Review: High end to Southern comfort on MasterChef Canada

“I may not have won MasterChef Canada, but I definitely was the best-looking throughout.” And with that, the series said goodbye to Michael, one of the most compelling and entertaining characters in the franchise.

In the early stages of this season, Michael was painted as the villain, a well-dressed home cook with high-end tastes who looked down on his small-town competitors. But as with all reality TV, the story is all in the editing; as Season 2 has progressed Michael not only was shown to be a likeable dude but a valuable team player to have in your corner. Unfortunately, it all came to an end on Sunday after a raw piece of fried chicken resulted in him hanging up his apron for good. It was a shame, really, because Michael would have been great as a finalist. Still, I’m sure we’ll see him as a sous chef for the two competitors who do go into the finale on May 24.

Luckily, Michael was able to show off his skills in a professional kitchen, as “Fine Dining Under Fire” began with the Top 6 ascending 54 storeys to cook in Canoe, Michael Bonacini’s landmark restaurant. It was there the Blue Team led by Cody and with David and Christopher on board faced off against Line captaining the Red Team with Michael and Sabrina.

The results were eerily similar to Season 1’s venture to Claudio Aprile’s Origins: both teams struggled early before getting into a groove and serving up respectable plates to the 60-odd seated in the restaurant. Cody took a more collaborative approach to his leadership and the Blue Team flourished, finishing their service with just a couple of blips. The Red Team never recovered from a slow start and Sabrina stepped in to lead when Line got overwhelmed. It got so bad that Chef Bonacini donned his whites and got in there to help out.

That, paired with plating that was a little off, handed the win to Cody, David and Christopher and sent Michael, Line and Sabrina to the Elimination Challenge, to prepare fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans in just 45 minutes. And though Michael’s chicken breast was the best of the bunch, that raw leg was his undoing.

Next week the finalists get teary when their families drop by for support and to cheer them on.

Notes and quotes

  • I was playing “find the Canadian TV industry people” during the episode and spotted Bell Media execs, one television critic and Marilyn Denis.
  • “She’s acting like my daughters did when they were teenagers.” Line with the line of the night about Sabrina.
  • “I’ve been working on a fried chicken recipe for 10 years.” And I would like to sample it, David.

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