MasterChef Canada had a special treat for fans on Monday night, as CTV broadcast back-to-back episodes. Of course, the double-dose did have a dark side: we said goodbye to two home cooks.
In the first episode of the night, the Top 5 were surprised by some very special guests: a Mystery Box full of family. Josh’s wife, Cryssi’s sister, Jennifer’s boyfriend, Chanelle’s husband and Andre’s aunt was on-hand not just to cheer on their loved ones—which was what I expected—but to do the cooking instead. It was clear from the shocked looks the home cooks and guests weren’t prepared for the twist. Able to coach, cheer on and participate for a mere 18 of 60 minutes, the competitors could only look on as their beloved recreated a fried chicken dish with biscuits, gravy and coleslaw.
Josh opted to clock in almost right away, butchering the chicken and getting it marinating and prompting his wife to move faster. Jennifer jumped in next, working on the biscuits for her sweetheart’s plate. Andre tended to his biscuits, leaving his aunt to prepare the chicken and coleslaw. Chanelle stayed out as long as she could but buzzed in to help her husband and make sure he was making good use of his time. With 30 minutes to go, Cryssi (according to the episode’s edit) still hadn’t clocked into her sister’s aid, a clear indication of their closeness and confidence in each other.
Cryssi and her sister’s platter looked the tastiest and won rave reviews from Chefs Michael, Claudio and Alvin, but it was Andre and his aunt who was awarded the win. It landed Andre a much-coveted boost in the Elimination Challenge, which had the Top 5 spinning a wheel to determine the tropical fruit at the centre of their next concoction. Andre had his pick of the wheel and chose to make a savoury dish with passionfruit. Cryssi spun and landed on a sweet sugar apple recipe, Josh savoury tamarind, Chanelle sweet using soursop, and Jennifer a savoury coconut.
Andre was the only one that didn’t have trouble with their main ingredient—the sugar apple was full of seeds and Chanelle had no clue what soursop was—though Jennifer had a great game plan, opting to use coconut as the base of a seafood curry.
At the tasting, Andre’s passionfruit glazed scallop fritter was enjoyed by Alvin and Michael, Chanelle’s soursop filled crepes weren’t very flavourful, Jennifer’s curry en papillote was overcooked, Cryssi’s sugar apple tart was “Wow,” and Josh’s tamarind beef tostadas were disappointing because he failed to cut the meat all the way through and his tostadas weren’t hand made. The top home cook was Andre, and Chanelle, sadly, was shown the door.
In the second episode, the Top 4 travelled to Peterborough, Ont., to visit the Canadian Canoe Museum for an Indigenous ingredient-themed Team Challenge. There, they were greeted by Chefs Alvin, Michael and Claudio alongside Anishinaabe chef Johl Whiteduck Ringuette of NishDish in Toronto. The task? To create a three-course tasting menu utilizing one of the Three Sisters—corn, squash and beans—for First Nations guests. Chef Johl also came with a gift: white corn.
Andre, who was tops in the Elimination Challenge picked both teams. Andre picked Jennifer to be on his Red Team and facing Josh and Cryssi on the Blue Team.
Jennifer and Andre opted for pemmican inspired bison steaks with corn, partridge with sour cherries and beans, and squash cake while Cryssi and Josh chose to make corn chowder with corn fritters, venison with warm butter basted bean salad, and bannock and squash pudding.
When it came to the best dishes of the night, the Red Team triumphed, whisking Jennifer and Andre into the Top 3 and leaving Josh and Cryssi to fight in the Pressure Test. They were given 70 minutes to replicate a tempered chocolate sphere containing a pistachio sponge cake and bruléed figs.
Josh, who admits baking isn’t his strong suit, was in tough against baking pro Cryssi. And yet, he was the first to land his chocolate sphere in the fridge while she struggled to get hers to work. In order to make it work, Cryssi ditched the mould for a balloon. Incredibly, they both completed the task, though Josh’s creation looked a little better and nailed the replication aspect.
Cryssi’s flavours were dead-on, but would they trump Josh’s dead-on replication? No, and Josh moved into the Top 3.
MasterChef Canada airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.
Images courtesy of Bell Media.