The third special guest star for “MasterChef: Legends” was the Queen of Southern Cuisine, Paula Deen. The beloved TV host and cookbook author aided host Gordon Ramsay and judges Joe Bastianich and Aaron Sanchez in the third episode when it came to judging the signature dishes of the remaining auditioners. These home cooks had only 45 minutes to impress the judges in the hopes of earning a coveted white apron. By episode’s end, Paula had helped to hand out the final five aprons. So which talented cuisiniers had their dreams come true this week?
Below, read our minute-by-minute “MasterChef” recap of Season 11, Episode 3, titled “Legends: Paula Deen – Auditions Round 3,” to find out what happened Wednesday, June 16 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT. Then be sure to sound off in the comments section about your favorite aspiring chefs on Fox’s reality TV show and who you think has what it takes to join the winners list.
8:00 p.m. — “Previously on ‘MasterChef!” In the second episode, Australian chef-lebrity Curtis Stone joined the panel, replacing the previous week’s culinary genius, Emeril Lagasse. Curtis helped the other judges give out four white aprons to the home cooks who impressed them the most. That brought the total to 10 aprons, which meant there were still five left to go. Who will officially be joining the cast this week? Let’s find out!
8:05 p.m. — The final round of auditions begin as Paula Deen is introduced by Gordon. The “Queen of Southern Cuisine” tells the aspiring chefs that she began her career at 42 years old by creating a business called The Bag Lady and the rest is history. It’s never too late to chase your dreams! Her piece of advice? “Don’t try to be something that you’re not. Be yourself. And if anybody says ‘no’ to you, keep going.”
8:10 p.m. — The first cook being highlighted tonight is Brittany, a 35-year old stay-at-home mom from Arlington, Texas. She has prepared filet mignon with horseradish butter, mashed potatoes, asparagus and tomatoes. Weaved into this segment is also Michael, who made butter & lemon roasted salmon. Both Brittany and Michael think of food as a “love language,” but will either of them feel the love from the judges? Gordon thinks Brittany overcooked her steak and Paula thinks it was too predictable. Meanwhile, Joe calls Michael’s dish “a confusion,” while Paula calls it “sloppy looking.” Both of these home cooks are heading back home emptyhanded.
8:12 p.m. — Hoping for better luck is Kelsey, a 32-year old physical therapist from Indianapolis. She cooked up a crispy steelhead trout with pea & tarragon puree, fingerling potatoes and sautéed mushrooms. Paula calls it “visually handsome” and Gordon thinks the fish was cooked “beautifully.” Joe thinks it is restaurant quality, but hopes Kelsey has “a tiger in her.” Kelsey wins the first apron of the night! Only four are left.
8:20 p.m. — Lexy is a 23-year old stay-at-home mom from Zion, Illinois. Her cooking dreams have been put on the backburner. Lexy’s husband works at a factory and money is tight in their house. This competition will allow her to pursue her dreams and get her family to a better place. She has prepared a stuffed burger with black garlic & goat cheese and roasted Brussels sprouts. Lexy explains to the panel that her grocery budget is $40 per week, which has made her inventive and creative. Joe is bothered by the burnt bun, but calls the dish “good,” not “great.” Gordon thinks the burger is worth $40 and Paula calls it “truly delicious.” Aaron calls it “perfect on all cylinders.” Joe says “no” to Lexy, but the other three judges have given her an apron. She’s made the Top 15!
8:30 p.m. — Tay is a 29-year old radio host from Omaha, Nebraska. His personality shines as he entertains the crowd while he cooks. Tay learned to cook with “soul” and “feeling” from his father while they listened to James Brown. He has baked a buttermilk biscuit apple pie with vanilla bean whipped topping. Joe can sense the passion in this dessert and gives Tay a yes. Aaron thinks Tay took too many liberties with this classic dish and says “no.” Paula thinks the biscuit was “out of this world.” Tay’s fate is in the hands of Gordon, who says there is room for improvement, but gives the radio host an apron. Only two aprons left!
8:40 p.m. — Mary Jane is a 59-year old hospice nursing assistant from Bastrop, Texas. This Southern woman has a lot of personality and idolizes Paula. She has many careers in her life, but the only thing she wants to do now is cook. Mary Jane’s passion comes from her mother, who she lost when she was just 19 years old. Her dish is a key lime habanero pie with a toasted macadamia nut crust. Aaron has never had a dessert this tasty with chili in it before. The judges are fighting over the last bite. Joe calls it “a pie of juxtapositions in the best way.” Paula thinks it is “perfectly delicious” and likes it better than her own key lime pie. It’s a resounding yes for Mary Jane! She is sure to bring plenty of personality to this competition.
8:50 p.m. — Alan is a 20-year old valet attendant from Nogales, Mexico. He moved to the United States in 2009 and his love for the kitchen came from helping his single mother cook for the family. Alan prepared a quesadilla “on steroids” with carne asada, roasted salsa and avocado. He hopes to impress Aaron, who was born 50 miles from Alan, the most. Joe thinks the quesadilla is a little “amateurish” but he enjoyed it. Aaron thinks Alan misused his time with the tortilla. Paula wasn’t in love with the tortilla, but thought the insides were very good. With just one apron left, this just wasn’t good enough. Paula cries as she gives this loveable kid a “no” and reminds him she was 42 when she started. Alan has all the time in the world to grow and perfect his craft. For even more waterworks, Aaron tells Alan about the Aaron Sanchez Scholarship Fund, which is used to sends young Latino kids to culinary school in New York City. It’s a “yes” to a scholarship for culinary school for Alan.
8:59 p.m. — One apron remains and two home cooks are steaming up the kitchen. Who will prevail? Kathleen from Illinois has prepared seafood risotto and Michael from New Jersey has cooked up vegan “crab” cake with jalapeno remoulade and dill potato salad. Michael gives Paula some excitement by pulling off his jacket, to which she responds, “Can I get that body under my husband’s head?” Kathleen has spent 20 years climbing the corporate ladder and wants to pursue her passion for food. Michael is a lifestyle coach who became vegan two years ago. Visually, Kathleen’s dish appears to have the edge, but it’s missing an extra “punch.” The final apron of the night goes to the muscle man from Jersey and his delicious “crab” cakes. Next week the Top 15 will face off with guest legend Morimoto on the judging panel.