‘MasterChef,’ ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ recaps: Not following orders

The leg-pulling on “MasterChef” -- while always entertaining -- hit a new low when chef Gordon Ramsay punked hometown favorite Felix Fang.

Felix, who needs to cut back on the breathless, plush-lipped histrionics, was on the chopping block along with Scott Little after a dessert debacle. It’s unlikely that anyone, not even Scott, thought Felix would be going home.

That was, until the chef launched into what appears to be his routine sendoff for departing players: “Felix, it’s time to say goodbye…to Scott.”

Whew! That must have taken about 10 years off Felix’s life.


Scott had long overstayed his welcome. He was increasingly in over his head. The big question that remains is: How the heck is Tali Clavijo still kicking around?

Actually, the better question is this: Why can’t the competitors simply follow the rules of the game?

When it comes to the mystery-box challenge, competitors are supposed to think outside the “box.” This week, they had a T-bone steak and other produce items and were asked to dream up something creative.

But when the judges ask you to re-create their favorite “classic desserts,” for the love of all that’s sugary, why can’t the competitors just do that?

Even Christine Ha had to muck around with it. She was supposed to make a strawberry shortcake. As in a shortcake with strawberries. But she served up a raspberry and blackberry shortcake.

“Are you not understanding what we are doing here?” Judge Joe Bastianich barked at Felix for putting her spin on a tiramisu that was sloppy, free-form and included nuts. Big mistake.

The biggest violator, however, was Becky Reams, who seemingly tossed the entire spice rack into her tiramisu. Her dessert was “gross…a cacophony of dissonant flavors that make absolutely no sense,” Joe said. Gordon described it as tasting “like mouthwash.”

“You were trying to show off, and it bit you in the [bleep],” Joe told her.


Random query: Does it bother you that Walmart’s name was all over the mystery box challenge? I thought it was cleverly done. I’m sure viewers had the same thought I did: “You can buy a big, fat T-bone and all that other stuff at Walmart for only $15?!?!” I understand I’m being advertised to, and I like it better than sitting through a commercial.

Over on “Hell’s Kitchen,” the competitors might do well to also learn that simply playing to the judges can pay off.

Given the opportunity to serve celebrated chefs like Anita Lo, Robyn Almodovar started out her presentation by explaining how much she hates beets. As in, the beets she was asked to prepare for Lo. Really, Robyn?

That makes sense, though, when we see Robyn endlessly “conversating” with boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, who had a special guest table in the kitchen. Who knows if there was some fancy footwork going on there, but the editing was brilliant: Sugar Ray looked scared, like he was hoping chef Ramsay would come save him from this opponent.


The men -- yawn -- botched yet another dinner service. The guys try to blame their inability to serve entrees on... the appetizer team. Roshni Gurnani and Patrick Cassata ended up on the chopping block, and Roshni was sent home. I had no illusions that she’d be able to go the distance. But is Patrick really that much better than she is?


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