MasterChef Recap: Season 4, Episodes 3 & 4.

So, this time I’m almost a week late with the MasterChef recaps. To be quite honest, it was really starting to look like I wouldn’t be doing it, and I’m still not convinced that I’ll bother, going forward.

The longer I’m back from LA, the more I hear about things that happened to my friends… the more disgusted I am with everything. On one hand, I feel like I would be doing a disservice to my friends – and those I didn’t even meet – by NOT giving them some exposure, after we all uprooted our lives for ~6+ months for this.

On the other hand… two of my MasterChef friends have had suicidal thoughts since coming back, as a result of the treatment out there. One friend was sexually harassed by the judges to the point that she had her lawyers get her edited out of the show completely. (As part of it, one of the judges told her that the only way he’d have an appreciation for her is if he was looking at her naked body!). Two of my friends were physically assaulted – one by production, one by a judge.

Of the incidents I mention, there is no crossover – these are all unique individuals. They’re not alone, either – I know of a few other women who were treated in a sexist, degrading manner by the judges… and all of these incidents that I mention are just the ones that I KNOW of. Many have been dealing with depression as a result of the experience.

I knew that MasterChef contestants can be in a bad way when they come home, and I knew that the show has sent many from previous seasons – even those who have “placed” high – into depression, and even ruined a few lives… I guess it’s just harder for me to tolerate in specifics – it’s easier to wave off an abstract idea, without any context. Also: without knowing those involved. These aren’t mentally unbalanced people, or drama queens – these are real, everyday people. Good people. For this reason, I have very little desire to give MasterChef any real coverage, going forward. I’m beyond disgusted…. I’m livid.

Add to it the fact that it sounds like they’re going to full on, super trashy reality TV this season? Blargh. This article actually had me envisioning the show turning into a “Scary Movie”-esque parody of reality TV, it’s all so over the top.

Still, this past set of two episodes gave us the first – and last – brief glimpses of some of these people. So… here we go.

First, we have brief glimpses/introductions of people. Nancy Fillipelli, A swimwear model, Malcolm Green, and Bri, an actress.

They show a quick montage of people, and then Howard. Howard makes a peach cobbler, get an apron. I’ll admit, this one still stings a little – Apparently he used canned peaches and frozen blackberries. Awesome.

Then we have a very brief montage of rejections.

We have Paulina, who manages one of the most gorgeous food blogs I’ve ever seen, Potato Chips are Not Dinner. Fun fact: Joey the Ignorant told Paulina that her traditional Phillipino dish was “bad Chinese food”. WTF.

There’s Mark Famiano, a TOTAL sweetheart firefighter from Cleveland. Liyah with her “babies – stuffed animals – and we see Grace Chen for all of two seconds.

Carl “Pen” Wippert presented the judges with white chocolate spaghetti with strawberry puree and lemon cake “garlic bread” <- complete with finger quotes. LOVE this guy, and you should too - check out his website and Facebook page – he has a cookbook (“Gourmet for Everybody”) coming out VERY soon!

Jonny B uses a beer bottle as a rolling pin to extract lobster meat from the shell, to put on his caramel and coconut “crackerjack”. I’m still not sure how I feel about that dish. Unique, weird, and… I THINK I’d be interested in trying it? I dig salty and sweet, not so sure about seafood and caramel though. Anyway, he gets an apron after some big fake judge dramatics and “suspense”.

At this point, just 10 minutes into the show… they’re done with the audition round. SO many people, stories, and elaborate set ups were not even mentioned, much less shown. So many other people having months of upheaval condensed down to even a second or two. What is the point of having a second 2 hour episode, and only spending 10 minutes on the auditions?

So then we go to the next round of eliminations. The 40 people with aprons are assembled – equally spaced out among the “Fight Club” space – and told they’ll be competing to stay, asked to follow the judges out to another area

Brian Baum tells us that he has adrenaline coursing through his veins. I promptly get Phat Bass stuck in my head.

Nancy Fillipelli isn’t thinking about going home, she “IS” home.

They go to this other area, and they show individual faces. Let me go all “Romper Room” for a minute..

