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May 27, 2014 10:33 AM

Masterchef U.S. season 2014 spoilers

So Masterchef U.S. started again Monday night. Compared to the N.Z. version that I watched on youtube over the spring, it is of course, a let down.

However, not to be totally negative, at least this year they did away with all the contestants in a herd like cows and rolling in their "signature dish" to cook before the judges in 5 minutes. Just started with 30 finalists, then knocked it down to 22 with 2 contests.

I must say Graham Elliott is completely unrecognizable. He's clearly made the most of his gastric surgery with exercise and diet, he looks great.

I was surprised at the first person they knocked out of the competition as he seemed pretty competent. Maybe just a plant. Don't really like or hate anyone yet, altho the plump pie baker could be a little less weepy.

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  1. You didn't hate the one who tossed all her scraps to the floor?

    6 Replies
    1. re: chefhound

      Okay, forgot about her. I was surprised they didn't kick her out the door right then and there. How disrespectful.

      1. re: Firegoat

        I really wanted them to boot her for that. The comment about "I thought they had people to clean up" was the nail in the coffin.

      2. re: chefhound

        She was a PIG. Mumble something about... don't they have "people" to clean up!?!

        1. re: kseiverd

          Keep in mind, it is a set not someone's home kitchen. Don't forget about how much crew is behind the camera.

          If she was in the weeds so to speak and really thought there was a person on set to deal with that kind of thing she was doing it for times sake. Yes It's a no no no but perhaps she really did think they had someone on set to clean up.

          I'm going to give her that pass. If she does it again that is inexcusable.

          1. re: Sandwich_Sister

            Of course there are people who clean up - that's how all these competitions work (Top Chef, Chopped, etc.) but that does not excuse the bad work ethic.

            Who throws scraps on the ground? What kind of person does that? Whether it's in your home, a restaurant kitchen or wherever, it's unacceptable. If you don't have time to put your scraps in the garbage, just push the scraps off your cutting board on to the counter. There's no excuse for flinging the scraps to the floor.

            And I don't think she'll do that again. Not after the warning Joe gave her.

            1. re: chefhound

              right but people who have never been on a large set in a sound stage surrounded by at least 100 crew members or more might make that mistake.

              It's a reality show not real life.

      3. Man I had sworn off this show for the artificial drama last time around, but now I have to stick around at least long enough to see the Richard Branson of Malibu booted off.

        But I do like this new introduction better than the cattle calls. No stunt dishes to suffer through and everyone in the cast so far seems kind of normal. The downside is that I'm realizing how much fun the play between the judges was during that.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ennuisans

          Was Richard the guy with the long flowing silvery locks?

          1. re: Firegoat

            Yes, the comfortably wealthy househusband. Looks like he'll be our trash talker for this flight.

            1. re: ennuisans

              That shot of him on the boat was vomit inducing. Way to flaunt your wealth.

          2. re: ennuisans

            I was thinking to myself "I thought they did that wheely thing to get picked". Glad to skip that part. Love the reference to "Richard Branson of Malibu"!

          3. I just saw this last night. A few thoughts.

            Richard Branson House Hubby is going to wear on me I think. I see him sticking around a bit for the possible drama and perhaps, maybe he'll learn something. He needs a good piece of humble pie.

            Astrid - the woman who was throwing things on the floor, I think she was doing it to save some time. but still disrespectful and I was surprised they let her through.

            Pie Baker is going to be the possible sweetheart possible crier of the bunch.

            Music Video MG guy is interesting to say the least. At first I thought I was going to hate him but after his explanation of his run away shrimp I quite enjoyed his quirkiness. I'm just not sure he has a big handle on MG like he thinks he does.

            Graham looks great. I'm so happy for him.

            1. Plump pie baker is also an actress, which perhaps explains the easily flowing tears. (

              13 Replies
                1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                  We're all suckers! I haven't done any research on this crop. I know last year many including quirky girl with crooked glasses were actresses.

                  Someone go find the wonderful Asian lady from The Taste that came in 2nd but should have won and plop her in the middle of this pile of dreck and let her sort them out.

                  1. re: Firegoat

                    I wasn't terribly impressed with most of them. Malibu Ken with those four little piles of carrots artfully placed at the four corners of the circle?

                    1. re: DGresh

                      Hahahah at first I thought they were little sausages. LOL

                2. re: sockii

                  And she has a small food blog:


                  The first two recipes are hand pies. :-P

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    It sounded like Gordon thought the pies were just okay. If hand pies are your specialty they should be fabulous.

                    I'm guessing her point of view is southern baking? I don't see much on her site really. I'm disappointed.

