MasterChef Season 10 episode 2 review: Who receives the final aprons?


In this review of MasterChef, the remaining hopefuls vie for their place in the kitchen, and the recipients of the judges’ “battle cards” duke it out for the last apron. Also, Gordon licks a plate clean, so there’s that.

We begin this MasterChef episode in the middle of auditions with Noah, a thirty-two-year-old septic service technician from Georgia. Despite his height of six foot, seven inches, he tears up telling us about his grandma. She is the inspiration behind his southern breakfast burger.

Given that last week we saw Micah refused an apron for his churros, I worry that a burger is not MasterChef level either.

If you watched MasterChef Junior, Noah seems like a grown up Reid, the eight-year-old from Georgia. Fully of passion and heart, I worry that Noah lacks fine dining experience.

He delivers his double bacon cheeseburger with fried egg, hash brown cake, arugula salad and side of hot smashed potato salad, and I am sure he is going to miss out on an apron.

Joe takes a bite of the burger and simply says, “holy s***, dude.” Gordon calls the burger incredible and Joe adores the lemon pepper bacon. Though his potato salad is not great, he gets a resounding yes from all three judges, the first time a burger has won an apron in ten seasons.

Gordon jokes that the tall man looks like he stole the apron from MasterChef Junior. Noah goes to tell his family and I feel guilty noting that his dad looks just like Jed Clampett, but I think it is just because of his hat and toothpick.

Next we meet Shari, a thirty-four-year-old stay at home mom from Minnesota. Her husband tries to encourage her as he clutches their two small, crying children, and she jokes that it is just like being home.

Her husband is Indian, and she explains that she learned to cook Indian food to appease her mother-in-law. Doing so has sparked a passion for cooking for her, but she is also there to prove to her mother-in-law that she really can cook Indian food.

Her red snapper with coconut and coriander curry is beautifully plated with lots of color and the judges love it. She receives the second apron of the night.

Charli, a twenty-one-year-old bartender from New York, is one of the youngest competitors we have seen this season. She presents her curried shrimp with pickled watermelon and wilted watercress, chili lime sauce and avocado.

As judge Joe tastes the dish, I get the sense, perhaps unfair of me, that Joe is hitting on her. He calls the dish spicy and a bit whimsical, “just like you”. Given that he has just met her, this seems like a bold assessment.

Aaron tries the dish and, despite his affinity for spice, he calls the seasoning aggressive, and I do recall watching her dump a lot of hot sauce in her dish. He asks if she could make the dish without watermelon and Joe interrupts, “why would you make this dish without the watermelon is a better question to ask him back.”

Joe defends himself saying, “she’s feisty, like me,” though she has done nothing feisty that we have seen, though this may be the fault of editing. Gordon points out that her watercress is “drowned and soggy.”

Joe asks Gordon if the dish is good enough for an apron and he says, “yes…next year.” She receives a no from Gordon and from Aaron and I fully expect Joe to give her a battle card. He does.

She is now one of three who will battle for the final apron before the night is through. As she leaves, Gordon holds up a forkful of watercress that looks for all the world like lawn clippings and says, “you have one judges’ pass and you use it on that.”

We briefly meet Wutu, an eighth grade teacher from New York who is doing this to inspire his students. His teriyaki salmon and fried rice wins an apron. We also see Evan, a sales coordinator from New York who tells us that he has worked on the periphery of food and is now following his passion. His New York strip with polenta and oyster mushrooms moves him a step closer to his dream.

MASTERCHEF: Host / judge Gordon Ramsay (R) with contestants in the “The Battle Round” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Wednesday, June 5 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Greg Gayne / FOX.

Mollie, a twenty-six-year-old account manager from Texas, has quit her job and sold her house to be at MasterChef. Her skirt steak with Thai chimichurri and broccolini honestly looks a little sad on the plate but Aaron likes it.

He commends her saying her chimichurri is spot on and she is “bringing some of that Asian flavor balancing the umami of the soy, understanding how to char those vegetables, and the marinade on the steak…that for me is enough to warrant a big yes when it comes to the apron.”

The other judges are less enamored with Gordon wanting more color on the steak, which is rather gray, and indicating that the dish lacks her enthusiasm. Joe is also not impressed so she gets a no from both Gordon and Joe. Unsurprisingly, Aaron presents her with his battle card.

Interesting, Gordon has given a second chance to a hungry, passionate young man willing to give up everything. In Hell’s Kitchen, passion seems to be a key ingredient for him in selecting to keep cooks in the competition, and that requirement holds true for him here as well.

