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'MasterChef': 'I want the hero! I want the egg!'

August 11, 2010 | 11:15 am

Maybe we should call this show "MasterPranksters." Or "MasterHeartbreak." Or "MasterSquirm." Or "MasterJokers."

First, the class was chopped nearly in half based on their ability to slice and dice an onion. Some of the cheftestants were at it for more than 90 minutes before they were either sent home or sent on to the next round. In a nod to how relatively inexperieced some of the folks are: Within the first minute of the onion challenge, four had already sliced their own hands. Next up: "Your future will be determined by how well you cook one stunning single egg," chef Gordon Ramsay told the more than two dozen who remained. They had 30 minutes and were told explicitly to make the egg the "hero" of the dish.

What followed were a series of dishes, some masterful, some tired and some flops. And an awful lot of leg-pulling by the judges:

As the contestants stood there, barely able to breathe, waiting for the judges to decide whether they could keep their coveted white aprons or not, there was this fake-out by chef Graham Elliot:

--"I'm sorry, I need all three of you to untie your aprons ... and tie 'em even tighter!" 'Cause you're going through to the next round!

And then this one:

--"You're not ... taking off your apron!" 'Cause you're going through to the next round!

Ramsay, who has perfected this routine on "Hell's Kitchen" (Screaming someone's name out as if he's furious, and then adding: "This beef Wellington is cooked perfectly!") also got in on the fun. After shredding Avis for her deviled eggs -- while perfectly seasoned, the presentation was tired: 'We're in 2010," he told her -- and then sternly added:

"Unfortunately, you will not be ... seeing your family tonight!" Cause you're going through to the next round!

Most shocking moment of the night: Darryl, who was born with a birth defect that left him with three fingers on each hand, managed to breeze through the onion challenge but failed with the egg. Truly, his egg dish did not seem that bad. I can't believe they didn't wave him through. I'm not saying his disability should give him a free ride, but dang, that seemed cold.

Also sent home: The maker of a lovely, golden brown fritatta. The dish was fine. But where was the egg? Mixed throughout, in unwitting defiance of Ramsay's edict: "I want the hero! I want the egg."

— Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo caption: Slim looks on nervously as chefs Gordon Ramsay and Graham Elliot examine her onion-chopping skills. She made it through to the next round. Photo credit: Fox.