‘MasterChef,’ ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ recaps: Is Ryan a jerk or what?

Revenge is best served cold. As in the chilled ceviche cocktail that Christine Ha served up Tuesday on “MasterChef” after she deftly dismantled a live crab. While blind!

Take that, Ryan Umane.

Ryan tried to trip up his competitors in a canned-versus-live challenge -- as in, he had to decide which of the remaining competitors would be forced to cook up a dish with canned crab, and who would be forced to use live crab.

Ryan was strategic and brilliant. By and large, he gave the best home chefs the canned crab so they’d be forced to prepare a dish featuring the “inferior” ingredient. And he gave the worst chefs the live crabs, assuming that would fluster them.

There was one exception. Monti Carlo put it best: “What kind of a ... gives a live crab to the blind chick?”

That’s right, Ryan gave Christine the live crab in the hopes of flustering the blind woman who is quickly proving herself a force to be reckoned with in this competition.


So much so, that Chef Gordon Ramsay asked her after the crab challenge: “Are you sure you’re blind?” -- because she served up not one, but two “stunning” dishes.

But that means she will be team captain for the next challenge. And if we learned anything this week, it’s that Christine excels when she is on her own in the kitchen but can struggle to find her way in the midst of a team challenge.

Christine, I know you can’t see this, but my fingers are crossed for you.

Ryan clearly doesn’t mind playing the villain, and I have to say that’s refreshing. Still, WHAT A JERK. Between the crab thing and trying to get Monti to flash the troops last week, and those caveman grins from the rafter ... allow me to repeat myself: What a jerk. But dude can cook.

Other highlights:

-- What an “offal” challenge. I love the mystery-box challenges. I pause the show, try to dream up what I’d make, and then resume play. (Admit it, you do the same.) And if I came face to face with that sheep’s head? I’d make a beeline for the door.

--Monti is a character. Love the looks on Joe Bastianich’s and Graham Elliot’s faces when she said she was thinking of her ex-husband while she was butchering those testicles. Eek. Glad that she earned vindication with those crab-wrapped eggs. Hard to believe based on looking at them, but the judges dug the dish.

--Thank you, show editor and producers, for giving us more of the judges talking about how they would tackle the challenges. Keep it coming.

--The sweetest moment of the night? When Gordon invited Ryan over to taste Christine’s dish by saying he had greatly underestimated Christine’s talents, and essentially handed her success on the back of a live crab: “Ryan, you screwed that one up big time ... because there’s no disadvantage here.” Ryan tried the ceviche and was forced to admit: “It’s really awesome, you knocked it out of the park, Christine.”

--Ouch moment of the night was Joe telling Helene: “You’ve done a great job of taking a beautiful $60 Dungeness crab ... and making it taste exactly like a canned crab.” Bye-bye, Helene.

--Best line of the night, when Christine conceded that she was asking her competitors for physical descriptions of the judges so that she could imagine them in her mind. “I’m tall and thin,” Elliot cracked. “Joe is short and fat.”

Ryan’s parting shot: “My master plan to get Monti and Christine out of here did not work out.” And then he said something too rude to print. See jerk comment above.

Over on “Hell’s Kitchen,” we started with the elimination of Danielle Rimmer, and then ended up with another unfinished episode. Perhaps I am a creature of habit, but this upset in the formatting is leaving me unsettled. And not in a good way. What do you think?

What corners of the fashion world did Gordon search to find three of the most irritating, annoying, insufferable guest judges? I don’t know either, but bring that cartoonish crew back next season!

It was one of the most telling challenges in “Hell’s Kitchen” history, and most of the competitors fell for the trap that those judges set out. When a guest tells you they want something ... give it to them. If you cannot do that, you are not head chef material.

In other words, don’t serve eggplant fries to people who fear that even peering down at fried food will put weight on their hips.

Kimmie Willis is crumbling. Passive aggressive, much? You cannot be a head chef if you cannot peacefully resolve differences with teammates.


“Baby Daddy”: Three men and a tired premise

Alec Baldwin accused of punching N.Y. Daily News photographer

Emmy contender Maya Rudolph breaks down her “SNL” host highlights

Join Rene Lynch on Google+ or Twitter. Email: