MasterChef Season 10 episode 5 review: Ready for the blind chicken show?


MasterChef continues with the elimination challenge following our first team challenge. Who will be eliminated and will they leave with all ten fingers?

In the preview MasterChef episode, Noah’s team won the first team challenge by the skin of their teeth. Given the issues on the team, Gordon asks Noah for a nomination to cook in the elimination challenge.

After watching Subha attempt to cook on a cold grill, wander the area while eating, and get sent to water flowers by Gordon, he nominates Subha.  Subha tells us Noah is threatened by him, but I really think his slow movements and lack of purpose are what landed him in this position.

Gordon sends the rest of the blue team to the balcony and explains the challenge to the red team plus Subha. They are going to break down a chicken. After bragging he could do it blindfolded, Aaron gives Gordon just that. Gordon expertly cuts the chicken into two legs, two thighs, two wings, two breasts while completely blind.

The contestants head to their stations suitably impressed, prepared to attempt to break down their chickens. Joe tells them to go ahead and grab their blindfolds and a ripple of shock goes through the room.

Everyone looks at everyone else to see how they are reacting. Reluctantly, they pull out blindfolds and put them on. The judges yell for medics to stand by and they start the five minute timer.

After a second, Gordon yells for everyone to stop. Of course they aren’t going to use knives while blindfolded. The timer is reset for five minutes and they again begin to break down their chickens.

Subha, fired up about being sent to the challenge, finally finds his speed setting and finishes in just three minutes. Poor Wuta the vegetarian has never done this and struggles a bit.

I always worry about vegetarians on this show. They just don’t have the exposure to preparing, cooking, and tasting proteins if they have been long-term vegetarians. Has a vegetarian ever won MasterChef?

MASTERCHEF: Contestant Subha in the “The Blind Chicken Show” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Thursday, June 20 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Greg Gayne/ FOX

After their five minutes, each chicken is scrutinized. The judges expect little to no meat left on the carcass as well as whole, uniform cuts of meat with un-punctured skin. Jamie, Dorian and Michael all present nearly perfect cuts and get a ticket to the balcony. Wuta, Kimberly, Shari, Sarah, Renee, Micah and Subha will move on to the second half of the challenge.

Micah did so poorly that they ask if he was wearing the blindfold after all. This poor young man simply hasn’t had exposure to many cooking techniques or even to fine dining. Subha, so determined to prove himself, went too fast and left too much meat on the carcass.

The remaining contestants will need to prepare a MasterChef worthy chicken dish using their chicken in forty-five minutes. Most decide to go with fried chicken which I can’t disagree with given how delicious fried chicken can be and how quickly you can potentially pull it off.

Subha is going a different route, making a curry that typically takes hours. Gordon thinks this is a risky strategy and I wonder how someone who has struggled with time management will be able to do this dish successfully in the time limit.

Micah is attempting a coq au vin, another dish that typically takes time to develop the sauce. Joe worries they will get sangria chicken. Joe also remarks that this is a classic dish that must be made to the exacting expectations of that classic so he has no room for innovation or error. He needs to nail the specific dish or he will fail.

Shari is attempting to make a tandoori chicken without a tandoori oven which leads to lots of Gordon face-rubbing frustration. Gordon also asks her if she can cook anything but Indian. Given that we are very early in the competition and that most people are staying in their wheelhouse (I mean, Subha is cooking Indian too), this seems a little unfair.

MASTERCHEF: Contestant Shari in the “The Blind Chicken Show” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Thursday, June 20 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Greg Gayne/ FOX

Shari is from Minnesota so she says she can cook Midwestern food too. Gordon is looking for more than that. Italian? French? Spanish? He tells her, “everything you do here is a little bit of the mother-in-law. You’re cooking for her every time…It’s MasterChef not Master Mother-in-law!”

Throughout the cook, I hear multiple people call to Subha to hurry up. Gordon tells him to hurry; the balcony tells him to hurry. Gordon tells him again to “get out of neutral!” With just moments on the clock and everyone frantically plating, Subha stands with a spoon in one hand and a pan in the other, wavering back and forth.

Gordon is beside himself. “What’s he doing? Left, right. You’re not bringing in an airplane. Put the pan down, Subha!” When this doesn’t work, Gordon spins in a circle in frustration and then runs to Subha’s station. “Put the pan down! Two hands! Let’s go!” Clearly Subha has not learned to move with speed and purpose just yet.

