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Master Chef finale (spoiler alert!)

So, the pretty little 22 year old girl kicked some a**! I thought it was a great ending! That David looked like he really knew his way around the kitchen, but he sure was cocky about it until the end. I'm glad that Whitney took him out!

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  1. I think the fact that she got that second chicken done in seven minutes secured her win. Pretty impressive that she didn't crumble right there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SDGourmand

      Perfect fried chicken plus her unconventional souffle/bread pudding sent her through the top.

    2. I thought the fix was in for Whitney from the first episode, partly because she is adorable. It was very impressive that she was able to recover from dropping her chicken, she does have poise, but I felt like she won on making diner food. I don't think I can look at that meal Whitney put out and feel convinced that she is the "top" home cook in America. I can list about 10 people who post on the home cooking board here on Chowhound that I have more confidence in. Yes, she put a few things in a food processor to put a spin (no pun intended) on a couple of her dishes but overall, I was disappointed. I didn't think her "unconventional" souffle was on purpose. I think she messed up and was able to talk her way out of it. I don't doubt that it tasted good though.

      I thought it was awesome that David went for a home run. Gordon tried to warn him... Even though he lost, he seemed genuinely happy for Whitney.

      There's been someone posting on TV wo Pity (whom everyone suspects is Sheetel) who has said that the chefs were teaching them dishes throughout the show, and then would give them a "basic" recipe. So, for the souffle challenge, apparently, Graham gave them a little demo on souffles, then sent them off with a recipe to cook.

      I wish they'd shown more of that "teaching".

      I'm trying to understand what kind of cookbook we can expect from Whitney (or any of the other contestants had they won, for that matter)? Will it include all of the basic recipes from Gordon, Graham, and Joe with her own "twists" on them? I can't imagine wanting to buy a book of Whitney's recipes, just because I don't think she has enough life experience to have enough recipes I'd be interested in, but Gordon/Graham/Joe's could be useful, I suppose.

      I do like what they said about her being an intuitive cook (oh, wait, I think that's what Joe said about David. I can't remember what Gordon said about Whitney, but I remembered thinking it was insightful at the time). I'm guessing she showed the most potential for growth, but I was still disappointed that the winning dish was chicken fried chicken.

      ~TDQ

      27 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        I agree with you, who wants a cookbook by an amateur? I wouldn't buy it, at most I'll glimpse through if I see it at barnes & noble.

        1. re: SDGourmand

          I like comfort food. I'd take a Whitney cookbook over Paula Deen in a NY minute.

          So good for her, and I will give her book a chance. Good luck on her culinary future ... and I really hope she has her long term career sights set higher than a caterer. Maybe a line of frozen Schwan? *G*

          1. re: dach

            So, you (and Clarkafella) will come back and let us know if the cookbook is great, right?

            ~TDQ

            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              If it is "cookbook of the Month" material, I'll certainly nominate it!

              Right now though I have an advance copy of "Cooking with Italian Grandmothers" that I'm playing with- Whitney might have to wait- this is really good!

              1. re: Clarkafella

                It sounds like you're not in a hurry to cook, but if you can't wait, there is a new MasterChef cookbook that apparently profiles the season. It has a number of recipes from the hosts and various contestants, including 6 from Whitney.

                http://www.yumsugar.com/Does-New-Mast...

                Here are Whitney's recipes:
                Open Faced BLT with Fried Egg
                Stuffed chicken parm with roasted cherry tomato sauce
                Blackened Catfish Taco with Mango Chutney and Cilantro Black Beans
                Southern Fried Pork Chop with Coleslaw
                No Bake Cheesecake with Graham Cracker Caramel Topping
                Profiteroles with Vanilla Chantilly Cream and Caramelized Bananas

                It's available on Amazon for $15.
                ~TDQ

                  1. re: Clarkafella

                    Said they used no recipes besides the souffle challenge.. I'm calling BS on that one..

        2. re: The Dairy Queen

          I read in the paper today that her Mom has a small cafe in Poplarville, MS. I would actually love to see a cookbook from her, but I really like the food around these parts!

          1. re: Clarkafella

            Well, if she's been cooking in her mom's cafe (leaping to conclusions here), that's kind of not being an amateur. It does explain why she felt in her element cooking diner food. I think I'd like to see a cookbook by her mom!

            ~TDQ

            1. re: Clarkafella

              Clarkafella, have you seen the cookbook? Looks interesting, actually. http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Hospital...

              ~TDQ

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                She is doing a signing at a friend's gift shop so I am getting a signed copy! I did find out that the cafe she worked in was only open a couple of weeks before she was accepted to be on Master Chef. I "friended" her on Facebook- she is cute as a bug!

                1. re: Clarkafella

                  That is fantastic! Please do come back and let us know what she's like in person (incredibly poised, I imagine) and what you think of the cookbook!

