It's almost a week ... probably about time I do up a MasterChef Season 4 Premiere Recap.
So we start out with the mass audition footage, and some ridiculousness with helicopters and boats. Boring, let's get to the actual "Auditions"
Actually, before that... I'd like to say something about the setting money on fire thing.
In today's day and age, many people are hurting pretty badly for money. While I'm used to Joe Bastianich ("Joey Coattails") reeking of entitlement on this show, this took it to whole other levels.
Whether it was real money (which would be illegal) or not, the symbolism of it was disgusting. My friend Shawn Bakken recently blogged HIS thoughts on it, which mirror my own pretty closely.
Natasha is the first audition. I didn't really get to know her, which is kinda funny, given that I get asked about her more than anyone else.
While a lot of the others really don't like her, I try to give the benefit of the doubt without firsthand knowledge. As far as all the stuff about "I'm so HOT!", it *could* just be the show telling her to carry on like that. I was dreading seeing my edit, just for the amount of times / ways I was asked to talk about my IQ!
Anyway, she made empanadas, got an apron, and then promptly declared that everyone is intimidated by her looks, LOL.
On to 19 year old Christine Kim, or - as I've recently come to know her - my new baby sister. Yep, I have officially adopted Christine into my chosen family, and she is all kinds of awesome.
Christine's Korean Duck dish looked ridiculously amazing, and I'd heard all kinds of great things from the other contestants. I was behind my station, cooking, as this she was finishing up cooking, so I missed out on trying it 🙁
Christine got frazzled, and plated the wrong duck breast. She'd had one cooked perfectly, one that wasn't... came out without an apron and broke everyone's heart. Broke hearts at my viewing party, of people who hadn't even gotten to know her like we did!
Holy crap, that was hard to watch.
The next group is a bunch of exotic meats - rabbit, ostrich, bear, water bugs.
Joey Coattails refers to the water bugs as "cockroaches" immediately after being told they're giant waterbugs. Ah, that ritzy boarding school education served you well, eh Joey? Moron. I loved the look on Chan's face as he reiterated that no, they're WATERBUGS.
I was really disappointed that they just held up Chan Heu's dish as fodder for ridicule. He's an entomologist, and was there to highlight certain bugs as an alternative protein source. I had really been looking forward to seeing his piece on TV - all of the other MasterChef series around the world are educational, not sure why the USA one isn't. Well, why they seem to work so hard to be the opposite of educational, such as editing out education.
Oh right. Fox!
Steve - seriously the sweetest guy ever - is cooking bear, offered to let the judges smell the rub he was cooking it with. They all start cackling like 10 year old boys who just heard a sex joke, and Gordon says that he has NO interest in smelling the rub.
I don't get it... ?
Steve had served up his bear to a bunch of the contestants, and I'm still kicking myself to this day that I missed out. Apparently it was AMAZING! "Barely edible", "barely legal" (HUH?), and "I couldn't bear it". (Who had the "Judges try to sound clever" spot on their bingo cards?).
(On a personal note, when another contestant was talking crap about me behind my back in LA, saying I didn't know how to cook and was only there for my hair color, Steve put him in his place and told him that if I was making the cake I made at our auditions - he was at the MN audition - that I would IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS be getting an apron. Still SO touched to hear about him defending my cooking honour like that!)
So then we have Brian, the person I'm asked about almost as much as Natasha.
Yes. He was weird. Not quite as animated as he was on camera, but that was a ... unique... dude.
Of course, the judges spent the time making ridiculous "beaver" jokes.
They go to commercial, showing a preview of George's marriage proposal. I tear up!
They show a few eliminations in very quick passing.. Rimmy and Olga among them. Two very awesome people, love them both!
They go to Jordan from Minneapolis. I don't really know this guy. I met him briefly at our psych evaluation, and I got the feeling he was trying to convince them that he was nuts. Dunno what ended up happening ... he seemed VERY different in LA!
Jordan makes a beautifully plated dish - ancho chile tostada - explaining that he loves to paint. Joe pegs him as the winner. It really does look ridiculously tasty! I may just need to screen cap it and figure it out.. hrmmm....
Then they do the "round of bad dishes" montage. UGH.
A few comments here:
1. The breast milk thing.
I've seen a ton of ridiculous comments online that need to be addressed: No one poisoned anyone, for one. IF that was even breast milk (I have no inside information either way, I just know that the "Reality" of "reality tv" tends to be anything but!), we were all subjected to a lot of blood/urine testing, and I would have to assume that they would have tested that milk THOROUGHLY. Laloni wasn't being irresponsible or criminal in bringing breast milk to cook with, she was doing what she was told.