Wuta is up for judging first with his eight spice fried chicken with herb roasted potatoes and honey cream sauce. He has chosen to fry the breast, a tougher cut to fry properly than the traditional leg. Aaron wishes for some relief from all the fried, a fresh element. Gordon finds bits of uncooked flour in the breading.

Sarah presents buttermilk fried chicken with celery root two ways- a puree and a slaw. As the judges stare at her dish she says, “I’m trying to read their faces but their faces are totally blank and I’m getting nothing which is strange for me because I’m an interrogator.” She is on pins and needles, trying to prove herself after she captained the losing team.

MASTERCHEF: Contestant Sarah in the “The Blind Chicken Show” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Thursday, June 20 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Greg Gayne/ FOX

Gordon breaks the silence to tell her that he’s “never seen such a beautiful, artistic piece of chicken.” Joe likens it to the quality of a gastropub in New York or London. In case you are wondering how to plate like a pro, she has placed all her ingredients in a pile. It’s a nice looking pile.

The praise continues for her chicken (which has pickle juice in the seasoning) and her silky puree and perfectly cut slaw. Gordon slams on the brakes when he tells her that she clearly performs better as an individual than as a team leader and that she needs to step up to that leadership level.

Subha brings up his chettinad chicken curry with basmati rice and cabbage and peas. His chicken is cooked in dry spice and the curry sauce is ladled on the side of the plate. The sauce is brown and a little chunky and lies in an uneven line. My husband says it looks like cat vomit, and I say something even worse.

Gordon says, “I see food like this and I want to send you to Lenscrafters. What is this thing here?” He points at the sauce in disgust. Joe attempts to defend Subha, which I find unusual as he normally is quick to jump on plating errors.

They taste the dish and find it tastes much better than it looks. Joe calls it Subha-dubha good and keeps going back for another bite. He points out that he isn’t normally a curry fan, but Subha might change his mind. The judges like his flavors but his challenge will be in plating Indian dishes in a contemporary, fine dining way.

Renee delvers her Southern fried chicken with roasted mashed potatoes, gravy and drop biscuits. Aaron and Joe enjoy her dish but Gordon thinks her mashed potatoes are overcooked and way too wet.

Shari attempted tandoori chicken with cumin spiced potatoes and a chutney, but she added too much liquid to her chutney. To save it, she added cream and put it in a siphon to make a mint and coriander foam. She has cracked the Indian food presentation puzzle and has presented a visually beautiful plate. Gordon doesn’t like her foam but Aaron and Joe do and Joe wants her potato recipe.

Micah brings up his coq au vin with pearl onions, mushrooms and carrots. He admits that he has never eaten the dish in a restaurant, just home versions. Joe tells him, “unfortunately, you picked a dish that, without having tried an original version, is impossible to duplicate.” Gordon praises his nerve but the dish is simply not a coq au vin. His lack of experience will be his obstacle throughout the competition.

Kimberly feels confident in her rosemary herb chicken with Mediterranean rice and mushroom sauce. But her confidence is misplaced. Joe wants more finesse in the plating. Aaron doesn’t understand what she means by mushroom sauce. She has pureed fresh mushrooms in cream. All the judges agree that no one purees fresh mushrooms. To make a mushroom sauce, Gordon says, you re-hydrate dried mushrooms.

MASTERCHEF: Contestant KImberly in the “The Blind Chicken Show” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Thursday, June 20 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Greg Gayne/ FOX

Things go from bad to worse when they taste the sauce. Apparently it has curdled. Joe calls it mushroom flavored cottage cheese, and Gordon calls it cold vomit. They do enjoy her rice and chicken so she still feels like she has a chance, having done well with the highlighted ingredient. I am pretty sure you don’t come back from “cold vomit.”

Shari and Sarah are named top dishes and move to the balcony. Micah didn’t make coq au vin but he made a good dish and follows them. Subha’s dish didn’t look good but tasted delicious, so up he goes. Noah proves to me (again) that he is a good guy when he puts Subha’s white apron back on him and tells him well done.

Renee, Wuta and Kimberly are on the bottom. As I expect, Kimberly’s sauce sends her home.

Having seen them cook, who are your favorites to go all the way and who do you think will struggle? So far, I am most worried about Micah for his lack of experience, Wuta for being vegetarian and also anxious, and Subha for his inability to hustle.

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It’s harder for me to spot the top folks since so many people have done well. We’ll just have to stay tuned to see!