I see Seonkyoung, Mark Oberle – a trapeze artist!, and Gabriella.. I see Steve Smith (who doesn’t seem to have a MasterChef page for some reason?) and Dean Karadimas, who is QUITE the character, btw. There is Seymira Salamy, and Kevin Tindell, who I just adore! I see Monica Renee Watson and Dahlia Abrams (and you can tell on her face, she thinks she’ll be told to kill the poor lamb that Ramsay just presented.. does NOT look happy with it!). I see Duckie and Bime … and then a flood of sheep run into the area, apparently relieving themselves all over the contestants.

Cause, you know, that’s a great thing to do to people about to cook, and in an area they’re about to cook in.

They’re told they won’t be killing any of the lambs, and a HUGE display of every possible cut of lamb is revealed.

I’ll admit, I shed a tear at this point. I am SO glad that I went home when I did – and I manage to feel even happier about that with every new story I hear – but man… challenges would have been so much fun. Forget TV, forget the competition even… I’d love to be able to walk into a pantry / meat department like THAT, have my pick of it all, no worries about budget, and just make whatever I want. What a dream!

Ramsay makes some bizarre comment about how the contestants will be like lambs to the slaughter if they make a mistake. The hyperbole in this show is epic… and not in a good way.

So they start the 60 minutes, the contestants go running, James talks about getting shoved down, and Seymi laughs – she was a rugby player, by the way. 🙂

Some coverage of contestants picking ingredients, with judges yapping.

I want to eat whatever Gabriella Aronja is making. I have no idea what she just said. It was in Spanish, and I bet it’s amazing. There are roasted peppers involved.. yum!

I digress.

Malcolm is making a lamb sampler plate, Joe makes a snotty comment about how it sounds like he’s not confident enough to make one dish. Because, you know, I’m sure none of Joe’s restaurants sell anything with more than one preparation of an ingredient, and because such a dish has NEVER gone over well in past seasons, right?


Beth cooks her lamb on hay. Was kinda surprised to hear they had hay as an ingredient, seems kinda random.

Luca is stuffing a lamb loin with sweetbreads and goat cheese.

Brian is describing what he’s doing, gets insulted. Whatever.

Judges discuss James Ladd, saying he’s “way out of his depth”, mentioning his BBQ sauce. Apparently, that sauce was straight up amazing, btw.

In a moment of fake “spontaneity”, the judges “decide” that some people have been ‘showing their true colors’ (you know, mid-cooking time)… and should just be eliminated right now, before they’re even close to running out of time.

What a ridiculous slap in the face. I can’t imagine having had to stay another week, just to be fodder for craptacular forced drama BS like that. So disrespectful!

So with 15 minutes left – a full quarter of the time still remaining – Joey Coattails walks through and eliminates people. Gabriella – oh, her food looks SO good! – is first to go, being told she has “too many technical mistakes”.

James Ladd is next to go, then Brian Baum.

I’m struck by how much time is being spent on drama, and how little is being dedicated to the actual food. We see a few photos, no titles or descriptions of what’s being cooked.

The contestants are divided into two main groups, with a few stragglers. One group goes through to the competition, the other is just cut. Not a word about what anyone’s cooked. Past years, we’ve seen a LOT more about the food, about what was made, thought behind it. This year, it’s like they’re not even pretending that the show is about food, on some levels.

Duckie tells us that the judges are missing out, with her being eliminated. I had her pegged as top two from the minute I met her, so I totally agree. She KNOWS food – you should check out her site, Duckie’s Dine-asty. Don’t go when you’re hungry, though… just amazing stuff. She’s also hilarious, smart AND witty (not the same thing!), and just an all around great person. She actually did my makeup for me right before I cooked during the auditions, and made me look FABULOUS – thanks again, Duckie!

They show Luca’s dish, which doesn’t look appetizing at all.

Malcolm goes up against Seymira, Seymi goes home 🙁

Seymira’s African culture comes through in her cooking, and her dish looks insane. Girl, I would happily snarf your cooking any day.

The elimination is dragged out for far too long. Also, I hate seeing Seymi cry. This chick was a ray of sunshine the entire time I was in LA, love her to pieces.

Then it’s Jonny with a lamb rangoon, vs Brian “Crazy Eyes” with a lamb liver dish that looks very tasty. Gordon insults him, Brian goes home in another looong drawn out elimination.

