MasterChef (U.S. season 3)

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MasterChef (U.S. season 3)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 20
Original channel Fox
Original run June 4, 2012 (2012-06-04) – September 10, 2012 (2012-09-10)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 2
Next →
Season 4

Season 3 of the American competitive reality television series MasterChef had a two-night premiere on Fox on June 4 and 5, 2012.[1] By the third episode, which aired on June 11, 2012, the judges had tasted all 100 dishes and given white MasterChef aprons to 36 contestants. In the same episode, the judges cut that number down to 18 contestants.[2] The season concluded on September 10, 2012 with the first blind contestant Christine Ha winning the MasterChef title.[3] Runner-up Josh Marks committed suicide on October 12, 2013, at the age of 26.[4] He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia the day before his death, and had already been suffering from bipolar disorder.[5]

Top 18[edit]

Contestant Age Hometown Occupation Status Winnings
Christine Hà 32 Houston, Texas M.F.A. Student Winner 10 September 8
Joshua "Josh" Marks† 24 Jackson, Mississippi U.S. Army Contract Specialist Runner-Up 10 September
Returned 23 July
Eliminated 16 July
Rebecca "Becky" Reams 27 Stilwell, Kansas Food Photographer Second Runner-Up 4 September 7
Franklin "Frank" Mirando 28 Holbrook, New York[6] Stockbroker Eliminated 28 August 6
Mairym "Monti" Carlo[7] 36 Los Angeles, California Homemaker Eliminated 21 August 5
David Martinez 32 Chicago, Illinois Educational Administrator Eliminated 14 August 4
Felix Fang 24 Hollywood, California Food Runner Eliminated 24 July 4
Stacey Amagrande 29 Apple Valley, California Market Manager Eliminated 17 July 4
Tali Clavijo 29 Chicago, Illinois Musician Eliminated 9 July 1
Tanya Noble 21 Austin, Texas Sociology Student Eliminated 3 July 2
Michael "Mike" Hill 40 Powder Springs, Georgia Contractor 2
Anna Rossi 28 Boston, Massachusetts Pharmaceutical Sales Representative Eliminated 2 July 1
Scott Little 38 Annandale, Virginia Interactive Producer Eliminated 26 June 1
Ryan Umane 26 New York, New York Unemployed Eliminated 25 June 2
Helene Leeds 35 Baldwin, Maryland Health Coach Eliminated 19 June 1
Michael Chen 19 Austin, Texas Meteorology Student Eliminated 18 June 0
David "Dave" Mack 27 Davie, Florida Food Sales Operator Eliminated 12 June 0
Samantha De Silva 27 Miami, Florida Design Consultant 0

Elimination table[edit]

Place Contestant Episode
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
16 Michael IN IN ELIM
17 Dave IN ELIM
18 Samantha ELIM
     (WINNER) This cook won the competition.
     (RUNNER-UP) This cook finished in second place.
     (WIN) The cook won the individual challenge (Mystery Box Challenge or Elimination Test).
     (WIN) The cook was on the winning team in the Team Challenge and was directly advanced to the next round.
     (HIGH) The cook was one of the top entries in the individual challenge, but did not win.
     (IN) The cook was not selected as a top entry or bottom entry in an individual challenge.
     (IN) The cook was not selected as a top entry or bottom entry in a team challenge.
     (IMM) The cook did not have to compete in that round of the competition.
     (PT) The cook was on the losing team in the Team Challenge, competed in the Pressure Test, and advanced.
     (NPT) The cook was on the losing team in the Team Challenge, but was exempted from the Pressure Test and automatically advanced.
     (RET) The cook was eliminated but come back to compete to return to the competition.
     (LOW) The cook was one of the bottom entries in an individual elimination challenge, but was not the last person to advance.
     (LOW) The cook was one of the bottom entries in an individual elimination challenge, and was the last person to advance.
     (ELIM) The cook was eliminated from MasterChef.


Episode 1[edit]

  • Original airdate: Monday June 4, 2012
  • Audition 1: The people that earned a white apron today include Michael, Monti, Scott, Tali, Ryan, Josh, Samantha, Becky, Helene, and Christine.

Episode 2[edit]

  • Original airdate: Tuesday June 5, 2012
  • Audition 2: The people that earned a white apron today include Felix, Tanya, Mike, Anna, and Frank. Anna and her husband AJ are the first husband and wife pair to move on. Luca Manfè failed to make the final cut, but later successfully earned a white apron and became the winner in the following season.

Episode 3[edit]

  • Original airdate: Monday June 11, 2012
  • Audition 3 and Top 36 Boot Camp: The episode began with the final auditions for the home cooks, with Stacey and David gaining the apron. Afterward, the top thirty-six contestants were each tasked with cooking a ground beef dish. When time was up and all the dishes were inspected, the contestants were divided into three groups of twelve; two of the groups were called forward, with the third group remaining at their stations. Of the two groups called forward, one was eliminated, while the other, consisting of Becky, Felix, Frank, Helene, Josh, Michael, Mike, Ryan, Samantha, Scott, Stacey, and Tali, was advanced straight to the MasterChef Kitchen. After the judges reexamined the dishes of the third group, they selected Anna, Christine, Dave, David, Monti, and Tanya to also move on in the competition while the other six were eliminated, including AJ.