                  ~TDQ

            2. re: The Dairy Queen

              I mostly agree with you. I was happy Whitney won, but then again, I really didn't care that much and I really disliked David.

              That is interesting to know about TWOP, I might have to go over there and look at the thread.

              I agree, I wouldn't buy a cookbook from Whitney, but I wouldn't have bought a cookbook from David or any other contestant either.

              The only point that you and I disagree on is Whitney and her food. I think that Southern food sometimes gets a bad rap as easy and not full of complex flavors. I also think that sometimes the contestants put out food they think they should be putting out instead of food they know, and the flavors/textures/etc. get lost in the mix. I think it is quite possible that Whitney's food tasted better than David's, even if her food appeared to be simple. I also think that David should have gone with food he knew instead of food he thought would have impressed the judges.

              1. re: lizzy

                I understand, and don't disagree, with your point. Well-executed simple food can certainly taste better than poorly-executed "fancy" food. And, you might be right, that I'm underestimating how complicated Southern food is. I don't think it's that extraordinary to pan fry a piece of chicken, (though, I agree, it was remarkable she pulled it off in 7 minutes), but, you know, maybe I'm underestimating.

                I don't think I was as annoyed by David as the rest of you. He was annoying, but I thought that was just a front for his insecurity.

                EDIT: P.S. I couldn't, in a million years, pull off what she did under that kind of pressure. Then again, I wouldn't dream of calling myself the best home cook in America! But, she's incredibly poised.

                ~TDQ

                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  I agree on the pan fried chicken, I did think it was too simplistic for the competition, although I am also amazed she pulled it off in 7 minutes.

                  I moved to the South 9 years ago, and have eaten at hole-in-the-wall type places that serve comfort/Southern food to top rated restaurants that serve new Southern cuisine. Last night the impression I got from the judges was that Southern food couldn't be considered top quality restaurant food, and needless to say it irked me. To me it really showed me their food bias, and possibly their ignorance. Also, when Graham Elliot said Whitney's chicken dish could be found at any diner in the Lowcountry, he couldn't be farther from the truth. As a Lowcountry resident, the food here is all about seafood and pork, chicken is really an afterthought. I don't mean to dump this all on you, it's really just something I wanted to say about the episode. :-)

                  1. re: lizzy

                    Oh, I don't feel dumped on at all. I think you have a very fair point and I'm glad you made it!

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: lizzy

                      My first thought when Whitney won is that she needs to get an internship with the Barkers at Magnolia Grill in Durham, NC (both James Beard-award winning chefs in their own right), Amy Tournquist of Watts Grocery, also in Durham, or any number of other top-flight chefs who are doing amazingly high quality contemporary Southern cooking.

                      No way can chefs of the judges' caliber be completely unaware of an American food genre that has been winning Beard awards for at least a decade. It just makes better TV to play up the "Southerners are hicks" stereotype. Those of us down here know better and dine all the better for it.

                      1. re: rockycat

                        You're probably right, and I agree it does make for better television. However, it still bugs me that chefs/judges, who are supposed to be the experts on this show, would give false information *cough* sell out *cough* just because it's better TV. Maybe my standards are too high for a reality show on Fox.

                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                      I think it was kind of a fluke that she pulled the chicken off in a short period of time. While the result was right, I thought it was a bad move to serve chicken while admitting that you have no idea whether it was actually cooked or not. In fact that is sort of a little scary.

                      1. re: im_nomad

                        True. And Gordon said "You didn't even touch it." And I also noticed he cut from the end of the chicken and not the center (thickest part) of the chicken...

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Actually, he did say he cut from the thickest part of the chicken which *was* the end (and it looked that way to me as well).

                    3. re: lizzy

                      I kind of got the impression that Whitney picked a simple menu because she knows she's not that fast in the kitchen and her time management skills haven't always been the best.

                      1. re: dmckean

                        Good point, I really hadn't thought of it that way.

                    4. re: The Dairy Queen

                      If they had shown the demos, that would have made this show so much better. I would love to have seen the chefs teaching them to cook. What has Whitney made that there aren't already a million recipes along the same lines? Country fried steak--who hasn't done that, the way she did? Well, other than finishing her chicken breast in 7 minutes.

                      LOL, can you only think of 10 CH who can cook better than Whitney? I think it would be a pretty long list, I'm impressed with what she's done at her age. I can't think of another 22 year old IRL who could do that.

                      1. re: chowser

                        HA! you're right. The list of CH would be a lot longer than 10.

                        I have to say, I'm less impressed by what she was able to do at her age knowing her mom runs a small-town cafe. My guess is Whitney has been cooking in her mom's diner, and she's not a true amateur, which disappoints me in terms of the premise of the show. It also makes her ability to pan fry the pork chop a few episodes back less impressive.

                        But she is incredibly poised.

