MasterChef Season 10 episode 22 review- London Calling


In this review of MasterChef, the top six enjoy a trip to London. Their sightseeing is short-lived as they must face their most daunting challenge yet, the restaurant takeover.

This MasterChef episode  opens in London. As the contestants sit in traditional black London taxis, they marvel at the sites we all associate with London- red double-decker buses, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Westminster Abby. This is Dorian’s first trip out of the country and she is just absorbing everything.

The cabs take them to the famous hotel, The Savoy. They are greeted by a top hat wearing doorman and shown to the royal suite. Subha, fully clothed, tries out the luxurious tub. They leave their beautiful suite and move on to the Tower Bridge.

There, the judges arrive on the Dixie Queen, a paddle steamboat. Once deposited on shore, Aaron asks Gordon if they will be hitting the town later tonight. Gordon tells him they are here to work and Aaron, with a terrible British accent, asks for a “coupla pints, mate.”

Gordon, all seriousness, explains the challenge. He is giving them a very personal challenge. They will take over his flagship restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay. It is the longest recipient of three Michelin stars in London and is his baby. Not only that, but they will serve his family as well as past winners of MasterChef UK.

MASTERCHEF: Host / chef Gordon Ramsay (C) with judges Joe Bastianich (L) and Aarón Sánchez (R) in the “London Calling – Pt. 1” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Wednesday, Sept. 4 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Matt Frost/FOX.

Gordon tells them that, since this is so personal to him, he will pick their teams. Red team will be Shari, Subha and Nick. Blue team will be Sarah, Noah and Dorian. Sarah will captain the blue team, Nick the red. Subha thinks the blue team is too full of type A personalities to succeed. I think Gordon has put the most consistent and strongest people together in making the blue team, making them hard to beat.

Everyone is excited to receive their MasterChef chef coat. With those on, they head to the restaurant. They will need to perfectly cook two appetizers and two entrees. These are things that have been on the menu for three years, so Gordon is not dumbing anything down for the contestants.

The appetizers are Orkney scallops with macadamia gazpacho, fine herbs and verjus and a roasted langoustine with carrot, orange and cardamom. The entrees are Dexter beef fillet with Tokyo turnips, mizuna and green peppercorns as well as Aylesbury duck with beetroot, shallot and buckwheat.

MASTERCHEF: Host / chef Gordon Ramsay (R) with with contestants in the “London Calling – Pt. 1” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Wednesday, Sept. 4 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Matt Frost/FOX.

Gordon demos how to make and plate each dish. They are all beautiful and look delicious. As usual, Gordon and Aaron will expedite in the kitchen while Joe works in the front of the house. Gordon helpfully tells them it took him “twenty-one years to build this restaurant to where it is. Don’t screw it up.” No pressure.

The teams quickly decide on stations. For appetizers, Dorian and Subha will cook langoustines. Noah and Shari will cook scallops. Sarah and Nick will focus on finishing.

Each team will have a special table to care for with Nick’s team getting the MasterChef UK winners and Sarah’s team getting Gordon’s family. To me, this sounds like Gordon trusts Sarah’s team more from the get-go.

Gordon calls the first ticket for Nick’s team and they don’t immediately respond. Gordon expects to hear verbal acknowledgement that you have heard the order. They quickly recover and begin cooking.

Sadly, Shari burns her first scallops, according to Gordon. The scallops get a miso glaze and he tells her she can’t glaze them and then turn them back over. To me, the scallops look ok but I’m not a MasterChef.

MASTERCHEF: L-R: Contestants Nick, Shari and Subha in the “London Calling – Pt. 1” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Wednesday, Sept. 4 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Matt Frost/FOX.

They continue to stumble a bit through appetizers. Initially Nick seems more focused on plating and doesn’t seem to be communicating or checking for quality as much as the executive chef should. Within the first twenty minutes, they only get one table out the door between Shari’s scallop and Subha’s raw langoustine and plating on the wrong plate.

