Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 5, Episode 8 of FOX's MasterChef, titled "Top 14 Compete."
Let me tell you one thing, MasterChef fans: cooking on a line is no joke. I thought I was going to be a little bummed at the fact that there was not a lot of "master chef-ing" this week except for the pressure test, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
Well, almost every minute. I have to hate on their gender politics: 2003 called and wants its competition based reality TV back, thank you.
Moving on. Having worked on the other side of the expo window (that's where your food is waiting and being organized to get to your table for you you industry rookies), I'm never jealous of the kitchen.
Tonight, some kitchen cliches ruled the game. Herewith:
The Frazzled Expeditor. Willie was named one team captain and as such was in charge of expediting, or, telling the cooks what to cook when so orders are ready to go to tables without sitting under a heat lamp for ten minutes. Shameless waitress plug: If you're ever about to blame your waitress for an uneven meal -- look over at the kitchen window first. Do you see your kale salad wilting? It's probably because someone didn't fire your date's swordfish till too late.
This disorganization is one reason why his team ended up in the pressure test. After a quick lesson from Graham and an assist from Daniel, he's all over it. Because Willie knows how to be a pro. Apart from rolling with the punches, he also saves some of the other pros from his team and offers himself up to the pressure test. And then he kills the red velvet cake and barely breaks a sweat. He might not win, but I am looking forward to watching more of him.
The Frazzled Rookie Line Cook. Christine had it together as a team leader (more on that below) but there is nothing more painful than watching the chef berate a line cook. Poor Elise couldn't get a club sandwich out if her life depended on it and the more she was scolded, the worse the sammmies got. Kitchen 101: if one cook is flustered, everyone is flustered. Elise also tried to justify her mishaps by explaining the difficulty of layering a club sandwich. She needs to go and go quickly. You have to be confident to shove plates out the window and get a nice, even toast on the bread to be able to cut it without it falling apart. Come on, now.
The No Bull Sous Chef. Did you hear Christine yell "no talking unless you have something to say to me!" before they started? I knew they were going ot win at that moment. Sure, Christian messed up some chicken temps, but overall, she was an expo queen. Quality controlled, communicative, and able to delegate to Elizabeth when Elise needed a hand. I mentioned that I hated the boys and girls teams, but I'm going to delve into stereotype anyway: she was a great example of how women are just sometimes better at multitasking and ploughing through it. Debate.
The Whiny One. There's always someone justifying their weaknesses on a busy night. See Leslie yelling about how much work he has to do ("two hot trays of bacon!") to explain his inconsistent eggs (that pan didn't look hot enough to me). Then, see Cutter in the pressure test, moaning about levels of "what's sweet" or not. There's no messing around during service. Fix it, get over your mistakes, and move on.
The Mean Owner. They're there, being picky and stirring the pot. Joe B. stirs up conflict between Leslie and Cutter (who were already at each other's throats). And then there was the banter. Was this the best tasting session this season? Gordon licking red velvet cake out of Willie's hand, basically. Joe B. telling Dan his cake has a boiled wool quality, too. Did I mention Joe B. getting a rise out of the boys? I was surprised Cutter didn't get eliminated just for being a bigger baby than Leslie. But at the end of the day, it's not a personality contest. Wu's cake was overcooked and droopy and that was enough to send him packing.
What did you think of the episode this week? Who's next? Let me know @karenfratti.
"MasterChef" airs Monday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.
Follow Karen Fratti on Twitter: www.twitter.com/karenfratti