Aaron has chosen to back a woman who is doing interesting things with Latin flavors, having made an Asian-Latin fusion dish. Given his own background and restaurant empire, this makes sense. And Joe, he seems to have selected a young woman that he wants to hit on.

The judges let us know we have just two aprons left and one of those is reserved for the battle. At this point, we meet Fred, a twenty-four-year-old revenue analyst from California. He describes himself as a shy, quiet, awkward guy who feels comfortable cooking. His mom has given him the courage to apply this season.

His description of his dish elicits amused faces from Gordon and Aaron- black vinegar infused chocolate cake with mascarpone cream, caramelized white chocolate, burnt miso ganache, togarashi walnut crumble, chocolate twigs and edible flowers.

His presentation is frankly beautiful with the white cream meandering on the plate, surrounded by cubes of cake and flowers. He explains that the cake cubes are the seeds of his dreams. Once he finishes his long description, Aaron asks, “that’s all?”

All the judges dig in. Joe comments on how light the cake is. Aaron remarks that it is ooey, gooey and decadent, but Joe counters that it is “also so smart because it’s all those things but it’s not. It’s not overly sweet, not heavy, not buttery.”

As Joe and Aaron continue to rave, I watch Gordon. He has taken a forkful, then another. He keeps going back, then he starts scraping the plate with his fork. Finally, he picks the plate up and starts licking it.

Without waiting for any verbal judgement from the others, he throws an apron at Fred, laughing. As Fred leaves, Gordon takes the plate back to his seat. Once fully clean, he smashes it on the floor in a form of mic drop.

The nineteen contestants awarded aprons now go to the balcony to watch over the battle for the twentieth apron. The three battle pass winners will have forty five minutes to cook one last time.

Micah, the nineteen-year-old with no family support and Gordon’s pick, is making ginger lime seabass with cilantro quinoa and stir fried eggplant and shitakes. Gordon checks on his progress and sees that Micah is completing his dish early. He warns him not to plate too early, but Micah is worried about plating perfectly and has finished his dish with time to spare.

Mollie, Aaron’s pick, is making boneless pork loin with cilantro sauce and carrots three ways. With only five minutes left on the clock, she checks her pork temperature and finds it is way under. She puts it back in the oven for as long as she can.

Joe approaches his pick, Charlie, and still seems to be hitting on her telling her, “You’re blowing us all away with your knife skills!” She is making beer battered fish tacos with Asian slaw, which sounds a little simple to me, but also risky to make battered fish for someone like Gordon Ramsay. Joe becomes worried, though, when she tells him that her batter has beer and vodka in it. Will the vodka overpower the fish?

MASTERCHEF: L-R: A contestant with judges Aarón Sánchez and Joe Bastianich in the “The Battle Round” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Wednesday, June 5 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Greg Gayne / FOX.

Things go downhill from there for Charlie when Joe notes that her two tortillas are different sizes, with one being quite small. He recommends that she remake her tortillas and to make them larger. We see her frantically scrambling to get more made, and I note that she now has a finger cut on one thumb and a full glove on her other hand. She just can’t get her tortillas to release from the press. I see her stoop into her pantry area and I think she takes out pre-made tortillas, but this is never mentioned so she must have elected to use her previously made tortillas on her dish.

Charlie is disappointed in her tortillas but her dish does look good with lots of color from the slaw. Aaron thinks the tortillas are too small for the fish pieces, but Gordon disagrees. Gordon doesn’t like the vodka, though, and finds her fish batter to lack crispness. Joe’s only comment is that it is a “legitimate, mature, evolved plate.”

Mollie is still worried about her pork and has reason to be. It is raw in the middle and I don’t even see the judges try it. Gordon feels her dish has a wow factor in appearance, though I dislike how she has circles of different colors of carrots on her pork which makes it look polka dotted. They do like her carrot puree.

Micah has tried to plate with finesse but he knows his stir-fry looks messy. Joe feels the plate looks amateurish but everyone agrees that his fish is perfect. Unfortunately, his stir-fry is called a greasy, cloying, heavy, soggy mess.

Everyone had highs and lows but Micah wins the apron and I believe becomes our youngest contestant. He tearfully tells Gordon, “I’ve never been given a second chance in life and to have somebody like you stand up for me and believe in me, it means more than you’ll ever know. I’ve dreamt about an apron since I was nine years old.”

light. Related Story. A new MasterChef Junior champion is crowned

So there we have our twenty contestants, many with heart-wrenching stories and all with a hunger to succeed. Whoever has the underlying talent and skill as well as the ability to learn will go far in the competition. Good luck to all!