Gordon asks Aaron to step in for a personal lesson on cooking langoustines with Subha. Nick realizes he has to check the cook on everything without blindly plating. They are now lagging behind the other team in terms of getting tables complete, but seem to be finding their rhythm at last.

Unfortunately, they end on the same bad note that they began. Because she had to refire a few scallops, Shari has run out on their last table. Joe has to go beg the table to accept langoustines instead, the horror. The diner reluctantly accepts the switch to an equally delicate and delicious protein but makes sure Joe knows he was really, really looking forward to scallops.

Over on Sarah’s team, they seem to find their groove faster. Noah, overeager to do well, interrupts Gordon as he is calling a ticket but quickly learns to listen and keep his head down.

Dorian’s first langoustine is raw so they refire but it doesn’t take long for Gordon to accept Sarah’s plates happily. “Finally! Thank you! Someone with standards,” he tells her. They quickly pull ahead of the other team and are on their final table when the other team still has three to go.

Once appetizers are done, Gordon asks Nick’s team what the **** is going on. He tells everyone to bounce back. “Heads up. Shoulders back.” It is time for entrees.

MASTERCHEF: L-R: Contestants Dorian and Noah in the “London Calling – Pt. 1” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Wednesday, Sept. 4 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Matt Frost/FOX.

Noah, who prides himself on cooking beef, is the obvious choice on Sarah’s team for the fillet. He is sure he can knock them out without issue. Dorian will cook duck. On Nick’s team, Subha will cook beef and Shari will work on duck.

Immediately it seems the tables have turned. Nick’s team looks to have learned quickly to communicate and strive for perfection. As Nick’s team begins sending out dishes, Sarah’s team has nothing yet. Dorian is cooking duck beautifully but Noah’s beef is still under. Sarah catches the beef doneness and refuses to send it but then Gordon decides the duck can’t go out either. It has waited too long on the beef. The whole table has to be cooked again.

As this continues, Gordon decides to start sending out duck alone. Knowing this can’t continue, Sarah tells her team that Dorian is now in charge of the protein. This leaves Dorian cooking all duck and some beef and also monitoring Noah and the beef he cooks. At last, they start to send out beef. Noah tries to apologize and, like a true line cook, Dorian says, “don’t give me sorrys. Just cook.”

MASTERCHEF: L-R: Contestant Nick with host / chef Gordon Ramsay and judge Aarón Sánchez in the “London Calling – Pt. 1” episode of MASTERCHEF airing Wednesday, Sept. 4 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2019 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Matt Frost/FOX.

Nick’s team hits a stumbling block when the MasterChef UK table sends back an overcooked duck. As Shari frets over the refire, terrified of overcooking it again, Subha drops a steak on the floor. The wheels are coming off just a bit, but luckily they finish the last table before long.

To give you an idea of the madness of working the line, here is an actual thing Gordon says to Sarah. “Two beef, one duck. After that, you’ve got two beef, two duck. We’re doing the two twos as a four top. Don’t get misconstrued. The third table, i.e. the forth, we’ve got two twos. You’ve got two beefs, two duck.”

How any of them understood what to cook when and, for the most part, cooked Michelin star food after one demonstration, is beyond me. The cooks all did a great job in my book.

Gordon thanks everyone in the dining room and sends them home so the judges can deliberate. Aaron ominously says, “I think we need to send a statement and a shock.”

With little fanfare, they reveal that Sarah’s team has won. Sarah worked well as leader and Dorian was really MVP with her cook of both duck and beef. They tell Noah that, if it weren’t for the ladies, he would be in trouble.

Sadly, this means Nick’s team is at the bottom and Shari and Subha get sent home. In one fell swoop, we lose all our Indian cooking, in London no less, where Indian food is adored. Hopefully Shari and Subha got a chance to explore the city before going home.

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So that gives us the top four for the semifinal- Sarah, Dorian, Noah, Nick. Who is your pick to win it all?

My bet is on Dorian. She consistently delivers. She leans into Southern food but has proved she can cook outside that cuisine. We won’t have long to wait now for our next MasterChef.