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Masterchef 4 Recap: WP-24 and Calamari (S4E20)

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.)

Once again, we are back at 6 contestants (I almost clicked on the wrong episode on Hulu when I tried to watch it!). This time, it’s another team challenge, one that is notorious for driving contestants up the wall. I foresee a lot of Gordon Ramsay screaming at the contestants to get a grip, which as Ben has mentioned in previous blogs, is the WORST way that you can get a kitchen back on track. From my experience working and staging in many excellent, busy restaurants, the best kitchens run off of quiet, efficient communication. Any amount of screaming just frazzles everybody and causes chaos, rather than accomplishing its purpose of getting a station back on track.

So we get to the intro, and see a shot of poor Krissi on the verge of hyperventilating and throwing up at the thought of being up on top of a skyscraper. The judges arrive on a helicopter (WTF is with helicopters and reality TV? Such an overused gimmick), and inform the contestants that today is they are going to take over WD-40 WP24 (seriously though, did anybody elase instinctively think about the magical lubricant/solvent?). While not personally familiar with the restaurant, Wolfgang Puck is one of the most well known chefs in the country, so it will be a challenge for the contestants to produce food that is worthy of his enormous reputation.

It cracks me up to hear Bri talk about Krissi, knowing the kind of sisterly love-hate relationship they have in real life.

This challenge is right up my alley. I’m very familiar with traditional Chinese food, and the techniques used to prepare the dishes. how many Western cuisines intentionally “cook” eggs into a sauce to form little egg drop ribbons? Just the sight of that brings back many food memories from growing up.

Shumai are a variant of Chinese dumplings. They have an exposed top, and are always steamed. The skin more closely resembles a thin, delicate wonton skin than a sturdy, slightly chewy dumpling skin. The shumai looks like the most difficult dish to execute, because the contestants have to make the sauce (which can be delicate with the starch slurry and the egg), prep and wrap the shumai into the proper shape (which required finger dexterity), and keep track of the orders in the steamer, making sure each shumai stays in for precisely 7 minutes (overcooking will lead to a mushy wrapper, undercooking will lead to Ramsay’s favorite word: RAAAAAAAWWWWWRR).

To continue reading my recap, please head over to MY blog at www.mc3michael.com!

Feel free to discuss and let me know what you think, either on my blog or right here down below, as I have access to Ben’s site and can participate in discussions in either medium. Let me know how I did, and how my writing compares to Ben’s! :).