Episode 4[edit]

  • Original airdate: Tuesday June 12, 2012
  • Mystery Box Challenge 1: The top eighteen contestants had to test their creativity when they found a duck breast, among other ingredients, in their Mystery Boxes. When time was up, Ryan, Samantha, and Scott were called forward for having cooked dishes that "stood out". However, they got an unpleasant surprise when they learned that their dishes had actually been deemed the worst three of the group. The judges then announced that they had revised the rules; now, anyone could be eliminated at any time during the competition.
  • Eliminated: Samantha's dish is deemed the worst for serving raw duck, a poorly thought out sweet potato rhubarb purée, and a dry eggplant napoleon, resulting in her elimination.
  • Challenge winner: Felix was declared the winner of the challenge, where she did a Chinese five spice seared duck breast and she did a sauce for it and eggplant and sweet potato chips. The judges called it "restaurant quality".
  • Elimination Test 1: The judges led Felix into the MasterChef pantry where she got to choose the subject for the first Elimination Test, the theme being the dishes that intimidate the judges the most. The three choices were Joe's Italian risotto, Graham's New England Clam Chowder, or Gordon's "notorious" Beef Wellington. Felix chose the risotto. The judges surprised Felix when they revealed that, as the winner of the Mystery Box Challenge, she was safe from elimination and therefore did not have to compete in the Elimination Test. Of the 16 chefs competing in this elimination challenge, only eight of them were featured in this episode: Monti, who made risotto cooked in white wine and chicken stock with pancetta, pie nuts, sun dried tomato and white asparagus (which was told that it didn't look like risotto and the garnish tasted better than the body of the dish by Gordon); Frank, with his risotto of clam, artichoke, blood orange, pancetta, basil, toasted fennel seeds, and guajillo pepper; David, who made a veal stock risotto where he put with it portobellos and some oyster mushrooms, gooseberry, roasted poblano and some scallops; Helene, who made a saffron risotto, topped with scallops that were crusted in red peppercorns and smoked sea salt, wrapped in burdock root; Christine, who with her risotto, sautéed some onions with scallops and chicken stock that she had confused with smashed garlic and chilli peppers; Scott, who made risotto with fennel and onion; Tali, who made a pistachio, cranberry, cherry and gooseberry risotto, with an almond and hazelnut powder; and Dave Mack, with his risotto of morel and portobello mushrooms cooked in veal stock. Josh, Becky, Stacey, Tanya, Mike, Anna, and Michael did not have their dish featured in this episode.
  • Best dishes: The judges decided that David and Frank had cooked the best dishes, and the two were drafted as team captains for the season's first team challenge.
  • Other praise: Ryan and Scott, the two surviving members of the bottom three from the previous challenge, were also singled out for praise for bouncing back and serving very good risottos.
  • Bottom three: The bottom three were Dave, who did not clean his mushrooms enough and ended up with dirt in his risotto, Helene for under-cooking her risotto and for making cutesy scallop baskets that the judges considered strange and unprofessional, and Tali for adding ingredients that made no sense in a risotto, making the judges question whether he even knew what a risotto was supposed to be.
  • Best of the worst dish: Helene was declared safe for that the judges revealed that her risotto was deemed to be the best of the worst, leaving Dave Mack and Tali facing elimination.
  • Eliminated: The judges ultimately decided that Dave had the worst dish and he was eliminated.

Episode 5[edit]

  • Original airdate: Monday June 18, 2012
  • Team Challenge 1: For the first Team Challenge, the remaining sixteen contestants were tasked with feeding an army of two hundred and one Marines. David and Frank, having been appointed as captains for cooking the two best dishes in the previous challenge, divided the group into two teams: in order, David chose Becky, Josh, Mike, Helene, Ryan, Anna, and Monti for the Red Team, and Frank chose Felix, Scott, Stacey, Tali, Tanya, Michael, and Christine for the Blue Team. David decided to serve barbecue pork chops with coleslaw and potatoes, while Frank settled on grilled chicken and pasta salad, despite Felix's misgivings. She wanted to serve barbecue chicken with macaroni and cheese instead. Each Marine would vote for the entrée that he or she preferred, and the team with the most votes would win the challenge. Both teams ran into problems, with the Red Team undercooking pork chops and running out of potatoes, and Michael grilling unseasoned mushrooms for the Blue Team.
  • Result: In the end, the Red Team managed to eke out a victory, with just sixteen more Marines preferring their barbecue pork chops over the Blue Team's grilled chicken and pasta.
  • Pressure Test 1: For winning the Team Challenge, all the members of the Red Team were safe from elimination and therefore did not have to compete in the Pressure Test. As the leader of the Blue Team, Frank was given the option of exempting one member of his team from the Pressure Test. Taking responsibility for his team's loss due to his menu choices, Frank refused to save himself. Feeling that Felix's idea to serve barbecue instead of pasta to the Marines would have worked better for his team, Frank offered the exemption to her, but she turned it down. Frank then moved on to Scott, who declined it as well. Finally, Stacey begrudgingly took the exemption when Frank offered it to her next. The remaining members of the Blue Team were then each tasked with baking an apple pie. Christine in particular was worried, as she felt diffident in her baking abilities. Once time was up, every home cook's pie was tasted and judged. Despite never making an apple pie before, Frank's pie was judged to have an excellent crust and filling. Tanya's pie was judged to have a pasty crust with undercooked and over-seasoned apples and nuts with absolutely no purpose inside the pie. Tali's pie was judged to be properly cooked, but the crust was judged to be somewhat thick, and there was not enough filling. Felix's pie was judged to be aesthetically pleasing, but was lacking in sweetness. Michael's pie was deemed unconventional, due to him having used cheese for the top crust, not to mention raw apples and with no bottom crust. Scott's pie was judged to have an excellent filling, but the pie had a completely destroyed and burnt top crust with no bottom, having not been able to have his dough properly set. Because of her blindness, Christine was extremely nervous because she had no idea how her pie looked like. When Ramsay questioned her as to what she thought the pie looked like, she replied that she thought it looked like a "pile of rubbish." Ramsay said it looked "stunning" and encouraged Christine, telling her that she needed to believe in herself more. The pie was deemed perfectly cooked with a perfect filling. After tasting the contestants pies, all the home cooks were called down the front. Frank, Felix, Tali, and Christine have cooked apple pies that were good enough to take them to the next phase of the competition. The bottom three were Michael, Tanya, and Scott. Tanya was the next home cook to be sent to safety, as her pie was deemed the best of the worst, leaving Scott and Michael as the bottom two. In the end, Michael was eliminated, much to his and the other contestants' disappointment, but Ramsay stated that he, at only 19 years of age, had a bright future in cooking ahead of him. Scott had narrowly dodged a bullet for a second time, and is warned by Gordon that there is no margin for error moving forward.

