‘MasterChef,’ ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ recaps: Delusion on the menu

After watching “MasterChef” on Tuesday night, some crafty Hollywood type is pitching a spinoff at this very moment. The working title? “Delusional Home Cooks.”

We get down to it in a glistening, newly revamped kitchen — a culinary theater, if you will — that boast a lounge and a wing brimming with every ingredient imaginable. (“Pantry” doesn’t quite capture it.) The competition gets underway with a mystery box challenge containing a duck breast and a variety of other ingredients. Instead of keeping it simple, these home cooks go nuts.


Scott Little decided to go for duck profiteroles, even though profiteroles are more typically a dessert dish. Although he calls it “over-creative,” judge Joe Bastianich calls it delusional. Ryan Umane plates his duck with … bananas! Samantha de Silva apparently thinks cooking is overrated, so she serves hers raw. That earns her a first-class ticket on the elimination train.

The best dish of the competition is served up by hometown favorite Felix Fang of Hollywood, who is catapulted to front-runner status with her stunning five-spiced duck breast with eggplant and sweet potato fries. Her reward: She doesn’t need to cook in the next competition but does get to decide which of the dishes the other competitors will have to cook. Quite the reward!

She must choose from nightmare dishes — dishes that seem like they should be easy but give chefs the shudders because they require years of practice to get right: Risotto, clam chowder and beef Wellington. Felix, who at the time did not realize she would get a pass on competing, chooses risotto. If she’d known about the pass, she’d probably have chosen the Wellington.

Still, it turns out to be a good pick because so many of the competitors simply do not know what risotto looks like or tastes like. Helene Leeds serves the dish undercooked, with a hideous-looking scallop basket. Dave Mack also apparently does not understand the need to cook the rice. And Tali Clavijo put cranberries and walnuts!?!? with his dish. Dave, though, seen above, is the one who goes home.

“You have dodged that bullet,” Ramsay tells Tali.

Over on “Hell’s Kitchen,” the competitors start their day with a barking wake-up call that sets the stage for the farm challenge: Competitors chase around sheep whose collars lead them to the ingredients they can use in their dish. Clemenza Caserta turns out to be something of a sheep whisperer.

Back in the kitchen during the subsequent lamb challenge, the teams must prepare the protein several ways. Guy Vaknin screams like, well, a girl when he nicks himself with a knife. But the way he shrieked made everyone think he was headed for reattachment surgery. Ramsay put it best: Guy yelled like he’d been circumcised without anesthesia.

The men win the challenge in part because Barbie Marshall and Robyn Almodovar produce a raw rack of lamb. Never a good thing. Robyn tries to blame her shortfall on the team. (Seriously? Do these people actually watch “Hell’s Kitchen”? Does anyone think finger-pointing works with Ramsay?)

There are few things funnier on “Hell’s Kitchen” than competitors getting all chuffed up about their dishes only to get the back of Ramsay’s hand.

Again: Do the competitors come from Mars. Have they never watched the show before? Brian Merel dances about the kitchen to celebrate his “sexy” cod dish. Ramsay is not impressed. Don Savage is proud that he turns out to be a beef Wellington “savant” only to be labeled a “Dumbo” later. Danielle Rimmer is convinced that it’s her night to shine but looks like she’s about to burst into tears when she’s asked to take over meat. (Saying she looked like “a deer caught in the headlights” would be too much of an understatement.)

Royce Wagner, who loves to speak about himself in the third person, is convinced he’s gonna rock the house, but it turns out that he and Justin — duh — end up both preparing the same dish for the same table.

Hubris certainly goeth before the fall on “Hell’s Kitchen.” Shouldn’t they all know that?

And so it was — surprise — another disastrous dinner. Like having root canal and passing a kidney stone at the same time, as Ramsay put it.

At the end of the night, Don, the Dumbo-eared beef Wellington genius, gets sent home. Roshni Gurnani gets a last chance to prove that she doesn’t always belong on the chopping block by being sent to the men’s team.

Personally, I would have liked to have seen Danielle go home. She’s delusional. She suggested she’s had a perfect performance since Day 1, but her nasty comments about Kimmie Willis crossed the line.

Certainly they don’t illustrate the kind of leadership Ramsay wants. (Example: “You think just because you weigh 500 pounds I’m not going to say anything to you?” “What, because she weighs 5 million pounds, I’m gonna shut up?”)

You’re running low on ammunition (and class) when all your bullets are aimed at someone’s waistline.


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