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'MasterChef': 'That's about as Chinese as my mum'

August 19, 2010 |  1:00 pm

They're dropping like flies.

We bid farewell to two hopefuls in a brutal cookoff that was kind of like "Chopped" meets "Iron Chef." I have to say I am not sure I could follow the rules. Only some — not all of the contestants had their dishes sampled? How did that work? And based on that, Sheena got the boot. Avis was sent packing too, and I am not sure I can forgive the judges that one. I know that woman could cook. Maybe not Chinese food, and maybe she didn't know a thing about plating. But if I could go have dinner at any of the competitors' house tonight, it would be Avis. Sob ... bye, Avis!

Next up, the troops were cooking for the troops. Literally. They were sent to Camp Pendleton, divided into teams, and had to come up with menus fit to serve military men and women and their families.

The teams came up with wonderful dishes — but the red team ran out of veggies and potatoes. They would have easily won the challenge had they planned better.

The red team's fate was decided by another gut-wrenching challenge — and that is not a knock on Judge-chef Graham Elliot's cooking. He whipped up a batch of delicious-looking Texas-style chili that included 20 ingredients. One by one, the red team members had to taste the dish and name as many of the ingredients as possible. The one with the least number went bye-bye. Cute-as-a-bug Whitney played it smart, naming all the easy ingredients first, and got 12 in a row correctly. Faruq and David started getting coy but still managed to sail through. (I thought Slim was going to barf it all up.)

And then we sent home yet another competitor, Jenna, who apparently does not know chili. But at least she was reunited with her three kids and her husband, the Lion King. Seriously, did you see the head of hair on that guy? I want the secret to that 90-mile-an-hour mane.

Other highlights:

— I want David to make it to the finals. That way, his elimination will be that much more painful. Who does this guy think he is? Gordon Ramsay? He actually uttered the words, "I've never been classically trained. ... This is just raw talent."

Speaking of Ramsay, we were treated to several bon mots:

— "That's about as Chinese as my mum," he told one competitor as he shredded their dish.

— He told Jake, a burly construction worker, that he expected the hopeful to be clumsy in the kitchen. Instead, Ramsay said, Jake is "like watching a swan glide ... a big swan."

And there was more leg-pulling:

"I have one huge problem with this dish!" he sternly told Mike. "I don't want to stop eating it."

That Ramsay! What a cutup.

So what do you make of the show? Too soon to make picks? I gotta think Mike is a solid front-runner.

— Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: The judges unveil ingredients during a challenge. Credit: Fox.