not to add friends that I haven’t met in person (otherwise I would be overrun! haha). But please feel free to post that comment here on my blog. I think I’m far enough from the reach of the MasterChef producers that they won’t care, and at any rate, can’t do anything about it.

        And yes, Vegas was certainly kind of “fishy”. Get it? Lobsters? Fishy? …..never mind :)

      • Razercook says:

        Hi Adrianna

        A big fan of Natasha…. Cd you pls cut and paste yr comment on this blog? I am one of the few ppl in this world who doesn’t have Facebook. Congrats to yr amazingly creative daughter.

      • Hello Adriana Cnrjac. My name is Mindy and I love to help out others. Especially those that were portrayed unfairly on reality tv shows. I believe that Natasha is a wonderful woman and great mother. I never believed that she was the “villain.” It must have been hard for her to be away from her family and friends. I hope that Natasha has a bright future in whatever she wants to pursue. I would also like to apologize on behalf of those that were hurting Natasha on her Facebook page. Some of the negative comments were hard to read and I can only imagine what she was going through. I am sending both you and Natasha my love and support.

    • Michael Chen says:

      Thanks Kelsey! Yes, that Las Vegas challenge was very telling.

      • Adriana Crnjac says:

        Michael,
        Yes, I have enjoyed very much reading both Ben’s and your posts.
        I am copying below the comment posted by myself on Natasha’s Personal Facebook on 9/13.

        This message is from your mom.

        It has been extremely difficult but I have restrained myself from posting any comments on any social media up to now.
        Over the duration of MC4, I have read many kind and encouraging comments from your fans and supporters and would like to take this opportunity to extend my appreciation to all of them.
        In total disbelief, I have also read some of the comments from haters who do not know the real you nor the scripting and editing on MC4 that contestants have alluded to through postings on the social media.

        I am disclosing below what may come as a surprise to you, it has been bottling up in my chest since the 2-day duration taping of the finale back in April. I can not hold it any longer, I have to let go of it.

        I was informed by a casting manager 2 days in advance of the taping of the finale that the producers, for financial reasons, had declined to fly your oldest brother in from France.
        It felt like a stab with a dagger deep in my heart when I heard Gordon Ramsay during the taping announce, and to add insult to injury by special introduction, that Masterchef flew in 2 members of Luca’s family in from Italy for the finale. Yet, they deprived you of the same courtesy for just 1 family member.
        Your brother Alen was present for the taping of the finale but what you may not know is that he flew into LA on his own accord.

        The above described occurrence and evident favoritism led me to immediately suspect that MC4 may be rigged and that your performance in the finale may prove to be futile. I realized the distinct possibility that Luca was pre-determined to win.

        Furthermore, I witnessed numerous occurrences during the course of the 2-day duration taping of the finale which strongly reinforces my suspicion. It is not appropriate nor will I disclose the details in this posting but I trust the right time and place will present itself in the near future for a full disclosure of my own personal experience with MC4 and the finale.

        It is my understanding that all contestants signed stringent contracts and you probably can not nor do I expect any response on the above from you.

        I know first-hand how seriously you took MC4, the preparation effort and the sacrificing choice to tear yourself from Robert and Diego. Robert was and continues to be an incredibly supportive husband making it all possible.

        According to the elimination table on Wikipedia it appears you were the most consistent contestant on MC4. I congratulate you for your determination, perseverance and amazing journey. You have every reason to hold your head high and though you were declared the runner-up, you may have been the more deserving winner. Many others share the same sentiment.

        Personally I hold no grudge against Luca. To the contrary I sincerely wish him the best of luck and may the Masterchef trophy open avenues to him in the future. I can not fault him for the possible misdeeds of others.

        You have demonstrated on MC4 that you are a home cook with an incredible culinary talent and I wish you all the best in your future culinary endeavors. Good luck with a cookbook in the future too.

        With lots of love, your mom.

        PS I am open to responses from any or all Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, Joe Bastianich and MC4 producers

      • Michael Chen says:

        Extremely well said. Thank you for sharing. The fact that they refused to fly Natasha’s brother in from France is bizarre, and I don’t buy the “financial” reason. I imagine that it must be extremely tough on family members as well to stand on the sidelines and feel relatively helpless to the things that are taking place. I wish you, your family, and Natasha all the best. I hope I get to meet her someday.

  5. MaryAnn says:

    Michael thanks for continuing to do these. I agree with you, Ben and many of the posters here as to not watching this show in the future. The only way to make Ramsay, the production company and the network realize they’ve gone over the top with the drama and manipulation this season is to quit watching and affect their ratings. Maybe (probably not) they will see the light and get back to the reason for the show.

    I appreciate the time and effort both you and Ben put into this season’s recaps for us. Your insight was wonderful and helped so much in understanding why certain things happened the way they did.

    • Michael Chen says:

      Unfortunately, those of you guys that actually pay attention to the show, read the recaps, and understand what’s truly going on make up just a small portion of the viewership, so not watching the show is unlikely to change things unless society as a whole starts to shape up.

