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Cookbook Watch: Is this the "MasterChef" finale? Or just the beginning?

MasterChef_cookbookTonight may be the finale to name America's best home chef -- the first-ever American "MasterChef." But this brand isn't going anywhere.

A second season of the hit Fox show is already in the works. There's a new companion cookbook featuring many of the most popular dishes of the series. And now there's a "MasterChef" iPhone app that features more than 45 how-to videos that offer step-by-step instructions covering everything from hard-boiling an egg to frenching a rack of lamb to making perfect mashed potatoes; 300 Master Class Pressure Test questions that challenge your culinary knowledge (with correct answers leading to more secret tips); and more than 40 exclusive recipes. Cost: $4.99.

So, as for the finale, which is going toe-to-toe with that other culinary contest, "Top Chef"...who's it going to be? Whitney? Lee? Sheetal? David? Some in the blogosphere have tried to read the tea leaves by poring over the new cookbook that accompanies the show: If Whitney has more recipes in the cookbook, does that mean...she won? Could be. Or maybe it just means Whitney has more recipes.

This softback cookbook has over 80 recipes -- all with photos, which is much appreciated -- from the contestants, judges and even guests. Highlights include: Sharone's hazelnut and pistachio cupcake with hazelnut cream cheese icing, Whitney's profiteroles with vanilla chantilly cream and caramelized bananas, and Iron Chef Cat Cora's halibut with sweet corn zabaglione and fava bean salad.

And for those MasterChefs in training, the cookbook has several handy primers -- must-have cookware, a guide to necessary spices -- plus tips for stocking your pantry. There are also wine notes by judge (and winemaker) Joe Bastianich, who urges you to get comfortable with making wine notes of your own: "Take tasting notes...the objective is to create a database of wine experiences that you can refer to when seeking out a specific wine or trying to evaluate a new one."

I would say that this cookbook would make a cook holiday stocking stuffer, but I doubt "MasterChef" fans will want to wait that long. 

You know what's the first recipe I looked for? Chef Graham Elliot's Texas-style chili. (Click here for the recipe.)

That's the dish that completely stumped contestants during an early "pressure challenge." Among the ingredients that the players couldn't seem to name: dark beer and cinnamon. I'm definitely putting this recipe on the "will make" list.

--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Credit: "MasterChef" cookbook photography: Vanessa Stump

Comments () | Archives (11)

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The judges picked the cutest girl (not the most beautiful woman, btw--that would go to Sheetal). So disappointing. Also, Jake should've been in the running. In any case, it looked to me like Lee pulled it off but was set aside for Princess Cutie-Pie who claims she's never had a boyfriend. Ugh.

Whitney and her "southern" food, most of her dishes I could make them at home and that girl loved CHICKEN. Is that the only thing she knows how to make ? I wouldn't pay money to eat the stuff she cooked, leave alone buying her cookbook. Probably all chicken recipe.

it was clear from episode 1 that chef ramsey " responded " to whitney. the other two judges were "stooges"! clearly it was gordon's decision- he extoled whitney's cooking and tho other chefs were praised by the other judges in the end they gave in to the "boss".
in general I was disappointed by the "fishwife" harangueing by the judges and total ignorance of and insulting of other cultures!

If you go back and watch all of the episodes you will see that Whitney did a great job almost every week. In addition, she used techniques that her fellow (older) contestants didn't know about, not even David. You should all be ashamed of yourselves for saying she didn't earn this. Her food was the deciding factor, not her looks.

Well, as a Texan, the first thing I noticed about Graham Elliot's 'Tradtional Texas Style Chili' is that it had BEANS and what MAKES Texas style Chili TEXAS STYLE is that there ARE no beans! You dont use beans in Texas style chili Graham! Youd think a chef of this caliber who is serving as a judge on a show about cooking (along with Joe and Gordon) would know this. This show needs to be a lot tighter if its going to keep going...this first season felt more like hastily put together dress rehearsal.

She SO did not deserve the win. It's just another example that looks are more important than talent.....

They kissed her ass from the get-go....she could do no wrong in their eyes even when she completely screwed something up.

I think Whitney did an excellent job. Congrats! :D

So happy with the ending- YEY Whitney!- My two favorites Whitney and David- head to head! Totally enjoyed this show and can't wait for the next season!!! Also, I had heard about a "Cooking with Chef Ramsey" show in the works...(more of a teaching the viewers kind of show) has anyone heard anymore about this???

That's bs. Ramsay bashed David's dish before the other judges even got a chance to try it! His comments were so leaning towards Whitney's side ever since the appetizer. I think it's just because he felt so insulted that an amateur chef like David would even attempt to cook his favorite dish that Ramsay himself has perfected over the years. I think David was the real winner, but just not on Ramsay's show. In fact, Sharone was a better overall cook than Whitney! Just that whenever Whitney's on the chopping block, she'd always be saved.

Whitney should not have won. She lost the appetizer and dessert courses; I guess the three male judges thought she was cute!!!

i hope whitney gets the title...


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