I’ve got to say, I wish American MasterChef was more like Australian MasterChef: Way more focus on the food, it’s actually kind of educational for the home audience. Also, the judges are far more positive and encouraging.

Nancy up against Bri, Nancy goes home.

Luca goes up against Beth. Beth’s dish is gorgeous, Luca’s… not so much. While many of the cooks here seem to have some grasp on use of color, everything on Luca’s plate seems to be variations on bile yellow. Just… not appetizing at all.

I’m fast forwarding through the drama surrounding the elimination. I may have a short attention span, but really – do people like seeing this stuff drawn out so long, and so… forced?

Also, why does Gordon. Ramsay. Try to. Talk like. William. Shatner?

There is only one Shat. Gordo is not it.

Now we’re on to the second episode from last Wednesday. I’m just going to include my review for it here, rather than start a new one.

It’s a mystery box challenge. Tomato, Bacon, Chocolate, and Potatoes are the main ingredients.

Krissi excitedly yells “BACOOOON!”, and America falls in love with her 🙂

Graham describes “an INCREDIBLE single potato”. It’s a potato. Don’t get me wrong, I am a VERY stereotypical Irish Canadian, I adore potatoes… but the hyperbole bores me so. I’m assuming that Graham has a better grasp on language than Joe the moron does. (I’m still laughing at “Butter is the antithesis of Greece”!)

Gordon has never seen chocolate and potato together, which reminds me – have you guys tried my peppermint patties recipe?

Then we have a little bit of talk about the food, then a whole bunch of manipulated drama.

Just a comment on this: I’ve seen a lot of comments out there online, usually on forums and comments section of news articles, about how the drama between Krissi and Natasha “came out of nowhere”. Keep in mind that at this point, the contestants have been in LA for almost two weeks. That’s a LOT of time to form some opinions about others. Hell, most of us were only there for a week, and THAT was enough time to form some very tight, lifetime friendships. There are two sides to that sword, and not EVERYONE there was awesome to each other.

Bime is up, Joey Coattails says that his dish “smells like a fake” to him, asks where he’s ever had food like this before. Definitely a recurring theme, after accusing Bime of his mofongo being “a ripoff of shrimp scampi, with a little plantain”

Does Joey not eat anything besides Italian? I have a hard time pinpointing whether his BS is racist, classist, or just general ignorance. Maybe a combination? So much stupid…

He tells Bime that he hopes he can “walk the walk”. I’d love to see Joey “walk the walk” – does he even know how to cook? Any time – over ALL of the past seasons – that any of the judges cook, it was not Joe. There WAS a tortellini forming demonstration once, but I remember noticing at the time that the edits were such that it very easily could have been someone else’s hands doing the close ups.

Anyway, Natasha gets on and yaps about how pretty she is.

I’m torn on this. Instinctively… barf.

On the other hand, I was there… and I KNOW how much footage they have of me talking about my IQ, etc – all prompted. I was DREADING them using all of the various “Great! Now say it like ____. Cool, now can you say _____ also?” incarnations of it all, piecing it together and making me look like a mega douche.
So I know there’s a good chance that it’s all VERY manipulated, etc.

The thing is… for each time I had to talk about my IQ, I was cracking jokes and doing my absolute best to make it impossible for them to edit it in a way that made me look like I take it seriously, or am actually hung up on it. With her… she really seems to be genuine about it. So, again… barf. Well, unless she’s acting. She did claim to be a model (??), and tons of these people are model/actors, so… I dunno. I digress.

I’ve already seen this, the night it aired… so this whole recapping thing is tedious. I remember how much of this was all the interpersonal drama and BS, and I just don’t feel like watching it.

Also, I’m really grossed out by the fact that every one of the women have their long hair flowing everywhere. IN A KITCHEN. Having been there, I know they don’t have a TON of control over their appearance, but I wish the show had them tie their hair back.

I still remember being grossed out, on past seasons, by people actively sweating OVER their food. So gross. This show is supposed to be able encouraging/preparing the contestants to pursue their culinary dreams (with a little suspension of disbelief applied, anyway!)… I don’t get why they don’t encourage some adherence to the basic hygiene rules and regulations that they’ll encounter in the real world.

Luca is making pasta. Go figure.

