Guest blogger Amanda Krotki here:
I decided to tune into Gordon Ramsay's "Master Chef" a second time to see if he maintains his humanity. At the start of the show, one contestant was rambling on and on and he stopped her, telling her to breathe. Then he went on to insult her lobster dish and its appearance: "Frou, frou, pretentious." Then he votes yes for her anyway. Then co-judge Graham Elliot (youngest ever four-star chef in America) re-tastes the dish that he rejected (making her un-apronable) and thinks he might have made a mistake. Kinder, gentler Ramsay implores him to reconsider. All is rectified. Phew. Elliot gets a Ramsay hug in return.
Just realized I haven't eaten dinner. These shows are bad for my (and the viewing public's) waistline.
As the episode progresses, Ramsay salts someone's dish himself, calls a plantain "disgusting" and compares a steak to "a dog's dinner." But he does it all without throwing anything or having the veins pop out of his neck "Hell's Kitchen"-style.
Then a big cowboy makes perfectly cooked scallops and Ramsay declares himself "gobsmacked." So far, I think I'm more terrified of other judge Joe Bastianich who stares intently at the contestants and says very little, but when he does open his mouth, the comments are often very biting. I wonder if he aspires to be more of a Ramsay or a Tom Colicchio.
They didn't like the scallop dish. It inspired a few old school "bleeps" from Ramsay. Elliot liked him. Bastianich was on the fence. Elliot vouched for him and he's in. My stomach is practically shouting at this point.
I scarfed down a roll slathered with butter just to shut my stomach up so I could make it through the episode. There wasn't even any pretending this could compare to a nice curry dish or a traditional Italian entree. So, word to the wise: Don't watch "Master Chef" on an empty stomach.
Next up: Jennifer's Florentine chicken salad. "Chicken is soft, tender...tastes phenomenal," from Ramsay. More silence from scary, authentic Italian Bastianich. Elliot doesn't think she's apron-worthy. The other two overrule him. This time, Ramsay dishes out a double-cheek kiss.
Another contestant, Adeliz, seems to talk with a lot of passion, but the judges can't taste it. She is given a second chance and is sent home to make something authentic in two hours. Meanwhile, Sheena makes a pork tenderloin with braised fennel that Ramsay says is slightly overcooked. Sheena tells Ramsay that she will "never, ever disappoint [him] ever again" if he gives her an apron. I hope he lets her through because I want to see her disappoint him so I can then see him lose his stuff sometime this season. He gives her a "well done." Now, I'm watching you, Sheena.
Next to be grilled is Darryl, who has three fingers on each hand, and decided to make baby back spare ribs in a pressure cooker in one hour. Ramsay doesn't spare Darryl a tongue-lashing, but sends him through anyway. Now I'm worried that this show is leaning too much in the human interest/goody two shoes direction.
Adeliz is back for her second chance with chile relleno. "I'm hoping for greatness," Ramsay tells her. "It's fabulous," says Bastianich. All three judges want more. Ramsay tells her to "stay authentic." Adeliz is in. And the top 30 "Master Chef" competitors are all selected.
Now the cooking games can begin. (And maybe Ramsay can start yelling. Or, is he going to let Bastianich be the villain this time around?)