Episode 6[edit]

  • Original airdate: Tuesday June 19, 2012
  • Mystery Box Challenge 2: For the second Mystery Box Challenge, the remaining fifteen contestants each had to create a dish using unappetizing-looking offal.
  • Best dishes: When time was up, the top three dishes were announced: First announced was Becky who had a chicken liver pate on buttered toast and then grilled sweetbread with balsamic onion and shiitake mushroom and on the other side she had a flash fried sweetbread, Next announced was Ryan who cooked the sweetbreads and bacon fat and he also drizzled around the outside of the plate shallot curry oil. Last announced was Christine who deep-fried sweetbreads that she had battered and panko and then served it with some bok choy. The judges stated that each of the three dishes were worthy of being served in any of their restaurants.
  • Challenge winner: After sampling each of the top three dishes, the judges declared Ryan the winner, describing his sweetbreads as "perfectly cooked with beautiful plating" much to majority of the contestants' dismay (specifically Christine, Frank, Monti and David who disliked him).
  • Elimination Test 2: Along with immunity from the upcoming Elimination Test, Ryan was rewarded with two other advantages. First, he was able to determine which item the home cooks had to cook: ahi tuna, ham, or Dungeness crab, of which he chose the crab. The judges then surprised Ryan by telling him that he would also get to decide on who would be cooking with live crab and who would be using canned crab. Ryan chose to give the live crab to Christine, David, Helene, Mike, Scott, Tali, and Tanya, while Anna, Becky, Felix, Frank, Josh, Monti, and Stacey received the canned crab. As he had planned, Ryan's choices flustered many of the contestants – Christine and Monti in particular. During the cooking, Christine had initial difficulty boiling her live crab and then extracting the crab meat from the shell (as she is blind), which resulted in her receiving a cut on her hand and requiring medical attention.
  • Best dishes: When time was up, the judges sampled all the dishes and decided that Christine's ceviche cocktail and Josh's Thai crab trio were the best, and the two were selected as team captains for the next Team Challenge. Gordon even forced Ryan to taste Christine's dish, as she had been one of the contestants that Ryan had purposely set up to fail.
  • Other praise: Monti, another cook that Ryan had attempted to sabotage, by giving her canned crab, was also singled out for praise for her excellent dish of Scotch egg with a crab meat shell.
  • Bottom four: This time, four worst dishes were chosen, with three of the four being assigned the live crab. Ironically, Ryan's attempt to ensure his friend Tali's safety by assigning him live crab with the hope that Tali could use it to create a great dish failed, as Tali cooked a downright bizarre dish that was poorly constructed and conceptualized, thus making him one of the bottom four. The other three failures were Frank, who created an underwhelming and predictable pasta dish that he admitted had too much crab; Mike, who made a poorly made and muddled crab bisque; and Helene, whose crab soup took her live crab and made it taste exactly like it came from a can.
  • Best of the worst dishes: Frank was singled out for criticism, with the judges feeling that he had already reached the limits of his abilities due to constantly cooking Italian pasta dishes, and had no future in the competition; however, his and Mike's dishes were deemed to be at least better than Helene's and Tali's, who were left facing elimination.
  • Eliminated: The judges ultimately decided that Helene had the worst dish and she was eliminated.

Episode 7[edit]

  • Original airdate: Monday June 25, 2012
  • Team Challenge 2: For the second Team Challenge, the remaining fourteen contestants had to get up very early and cook breakfast room service for an entire hotel. For cooking the top two dishes in the previous challenge, Christine and Josh were appointed Team Captains. They divided the remaining contestants into the Red Team and the Blue team. Christine chose the following to be on the Red Team: Felix, Scott, Tanya, Mike, Stacey, and Ryan. Josh chose the following to be on the Blue Team: Becky, Frank, Anna, Monti, David, and Tali. When Christine had to choose between the last two remaining contestants, she expressed that she didn't want Ryan or Tali on her team. The judges surprised Christine by announcing that as the winner of the previous challenge, she could swap out one member of her team with one from the Blue Team. Christine relinquished Ryan, whom she disliked, exchanging him for Becky, whom Christine perceived as the Blue Team's strongest cook. The judges then announced that each team had to choose an expeditor to oversee the food carts. Christine chose Felix as the Red Team's expeditor while Josh selected Monti as the Blue Team's. Josh immediately took charge of the Blue Team and started assigning roles while the Red Team worked it out democratically and decided who should do what. The teams each had ninety minutes for prep and ninety minutes to serve. Both teams got into a rough start with the Blue Team scorching their bacon and not cooking their spinach, while the Red Team didn't portion the hollandaise sauce correctly. Meanwhile, both expediters had their own troubles; Monti struggled with keeping the Blue Team on track while Felix didn't communicate at all with the rest of the Red Team and got behind on orders. Christine took charge and made sure her team did everything that needed to be done, which was praised by the judges and the hotel guests. The Blue Team's quality of their food was slipping with inadequate amounts of fruit on plates, undercooked eggs, and a customer complaint about a hair in their food. The Red Team continued rising to the occasion with Felix putting orders out at a steady pace and communicating, while the Blue Team became locked in a power struggle between Josh and Monti. When time was up, Felix didn't hear the announcement and continued trying to send food out, which makes Gordon misunderstood that she was trying to cheat and he threatened to disqualify her. In the end, the judges announced that, with 60% of the guest preference vote, the Red Team had won the challenge.
  • Pressure Test 2: For winning the Team Challenge, all of the members on the Red Team were safe from elimination. The judges also rewarded David, Frank, and Monti for their standout performances in the Team Challenge by exempting them from the Pressure Test. The remaining four members of the Blue Team were then each tasked with baking a molten lava cake, only having four chances to get it right. Tali presented his final product first, followed by Anna and Josh. With only forty-five seconds remaining in the competition, Ryan hurriedly took his cake out of the oven and attempted to plate it. When he did, the entire cake collapsed. After being complimented on their excellent cakes, Anna and Josh were declared safe, leaving "partners in crime" Ryan and Tali facing elimination. The judges said that Tali's cake tasted bland and floury, but it was structurally sound, while Ryan's cake was tasty but had completely fallen apart. Gordon then commented that the person who had baked the worst cake "knew it" and asked for that individual to step down with integrity. Eventually, Ryan conceded that he had done the worst, having produced a disintegrated cake, and accepted his elimination.