Krissi Biasiello is making langoustine mac and cheese. Smart – Lobster mac and cheese is very trendy, popular, and well received in general.

Howard starts insulting Krissi’s mac and cheese … while he’s pairing langoustines with STRAWBERRIES? WTF?

LOVE Krissi’s responses to him, grinning and giving the finger. She’s so adorable in her snarking back, rather than being straight up angry/obnoxious. It’s like she’s more amused by it than anything – I like that.

They show Bri apologizing to her meat once again. Kind of weird that she’s the token vegetarian, and very little mention is made of the fact that Adriana Guillen is a vegetarian. She was “Mexican Veggie Girl” during the pre-audition time, and is very passionate about promoting tasty and healthy vegetarian recipes. I am seriously the biggest carnivore out there, and even *I* find Adriana’s stuff to look amazing, btw. She has a blog started, HERE.

Blah Blah… Howard made a small amount of a citrus and spinach salad with a little bit of meat on it. I can’t imagine being given such a specialty ingredient and minimizing it in such a way.

Loads more forced drama…

I love the irony of Joe telling anyone that they’re wasting his time.

Lynn’s dish looked amazing.

Blah Blah Blah… Joey acts like a child, Ramsay makes some comment about there being a “cardinal rule” against stuffing langoustine (BS!), more forced drama… whatever.

Lots of skipping ahead.

Sasha goes home for some reason. I can’t stand her, but I was craving cheese grits the next day – not a crappy little salad that looked like a cheap side dish.


I will continue to watch the show until my last friend is eliminated, but then I’m done – with MasterChef, with Fox, and Reality TV in general. This crap is the bane of society and culture, in SO many ways. In today’s society, we need to be encouraging people to have empathy for each other… not training the masses to lack it.

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48 thoughts on “MasterChef Recap: Season 4, Episodes 3 & 4.

  1. Thank you for posting the recap – it makes watching the show less tedious when I get your insiders look. Without your updates, I’ll just stop tuning in 😉

  2. Thanks for another great recap (or, as we Sucksters say – recrap). Since they’ve gone full cheese this season on the drama, your insider knowledge and insults toward Joey are making it much more bearable! I hope the ratings tank and they bring it around to a more skill-oriented format. I can watch Big Bother…errr…Brother if I just want interpersonal drama.

  3. I love how you compare Natasha’s “character” to how you could have potentially appeared as a “character” So true or any contestant. One contestant told me that they specifically only behaved in the most positive way possible and were super careful with everything they said so there wouldn’t be anything to be embarrassed about. I do think the show is being particularly cruel to some folks and the drama is outweighing what I want to see…FOOD. Lynn is a great example of someone doing some brilliant work, but getting no camera time. It’s TV, and I am a sucker for this sort of stuff, but this is starting to turn into Big Brother. Except the contestants may be nothing like who they really are on the show because of editing. I am once again cooking peoples dishes and posting them on FB…on the rare occasio n they show the FOOD. Theu MasterChef FB did actual post all the dishes from the mysterybox challenge so we can see what hard work everybody did.

  4. “In today’s society, we need to be encouraging people to have empathy for each other… not training the masses to lack it.”

    Marie, this is simple genius. I adore this quote.

  5. Pingback: about MasterChef Might Have a Sexual Harassment Problem
  6. Really great post – I had no idea what was going on behind the scenes (obviously), but I’ve always been curious, and now it seems my worst suspicions are confirmed. And you have a Weeping Angels costume tutorial, so I think I’m in love with your blog, even though I wish I’d found it under better circumstances. Bookmarked!

    Also, I know this wasn’t your main point, but one of the recent episodes (I think from last week?) had Joey Coattails chewing out a contestant while spitting all over their station. Literally, and repeatedly. Mr. Bemis and I both commented on how gross that was, and how ridiculous it was he could berate someone’s food while not even being aware that he was SPITTING IN IT.

    (also, holy crap, Ben Starr, we were rooting for you SO MUCH! You are awesome).

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Henri! (I always appreciate someone who appreciates the Weeping Angels thing, lol!)

      I actually covered the bit about Joey spitting all over the firemen’s food – so gross. I loved that he prefaced it with “DO I SPEAKING ENGLISH!?”, I almost fell off the chair laughing so hard!

      Ben really is awesome. Love him to bits!