      I’m refusing to watch the show not necessarily because I want to make a statement or because I’m hoping that they will change, but because it just pisses me off to not only see the stuff on camera, but also the aftermath on social media. It’s awful and manipulative on all fronts, and I just can’t stand that.

    • Deborah says:

      By halfway through I’d given up on the food aspect but was caught in the drama of these poor people, imprisoned by their contracts, forced to generate endless non-food-related cataclysms for a relentless production staff.

      And I’m really frustrated whenever someone derides Krissi in terms that pretty much translate as “I hated her so much I wish the show were on seven days a week so I could hate her more often.” Umm, yeah, then Fox’s production worked sensationally and you’re guaranteeing more of that in the future.

  6. Hey Michael, thanks for your recaps, I love them :D

    Well I did agree with you that the show is becoming more and more boring and shallow, but actually I’m quite enjoying it because there is some cool contestants like Lynn, Natasha and Krissi. I did hope that the Season 5 would be something more new, more creative or just as good as the first 3 seasons.

    And I agree, the artificial drama is incredibly disappointing and I might won’t watch anymore Season in the future because of that. Still, if there is something interesting then I will give it a try.

    One more thing, I really love Asian contestants like you, Lynn, Felix and Christine, because I’m also an Asian and I’d like to give them support too :D

    I’m really looking forward for your post because I think we’re the same in many ways. And I’d like to learn something new, something better for my cooking too. And I hope you could replied to my post if you can ;)

  7. Andrea says:

    Jessie could’ve been at a popularity low, but she was still nicer than Natasha. She was the one I didn’t like much.

    I’m with you on the frico, Michael. I sell my soul (or what’s left of it =P) for anything with good cheese in it. And that looked particularly appealing… Reminded me slightly of a tortilla española.

    Unless someone I know is accepted into the show, I’ll just be checking the results on Wikipedia and be done with it. I hate how people like drama more than learning about new recipes and gastronomical cultures. So a big THANK YOU and a friendly hug to you for writing these recaps.

    A hug from your reader/commenter/fan/hopefully a friend someday,

    Andrea

  8. melissaj376 says:

    Mrs Crnjac- please know some of us out there see through the gimmicks and lies of reality Tv. Your Natasha came across to me as highly intelligent, very talented and refined as a cook, and not afraid to speak her mind. I am also a mother to a one year old boy so I can only imagine the heartbreak of leaving him for weeks. I wish her the best and I’m sure she has a bright future.
    Michael: you are the best! Great job filling in for Ben and I hope to visit your restaurant someday.

  9. Melina says:

    Hi Michael,
    I remember both you and Ben with fondness from your respective seasons of Masterchef, and during this current season I discovered both of your blogs. I am so impressed!! You both are spot on with your comments and insights throughout the episodes. Early on I eagerly recorded the episodes this season, but noticed throughout the season that, while I was interested in the challenges, I found myself fast forwarding through a lot of each episode because I just can’t stand the pettiness and arguments, not to mention the ridiculous product placements! (and Joe is in a category all to himself!) :)
    In addition to being very talented chefs, you and Ben have a gift for words, and I enjoy reading your thoughts.
    Thank you! I look forward to reading more. Perhaps one day you will take a trip up to Calgary, Alberta (maybe you’ve been already) – we’ve got some amazing restaurants here!

  10. Stephen says:

    Interesting that a couple of the finalists said what they had said on the show were not scripted but were actually their own words. Perhaps, then TPTB had been heavy-handed with the editing, and I do not include any of the judges as they would not have been bothered with editing.

  11. rain says:

    Thanks for the recaps, Michael. I thought that Gordon Ramsay was still a producer, but it looks like he sold off his ownership in One Potato Two Potato back in 2010. Further, IMDB says that he produced episodes in 2012, but not 2013. Others, like Adeline Ramage Rooney, are listed for the whole run, including 2013.

    So how much say does Gordon have in the production decisions? Sounds like it’s a lot less than he used to have. Do you think things would have gotten so bad if he was still an exec producer? He was obviously a producer for season three, so he had to be involved with any production shenanigans then, I suppose.

    I think Natasha has a wider range than Luca, but Luca is very good at what he knows and is comfortable with. That means the only sure way Jessie’s choice of “king” ingredients would have affected Luca was if she had taken the Grana Padano, keeping the Italian cook away from the Italian cheese. She shouldn’t have relied upon Natasha – or anyone else – to make the decision she thought was correct in that situation. She should have made that decision herself. Maybe she didn’t know how to cook well with the Grana Padano, but she also didn’t know Kobe beef. Still, I assume that very very few home cooks in America have had any experience whatsoever cooking with real Kobe beef, while most have had some experience cooking with a hard Italian cheese.

    • Michael Chen says:

      I think the title of executive producer is more for show and $$$ than actual decision making. I’m not familiar with that aspect of production, so I can’t say for sure. But it’s interesting to think about.

      You raise a very good point. If she had truly wanted to keep the grana padano away from Luca, she should have chosen it herself. But I can understand her choosing the beef. I would have been giddy over the chance to cook with real kobe beef, and it can be difficult to cook an entree with a cheese as the “featured ingredient”

    • Deborah says:

      Luca pretty much stuck to Italian and Christine to Vietnamese. For all the judges’ speeches on stepping up and taking risks, staying within your comfort zone tends to do well for people.