Oh, and by the way, Fox production people... I'm not violating the NDA here. In Googling to find Laloni, I did come across several posts from MasterChef casting people on forums and Facebook, actively LOOKING FOR people who cook with breastmilk.
2. "We're going to eat raw ramen".
An interesting comment from "Mr Italian" Joey Coattails. No, you're not eating raw ramen, moron. Ramen is precooked pasta, I'm kind of shocked that you don't know this, given how uppity you are about flour and water.
"We're going to eat dry ramen" would be accurate - and not really all THAT strange, despite the shocked and disgusted airs you put on. Plenty of people use ramen dry, in a variety of ways. I guess you have to maintain your pretentiousness, though. Moron.
3. Nick Garcia
Nick Garcia is a really great guy who runs the kitchen at a local pasta bar here in Minneapolis. He KNOWS how to cook, and his Caribbean pasta with habanero and bananas looked fascinating - I'd try it it a heartbeat.
4. Wanda Allende-Ortiz
Wanda Allende-Ortiz was a total sweetheart, loves to cook, and KNOWS how to cook. Her dish was one that (as far as I heard!) EVERYONE who tried, loved. I don't even know what to say about the judges telling her it was the worst dish in MasterChef history.
Andy Peters's "Oh Dear Lord Jesus" is going to turn into a catch phrase for him, I'm sure of it.
Now, the judges treatment of Ayla Skye.
I knew that the judges had treated a lot of the contestants in a very sexist manner, but I was shocked at the running theme of sexism that made it to air. I don't remember any of it in past seasons, so I guess I kind of figured they were using such behaviour as a tool to get a reaction from contestants. (Not that I find that justified, I was just shocked to see it on TV).
Next up, we have Adriana Guillen.
Adriana was a COMPLETE AND TOTAL SWEETHEART, and I'm so glad that it came across on camera. On a personal note, she really helped me out when I was having a meltdown. Will always remember that.
Here we go back to the sexist stuff. "This is a great dish, but you're too sweet and nice, so you can't possibly hack this competition"? What kind of nonsense IS that? Aren't they supposed to be at least pretending that it's a food competition? Also, why don't they talk to dudes like that?
Now we have George Mastrosavas.
We were all SO excited for George - he was a total sweetheart (and someone else who talked me down from the big meltdown!), everyone adored him, and he was GOING TO PROPOSE. SO excited.
George made a Greek wedding soup. It sounded and looked SO good.
Let me take this opportunity to once again point out what a douche Joey Coattails is.
George was born in Greece. BORN THERE. He is a bona fide Greek.
Joe is AMERICAN. He was born in America, to Italian immigrants. Not only is he NOT Greek in any way, he is Italian by heritage only, not by birth.
Gotta love it when Joe the American is telling George the Greek ABOUT GREEK COOKING. What the hell...?
I know a ton of Greeks, both by birth and by heritage. I've spent a lot of time in the Danforth area of Toronto - Greektown - which turns BLUE AND WHITE at certain times of the year (sporting events!), from all the Greek flags everywhere.
Butter is "The antithesis of Greece", eh? Joey, I'm not so sure that you know the meaning of that word...
All I have to say is this. You show me a Greek that doesn't cook with butter, and I'll show you a Greek with Lactose Intolerance.
Wasn't fond of them telling George to "Man up" in proposing ... Oh hang on, I can't recap this, I'm crying again. I don't usually bawl over proposals, but this one got me. Nice touch with the judges throwing plates and yelling "Opa!".
George and Maria, you're awesome. SO MUCH AWESOME. Congrats again, and all the best for your upcoming nuptuals!
Since filming the show, George has opened a pizza restaurant in Ohio. If you're in the area, you should totally stop by and order something - dude KNOWS food. 3 Brothers Pizza in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. They also have a Facebook page here. Check it out!
Next up is Krissi Biasiello, the single mom from Philly.
I didn't really get to know Krissi while out in LA, but have enjoyed getting to know her since. Someone who is into direct communication, that I never EVER have to "read between the lines" with. No passive aggression anywhere! She's a dream!
Though the show only just started, Krissi has already been subjected to one of the ugly side effects of reality TV - people are attacking not only her, but her 13 year old kid.
I can't even ... If you are going to get so invested in a "reality" TV show about people you don't even know, as to go only and spew your hatred about them, I feel sorry for you. If you are going to take it a step further and call 13 year old kids awful stuff like "retard" - you are a loser of the highest (lowest?) order. Get a life.
Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people?
Krissi makes a stuffed meatloaf florentine with a fontina sauce and "dreamy potatoes". Looks tasty - Gets an apron.
Krissi, your son seems very well spoken - especially for a 13 year old. From everything I've seen and heard, you did a great job raising a good kid, and you should be very proud.
And that's it for episode one... now going to work on episode two!