The final 15 chefs on MasterChef slugged it out at Camarillo Air museum where they cooked for 101 military veterans. The contestants were told to split into two teams: Blue Team and Red Team. They were tasted to cook hangar steak, two sides, plus one sauce. Last week's winner was allowed to pick the team he wanted to join and Alejandro picked the Blue Team. The teams also were told to pick their own captains. David Williams stepped up and seized the captainship of the Red Team. Meanwhile, the Blue Team was captained by Shaun. Williams said that no one wanted to be captain because it usually meant doom. Here's what he wrote on Facebook:
Once we were divided, Alejandro was given the choice of which team he would like to lead. He went with the blue team giving them 8 people to our 7. That is a HUGE advantage, as every extra body is important when making this many meals. Even being down a person I was confident as we had some of the strongest cooks in the competition on this team. The Red team was told to select and captain and we went into a huddle. In the huddle no one really spoke up about being captain and for good reason. There is usually NO UPSIDE to being captain on MasterChef. If you are the captain of the winning team you get a slight pat on the back and your entire team moves on. If your team loses, you are usually the one to take the blame, regardless of fault. From a strategic point of view, you shouldn't want to be captain. That being said, I decided someone needed to step up and I felt this group was so strong and mature that it would be easy to lead so I told the team I would be the captain.
The Red Team got off to a quick and solid start. They opted for a simple, yet flavorful dish in order to highlight the steak. The Blue Team gambled with complex marinade, which Brandi objected too because she knew that anything with sugar would burn on the grill. The Blue Team got off to a rough start and it appeared the Red Team was going to run away with the steak challenge.
The Red Team served Hanger Steak with Mushroom Bourbon Sauce, Mac n Cheese, and Zucchini
The Blue team served Hanger Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, and Brussels Sprouts
Gordon Ramsay arrived in an old-school fighter plane. The surly, no-bullshit chef was ready to whip both teams into shape while they served 101 vets. Ramsay discovered that the Red Team served three dishes of undercooked steak. Ramsay found out Manny was responsible for the grill and was given a reprimand. Ramsay inspected the Blue Team's kitchen and was not pleased to hear about the problems with Shaun's Chimichurri marinade. Since it included honey, the sugar burned off on the grill…which is exactly what Brandi predicted would happen. The Blue Team quickly recovered and strengthen their Chimichurri Sauce.
This challenge was judged by the 101 vets. They voted for the Blue Team in overwhelming fashion with 77 votes. More than ¾ of the vets like the Red Team more than the Blue Team. That meant the Red Team was going to fight to the death against each other in an elimination challenge.
The Red Team squared off in a fried chicken elimination cook off, but not before they had to vote which one of them would get saved. They had three minutes to deliberate. David Williams felt he should have been the one who got saved because he was the captain of the Red Team. However, the rest of the Red Team wanted to save Eric. Williams got pissed at his teammates lack of respect for his captain skills. Eric got saved and he went up to the balcony with a guaranteed spot in the final 14.
The Red Team got a quick tutorial on how to chop up a whole chicken into specific parts which they'd use to make fried chicken. They had to create a box of fried chicken consisting of two breasts, two thighs, two drumsticks, and two wings.
David Williams was clearly on mega-tilt after not getting the free pass to the final 14. He felt angry and betrayed by his teammates. His anger was soiling over into his prep skills. He struggled to cut up his chicken. Gordon Ramsay had to talk him down off the ledge and helped get him off tilt by reminding him that the best chefs in the world go through rough patches, but they also learn to let things go in order to focus on the present task at hand. Williams' seething anger spilled into his dish with cayenne pepper, paprika, Cajun spices, and chili powder.
David Williams served a spicy fried chicken that was good enough to survive the elimination challenge and he advanced to the final 14.
The three worst batches of fried chicken were up for elimination. One of the three home cooks were about to get sent home. Manny, Katie, and Diana were all on the chopping block. Katie's chicken was too healthy, which is why her skin lacked depth and flavor. She was the best of the worst three and she advanced. It came down to heads-up battle between Manny the fireman from Orlando and Diana the food server from Illinois. Manny's chicken was straight-up burned, which is why he was chosen for elimination. One of the most lovable characters on the show was dunzo and Diana barely survived.
David Williams advanced to the final 14 home chefs. Only 13 other chefs stand in his way of winning MasterChef.