    • Adriana Crnjac says:

      I am Natasha’s mother. I do not know whether you have read my comment to Michael posted on 9/15. Unfortunately, I do not believe it would have made any difference to the final outcome if Jessie had picked the Grana Padano. It appears that no matter what one contestant was going to win MC4.

  12. Deborah says:

    Genius! Jessie would make a great next Paula Dean.

    After this episode I googled “frico” and definitely wanted some. That looks awesome.

  13. Stephanie Robertson says:

    i have to honestly admit when I started out reading these comments and this blog, I was ready to bash Ben and you, Michael, about bashing Masterchef, but yet reaping the benefits of your popularity because of the show. I no longer feel like doing that. After what I read from Natasha’s mom, Masterchef deserves to be bashed, and I am almost in tears in regards to the cruelty of the world in regards to the almighty dollar. Why would they do that to Natasha’s brother? I don’t understand. Why would they take people’s dreams and reduce them to dollars? I don’t understand. Why would they continue to think the public is so stupid? I don’t understand. I don’t understand anything in this world anymore, and I think my days of being an avid reality tv fan are over. Nothing is real in this world

    • Michael Chen says:

      Wow. I don’t know what to say. But thanks for sharing, and thanks for not bashing me and Ben I guess, haha. Very well said.

      • Stephanie Robertson says:

        I really adore you and Ben, and I really shouldn’t have wanted to bash you… :) I guess my only point really was that I wouldn’t have heard of you except for that you were on the show. Rather then bashing you though, I should be so thankful… your blogs truly enrich me and make me look at things in a different way.

    • Adriana Crnjac says:

      Stephanie. It has been a mental and emotional challenge since the taping of the finale in April. I was too naive in believing MC to be a real home cook competition, I got a rude awakening. I feel not only for my daughter but for all the contestants, no one should be exploited to satisfy the greed for ratings and $$$.

  14. Janice says:

    I agree. I don’t understand why the manufactored drama. From what I hear, they really didn’t need to fake it. There was plenty of drama that didn’t air. And it was predetermined that Luca would win. Even given what I know about Natasha (involved in that drama that wasn’t shown), she still should have won based off her cooking skills. Not her as a person.

  15. Constance says:

    This was my first time watching Master Chef/ Hell’s Kitchen/ reality television in real time. In fact I had never watched any reality television, no Survivor, no Big Brother, nothing. Wanting to know what the best home cooks in America were cooking I watched the previous seasons on You Tube. And I believed the program was focused on cooking.
    It was the Eggs Benedict pressure test with the subsequent trip to Las Vegas that opened my eyes to the sham. It was impossible that three judges couldn’t decide the worst dish among the four. Then to fly everyone to Las Vegas and have the four compete in another pressure test in Gordon’s restaurant at the spur of the moment? Didn’t smell right.
    After reading Ben’s blogs I began watching the subsequent episodes with a jaundiced eye. The manipulation was blatant. Choosing the winners of team challenges was obviously formulaic. Realizing that I wouldn’t be learning much about cooking I watched merely for entertainment. But the malicious comments on Facebook and other sites turned me off completely. All the contestants were subjected to nastiness but the comments about women contestants were more offensive and personal. And the moderator of the Master Chef Facebook page allowed them to remain. If I decide to watch in the future it will be well after the fact on You Tube and only for entertainment, avoiding the Facebook page.
    As for Jessie, I don’t think she has a personality suited for television. While very pretty, she seems too stiff, too bland. Jessie didn’t exhibit much passion and no exuberance during the season.

    • Michael Chen says:

      Thanks for sharing! Interesting point about Jessie. But that could be ENTIRELY due to how she was edited to appear rather “bland”, meaning always smiling and nonoffensive. She has some spunkiness to her too, as we saw closer to the end.

  16. Shape says:

    I think if Ben Starr and you stop watching and blogging the show, then I’ll stop watching it. My main form of entertainment with the show was watching it and then reading about the ridiculousness that goes on. Of course, if Ben Starr was never blogging about the show, then I would have probably never found his site, through which I found yours.

  17. veb2b says:

    Michael, thank you for blogging the last episodes for MC4. Mrs. Crnjac, thank you for your comments and insight. Some of us gave up on watching the program earlier in the season, but we still like to read about what the challenges were, in theory. That’s so we can speculate on what we would have done with them. The program always has been vague on whether they were looking for a home cook with professional expertise or a satisfactory home cook with a good backstory. In fact, they just want a personality that can attract a big viewing audience, and this year they discovered that the leading personality was a defensive single mom. The expected winner was too understated to make him a focal point, so they gave him a growth arc. I think, from what I have read, that they gave Natasha a warmth arc (showing her in a more positive image) later in the season, maybe in case Luca cratered. However, Natasha’s cooking was too advanced and too international for the masterchef image. While they wanted a good cook, they wanted a person who cooks mostly dishes in the comfort zone of technique and flavors for home cooks, especially after an Asian won last year. So Natasha, like several others in previous seasons, was probably too sophisticated to win.

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