Masterchef 4 Recap: Mini-Judges and Noodle Soup (S4E21)

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 FacebookTwitter, as well as my website at! 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!

Continue reading the rest of this post on my website at!

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.

11 Responses to Masterchef 4 Recap: Mini-Judges and Noodle Soup (S4E21)

  1. Would like to see a female judge…not only on MC US but also on MC Australia and other productions. On the other hand Nigella was a bit “bizzare” on the show with the tasting spoons. :)…but def. a change in routine!

    Can’t wait for the recap of the latest episodes…..:)

  2. I thought the awkward pass at Jessie by a child half her age awful, topped by the absolutely bizarre high-five with his dad. It read like his dad told him to do that because he’s been trying to get Jessie’s number, or wanted to make her feel creeped out. Just really weird to leave in, even as it was scripted as all get out. Bizarre.

    Mini Graham, however, was adorable. I would be happy to see him and Luca’s turkey as regulars.

    For a female judge: Felix Fang. Great presence, seemed to have a detailed knowledge of food.

    • Hahahaha! I second the mini Graham and turkey as regulars. I’d watch every week!

      Felix would make a great TV personality. Right now at this point in her career though, she doesn’t have the credibility to be a judge. Now if she opens a few restaurants or whatnot, for sure! I definitely would want to see her on TV again.

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