Finally, the competition is underway!
After what felt like an eternity on the audition process, the top 15 picks made it to the MasterChef kitchen on MasterChef Season 11 Episode 4, and they didn’t go easy on them at all.
Chef Morimoto guest starred and brought a monkfish challenge that put the aspiring cooks to the test.
Morimoto is a blast! He brought so much personality and fun to the series. His energy elevated that of all those around him. He’s effortlessly one of the coolest guests they’ve had.
But he could’ve left that hideous monkfish elsewhere. It’s the ugliest fish imaginable, and it was worse when Morimoto broke it down with skill in front of everyone with it still hanging on the hook.
He’s skilled, no doubt, but there’s no way in hell I could’ve made it through that challenge without gagging repeatedly.
Fortunately, the contestants didn’t have to clean the fish, but they did have to make a stellar dish within an hour with the monkfish.
By giving the contestants monkfish, the judges threw the contestants a curveball. It’s a finicky fish that they can’t cook any sort of way. The options are limited, ruling out frying it or even grilling it.
Can we take a moment to appreciate the MasterChef pantry? Sure, it’s a pain in the ass when you have to race back and forth from that baby, but it has everything you could possibly dream of inside of it!
Sure, they were given an impossible task, but when you have all the ingredients you can dream of in there, that evens the score and makes things better, yes?
Autumn was mindboggling. She’s a talent, no doubt, but it was shocking to hear that she’s never cooked or worked with fish before. How does an aspiring chef go through life without working with fish at all?
However, Autumn impressed with her Japanese-inspired dish and her ability to speak Japanese. Admittedly, my mouth dropped when she casually said her name in Japanese, and it was enough to make Morimoto smile.
Joseph and Suu were two contestants who had a handle on the fish right out of the gate. Meanwhile, the others were out of their comfort zone with it.
But the others were scrambling. Tay’s idea sounded interesting, but he didn’t taste his dish, and it left him struggling to find a way to salvage or scrap it before they ran out of time.
But one thing about Tay is he has a hell of a flavor profile in his back pocket, and he knows how to think on his feet. Once he mentioned jerk flavored, he had my attention!
And Elyse’s idea of a monkfish taco would’ve been great, but then she made the questionable choice of frying it instead of doing literally anything else.
Annai, however, shocked me with her inability to put something together. Her last-minute attempt at making tortillas ruined everything, and when that didn’t work, she went with store-bought ones.
Everyone knows you don’t do store-bought food on MasterChef!
Alejandro was just lost to me. I don’t understand the thought process behind torching cucumbers, but it seemed like a waste of damn time. Monkfish had nearly everyone racing around the kitchen like chickens with their heads cut off, and maybe it was too soon to throw all of these newbies into the deep end with this challenge.
Most of the contestants forgot that the monkfish was supposed to be the star of the dish, and for many of them, it got lost in everything else they did to mask the flavor.
Of all the dishes, they settled on three that they deemed the highlights, and those were the ones they wanted to taste more of to determine who the winner of the challenge would be.
Kelsey was one of them, and she gets not only credit for her restaurant-quality pan-seared monkfish but for daring to go outside of her comfort zone this early in the competition. She was out of her depth as a Midwesterner with no experience with this fish or familiarity with Asian-inspired dishes, but that’s what she produced.
Similarly, Autumn managed to impress the judges with her Asian-inspired dish, too. Kudos to her for knocking this challenge out of the park despite zero experience in this arena.
It’s moments like that which make this series worthwhile and gives you all the feels.
Suu getting called down wasn’t surprising, but what did shock was that Morimoto had some criticism for the dish and how much spice she used in it.
Suu started out as one to beat, and so far, she’s maintaining that status.
But it was Kelsey who won the challenge, and while I love Suu and her talent is undeniable, as a fan of underdogs, I was proud of Kelsey for pulling this one out!
Annai was one of the chefs guilty of having other things serve as the star of her dish. Her monkfish was too bland, and her salsa was what had the judges raving.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the point of anything, and it sucks that such a promising chef got tripped up.
Alejandro is a sweet guy, but he has a lot of work cut out for him. He has the raw talent, but he got easily distracted by other things, and he has to work better on restraint while cooking and matching the right flavor profiles.
Visually, it didn’t look the best, and it was certainly a chaotic dish when you consider all of the different things he added to it. Alejandro needs to find his chill, or he’ll be getting kicked out of the MasterChef kitchen sooner rather than later.
Despite his status as bottom three, his dish wasn’t that bad once they tasted it, so that bought him another day.
Elyce getting called to the bottom was a bit heartbreaking, and it’s not lost that she was also guilty of making a fish taco that failed to impress.
Joe was harsh with his criticism, not even considering a taco at all. And unlike the bland food presented by others, Elyse was too generous with some of her seasoning.
She also failed to bread the fish properly, which is a cardinal mistake.
And it was what cost her the competition. It sucked to see Elyse go this soon. I wouldn’t have bet she’d be the first one eliminated. But it was a tough as hell competition.
Can she at least share that red velvet recipe before she leaves? I’m still craving it because of her.
Over to you, MasterChef Fanatics. Are you disappointed with who was booted first? What did you think of the monkfish challenge? Hit the comments below!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.