Episode 8[edit]

  • Original airdate: Tuesday June 26, 2012
  • Mystery Box Challenge 3: For the third mystery box challenge, the remaining thirteen contestants found a T-bone steak among other ingredients inside their mystery boxes.
  • Best dishes: When time was up, the judges called up the three best dishes. First announced was Frank, where on one side of his plate, he had the strip side and then he had the tenderloin and then he made a slaw with grilled corn and cabbage, and then the sauce he deglazed the pan with the peaches and then at the end he put the tarragon and sour cream. Next announced was Tanya, who started off by marinating her steak with tarragon olive oil, cayenne, salt, and pepper. She slow braised her cabbage and then she boiled her corn, pureed it and added some sour cream make it into a creamy sauce with some chili. Last announced was Becky, who made a peaches and cream puree with a little sugar, tarragon leaf, and oven roasted peaches with a caramel sauce.
  • Challenge winner: After tasting each dish, the judges declared Tanya the winner.
  • Elimination Test 3: The theme for this Elimination Test was "the judges' favorite desserts": Joe's tiramisu, Graham's strawberry shortcake, and Gordon's British trifle. The judges surprised Tanya with a huge advantage; along with immunity from elimination, she got to choose who was to make which dessert. The judges announced that they would select the worst dessert from each category to be up for elimination. Tanya gave the trifle to Becky, Josh, Monti, and Stacey; strawberry shortcake to Christine, Mike, Scott, and Tali; and tiramisu to Anna, David, Felix, and Frank. Due to find out the worst for every choice, all desserts were featured. David and Monti had problems from the beginning with David turning his mascarpone into "tasting like cream cheese" and Monti forgetting elements in her trifle and later lighting her cream on fire, though Gordon still felt that her trifle tasted good overall. The judges noticed some problems with Felix's freeform tiramisu, Scott overworking his dough, and Mike overdecorating his strawberry shortcake. Christine inexplicably ignored the brief and presented a mixed berry shortcake which Gordon thought tasted very good, but wasn't what they had asked for.
  • Best dishes: In the end, the judges praised Frank on his tiramisu, Stacey for standing out with her Italian trifle, and Tali on his strawberry shortcake .
  • Winner: The judges declared Stacey as the winner for "taking a risk and making it work".
  • Bottom three: The judges then called up the three worst desserts: Becky, for her trifle that the judges described as having "many dissonant flavors" and Joe stating that she was trying to "show off"; Felix, for her messy plating and putting macadamia nuts in her tiramisu; and Scott, having produced a bland, dense strawberry shortcake from overworking the dough.
  • The best of the worst dish: The judges decided that Becky's dessert was the best of the worst and declared her safe, leaving Felix and Scott facing elimination.
  • Eliminated: For a moment, it seemed as if the judges might eliminate Felix. Ultimately though, the judges went on with their previous threat to eliminate Scott since he finished in the bottom three for the third time.

Episode 9[edit]

  • Original airdate: Monday July 2, 2012
  • Team Challenge 3: In a first for the series, this challenge consisted of three teams - Red, Yellow, and Blue. For winning the previous Elimination Test, Stacey was given the task of forming the teams. Stacey led the Red Team herself, selecting Tali, Frank, and Becky as her brigade. Aiming to get Monti eliminated, Stacey placed her on the Yellow Team with David, knowing that the two disliked each other; Stacey's hope was that Monti and David's inability to get along would cause the Yellow Team to lose. Stacey then selected Anna and Tanya to join Monti and David on the Yellow Team, leaving Christine, Felix, Josh, and Mike as the Blue Team by default. The Yellow Team elected Anna as their leader, and Josh volunteered to lead the Blue Team. The teams' task was to each operate a food truck at Venice Beach, with the Red Team selling Mexican cuisine, the Yellow Team selling American cuisine, and the Blue Team selling Indian cuisine. All profits from the challenge would go to charity. The team that earned the least amount of money would face the Pressure Test. The Blue Team worked harmoniously throughout the challenge, producing a chicken tikka masala. Despite some initial disagreements over their menu, the Red Team also performed well, producing tacos. Stacey managed to attract more customers to the Red Team's truck by soliciting at a nearby skate park. The Yellow Team, producing beef sliders, was severely hampered by David working slowly in prep, and then undercooking multiple patties. All the while, Anna was proving to be a weak leader. In the end, the Red Team won the challenge with $798 in sales, with the Blue Team claiming second place with $756, leaving the four members of the last place Yellow Team to face the Pressure Test, selling for only $602. Afterward, the three women on the Yellow Team turned on David, blaming him for their failure, while David himself pointed the finger at Anna, citing her poor leadership.
  • Pressure Test 3: The task was for each of the Yellow Team members to make their own tortellinis from scratch. Tanya nearly gave up during the course of the test, feeling overwhelmed and out of her depth, which resulted in Graham having to give her a pep-talk. Anna fared little better, making a number of serious mistakes such as using a food blender to prepare her dough, puncturing each of her tortellinis to let out their air (which only served to make the filling soggy), and then not noticing that she had forgotten to switch her stove on, resulting in her pasta being severely undercooked. Despite David's lack of confidence in working the pasta due to his "fat fingers", along with the women actively hoping he would fail, he ended up producing the best-looking tortellinis out of the four, and the taste was good enough to secure him from elimination. Monti's tortellinis were also good enough to ensure her safety, much to Stacey's dismay. This left Anna and Tanya as the bottom two, and Anna was eventually eliminated for serving raw pasta. Gordon then said the next time he visits Boston he wants to see Anna in a restaurant or a deli.

