This newest season of MasterChef Canada (Season 7) is dubbed “Back to Win.” It’s pretty self-explanatory—past competitors have returned to the kitchen in a bid to capture the title—and I give credit to Proper Television for choosing worthy and interesting home cooks to do it.
From runner-ups like Jeremy, Thea and Andre, to personalities like Barrie and April Lee, this group deserved another shot and got it on Sunday night. It was great to see them back in the shiny stadium alongside judges Micheal Bonacini, Alvin Leung and Claudio Aprile.
The first few minutes of Sunday’s return was spent catching up with the 12 home cooks and what they’ve been up to. Jeremy opened a catering company, Thea does recipe development, Marissa is seeking a fresh start, Andrew runs a restaurant, Jen attended culinary school, Christopher had to close his cafe due to the pandemic, Andre has been a frontline worker cleaning operating rooms, and Mai started a dumpling business.
All want to take the title they feel they should have won the first time around and pocketed $100,000.
Not content with the usual challenges, Chef Michael warned the home cooks that the tests would be tougher than ever. That began right away, with the Mystery Box Challenge, which was the sole focus of Sunday’s instalment.
Under each wooden crate was the worst dish each home cook had prepared on MasterChef Canada, and they were tasked with making it a winner. Not only that, but at least one home cook would be eliminated from the competition. So yeah, the stakes were higher.
For April Lee, that meant re-jigging her disastrous piña colada dessert into a mousse; for Andrew is was turning a horrible soft-poached egg into shakshouka; for Christopher, it was transforming ground pork into dim sum; and for Marissa, re-working octopus and pork into a stunner of a plate. There were issues along the way, as Thea’s chicken wasn’t cooking properly and April Lee’s mousse separated; standard issues that could mean going home immediately.
When it came to judging, Andy’s lobster chowder impressed Michael; Dora’s beef cheek po’boy was flavourful but should have made her own bread, according to Claudio; Jeremy’s monkfish wowed Alvin; Christopher’s dim sum was delicious but needed more flavour, Claudio opined; Thea’s crispy chicken was dry, said Alvin; Andrew’s eggs were wonderfully runny; Marissa’s chicken and tempura squid with pork belly was clunky, said Claudio; Andre’s pickled coconut pasta and sea urchin was loved by Alvin; Barrie’s Waygu beef tartare impressed Michael; Mai’s salmon in green curry was very good according to Alvin; Jen’s steak and potatoes were delicious, said Claudio; and April Lee’s lemon curd was delicious but her presentation was bad, advised Claudio.
The result? Andre was deemed the winner, and will be given an advantage in next week’s episode. As for the bottom dishes, April Lee, Marissa and Dora found themselves in the bottom. And while April Lee and Marissa were given another chance, Dora wasn’t. She exited the MasterChef kitchen, again.
MasterChef Canada: Back to Win airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.
Images courtesy of Bell Media.