  7. Just stumbled upon your blog and wow. Quite an eye-opener for someone who has been a fan of the show and even went to an open call this past year (made it past the first cut for my food, but didn’t get a call back. Now I’m pretty glad for that fact.) I could see even in the open call in NYC how much staged drama there is, but to hear about what goes on beyond that is somehow both surprising and sadly not at all shocking.

    1. You know, you’re probably the third person who’s mentioned staged drama at the initial auditions – that fascinates me, as I didn’t see ANY of it at my Minnesota audition!

  8. Thanks for your insight into what happened behind the scenes.

    As a fan of the show, and not an ex-contestant, I have a different view of the show. I agree that people immediately hated Krissi, or the editing made it look that way. Joe seems like a royal jerk and has all along. I’ve always thought he was an egotistical s**thead and can’t believe he is the son of Lidia who seems like the nicest person. I went to one of her autograph sessions and she was really nice to me.

    I agree that Luca’s food looks ordinary and that they say nasty things to certain contestants without reason. I think Joe is jealous of how the contestants cook. I really think he has no knowledge of food other than Itslian. They make it look like Bri is the only vegetarian but there was one other in the auditions who I thought made it in.

    Loved your post . Don’t blame u for ending the recaps after the season is over. I wonder if anyone will take their accusations to court. I bet Joe is the one who harassed. He seems really slimey although I wouldn’t put it past the other two. Who would go after Graham?? Ick.

    1. Risa – you’re very observant! There was another vegetarian who made it through to top 18… and it was really what she’s known for! I was shocked it never got mentioned!

  9. So some overweight attention starved blue haired bimbo didn’t get her way on a tv show, and now wants to sue for sexual harassment? How quaint, and how predictable. It seems like every time some bimbo doesn’t her her way, she files sexual harassment charges since they are hard to disprove.

    1. Actually, Bruce – can I call you Bruce? – none of the women I was talking about have blue hair. For that matter, none of them are “bimbos”, either… but I’m guessing that you have a much more broad definition of that term than most people would. 🙂

      May I suggest actually reading, before hurling insults? I was not personally subjected to the sexual harassment, just sickened by seeing what was going on around me. In fact, your repeated comments about me being a “bimbo” is the first sexist crap I’ve encountered personally, through this experience.

      1. As a season two top 100, I know how it feels out there. I know the depression and scurry of the whole deal. Its a mind fuck. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I don’t doubt any of the,accusations. I hope you can find the peace and,space to rise above the Fox network and its,soulless procedures. Peace!

  10. Pingback: ‘Master Chef’ Contestants Accuse Judges of Assault & Sexual Harassment, Treated So Badly One Considered Suicide « Celebrity Blok
  11. LOL!! “Butter is the antithesis of Greece”?!? That’s hilarious! I’m not Greek, to be fair, but I’ve been taking these cooking classes from a person who actually is from Greece and a huge chunk of her recipes use butter. I cook a lot of Greek and Lebanese food and I use butter really often. Sometimes olive oil instead, but come on. That’s just an ignorant statement. How did he say that with a straight face?

    I found you via Ben’s blog, btw, and was super interested to read your recaps because I’ve been reading his and enjoyed them (ever since he wrote about his season!) I did stop watching after his season because I could tell MasterChef was turning into Hell’s Kitchen..all drama, no focus on cooking. I actually do like cooking shows so I usually watch those instead. Reading your recaps has been eye opening to say the least.

    Real nice of kitchen badass to take potshots about your appearance, and calling you a bimbo is a really nice touch. I guess someone incapable of refuting your points logically and maturely has to resort to name calling and such. Pretty sad.

    1. Oh, Carrie… it gets better. He said the thing about butter/Greece to a GREEK IMMIGRANT! I wrote about it here: . That one still amuses me to no end. “Butter is the antihesis of Greece. OMG.

      I love Ben! He was a great source of info to me before heading out to LA, and a good friend since returning. Also, it’s kind of handy that he sees things pretty much the same way as I do – I think I’m done with the watching and blogging, and will just refer people to him. LOL!

  12. Oh Please..seems you love the show so much but pissed you not on it..better luck next time…sexual harassment my got kicked off deal with it

  13. “This crap is the bane of society and culture, in SO many ways. In today’s society, we need to be encouraging people to have empathy for each other… not training the masses to lack it.”

