Season 12 of “MasterChef” is all about redemption, when All-Star competitors from the last 11 seasons return to the show to see if they have learned from their past mistakes. For the first time ever, “MasterChef” is re-opening the door to some of the most memorable and talented cooks in the competition’s history, including two “Junior Edition” cooks now competing as adults! Judges Gordon Ramsay, Aaron Sanchez and Joe Bastianich return.
For their first team challenge, the top 18 travel to the U.S. Coast Guard Base in Los Angeles. The chefs must collaborate to create a hearty and delicious lunch for more than 100 brave women and men. One contestant will be eliminated in the all-new “Back to Win: Feeding the U.S. Coast Guard” episode of “MasterChef” Season 12 airing Wednesday, June 29 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on Fox. Follow along with our “MasterChef” season 12 episode 6 recap below.
Meet the Top 20 returning cooks competing in Season 12
8:00 p.m. — Previously, on “MasterChef”! The Top 19 faced their first mystery box of the season and had to cook three identical dishes using the spirits they received in their mystery box. After 60 minutes, Cate’s Stone Fruit Spiced Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce and Creme Fraiche Chantilly Cream was deemed “a disaster” and she was eliminated over Tommy and Dara. The 30-year old was sent back to Chicago in 19th place after finishing 4th on Season 8. Meanwhile, Fred won the challenge along with an immunity pin to keep him safe this week.
8:08 p.m. — The Top 18 arrive at their first field challenge, where they’ll be split into two teams and feed the U.S. Coast Guard. A hearty meal for over 100 hungry service men and women must be made by each team. Although Fred is safe this week, he’s still participating. The Blue Team will consist of cooks who participated in Seasons 1-7. The Red Team will consist of cooks from Seasons 8-11. Of course this upsets Shanika, who doesn’t want to be on a team with Emily, yet again. Last time these two paired up on a team challenge, Emily called Shanika “sassy.” The teams take a few minutes and decide who will be team captains. Alejandro will head up the Red Team and Christian will lead the Blue Team. Each team’s menu must have a protein, a starch, two vegetables and a sauce. One person from the losing team will be eliminated.
8:20 p.m. — Alejandro tells the Red Team their protein is New York strip that will be grilled and finished in the oven. Christian wants to take the diners to New Orleans with some fish and refuses to take any advice from any other team members. It definitely feels like a dictatorship with poor communication so far. Yikes! The Blue Team is totally deflated by Christian’s leadership style and finally Derrick calls him out. Christian makes an announcement to the group that he will calm himself down. Over on the Red Team, Gordon tells Alejandro to run the team, not let the team run him.
8:30 p.m. — The judges will taste one dish before the Coast Guard arrives. Blue Team is serving Cajun Cod with Garlic Mash, Corn Maque Choux, Grilled Asparagus and Tomato Gastrique. Gordon thinks it’s slightly undercooked and it’s too sweet. Aaron tells Christian to cut up some jalapenos and add some heat. Red Team will serve New York Strip with Sautéed Mushrooms, Charred Broccolini, Roasted Potatoes and Citrus Chimichurri. The test steak is raw and under-seasoned. Aaron says the chimichurri is the best thing on the plate. Joe asks Alejandro if he’s capable of taking feedback and getting the Red Team together. Ouch! Alejandro assures him everything will be improved before relaying the instructions to his team.
8:35 p.m. — Christian and Derrick continue to butt heads. Gordon says Christian acts like a teenager as he watches the 36-year old throw a “hissy fit.” Shanika is not impressed with Alejandro’s leadership, stating that he needs to circulate around to each person’s station, not stand at the grill cooking all 101 steaks. Red Team preps the first table of steaks and Gordon blasts them for being cold. He commands them to heat everything up as he moves the Coast Guard over to the Blue Team instead. Things aren’t much better there, where the mashed potatoes aren’t ready. Gordon shouts, “18 pieces of cod, and no potato! Where’s the potato?”
8:45 p.m. — The Coast Guard gradually gets served plates from both the Blue and Red Teams. Gordon praises Shanika for using her voice loudly and being a “voice of reason” on the Red Team. Meanwhile, Dara is chastised on the Blue Team for poorly cutting the asparagus. During initial feedback from the diners, they had positive feedback for both teams and it seems like a close race. One steak was sent back for being raw, which Gordon chucked into the ocean. Next, Gordon spots Alejandro pick up a tray of steaks that was dropped on the floor and put them all back on the grill. Alejandro says he thought it would kill the bacteria. Gordon is appalled and fires Alejandro as the team captain. Michael takes over. The Red Team feels like Michael is a much better overall leader as he gives each of them a sense of direction.
8:55 p.m. — Just when it looked like the Red Team was sunk, the Blue Team sends out some raw cod. Gradually things settle down and appear to go smoothly for both teams. Joe circulates the tables asking which dish people prefer. It seems evenly matched and I’m not sure if the steak or cod will receive the most votes. The judges seem disappointed with how both teams performed. The votes are tallied and the Blue Team is safe from elimination. They won 71-30. A bloodbath! That means someone from the Red Team will go home.
8:59 p.m. — The judges deliberate and decide Alejandro will be eliminated. Gordon says he has never seen a cook in this competition pick food up off the floor and attempt to serve it. Alejandro is the third former semi-finalist in a row sent packing. Next week “MasterChef” will take a break before returning with Episode 7 on July 13.