Episode 10[edit]

  • Original airdate: Tuesday July 3, 2012
  • Mystery Box Challenge 4: In this Mystery Box Challenge, the remaining eleven contestants were tasked with cooking a rabbit dish. Furthermore, Graham Elliot cooked alongside the contestants to show them what a true professional chef would make with the mystery box ingredients. In the end, all the contestants were called down to look at Graham's dish of rabbit five ways with a fennel panna cotta.
  • Best dishes: The judges announced the three best dishes: Becky with her braised leg of rabbit, Frank with his rabbit two ways, and Mike with his leg of rabbit.
  • Challenge winner: After the judges tasted each of the top three dishes, they declared Becky the winner.
  • Elimination Test 4: "Tools of the trade" was the theme for this Elimination Test. Unlike the previous Mystery Box Challenge winners, Becky was not granted immunity from elimination. Instead, she was able to choose which piece of equipment she would use to cook her dish and what her competitors would work with. The choices were a deep fryer, a wok, or a pizza stone. Becky chose the deep fryer for herself and the pizza stone for everyone else.
  • Winner: Ultimately, despite all her troubles preparing her dish, Monti rebounded and was declared the winner with her roasted carrot soup with Irish soda bread.
  • Other praise: Becky's shrimp tempura with curry sauce and yuca chips, and Christine's Indian flatbread with chicken and fried egg received special recognition as well.
  • Bottom three: The bottom three were David for his muddled dish of smoked lobster that was so bad that Joe threw it away; Mike for his dry oven-roasted lobster that Gordon described as "[Mike's] worst performance"; and Tanya for serving raw flatbread, raw eggplant, and raw garlic cloves with her dry lamb cutlets, which Joe called "disrespectful".
  • Other criticism: Tali, while not in the bottom three, was also criticized, for his leaving his workstation a mess and for producing an underwhelming three cheese pizza on a bed of raw flour.
  • Eliminated: The judges eventually decided that Mike had the worst dish and he was eliminated. Once Mike left the kitchen, the judges congratulated the remaining contestants for making the top ten. However, the judges made a shocking announcement that there would be a double elimination. In the end, the judges decided to send Tanya home.

Episode 11[edit]

  • Original airdate: Monday July 9, 2012
  • Mystery Box Challenge 5: The remaining nine contestants were each tasked with creating a dish using the corals (gonads) of a live sea urchin, or uni. After a demonstration from Gordon on how to humanely dispatch an uni and properly remove its corals, along with taking Christine's finger so she could feel the size of the hole and where the coral is, the contestants were given sixty minutes to prepare their dishes. When time was up, the judges announced the top three: Felix with her uni and pea risotto, Josh with his handmade noodles with rock shrimp and uni cream sauce, and Stacey with her rock shrimp sushi with uni aioli. Ultimately, the judges declared Felix the winner.
  • Elimination Test 5: Felix, winning her second mystery box, was presented with nine different types of fish. For winning the Mystery Box Challenge, she was able to decide who was to cook which fish. With no immunity from elimination, Felix selected the California halibut for herself, wanting a challenge. She then chose the "rock fish" for Becky, the salmon for Christine, the yellowtail for David, the catfish for Frank, the sardines for Josh, the John Dory for Monti, the striped bass for Stacey, and the Arctic char for Tali. Ironically, Becky, Frank, and Monti, the three cooks who Felix had targeted for elimination by assigning them the most difficult fish to work with, produced the best dishes: fried "rock fish" with celery root puree and Chardonnay sauce, fried catfish with eggplant and coconut leek sauce, and a filet of John Dory with baby asparagus and roasted almond sauce, respectively. Frank and Monti were declared the top two, and became the team captains for the next Team Challenge.
  • Bottom three: Meanwhile, Christine, David, and Tali, the cooks who Felix wanted to protect by giving them the easiest fish to work with, ended up as the bottom three. Christine served a dish of overcooked salmon with an undercooked coating of panko. David's yellowtail was undercooked to the point of having a still-frozen center, with Joe describing the entire dish as being "overcomplicated". Once again, Tali got too creative, this time presenting an odd dish of Arctic char with bacon and lentils, which the judges chastised him for.
  • Other criticism: Felix herself also performed poorly with her underwhelming halibut dish.
  • The best of the worst dish: The judges decided that Christine's dish was the best of the worst and declared her safe, much to the other contestants relief, leaving David and Tali facing elimination.
  • Eliminated: With the judges fed up with his tendency to create bizarre and disgusting dishes, poor overall performance, and complete arrogance of his presence (which included talking about his "creative genius" and how the judges didn't understand his food on multiple occasions in the backstage interview segments), Tali was sent home, much to the delight of the other contestants.

Episode 12[edit]

