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'MasterChef' recap: Anyone but Max

Apple 
Albert, why did you have to break my heart like that by trying to rush the gumbo? Sigh. I was hoping that Gator Guy would somehow beat the odds and make it to the next round on "MasterChef." Joseph too. (You remember him, the guy whose wife / best friend was injured and nursed back to health by his home cooking? Hold on a sec. I need my box of Kleenex.)

Silly me. It's much better TV to have someone like Max make it into the mix. He's a far cockier, more loathsome, less charming version of Chuck Bass. Let's hope he sticks around for a few weeks so we can all hate on him before he gets shipped back to his wealthy family and luxury goods as food.

Season 2 of "MasterChef" started with 100 and then whittled down to 38, and another 14 were felled by the apple slicing challenge. I was divided on this one. Granted, chef Gordon Ramsay illustrated right then and there the proper way to peel an apple, and made clear that he wanted uniform pieces. But is that really the sign of a Master Chef or some really good kitchen help? Did Dustin really deserve the ax for not having perfectly uniform pieces after an apple slicing session that lasted two hours? Seems kinda harsh to me. I think that if you can break down apples for two hours without quitting or throwing a knife at Ramsay, you should get a go.

That left 24 competitors who were given one hour with a chicken, and explicitly told to turn it into the "hero" of the dish. Unfortunately, many failed to listen to that simple instruction, turning in dishes in which the chicken made an appearance, but certainly did not take center stage.

I felt bad for the woman who turned in chicken salad two ways. Really? That's something I would do with a chicken. And that's why I am not on "MasterChef." And what about the guy who had so little chicken on his nonetheless elaborately staged plate that chef Graham Elliot had to ask: Did you put any chicken on this plate? I guess if you cannot follow simple instructions, you cannot be considered Master Chef material.

For those who like to root for the hometown team, we've got Adrien Nieto of Ventura, Alejandra Schrader of Playa del Rey, and Esther Kang of Los Angeles. This much can be said with certainty: Adrien is a culinary savant and I'm going to put my money on him to win. Yeah, I said it. What do you think?

Quote of the night goes to Graham, you know what it is, say it with me: Every time someone mangles a fish filet with a set of tongs, "God kills a puppy."

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Chefs Gordon Ramsay and Graham Elliot at the apple slicing challenge on "MasterChef." Credit: Fox

 
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