The aprons aren’t coming easy for the remaining contestants.
The judges are holding those babies close to the vest, and while some folks shined on MasterChef Season 10 Episode 2, a lot of decent competitors walked away empty-handed for their efforts.
One thing they had going on for them was the opportunity to cook for Curtis Stone.
Stone was the legend of the hour, and while he started on the nice side, reserved in his criticism, he quickly adapted to the stringent judging process as the world-renown chefs determined who was worthy of the limited white aprons.
It wasn’t as easy to get one this time around, and seeing as they still have a handful of aprons remaining, it’s remarkable that they’ve been able to drag out this process of choosing the best chefs longer than one audition installment.
Everyone has a lot to prove, and there isn’t much wiggle room here. We can only expect 15 contestants versus the usual 20, and you feel the difference based on what the judges are declining.
If Masterchef Season Episode 1 shared moving stories given by contestants and showed us the cream of the crop walking away with aprons, this hour gave us several people who were good but not great enough.
You could tell Joe was on one in true Joe fashion when he criticized the heck out of some of the dishes, regardless of the person was still in the room or not.
He’s looking for greatness or the potential for it. However, he showed his soft side in the barest of ways when he threw a yes out to potential, knowing his colleagues would decline anyway.
He can throw a person a bone when he wants.
Bernardo was the perfect example of a seemingly sweet, excitable guy who loved to cook and was happy to be part of the process. He could barely speak when he got in front of the judges, he was so starstruck, and with that level of energy, it was hard to crush his dreams.
His pork mole was unappealing, though. He’s an amateur cook. And that dish wasn’t the best option to showcase whatever skills he possesses.
And yet, it still looked on par with some of the local Mexican restaurants where I reside, and damn if I don’t cry a little inside over the frustration when some jump on a trend of what’s well-received but can’t back it up with great food.
You could send that he was likely happy to meet some of his idols at all, and that was sufficient for him.
Josey was a much stronger cook. You could tell they had the potential to be great, but sadly, she fell short with the tacos. Her endless Aarón praise was adorable, though.
It’s typical with each installment that one of the judges ends up with the most fangirling, and during this installment, it was all about the Aarón love.
Josey had such a winning personality and passion for food. It was irresistible, and it made it heartbreaking when she didn’t earn that apron.
Fortunately, Aarón enjoyed her as much we viewers likely did, and he offered her the opportunity to visit his restaurant and spend some time with him as he shows her the works in the kitchen and teaches her a few things.
It sucks when someone likable doesn’t get an apron, but those moments when one of the judges extends a hand, offering guidance, mentorship, jobs, or whatever else are always special times.
Everyone there didn’t get where they were without someone reaching back and offering them a shot. It’s this unspoken cycle that when you make it, you reach back and help someone else do so as well.
It’s a respect for the craft and the future of the field. Anytime it gets into a Pay it Forward type of thing, you can expect this girl to get a bit emotional.
Josey didn’t get her apron, and that’s OK, but the value in spending time with Aarón, honing in her craft and passion, is better than anything else.
She’s still walking away from this a winner.
In a similar vein, Nahya is brimming with potential. The judges, some of the greatest chefs on the planet, know it.
As soon as I saw her baby face, I knew the odds of her making it further was slim. She’s still young and inexperienced.
Hell, the girl is still in high school. It’s too early for her to be in this competition, but she damned sure better return the moment she gets the chance.
Her Indo-Pakistani, Gobi Manchurian, was promising, but her bold choice of using soy sauce to bring some Chinese flair to it is what didn’t work for all the other judges except Joe, who kept eating it.
She needs more time to work on and develop her flavor palate and understanding of them. Whereas Abe is a young contestant as well, at 22, but he has some experience.
He needs to learn how to restrain his flavor profile and take all the knowledge and skills he possesses and put them to use in the best way for a more cohesive dish.
His worldly experience growing up all over the globe is an advantage for him. He’s familiar with many food styles, concepts, and cuisine. But if he’s going to bring fusion dishes to the table, he has to strategize how he chooses to do it.
He got through by the skin of his teeth. His red snapper was a lovely enough dish, but he mucked it up by adding the cheese to it. It threw everything off.
Nevertheless, he earned an apron after all, and he could potentially be one to beat if he focuses.
Joseph also earned an apron with a steamed red snapper dish. It was deceptively simple, and he brought some of his Filipino heritage to the table.
He arguably had the best feedback from the judges of the hour. It was a perfectly executed dish that Curtis appreciated, as it put his skills on full display.
Gordon felt there was a poise to the dish and Joseph, and Joe thought it was an excellent trifecta.
Anne was someone else who earned an apron. It felt as if the judges responded more to her story of losing her father to Alzheimer’s and her confidence.
Her Duck a La Cherry was cooked well, and most of the judges liked it, but it didn’t seem like a dazzling dish. I wonder what she’s going to be like moving forward.
Annai was another personable contestant. Sometimes it feels their personalities outshine the dish, and when there’s a certain magnetism there, it’s hard to say no.
Her chile relleno was perfect. I’ll admit her plating was perfection. She understands the importance of visuals when presenting food, and everything from how she positioned the chile and sauce to the plate she used complemented the dish.
It all came together perfectly.
Annai is a smart, gorgeous, skilled cook, and her confidence and drive were unmistakable. She expressed that she quit her job to come onto the show.
Everything about her seemed to endear. And while there were some bits of criticism there, she got that apron.
Annai’s signature style is to take traditional Mexican cuisine, elevate it, bringing contemporary flair and elegance.
It’s something that she shares with Aarón. Sadly, too often, Mexican cuisine doesn’t get the respect and high caliber treatment it deserves, as it’s written off as less than compared to French, Italian, and the like.
For that alone, it wasn’t a surprise that Aarón gave her an apron– for the culture.
But are any of these chefs memorable? Did they stand out enough for you to root for any of them when the competition is underway? It’s the question of the hour.
Over to you, Masterchef Fanatics. What are your thoughts on this batch of competitors?
Did anyone get robbed or a shot that they shouldn’t have received?
Hit the SHOW COMMENTS below to discuss!
Jasmine Blu is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.