Tonight on “MasterChef,” chef Susan Feniger joins as a guest judge. Auditions continue as chefs from the West battle it out for a coveted spot in the top 20. Each contestant has 45 minutes to prepare a signature dish that impresses judges Gordon Ramsay, Aarón Sánchez and Joe Bastianich in order to continue on in the competition in the all-new “Regional Auditions – The West” episode of “MasterChef: United Tastes of America” airing Wednesday, June 7 (8:00-9:02 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Follow our live blog below.
SEE Joe Bastianich (‘MasterChef: United Tastes of America’): ‘We celebrate the diversity of the people that make up our country’ [Exclusive Video Interview]
8:00 p.m. — Previously on “MasterChef”! In Episode 2, home cooks from the Midwest battled to become America’s next MasterChef. Five advanced from the auditions: Grant, Sarah, Charles, Wayne and Kyle. But enough about last week – let’s see who is the best from the West!
8:05 p.m. — Gordon reveals the West will compete tonight and then introduces best-selling cookbook author and multiple James Beard Award nominee, Susan Feniger. Her iconic restaurants have helped shape the Los Angeles landscape for over 40 years. She says, “The West is everything! We’ve got amazing agriculture, the ocean and such great diversity. It gives you the ability to be extremely creative.” She tells the contestants that “flavor is the most important thing.”
8:10 p.m. — Up first is Lizzie, a 29-year old preschool teacher’s aid from Fairbanks, Alaska. She prepares Roasted Alaskan Halibut with Cauliflower Puree, Pan-Seared Mushrooms and Fresh Herb Oil. Joe says he loves the cook on the fish and “it looks all balanced and done right.” Susan says the roasted mushrooms are “gorgeous” and this is her kind of food. The mushrooms and cauliflower taste great, so Susan gives it a “yes.” Aarón agrees, complimenting Lizzie’s confidence. Joe is “dumbfounded” by how good it is. It’s a very encouraging four “yes’s” for Lizzie as she snags the first white apron of the night.
8:15 p.m. — The self-proclaimed Salmon Queen, Gigi, claims to eat eight to 10 pounds of the fish per week, but her tostadas leave the judges underwhelmed. Gordon says it’s a snack, not a dish. Joe calls it “pedestrian.” It’s a “big NO” for the Salmon Queen. Next up is Tyson, a 38-year old from Taylorsville, Utah. He serves up a Utah Scone with Raspberry Compote and Lemon Basil Whipped Cream. Susan says it needs a bit more flavor. Joe says not salting the dough was a “real amateur mistake.” Tyson gets sent back to Utah empty-handed.
8:25 p.m. — Perhaps there will be better luck for Amanda, a 44-year old stay-at-home mom from Sherman Oaks, California. She serves Herb Crusted Halibut with Sautéed Tomatoes & Fennel and Pickled Purple Cauliflower. Gordon says it looks “nicely cooked,” but Aarón is concerned about the amount of olive oil she used. Gordon thinks the dish is “exceptional.” Susan says it “speaks California” and gives Amanda an enthusiastic “yes.” Aarón thinks the tomatoes are too sweet and the fennel dominates his palate. He says no. With a third “yes,” Joe saves Amanda in this competition and gives her a white apron.
8:30 p.m. — Megan is a 41-year old motel owner from Cokeville, Wyoming. She makes Espresso Custard with Dark Chocolate Cup and Caramel Whipped Cream. Susan thinks it’s “beautiful” and impressed with the homemade chocolate cup. Joe says it looks “fancy” and restaurant quality. Susan says it’s “delicious” but she would change the garnish. She says “yes.” Aarón is shocked at how much flavor is in the custard. He’s a “yes” as well. Joe has more difficulty with the dish and thinks it tastes “goopy.” He says “no.” Gordon says it needs a sponge to “lighten the load,” and ultimately sends Megan home devastated with a second “no.”
8:40 p.m. — Madame Donut is a 48-year old donut shop owner from Maui, Hawaii. She makes all of her donuts from scratch, but wants to show she can do so much more than donuts. She’s a colorful personality with colorful hair as well — it’s bright blue today! Unfortunately, Madame Donut didn’t get all of her components on the plate, but let’s find out what the judges think of her Ahi Tuna Musubi with Crispy Sushi Rice and Soy Gastrique. Aarón loves how the plate looks like her, but Joe questions her time management and why half the plate is empty. Gordon says the tuna is cooked beautifully, but the rice needs to be crispier. Susan says it’s “exactly my kind of dish.” Aarón says the rice is the silent star. Joe says it’s time for the donut queen to leave the donuts behind and move on to restaurant quality dishes like this. Madame Donut gets her apron!
8:50 p.m. — Kennedy is a 26-year old festival vendor from Denver, Colorado. She’s a wild girl from the mountains who said her upbringing shaped who she is today. She prepared Elk Tenderloin with Rainbow Carrots and Blueberry Compote. Gordon says, “Visually it pops” and Susan adds, “The plate is gorgeous.” Gordon says she cooked the most difficult protein in the competition tonight and “nailed it.” It’s an “absolute yes” from Gordon. Susan loves the blueberry compote and says “yes” as well. Aarón and Joe both love the dish as well. Kennedy might be one to watch this season!
9:00 p.m. — Just one white apron remains and two cheftestants will face off. Calvin is an 18-year old high school student from San Diego, California. He is serving Halibut Cheek Tacos with Kiwi & Watermelon Salsa. Aarón says there is way too much oil in the tortilla and the kiwi and watermelon have no business being there. It’s a big “no” from Aarón. Susan says the taco is falling apart and he needs more of a base. Calvin just isn’t ready for primetime yet. Next up is James, a 31-year old from Portland, Oregon who made Glorious Gloria Crab Cakes with Tartar Sauce and Sauteed Squash. They’re named for his mother, who has passed on, but taught him to cook when he was younger. Gordon loves the color of the crab cake. Aarón says it takes over his palate in a beautiful way. Susan would like it a little more crisp, but it’s seasoned beautifully. Gordon thinks it’s one of the best crab cakes he’s ever tasted. James takes the final white apron of the night!
9:02 p.m. — The five chefs representing the West on “MasterChef” this season are: Lizzie, Amanda, Madame Donut, Kennedy and James.
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