                    1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                      No, her blog was *just* started in mid-April 2014. Pehaps in anticipation of people Googling her and trying to establish her cooking cred?

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        She's my early pick for the season winner (not that I think she's the best by a long shot.) Just a lot of early clues in how they played up the drama surrounding her, the focus early on, and yeah, the blog that suddenly appears about food AFTER the show is done filming.

                        1. re: sockii

                          I think she might get the "Most Improved" edit. She could get far enough though.

                          1. re: sockii

                            Oh god - if SHE wins? Fix is in.

                          2. re: LindaWhit

                            Actually her website has been around since 2012 (I checked via whois) but if you look at a capture of the site from 2013, there is NOTHING about food there -- just her acting and arts resume. The food blog part was only added starting April of this year.


                            I really would be ready to place heavy bets on her as the winner. My Spidey-sense (or is that Editing Gremlins-sense?) is tingling.

                            1. re: sockii

                              unfortunately, i think you're right. I don't think I can take weeks of seeing her weep.

                              1. re: DGresh

                                No No No NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

                    2. Hah - I was wondering when I didn't see anything posted yesterday morning if anyone was going to chit-chat about MC-US 2014. I got a chance to watch it last night. My take (without reading anyone else):

                      1. I liked that they just brought in 30 possibles and had them cook vs. having 100 there to go through the 2-3 weeks of winnowing them down.

                      2. There are definite plants. I think the woman wearing the mega-high-heels who was one of the last to be picked is one. She just seems too actress-y to me - AND I think I recall seeing that they just had her name (Elizabeth?), her age, and her Twitter handle. No mention of her city/state where she lived, which they did with every other contestant.

                      3. Miss Toss-My-Scraps on the floor who challenged Chef Ramsay to join the group that initially didn't get aprons is also a plant. For her to mouth the comment "I thought they had people to clean!" as well as the scrap-throwing is a cannable offense in any real kitchen. I do believe she's there for draaaahmahhhh.

                      4. Miss "I Make Pies" from the south also has to be a plant. Or is there for the tears.

                      5. Househusband Malibu Ken is irritating. That's all about him - he can go sooner than later, thankyouverymuch.

                      6. Mr. Molecular Gastronomy will irritate.

                      7. The guy who made the amazing looking soup should last.

                      8. Graham Elliott looks great.

                      There's a list of names here of the original 30 contestants - so that Elizabeth is an "ad exec"?


                      25 Replies
                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Thank you Linda.

                        I know there were several that we didn't even get names of yet. They will last longer I'm sure as the first quarter of the season focuses more on personalities and drama over the cooking.

                        let's see how this turns out.

                        1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                          I thought they would keep Astrid for the drama but I guess Cutter? was better than raw lemon tarts.

                          1. re: melpy

                            I wasn't sure how far they would take her. Masterchef judges usually do not forgive raw, or undercooked as much as they forgive over cooked or other technicalities./

                        2. re: LindaWhit

                          I've put together my main "hub" for this season (I do recaps and polls) and pulled together the links that I could find for all the contestants.

                          Looks like Malibu Ken is a film producer and married to Melissa John Hart's mom.

                          Astrid (the one with the messy floor) had a restaurant in New Orleans, seems it closed and there was a lawsuit involving ownership.

                          Courtney Lapresi I definitely think is a plant. She's an "aerial dancer" (besides Gentlemen's Club entertainer), seems to be most noteable for some Fringe Festival performances in Philly (done largely in the nude) and oh yeah--her "friend" Christina Williams, winner of Hells Kitchen Season 10, has already come out to cheer her on.

                          If I had to place early bets, I think we're going to be seeing Elise, Courtney, and Elizabeth in it for the long haul. I'm kind of hoping Tyler (the hunter) and Dan (quiet but darn that ramen looked good) are the real deal and make it far.

                          Sorry, I spend waaaaaaaaay too much time thinking about this darn show!

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Thanks, Linda! MC is sort of my obsession every summer. I've done recaps for a few years and always get a ton of traffic for it, so I guess I'm hooked for another year ;)

                              BTW, I also just wanted to say I bought Luca Manfe's cookbook today and it actually DOES look very good. Very authentic and interesting Italian with a heavy Venetian influence which I love. (I am looking forward to putting his sarde en saor up against some of the other recipes I have which I haven't been fully satisfied with, for instance.)

                              I was so disappointed in Christine's cookbook after season three that I wasn't going to buy another MC cookbook without previewing it first. But there are actually a lot of recipes in Luca's book I can't wait to try and it looks to be nicely written. So I am pleased he won last year.

                              1. re: sockii

                                Your obsession about MC is like mine about Top Chef. :D

                                1. re: sockii

                                  Interesting, I will have to check out his book.