  • Original airdate: Monday July 16, 2012
  • Team Challenge 4: The remaining eight contestants were tasked with feeding 101 cowboys and cowgirls. For cooking the best two dishes in the previous Elimination Test, Frank and Monti were the captains of the challenge and formed their teams. Frank, the captain of the Red Team, chose Becky, Josh, and Felix. Monti, the captain of the Blue Team, selected Stacey, David, and Christine. However, the judges then shocked the contestants with a twist: with Gordon stating that "great leaders can work with anyone - even those who they don't have confidence in", Frank and Monti were forced to switch teams. Monti came up with the Red Team's dish - rib eye steak with sweet potato mash and green beans - by herself, while Frank and his team came to a consensus on cooking a New York strip steak with barbecue sauce, grilled corn-on-the-cob, and garlic mashed potatoes. Each cowboy and cowgirl would vote for the "grub" that he or she preferred, and the first team to 51 votes would win the challenge. The diners raved over Stacey's barbecue sauce, while Monti severely underestimated the amount of sweet potato mash required, resulting in the Blue Team taking a huge early lead. The Red Team started making a comeback after Monti made more mash and Frank kept overcooking the Blue Team's steaks, but the Blue Team was able to hang on to their lead and secure the win, sending the Red Team into the Pressure Test.
  • Pressure Test 4: Prior to the start of the Pressure Test the judges announced that one contestant would be permitted to sit out, and asked the team to come to a consensus on who it should be. The decision effectively fell to Monti after her three teammates all voted for themselves, and she selected Felix. This Pressure Test revolved around cooking eggs four different ways at once, with the three remaining contestants required to cook a three egg omelet, a sunny-side up egg, a poached egg and a soft-boiled egg in twenty minutes. Monti's sunny-side up egg was slightly undercooked, but her other three eggs were cooked and seasoned to perfection. Becky got good comments for her omelet and poached egg, but her fried egg was overcooked and her boiled egg was mostly raw. Despite the judges' initial confidence in Josh, only his sunny-side up egg was cooked perfectly; his omelet was flat and tasteless, his poached egg was overcooked, and his boiled egg was severely undercooked. Monti was quickly deemed safe and despite the judges' dismay at Becky's elementary mistakes with regard to her soft-boiled and sunny-side up eggs, Josh was eliminated for turning in what was clearly the weakest performance of the three, much to the shock of all the other contestants. Before Josh left, Gordon implied that he would be willing to employ him in the future.

Episode 13[edit]

  • Original airdate: Tuesday July 17, 2012
  • Mystery Box Challenge 6: The remaining seven contestants entered the MasterChef kitchen to find a huge mystery box, inside of which was Paula Deen, whom would serve as a guest judge. For this Mystery Box Challenge, the contestants would be working with ingredients for southern cuisine. The contestants also each received a picture and a letter from their love ones, reducing most of the competitors to tears. At the end of the usual sixty minutes of cooking, the three best dishes chosen were Becky's oven-roasted chicken, Frank's chicken roulade, and David's pan-roasted chicken. After sampling the top three dishes, the judges and Paula declared Frank the winner.
  • Elimination Test 6: Frank was shown a beautiful sampler of Japanese cuisine, consisting of salmon, tuna, yellowtail, and shrimp sushi, California rolls, and vegetable tempura. After awarding Frank with immunity from elimination, the judges revealed to him that the other six contestants would be divided into three "tag teams", each tasked with replicating the sampler; one team member would cook while the other would direct, and the two would swap roles every fifteen minutes until the challenge was over. In addition to his immunity, Frank was able to form the teams. Hoping to get rid of Becky, Frank paired her with David, whom Frank felt was a weak cook and would cause Becky to fail. Frank also wanted to create discord with Felix and Monti by pairing them together, believing that the two women didn't get along, though unbeknownst to Frank the two in fact now got along quite well in the wake of Monti exempting Felix from the last Pressure Test. By default, Christine and Stacey became the third team. Felix and Monti worked efficiently and harmoniously together, while the other two teams floundered, with Becky and David having severe disagreements over technique, while Christine and especially Stacey became flustered. In the end, Felix and Monti produced an excellent sampler, and were declared the clear winners of the challenge. Becky and David's sampler had uneven cuts on the salmon and tuna with sloppily portioned wasabi. Despite their numerous errors, Becky and David were deemed safe from elimination, as Christine and Stacey's sampler was incomplete, having failed to make any California rolls or tempura on their vegetables. Ultimately, the judges decide Stacey's performance was worse than Christine's, and much to Christine's devastation, Stacey was eliminated.

Episode 14[edit]

  • Original airdate: Monday July 23, 2012
  • Special Mystery Box Challenge: As the episode started, the final six were surprised by being told that they wouldn't have to cook anything this episode, and that instead the previous eight eliminated contestants (Stacey, Josh, Tali, Tanya, Mike, Anna, Scott, and Ryan) would return for a one-off Mystery Box challenge, with the top two getting the opportunity to win back their place in the competition. Furthermore, the returning contestants were told to each pick an ingredient for the mystery box, leading to a rather bizarre selection of ingredients. Ultimately, Tali once again found his dish being deemed the worst, and Scott's, Anna's, and Tanya's dishes were also found to be not good enough to keep them in. While Mike got compliments for moving outside his comfort zone by creating a chocolate flan, and Stacey was also congratulated on the "phenomenal effort" she put into her dish, they were sent home as well, leaving Josh and Ryan to advance.
  • Special Pressure Test: Josh and Ryan's task was to each create a fruit tart, which would be sampled by the six contestants still fully in the competition, though they would not be informed who had cooked which tart. Whoever had the best tart would be reinstated. Ryan initially seemed more confident, cooking his pastry base well and working in a calmer overall manner, while Josh spent too long preparing his exotic selection of fruit and had to rush through preparing his pastry. When the finished tarts were delivered to the contestants, they generally preferred Josh's, feeling that despite the rather dry and brittle pastry, he had a far better selection of fruit, while Ryan's selection was much more one-dimensional. This led to Josh scoring a clean sweep, with all six contestants voting for him to return to the competition.