    Meanwhile your whole post is littered with comments like, “Sasha goes home for some reason. I can’t stand her, but I was craving cheese grits the next day – not a crappy little salad that looked like a cheap side dish. and “LOVE Krissi’s responses to him, grinning and giving the finger.”

    Umm, irony much?

  14. Ya it sounds like you’re mad that you didn’t make it. You keep complaining about forced drama but who wants to watch a boring show? I still don’t understand why anyone wants to read about what you watch on T.V. You should climb off that high horse and make another blog about how gross you are. As for your playmate friend, she can fuck off. She poses naked in a magazine that men buy to pleasure themselves to. She is one step above prostitute…. Also there really isn’t a need for one of your lame comebacks that you try to make sound so intelligent because I will never return to this page again.

    1. … why did you go to the effort of commenting on a blog post that is more than 3 months old, to tell everyone how little you care about what I have to say?

      Seems kinda silly, don’t you think?

      1. All you do is complain about the judges. Yet they are highly successfull. You’re just a fat chick that bakes cakes. You look like you ate way too any smurfs. Your friend is 44 and trying to scam money from a fraud lawsuit because she is old as shit now and no one wants to see her naked anymore. If you were in front of me right now, I would beat the shit out of you with one of your shitty cookbooks.

        1. You realize that your ip address shows up, right? So much for you never coming back, huh? You can use different names and emails all you want, I can still see that you’re a sad little person that has nothing better to do than vomit your vitriol all over a stranger’s site.

          Also, I’d be careful about making threats online.

          1. I may have fun making fun of you on your stupid blog in my free time. But at least I didn’t get kicked off of Master Chef and have a shitty attitude about it and go write a shitty blog constantly bitching about it.

            Your mom must have stuck an electronic mixer up her vagina while she was pregnant with you.

            You look like you should be under a bridge tricking kids out of their candy with riddles. And you must be pretty good at riddles. You don’t look like you’re starving.

          2. I’m not sure if I’m bored of you, or just feel sorry for you. Seriously, you’re putting a lot of thought into a three month old blog entry about a reality show… that’s pretty much the most pathetic thing I’ve seen in a long time.

          3. No, the most pathetic thing I’ve seen in a long time is this idiotic blog. It doesn’t take much thought to make fun of a 300 lb blueberry. You’re a joke. Nobody cares what you watched on TV today. Actually, I missed the new episode of Sons Of Anarchy this week, can you make a recap blog about it? On second thought, you would just bitch about it the whole time. Blah blah blah they are successful… Blah blah blah Fox and MasterChef.

    1. Mail it to me, I’ll see what I can come up with.

      With all the crafting I do, I have plenty of latex gloves around. It’s all good.

      Do understand, though, that I’ll mail the finished dish right back to you, because… Ew.

  15. Loved this article. I just recently finished watching Masterchef Season 5 and after reading this, I am pretty damn sure now that all of it was pre-planned and dramatized to raise the ratings.
    I don’t know why the production people think people will fall for the drama they’re putting up. We’re not stupid.

  16. I enjoyed the actual post itself until I saw the negative comments and what you replied to them. With some of your superficial threats it really makes your credibility gone, I would definitely just stop replying to negative comments if i were you.

    1. Um. You realize it’s been 7 months since I replied to anything in this post, right?

      I guess I’m really not sure why you’re commenting on a stale, 2 year old post to tell me what I should be doing,…?

  17. If you had won would you be saying anything ? And you seem to have a awful lot of friends who have been on the show. Silly girl just wants to be famous. How sad that you are for your terrible cooking x happy Easter have a chocolate egg on me x

  18. Only wrote this because i was looking for reasons to not believe the show is real. And now i agree it is rigged, because you wouldn’t have gotten past the front door let alone through it. However if all these comments have inspired you to lose weight then it can be called possitive inspiration. Enjoy your lemon because you definitely sound bitter x

    1. Oh, sweetie. You’re commenting on a four year old blog entry, and think you’re in a position to be calling anyone else “silly”?

      I suggest doing some soul searching, to figure out what prompted you to reply in the way you did. You obviously have some issues to sort through, good luck with it!

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