MasterChef Season 10 episode 19 review: The Weakest Link


In this review of MasterChef, a fan favorite goes home and Gordon assaults Joe with a piece of garlic bread. How did it come to this?

The judges begin the latest episode of MasterChef by hyping up their next big guest. Bigger than anyone yet introduced, so special that Aaron will escort this lady out personally. Enter Aaron with a pig. Joe asks, “doesn’t she look delicious” and I am relieved that Wuta the vegetarian is no longer here. The pig is here to introduce the challenge- homemade sausages.

I regularly take cooking classes and I took one on sausage making. It is the only thing I am pretty sure I will not bother with at home. Our meat mixture got too warm and gummed up the machine. We got lumpy, weirdly shaped sausages. It was a mess.

Shari has made sausage before but not in a casing, which is the way to go in my book. Micah is the only cook who has made sausage in a casing before. As this is such a new experience, Aaron will demonstrate by making a chorizo.

Aaron begins with chunks of pork shoulder and fat back to which he adds vinegar, white wine, ground cinnamon, clove, garlic, and ancho chili. This mix goes into the grinder. He then fits the grinder with the sausage making attachment, sort of a thin funnel, and puts a casing on the attachment. He ties the end of the casing and begins to make his sausages, twisting them to create the individual links.

MASTERCHEF: Judge Aarón Sánchez in the “Pigging Out” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Thursday, Aug. 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Cr: Greg Gayne / FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC.

The cooks can make any flavor they want but must create their mix, stuff it, cook it, and pair it with whatever else they want to make a complete dish, all in sixty minutes.  The judges name off a few of the things that can go wrong- not having enough fat so your sausage is dry, links full of air, links rupturing. Pro tip, if you do make your own sausages, you can use a pin to let out air bubbles so they don’t make your sausages rupture.

Right off the bat, Jamie is struggling a bit. He seems to be having some trouble with his grinder, and we see him fiddling with the die at the end. When Gordon visits his station, he explains he plans to make red beans and rice. Jamie explains that, “after Hurricane Harvey, I started my own non-profit, and red beans and rice is one of those things where you can feed a mass quantity of folks.” Gordon seems a little concerned about plating red beans and rice and warns him to consider his garnish.

Sarah is also putting a personal spin on her sausage. She traveled to Germany during her stint in the military and tells us she will make a bratwurst with braised cabbage. I would not claim to be making such a classic, established dish. If she gets the seasoning off a bit, she will not have a bratwurst at all. I would simply say I was making a dish inspired by the flavors of Germany.

MASTERCHEF: L-R: Contestant Sarah and host/judge Gordon Ramsay in the “Pigging Out” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Thursday, Aug. 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Cr: Greg Gayne / FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC.

It seems most people are looking to their lives for inspiration because Noah is making a reference to his trip to Ireland to see his sister. Shari is making a dish that she often serves at home. Dorian is making a take on her mom’s pot of beans. Micah is smoking his sausage like his uncle who hunts and smokes meats. Subha is inspired to combine Cajun and Indian again.

Only Bri seems to be making a dish that has no personal connection. She plans to make a homemade pasta to go with her homemade sausage. She demonstrates another pro tip when she cooks a tiny patty of her sausage mix so that she can taste it before stuffing her links. When Gordon visits her and asks her what she’s making, unlike the rest who discuss their sausage, she says she’s making pasta. Gordon says, “hold on. It’s a sausage challenge. Where’s the sausage?”

When she discusses her sausage, she states that she is making it simply with garlic, salt and pepper. Previously Aaron has explained that you need to aggressively season the sausages, so this does not bode well. Gordon tells her, “make sure this dish isn’t too frou-frou. Make sure you lift it up with some heartiness, some great flavor.” In this challenge, you somehow need to strike the balance of refined plating with hearty flavors.

With half the time gone, Subha has not made his sausage links. He has been busy cooking korma. Per the judges, you need to let the sausages rest before cooking, so they are really worried about him finishing on time, as per usual. Also as per usual, people start yelling to Subha to hurry up.

MASTERCHEF: Contestant Subha in the “Pigging Out” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Thursday, Aug. 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Cr: Greg Gayne / FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC.

Aaron and Joe go to visit Jamie, specifically to ask him about the texture of his sausage. When Gordon had stopped by previously, he noted the sausages didn’t look right. When you look at everyone else’s sausage, you can see the mottled color through the casing, the colors of the meat and fat showing through. Jamie’s sausages are all a tan color where the filling is homogeneous.

“How do you feel about the texture of your sausage,” Aaron asks him. Jamie was feeling fine about it until then. Jamie ran his mixture through the grinder twice. He tested one and found the texture to be a cross between a traditional sausage and a kielbasa, which he liked. To be fair, there are plenty of sausages that are supposed to have a homogeneous texture, but now Jamie is worried.

When time is called, many people look happy but Jamie does not seem to be celebrating. It’s time to judge these links.

Sarah is up first with her wild boar, mustard, green apple and goat cheese sausage with braised red cabbage and butternut and apple puree. Sounds good, but does not sound like any bratwurst I have ever had.

