Episode 3.17 : Top 5 Compete

  • MasterChef
    • Episode Premiere : August 21, 2012
    • Distributor : FOX
    • Genre : Reality
    • Seasons : 3
    • Show Period : 2010 - now
    • Production Company: Reveille, Shine TV, One Potato Two Potato
    • Official Site :

Cast and Crew

  • Main Cast
    • Gordon Ramsay as Himself - Presenter,
    • Joe Bastianich,
    • Graham Elliot Bowles,
    • Christina Tosi

The Story

The remaining five home cooks select the mystery box ingredients they will need to create a dish that best represents who they are, but the judges surprise the contestants with a game changing twist. Later, in the elimination challenge, the home cooks will have a limited amount of time to conceptualize and recreate one of Graham Elliot’s signature dishes that he served to President Barack Obama at his flagship restaurant. Find out whose dish is fit to impress the Commander-in-Chief and who will be sent home.

The final five enter the MasterChef kitchen, where the judges - Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot and Joe Bastianich - tell them their dreams are close to becoming a reality, but there are still a couple of hoops they'll need to jump through. The competing cooks will be undergoing another Mystery Box Challenge that requires them to prepare and present an incredible dish.

As always, there's a twist. The cooks discover that their crates are empty and they'll be choosing their own elements. They each go into the MasterChef pantry and pick a maximum of 15 ingredients that will reveal their personal style on a plate, which they'll have 60 minutes to prepare.

Frank is excited to cook a sausage for the first time in the competition. Monti decides to create an exquisite dessert dish. But just as Gordon is counting down the starting clock, he abruptly halts the challenge. While Becky clings to her perfect ingredients, the contestants are told to hand over their selections to the home cook in front of them.

Becky receives Josh's box, which contains chicken thighs, celery and tomato paste among its contents. In the meantime, Josh gets Frank's Italian spices and is unsure what to do with them. The ingredients that Becky has chosen - parsnips, heavy cream and wine - seem to stump Christine. Monti also is thrown for a loop by Christine's fish sauce, which she thinks "tastes like death."

As the timer officially kicks off the competition, Joe remarks that this challenge is the "essence of being a creative chef." The judges believe that Josh will take Frank's Italian ingredients and interpret them in a Southern way. They note that Becky had chosen chicken thighs for her box, as had Josh, so she should be able to adapt her plan more easily than some of the others. Christine has to come up with a totally new plan to utilize Becky's beets and goat cheese. But Monti has the biggest challenge in the judges' eyes, and Joe says he doesn't believe she has the skill, the experience or the palate to pull off a Vietnamese dish.

Having carefully tasted the food as it was being prepared, the judges take a final look to choose three standout dishes. First they select Josh's savory bread pudding with pork, onion rings and mozzarella. Graham says he could keep eating it forever but he's going to hold back. Joe tells him it seems like he picked the ingredients himself. Monti is the second home cook to serve her dish. She has gone way outside her comfort zone to prepare the tom kha gai using chicken, coconut milk and lemongrass, and her nontraditional take is a hit with the judges.

Christine is the final contestant selected. She has prepared a pan-seared chicken with beet and goat cheese salad from the ingredients that Becky assembled. Gordon says the combination of elements on her plate is like a symphony.

In the end Josh is named the winner of the Mystery Box Challenge for the very first time. The judges escort him into the pantry, where he gets to choose among three restaurant dishes that he and his rivals will be cooking. The entrees were all originally conceptualized, prepared and eaten in Graham's flagship Chicago restaurant.

The first dish is sweet corn bits, which was ordered by Oprah Winfrey. Jay-Z devoured the second choice, Alaskan king crab with vanilla crème fraiche. And President Barack Obama enjoyed the final selection - a white tuna sashimi with avocado mousse, passion fruit and crispy plantains.

Josh chooses the tuna sashimi, believing that it's fairly simple to prepare. While he doesn't get immunity in the challenge, he will be given every single ingredient needed to complete the dish. The other contestants will have to choose for themselves what they think is required from the pantry.

Christine is instantly nervous at the thought of re-creating another dish. The judges are impressed that she is able to select everything she needs using taste alone. But they're concerned that Monti is adding heavy cream to the already rich avocado. And only Josh has taken Graham up on his challenge to improve upon the original dish by adding mango to the passion fruit to cut the sour flavor.

When it comes to knife skills, several of the chefs are struggling. However, Becky, a technical food photographer, has an advantage in replicating the aesthetics of the dish.

When time is up, Christine wows the judges by presenting a seamless replication of Graham's original dish. He tells her he's "super proud" of her. Joe says he'd doubted her before, but she continues to impress and amaze him. Gordon asks her if he's being punked.

Next up is Monti, who admits she fell short and destroyed the fish. Graham agrees that it's not her best result. Gordon tells her that watching her prep the tuna was embarrassing, while Joe confirms that Monti has missed the spirit of the dish.

As Frank serves his tuna, Graham tells him it is a "perfect rendition." But Becky is in for a surprise when she presents her dish, with Gordon telling her that it's a poor delivery and warning her that she's heading downward in the competition.

Last up is Josh. Graham contends that the added sweetness from the mango is unnecessary. While Gordon appreciates the ballsy attitude that Josh had in trying to improve upon Graham's dish, he reminds the home cook that he needs to learn to walk before he can run.

Ultimately Christine's tuna is declared to be the best, leaving Monti, Becky and Josh as runners-up. In the end, Monti is sent home, and the remaining four contestants are left to face their next competition for the title of MasterChef.






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