Episode 15[edit]

  • Original airdate: Tuesday July 24, 2012
  • Mystery Box Challenge 7: The final seven were asked to make a dish featuring prawns, which they would have to fish out of an aquarium they each got. Many contestants, especially Monti who splashed Gordon Ramsay, struggled with getting the live animal out of the water. The three best dishes belonged to Becky's Grilled Prawns with Salsa Verde and Saffron Rice, Christine's Asian Spot Prawns in a Pineapple broth, and David's Spot Prawn Ceviche. David's ceviche won the challenge and an advantage in the elimination challenge.
  • Elimination Test 7: The theme of the elimination challenge was Dessert. However, the three possible ingredients of choice were unconventional savory options; Beets, Corn and Bacon. With consideration, David chose the corn as the ingredient that he, along with the other contestants, would have to cook with to create a dessert dish. Since he was the winner of the mystery box, he received another advantage, he was shown three examples of corn desserts in order to give him ideas. These desserts were a Corn Panna Cotta, a Corn and Strawberry Shortcake, and finally, a Corn Rice Pudding. Seeing these ideas, he immediately decided to create a rice pudding dessert and was given five minutes alone in the pantry. Despite this, he forgot the rice, and when the challenge started he ran around asking the other contestants for rice. Becky graciously gave him some of her short-grain rice she had gotten as back-up. The judges determined the best dish was Becky's Corn Panna Cotta and Popcorn, followed by Frank's Corn Budino with Chocolate Ganache. Monti's Corn Souffle and Christine's Corn and Coconut Pudding were also praised. The bottom three dishes were David's Pudding, Felix's bizarre Corn Profiteroles, and Josh's fragmented Corn Creme Brulee. Josh was the first of the bottom 3 to be sent back to safety. Finally, despite David being given a serious advantage in this challenge and having his dessert being labelled as 'inedible' by Joe, it's Felix, whom the judges thought could make the top three overall, who is sent home.

Episode 16[edit]

  • Original airdate: Tuesday August 14, 2012
  • Team Challenge 5: The six chefs were brought to LA based restaurant Hatfield's and told that they would be running the kitchen that night, with Gordon expediting. The Red Team was led by Becky with Christine and Monti, and the Blue Team was led by Frank with David and Josh, setting up a "battle of the sexes". Both Gordon and Graham claimed that Christine would be the Red Team's greatest asset, although Joe was far more skeptical, even saying that he would only trust her to handle the coat room. Despite being better organized in prep, the men had an awful start backing them up for over an hour. On the other hand, the women served all their appetizers with only a few setbacks, such as suffering from early hiccups due to communication issues from Christine and Monti. Things improved for the men as they proceeded onto entrées; the restaurant's owners preferred the men's entrées since they felt that the women overcooked theirs. The dinner service concluded successfully with both team completing their orders. After returning to the Masterchef kitchen, the judges declared the women the winners, based on the overall feedback. The judges especially praised Becky and Christine (Becky having excellent leadership qualities and Christine working well despite being blind; Joe even apologized to her for doubting her ability). The men, on other hand, were panned for their bad teamwork, especially by Joe who said that if the customer has to wait for food, they become frustrated and do not have a good time.
  • Pressure Test 5: Prior to the commencement of the Pressure Test, Frank, the leader of the Blue Team, was given a choice of exempting someone. Frank implied that he would exempt Josh, but chose to save himself, leaving Josh visibly agitated to face the test with David. This pressure test revolved around cooking three different kinds of filet mignon steaks: one rare, one medium-rare, and one well done. Josh received comments for his rare steak which was cooked and seasoned perfectly, while David’s rare steak was overcooked and over-seasoned. However, the medium-rare steak was won by David who cooked a better-tasting steak, though it was noted both steaks were slightly overcooked. It all came down to the last steak; both were seasoned correctly but neither steak was well done. The judges concluded the test with the victory going to Josh, eliminating David from the MasterChef kitchen. Before leaving the Masterchef kitchen, Graham told David that he has been impressed by his progress throughout the competition and extended an offer to work for him at one of his Chicago-based restaurants.

Episode 17[edit]

  • Original airdate: Tuesday August 21, 2012
  • Mystery Box Challenge 8: The five home cooks were each given an empty mystery box and were allowed to fill it with up to fifteen ingredients of their choosing. Before the timer began, Gordon Ramsay stated that a Mystery Box Challenge would never be that easy and asked them to give their ingredients to the chef in front of them. Thus, Christine wound up with Becky's ingredients, Monti ended up with Christine's Asian ingredients, Frank wound up with Monti's dessert box, Josh ended up with Frank's Italian ingredients, and Becky received Josh's southern-cuisine ingredients. After time was up, Becky realized she had forgotten to plate her crispy chicken skin - an essential component of her dish. The three best dishes were Josh's savory bread pudding with sauteed pork, onion rings and mozzarella, Monti's Tom Kha Gai, and Christine's pan-seared chicken and roasted beet salad with goat cheese and sauteed mushrooms, with Josh being the challenge winner.
  • Elimination Test 8: Josh's advantage was to choose which Graham Elliot dish he and the other contestants would have to replicate. The three dishes had been made by Chef Graham Elliot and eaten by three of the biggest names on this planet: Oprah Winfrey - sweet corn bisque with red pepper jam and a cilantro marshmallow, Jay-Z - Alaskan king crab with vanilla creme fraiche, pomegranate, and celery gelee, and President Barack Obama - white tuna sashimi with avocado mousse, passion fruit, and crispy plantains. He chose the white-tuna dish and was given a basket containing all the necessary ingredients. Graham Elliot told the contestants that they may improve upon his dish if they deemed it necessary, and Josh chose to do this by adding mango, only to be berated by the judges and accused of arrogance for thinking he could make the dish better than Graham's original. When time was called, Christine was given praise for having been able to perfectly replicate the dish, and Frank also got good reviews. The bottom three were Becky, Monti, and Josh, and Becky was the first to be sent to safety. In the end, despite having been a front runner, Monti's dish fell short of the mark as her performance in the kitchen led to a teary elimination.