                                  1. re: melpy

                                    I really like it! I've made about 6-7 dishes from it now, including 2 risottos (dinner tonight was the beet & goat cheese risotto with pistachios, and roasted pepper crostini with gorgonzola and balsamic glaze). It's a nice collection of recipes to step up home cooking Italian with some restaurant-quality ideas that aren't difficult to implement.

                              2. re: sockii

                                sockii, I found your ageism blog post interesting, and I think it's been brought up in the past here on CH. Leslie (Malibu Ken) is probably the oldest in this season's MC group, but the others are all in their 20s and 30s - or so it seems.


                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Astrid is just past 40, but yeah. I really just take issue with the show being promoted as "the best home cooks in America" when really they are looking for someone young to market. When I've gone to open calls twice now, a large majority of the people there were older--as you'd expect for people who have years of experience cooking at home and developing a love for food! But those are not the people getting picked to be on screen. Leslie, I would lay any money bet, is there just as a plant and because of his Hollywood connections. He certainly wasn't showing any serious finesse in the kitchen.

                                  1. re: sockii

                                    Of all the versions of MC that I have seen (UK, US, Italy, Australia, NZ, Sweden, Ireland, Canada, Spain, Romania, Greece), the UK version seems to be the closest one to a 'pure' meritocracy, i.e., food-based. (In a past season, I recall, some of the audition process was shown and it was done with the judges blind-tasting the audition dishes.)

                                    So just out of curiosity, I compiled some statistics similar to what sockii did in the referenced article, from the latest MC-UK season which just finished.

                                    Total number of contestants = 60 (but ages were shown for only 57, so sample size is 57)

                                    Avg age = 33.7
                                    Age range = 20 - 53
                                    Age distr: (20s = 33%, 30s = 46%, 40s = 12%, 50s = 9%)
                                    Final 8 contestants avg age = 33.6.
                                    Winner was 32.

                                    1. re: jimonyc

                                      My favorite is Master Chef Korea CELEBRITY!

                                2. re: sockii

                                  Victoria Scroggins ... "bartender" or Chopped production assistant and caterer?

                                  Kira Novak ... "medical recruiter" or personal chef?

                                  1. re: sockii

                                    I just (in the last 15 minutes) found out about Dan being on the show. We went to the same high school, but he was two grades ahead of me. Really nice, really funny guy.

                                    Never watched this show, but I will start tonight.

                                    1. re: sockii

                                      Does Courtney have to pee? She stands with her legs crossed in front of her everyone the camera pans to her. I hope some of these peeps take a note from last year's winner Luka. He was humble and nice to his fellow contestants. When you act nasty it comes out on your cooking.
                                      This guy from Malibu is a hater and elitist.
                                      I like Big Willie and the little baking assistant from Queens. She's an underdog, but the come behind kid.

                                      1. re: ToriTulip

                                        I thought big Willie showed a lot in terms of good nature, likability, lovablity, and food.

                                        That meatloaf dish he made would be my Nana's last meal, it was everything she loves. and now I wan't the recipe. ASAP.

                                        1. re: ToriTulip

                                          "Does Courtney have to pee? She stands with her legs crossed in front of her "

                                          Pretty feet- it is a pageant girl thing or a performer thing... ...finish pretty.. pull your body to a finished position... I noticed it too

                                          1. re: girloftheworld

                                            It's the third or fourth position ballet pose that I believe she used this past episode, but obviously not with her arm above her head. ;-)


                                        2. re: sockii

                                          Leslie Gilliams was listed as a 'producer' for one of Melissa Joan Hart's films. His wife is apparently, legitimately, a TV and film producer.


                                          Leslie and Paula have two chidren together, so he might be a legitimate house husband. I think he was listed as a producer to feed his ego. I also think he might be a decent home cook who auditioned for this show to feed his ego.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              yes,, he has five kids.... he has trained to adoooore him I am sure. IHe is out of his comfort zone. Staying at home being the be all and end all of your little minions existences gives you an artificial sense of your own grandness

                                              1. re: girloftheworld

                                                Nothing wrong with adoring your dad. If they adore him, he's probably earned it because you can't sustain it otherwise into their teenage years.

                                                I, on the other hand, do not adore him. I don't hate him. I just think he's hard to watch. But his cupcakes were beautiful!


                                          1. re: sockii

                                            Courtney Lapresi the Philly hoe, I must say. Good cooking skills, but can see some intense $h1t going on between Courtnry and Ahran. Funny how they never show Ahran until episode 4.

                                            1. re: WrinkleKrinkles

                                              They needed time to coach her on how to create and sustain drama