                        ~TDQ

                    5. I was VERY pleased to see Whitney win against Dave! God - he was really insufferable during his prep time - even GR was floored at what an idiot he was being. Looked like he was trying out for a TV show, showing he can play up to an audience.

                      And serious kudos for her getting that 2nd piece of chicken done so quickly.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        I understand the negative sentiment about David, but I kind of have a soft spot for him. I think he's just socially awkward and uses these antics to cover it, which is totally annoying. But, I think he is very sweet. He was sincerely grateful for the experience, I think, and happy for Whitney. And when Gordon told him to knock the antics off, he did.

                        I don't know what the heck he thought he was doing playing to the crowd like that, but I'm glad Gordon put the damper on it.

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Probably just how he acts when he's nervous.

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            Fair enough, TDQ. Perhaps social awkwardness was what caused the "acting out." :-) I didn't actively dislike him; just thought he was being a jerk for hamming it up for the audience. I also think he was sincerely grateful for the experience, AND was glad for Whitney's win.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              He should be on The Next Food Network Star

                        2. I was disappointed in this show from the start. When I heard about it I was really looking forward to a competition of people like myself, that have a passion for cooking and a day job. What we got was snotty judges berating amateurs and a predictable winner. When you look at the two meals, Whitneys chicken, 7 min or no, was an ugly dish. Maybe it tasted great. Her appetizer was also mediocre even by the judges admission. They wanted a pretty face with an easy going down home american personality they could market. I wouldn't be surprised if she was picked by the producers to win from the begining. And I'm sure they have a piece of what she earns just like on Idol.

                          They could have done a much more personable show where people were respected and where learning and the love of food was primary. Not persoanlity ego stroking bs. I am so disappotined in Joe Bastianich. He was an insufferable pig. I watch Lydia's Italy all the time on PBS. She is a gem and must be mortified at the ill mannered behavior of her son.

                          I won't be watching this show again

                          jb

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: JuniorBalloon

                            I agree with you completely. I actually was thinking, with the outcome being so predictable, that they taped the first episode after the last, to emphasize that this young cook could not possibly compete, but look at her, and the nay saying judge came back to change his opinion, blah blah blah. The whole show looked totally rigged to me.

                            1. re: JuniorBalloon

                              this was the best episode of the series

                              1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                I would suggest watching the Australian version. so much better and the level of cooking is levels above. You have to get it via torrents, I don't know why we can't watch other countries television, I mean they could sell ads via hulu ect. its stupid. Maybe its because most american versions of other countries shows suck. I'm glad Whitney won.

                              2. FWIW:
                                "This past June, she and her mother, Mary, a retired schoolteacher (her dad coaches golf and is an athletic administrator at Poplarville High School), opened the small cafe Glaze in Poplarville."
                                http://www.clarionledger.com/article/...

                                When did the show finish taping? Before or after June? But, insofar as you can trust the media, I've also seen her father referred to as a tennis coach. Maybe he's both, maybe neither, maybe the papers have no idea what they're talking about at all.

                                1. What a load of crap this show is. Gordon saying it took him a full YEAR to perfect Beef Wellington & he had to make it "1000's" of times. Such BS. And what is the big deal about cooking a pounded thin chicken breast in 7 minutes? They kept saying it was 'impossible". They acted like she split the atom or something. I can not stand the fake drama which is why I only could stomach the last 15 minutes ...barely.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: sparkareno

                                    I think you hit the nail on the head for me sparkreno. I had high expectations for this show but somehow couldn't bring myself to like it. I wasn't able to pin-point what it was the bugged me so much but you're right, it was the over the top drama. Though I didn't see the episode you mentioned, it reminded me of an earlier one I watched where Ramsay was commenting on the complexity of the dish which, in my view, should have been a no-brainer, even for non-professionals. I only watched the early episodes but they seemed to be favouring Whitney right out of the gate, I recall so much emphasis being placed on her age and yet there was another female competitor of the same age that was never mentioned. I felt the show lack authenticity and realism.

                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                      The Asian girl Slim was around the same age, I think 22 as well.

                                      She was not an attractive Asian so she wasn't "marketable".

                                      I felt Ramsey overly criticized her often but in general was not too likeable in her demeanor and her cooking was pretty boring.

                                      What annoyed me though was the crab episode where Ramsey was bagging on her for splitting open a crab and "torturing" it while letting out the flavors. Heck hasn't he seen how people cook in Asia? Most of the time we split open crabs before steaming them and they still taste good. Also I'm not sure if crustaceans feel pain the same way we do but I do find it contradictory that Ramsey seems to care about animal cruelty when he consciously uses foie gras in his restaurants.

                                      as seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRBfAT...

                                      Although I don't really care and some scientist do say the ducks don't feel pain from gorging I think I made myself clear in pointing out one of the many inconsistencies of the show.