Once again, hello, Starr-struck citizens of the internet! Since Ben Starr is partaking in his annual pilgrimage to Burning Man, I am doing a temporary takeover of his blog in order to write the MasterChef recaps that so many of you are so fond of.
For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Michael Chen, and I was part of the top 18 during Season 3 of MasterChef. Please follow me on my Facebook, Twitter, as well as my website at www.mc3michael.com! Let’s get the usual legal disclaimer out of the way: (PLEASE NOTE: This blog contains the crazed rants of a former MasterChef survivor who has practically no inside knowledge of how this season was produced. It’s not fit to be read by anyone.)
Right as this episode starts, the special guests are revealed to us: the judges’ kids! Apparently they get to pick the ingredients that go into the first mystery box. It will be interesting to see how their personalities are, and how closely they resemble the on camera personalities of their respective parents. Kids are much more honest about their emotions and personalities, and through them we might get a glimpse at how the judges are around their families, away from the cameras, where they can truly be themselves.
One quip in the intro reel catches me slightly off guard, and that is the Ramsay’s son Jack asking Jessie if she has a boyfriend, followed by an encouraging high-five from Ramsay himself. MasterChef does not have a great record when it comes to treating women with respect, and with the ongoing allegations of sexual harassment going on, I’m a bit shocked that something like this (which comes across as being patronizing to me) made it to the final edit. Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Regardless, it would be interesting to me if MasterChef took one of the less compelling judges (I’m looking at you, Joe Bastianich) and replaced him with a female judge. Which female chef would you like to see join the show as a judge? It would be interesting to hear what yall think .
And of course, for an added injection of drama from Ramsay: “In the history of this competition, this is the most difficult decision that we have ever had to make”. How many times have you hear that or some variant of that before? To me, it’s so overused that it makes me roll me eyes every time I hear it.
I have to giggle once again at how hard Joe is trying to act. His face looks so strained. And those pauses between words? That is him pausing to receive the lines he has (either via earpiece or cue cards) and regurgitate each word out. Seriously, nothing against his character or his palate, but his acting skills are so horrible that MasterChef is just digging itself deeper into a hole credibility wise each time he opens his mouth.
I have to pause for a second when they finally show the staple pantry box with some sort of clarity. From what I can tell, it includes eggs, lemon, flour, rosemary, basil, mint, thyme, sage, a vial with what looks like a vanilla bean, a small mason jar of sugar (?), a small pitcher of cream or milk (?), an unidentifiable container with a metal lid of something, and eight vials of herbs and spices, which include red pepper, cinnamon, bay leaves, smoked paprika, and four more other items that weren’t shown. Of course, there is also kosher salt, telicherry peppercorns, and olive oil on each station. I’ve always been curious as to what the staple pantry included. Ours season didn’t have nearly as many flavoring agents (none of the herbs and spices), but a pretty similar stash otherwise (flour, eggs, butter [maybe that's what's in the little metal thing?], lemons, sugar, and maybe a few other things that I forgot). But Ben I believe said that on season 2, they didn’t even HAVE a staple pantry. So perhaps they are expanding the staple pantry season by season to give the contestants more options. Either way, it’s an interesting development. The staple pantry itself is almost enough stuff to cook a meal with!
Not a pleasant one for me to sit through and write about, so I hope that those of you that read it enjoyed it and had your thoughts provoked! Let me know what your thoughts are for this somewhat controversial episode down below.