Review: Tea and teamwork on MasterChef Canada

Last week, the home cooks were tasked with cooking for MasterChef judge Graham Elliot, this week they were cooking alongside Claudio Aprile.

A key lesson should have been taken by every one of those home cooks present and future contestants as Chef Claudio presented a master class in calm. Where even David can get a little flustered under the gun, Claudio had no wasted movements during the Mystery Box challenge. While the Top 7 ran to the pantry to get extra ingredients, Claudio seared off his lamb and started prepping his potatoes. It may have been all in the editing, but Claudio might not have used anything from the pantry, preferring to keep it simple. The result? He was done with 15 minutes to spare, cleaned up his station, sat down and took the time to plate his final dish. (It was refreshing to see the three judges have a little bit of fun, especially when Michael took away Claudio’s goat cheese and Alvin ate half of his pear.)

Despite David’s unique idea of making a pistachio purée, it was Sabrina who won the Mystery Box—and a huge advantage. (For all of those viewers who moan when David wins, look at the reason why: he veered from the usual pistachio crust and made something different.)

The Elimination Challenge was a sharp contrast to Claudio’s control in the first 20 minutes of Sunday’s “Tea for Two.” Chaos ruled when Sabrina teamed up the six finalists to re-create a traditional English afternoon tea platter of desserts, scones and sandwiches.

At first blush it appeared the pairing of Line and Cody would self-destruct. After all, they aren’t friends, and have clashing personalities. But a funny thing happened midway through the profiterole making: the two meshed and got along. Every time they swapped out to continue the challenge they gained momentum on the way to winning the night and scoring captaincy’s in next week’s team challenge.

David and Jennifer, meanwhile, were a frigging disaster. They started strong, with Jenn coaching David through the first steps of making pastry. Then she went off the rails. David had to guide her, listing ingredients for pastry cream and ultimately making all of the sandwiches with just four minutes before time ran out. After all that, their profiteroles were missing whipped cream.

With David doing most of the work during the hour, it was easy for the judges to eliminate Jennifer from the competition.

Notes and quotes

  • “I might be old, but I ain’t dead. And that’s some eye candy going on up there.” — Line, describing Chef Claudio in his chef’s whites.
  • Claudio taking part in the Mystery Box Challenge was like watching a sports car rev at a stoplight next to a kid on a three-speed bike.
  • The smirks traded between Chef Claudio and Chef Michael were hilarious.
  • Sorry, but most of the home cooks’ lamb dishes looked like a mushy mess.
  • Did the chefs not have to make scones? I didn’t see any footage of that.

MasterChef Canada airs Sundays at 7 p.m. ET on CTV.