Her puree is a bright yellow and she has ringed it around the plate. Gordon says it looks like someone went crazy with the mustard bottle, so they aren’t in love with the look, but they find her sausage well constructed and flavorful.

MASTERCHEF: L-R: Contestant Sarah, judges Joe Bastianich and Aarón Sánchez in the “Pigging Out” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Thursday, Aug. 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Cr: Greg Gayne / FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC.

Subha is up next and he is feeling really good. He feels this is the best dish he’s cooked so far. He presents his coriander, lamb and pork sausage with korma and basmati coconut rice.

As usual, he is told his plating is off-putting but his flavors are good. Joe feels his rice is over-cooked. Aaron calls it delicious but ugly, which should be the name of Subha’s restaurant.

Bri is also thrilled with her dish. She serves a little oblong twirl of pasta with a beurre monte sauce and asparagus tips. Across the top, she has slices of sausage.

Gordon says, “I don’t know. You’re the only one in the competition that always wants to put us three judges on a diet. I’m not looking for a light sausage dish. You’ve got five slices of sausage. Why?”

MASTERCHEF: Contestant Bri in the “Pigging Out” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Thursday, Aug. 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Cr: Greg Gayne / FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC.

Bri explains that she was trying to be refined and elegant. She has cooked everything well, made her sausage and pasta correctly, but it all tastes bland. Her only seasonings in the sausage, remember, are salt, pepper and garlic. They find the whole dish to be boring.

Dorian is up next. She has made a wild boar, fennel and apple sausage flavored with cayenne and garlic. She has served this with a bowl of cannellini beans and tomatoes flavored with the same fennel seed, cayenne and garlic to reinforce the flavor. On the top, she has crispy fried okra, and across the edge of the bowl, a slice of garlic bread.

MASTERCHEF: Contestant Dorian in the “Pigging Out” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Thursday, Aug. 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Cr: Greg Gayne / FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC.

Gordon and Aaron like the addition of the bread but Joe says the bread cheapens the dish. Gordon asks him, “so you don’t serve garlic bread in your restaurants?” Joe replies no to which Gordon says a mocking “excuse me.” There’s no garlic bread in Italy, Joe says.

As they go to taste, Gordon grabs the bread and waves it under Joe’s nose. “Would you like a bite of garlic bread?” Joe replies, “that’s the kind of restaurant you guys go to.” Gordon keeps at it, “would you like a bite?” Joe continues to wave him away and Gordon calls him a “**** snob.”

At least everyone agrees that the dish tastes good with great texture. Dorian has nailed homey and yet refined. Gordon tells her, “the garlic bread, I absolutely love it because you can sop up all that juicy bean.”

Micah is up next with his elk and wild boar sausage with carrot and celery root puree, roasted portobello mushrooms, and carrots. I think it looks beautifully plated but Joe says he is not a fan. Regardless, the judges love the gaminess of his plate as well as his port and sherry vinegar reduction. They feel like he is thinking like a sophisticated restaurant chef with his flavors.

Shari brings up her Mexican inspired wild boar sausage with black beans, apple salsa, and chili lime crema. The judges don’t like her plating and admit that black beans are hard to make pretty. But they do like her flavors. Joe, clearly targeting Gordon with his comment, says, “you have this way of juxtaposing flavors which, for my palate, which is quite sophisticated, is very interesting.”

MASTERCHEF: L-R: Contestant Shari and host/chef Gordon Ramsay in the “Pigging Out” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Thursday, Aug. 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Cr: Greg Gayne / FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC.

Jamie brings up his Cajun sausage with fried okra and red beans and rice. He is the only one yet to say he is not proud of his dish. All the judges say his plate looks a mess. Worse, they don’t like the taste. They find everything to be dry and hate the texture of his sausage, which they call mealy.

Noah is last to the judges with his lamb and pork sausage with carrot succotash, mashed potatoes and Guinness brown gravy. The judges love the flavors, finding it hearty and earthy, but lightened up with the succotash.

Clearly, Jamie and Bri are on the bottom. Gordon says, “there’s one individual tonight that dropped the ball and they know they’ve cooked for the last time. I’d like that person to take one step forward.” Jamie, displaying his humbleness, is the one to step forward.

Though it shows his good character, I wish Jamie would not have stepped up. Stay in line and make them call you out if they want you to go home. Don’t make this easy on them!

Jamie has been consistently good throughout the competition whereas Bri has been on the bottom for many, many challenges. Not only that, but Jamie knows when he has messed up. Bri always brings her dishes up with pride only to end in tears.

I feel that sometimes the judges look at your progress in the competition and decide to keep you as someone who is teachable, and sometimes they let one mistake send you home. I really feel that Jamie should still be in the competition and Bri should have gone home as he has done better overall which seems to show a better range and consistency.

Related Story. Gordon Ramsay Uncharted: Exploring Hawaiian cuisine. light

So, do you think the right person went home? How long do you think Bri can coast on the bottom before she leaves too? And how do you feel about homemade sausage?