Episode 18[edit]

  • Original airdate: Tuesday August 28, 2012
  • Team Challenge 6: The four home cooks were asked to prepare a three course meal for Graham Elliot, Joe Bastianich, Gordon Ramsay, plus three world renowned chefs Guy Savoy, Daniel Boulud, and Alain Ducasse. The home cooks will be split into teams of two. Since Christine won the challenge last week, she gets to pick her teammate. But before she makes her choice, Joe tells her if her team loses, she'll have to compete against her teammate in the pressure test. The Red Team consisted of Christine and Becky. The Blue Team consisted of Josh and Frank once again setting up another "battle of the sexes". After much deliberation, The Red team (ladies) were declared the winners, and landed in the semi-finals sending the Blue team (men) to the season's final pressure test.
  • Pressure Test 6: With Christine and Becky safely in the top 3, Frank and Josh battled each other to find out who would join them. The men had to make White Cheddar Cheese Soufflé for Gordon, a Raspberry Soufflé for Joe, and a Dark Chocolate Soufflé for Graham in only an hour. Gordon declared the pressure test to be almost impossible to complete. Joe expressed his concern that they may have given the contestants a challenge that was just too difficult. However, both Frank and Josh managed to complete all three of their soufflés within the time limit. Gordon voted for Frank with the best cheese soufflé. For the raspberry soufflé, Joe declared that Josh's was technically perfect. Graham was left with the deciding vote and ultimately went with Josh as having the better dark chocolate soufflé, sending Frank home.

Episode 19[edit]

  • Original airdate: Tuesday September 4, 2012
  • Mystery Box Challenge 9: The final three contestants were each shown a copy of their own cookbook, which they could potentially win along with the title of MasterChef. For the final Mystery Box Challenge of the season, the chefs were allowed to cook whatever they pleased, the only restriction being that they had an hour to cook it in. Christine's vermicelli stir-fry was named as the winning dish, with Josh's curried Cornish hen also getting good reviews. On the other hand, Becky's loup de mer soup was panned by all three judges, who expressed disappointment that she had turned in yet another poor performance, with Gordon even predicting that Becky would be the next person to be sent home.
  • Elimination Test 9: This test revolved around cooking one of three legs of meat - chicken, lamb or frog. Christine got the first pick and took the chicken legs; the second pick went to Josh, and he chose the lamb legs, leaving Becky with frog's legs. Before the final three started cooking, they were surprised by having all the contestants from this season greet them in the MasterChef kitchen. The judges were impressed by the southern fried chicken legs that Christine served up, though felt that she used far too much cream in her kale side dish. Josh blew the judges away with his lamb carimañolas, which they didn't think he'd be able to cook in the amount of time he had, though they did feel that the lamb was cut too coarsely. Despite the dire predictions of the judges and even Becky herself, she impressed them with her garlic infused frog's legs, though the judges strongly disliked the mushy, overcooked and over-flavored potatoes she served with them. The judges ultimately agreed that Josh's dish was the best and declared him the first finalist. That left Christine and Becky, and the judges deemed Becky's potatoes to have fatally undermined her dish, resulting in her elimination and Christine proceeding to the finale. However, Gordon was impressed enough by Becky's skill that he offered her a job if she ever wanted to work at one of his restaurants.

Episode 20[edit]

  • Original airdate: Monday September 10, 2012
  • Season Final: Christine and Josh faced off in a single challenge to determine who wins the title of MasterChef and $250,000. They were given 2 hours to create a three-course menu of their choosing.
  • Appetizer: Josh's is Butter Poached Lobster with Grits and Sweet Potato Purée; Christine's is Thai Papaya Salad with Crab and Mixed Vegetables. The judges loved Christine's appetizer, though felt it was a little simplistic; Josh's appetizer on the other hand was praised for being ambitious, but the judges panned the execution (Joe even going as far as to call it inedible) because the lobster was undercooked and chewy.
  • Entree: Josh's is Rack of Lamb with Green Curry Sauce, Spring Peas and Carrots; Christine's is Braised Pork Belly with Rice, Crispy Kale and Miitake Mushrooms. Graham and Joe loved Josh's rack of lamb, though Gordon was more critical, feeling that the selection of vegetables didn't work. Again, all three judges raved over Christine's entree, feeling that although she had played it a little safe, the execution was absolutely flawless.
  • Dessert: Josh's is Bacon Crusted Pecan Pie with Vanilla Bean and Cinnamon Ice Cream; Christine's is Coconut Lime Sorbet with a Ginger Tuile. The judges all loved the ice cream that Josh's pie was served with, but the feedback for the pie itself was generally negative, with the judges criticising the pastry as greasy, and the bacon flavor undetectable, therefore pointless in its execution. Christine once again got near-unanimous praise for her sorbet, the only criticism being that Graham felt that the lime flavor should have been emphasized a little more.
  • Judges' Deliberations: After the dessert course, Josh and Christine were sent back into the MasterChef kitchen while the judges deliberated. They ultimately agreed (while not specifically naming who they were referring to) that although Christine had stayed in her comfort zone, her three dishes were executed almost flawlessly on every count, and that while Josh's dishes were more ambitious and technically complex, and his entree arguably even superior to Christine's, his starter was very poorly executed and his dessert suffered a number of glaring flaws, and that Christine was clearly the victor.
  • Winner Revealed: Christine Ha was pronounced the winner of the competition, taking away $250,000 and the MasterChef title, and a cookbook deal. In addition, she became the first blind and Asian-origin contestant to win the title. The episode ended with a casting call for the fourth season by Gordon Ramsay.[8]


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  2. ^ "Top 18 "MASTERCHEF" Finalists Announced". Retrieved June 12, 2012. 
  3. ^ Olivia Fleming (2012-06-07). "The talented cook who is holding her own on Gordon Ramsay's Masterchef - despite being completely blind". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2012-09-15. 
  4. ^ Authorities: 'MasterChef' finalist Josh Marks dies from apparent suicide
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  6. ^ Lovece, Frank (August 26, 2012). "LIer Frank Mirando finalist on 'MasterChef'". Newsday (Long Island). Retrieved August 30, 2012. "Frank Mirando, 28, a stockbroker born and raised in Holbrook (not Holtsville, as the Fox official bio states)..." 
  7. ^ June 5, 2012 (2012-06-05). "So My Sister Made It To MasterChef…". Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  8. ^ RYAN OWENS and MEREDITH FROST (2012-09-11). "Blind Chef Christine Ha Crowned 'MasterChef' in Finale". ABC News. Retrieved 2012-09-15.