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'MasterChef' recap: Back-to-back baking challenges take out a baker

July 12, 2011 | 11:37 am

Esther Were you thinking what I was thinking during "MasterChef"?

Mainly: Hey, who is that guy?

I'm talking about Erryn. He's barely had any camera time, I don't recall him ever standing out in any of the challenges ... and it seems like the camera goes out of its way to dodge him. Is this tricky editing and gamesmanship? Will he now suddenly come out of nowhere and sprint to victory? Or is he just a solid middle-of-the-packer? Time will tell.

But there were two other key questions that cropped up this week:

1) Isn't Esther Kang of Los Angeles, at left, a baker in real life? (You know, when she's not playing the victim in front of the camera, bragging about her mad skillz, or throwing her teammates under the bus?) She botched not one, but two baking challenges this week and earned herself a one-way ticket out of "MasterChef"ville. Are you sorry to see her go? She spent a lot of time talking about passion for cooking -- she says she quit a lucrative law career to embrace cooking -- but very little time impressing the judges.

2) And does scrunchy-faced Suzy have some nerve, or what? Isn't she like a brain surgeon or some such? If so, she might want to examine her frontal lobes for some bad wiring. Did she just conveniently suffer a lobe lapse during the small-bites competition when she blamed the loss on Esther's dessert failure instead of her own gazpacho failure? (More people hated her gazpacho than Esther's flimsy fruit thing-y.) Actually, in retrospect, maybe that is brilliant maneuvering by Suzy. Because, let's face it: Esther went home. And then Suzy seemed truly shocked -- shocked! -- that she ended up in the bottom three for a cake that was so ugly that Joe "Death Stare" Bastianich said it looked like it had mold growing up the side of it. Then, she sagely observed, "I'm realizing there are people in this competition that could be like way better than me."

Other random observations: Ben is growing on me. I am tired of Christian thinking he's all that and a bag of chips. Meanwhile, Christine is grating on me. I wish chef Gordon Ramsay had ripped into her for playing to the cameras and tossing pieces of cake over her shoulder instead of ripping into Esther for a supposedly messy workstation. ("You're not going to work like a little pig in my kitchen!") It didn't look that messy to me.

And finally: I want Ben's carrot cake recipe. It was, to quote Ramsay, "phenomenal ... sublime ... magic on a fork."

--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Ousted L.A. baker Esther Kang. Credit: Fox