MasterChef Latino #2.5


We’re down to twelve contestants.

Team Ennio

  • Aurelio
  • Lauren

Team Claudia

  • María Luisa
  • Noelián
  • King
  • Javier
  • Sara

Team Benito

  • Dennis
  • Dubraska
  • Miriam
  • John
  • Nancy

Huh. I’m not sure how Ennio’s “team” is supposed to function with only two left.

Creative challenge

Tonight is supposed to have challenges that are very different from one another. Benito’s out doing something or other. And a lot of tonight is going to be about cooking Mexican food. Javier’s thrilled.

Uh oh. Right up front they’re doing desserts with a “Latino”  touch and they have to use the ingredient  on whatever plate they choose….

  • Dennis, guayaba (guava)
  • Noelián, cacao en polvo (cocoa powder)
  • Javier, arroz (rice)
  • Lauren, coco (coconut)
  • Miriam, café espresso (looks like espresso powder)
  • Maria Luisa, maracuyá (passionfruit)
  • Aurelio, galletas María (Maria cookies/biscuits)
  • Sara, aguacate (avocado)
  • Nancy, cajeta (goat milk-based caramel sauce)
  • King, papaya
  • John, crema de mango (looking at what’s under the cover it’s more of a gelatin, but online all the pictures look more like custard)
  • Dubraska, canela (cinnamon)

I love that Gaby’s having fun with this and she’s buds with everyone.

Dennis tripped, but he’s fine.

Claudia and Ennio are up there doing commentary. And Claudia is owning that jumpsuit and I love her hair!

Nancy’s not gonna withhold knowledge if anyone asks her for advice–it’s a competition, but they’re all in it together as far as she’s concerned.

Ennio tries to get John to simplify. HA! Like that would ever happen!

Noelián made a ganache from cocoa powder. Which it’s her first time using.

So Nancy got her profiteroles made, but she’s sticking them in the fridge to cool off fast. Ennio’s upset–they need to dry and the fridge is humid.

The judges taste five dishes and all the comments were like “You did everything wrong…but it was good.”

  • Sara made an avocado mousse with melted chocolate. The proportions were off (i.e., the judges couldn’t get to the chocolate easily.)
  • King made cupcakes. And left the paper on. And put the frosting on when they were hot, so the frosting slid right off.
  • Noelián dubbed her dessert “Choco Alborotado.” Because it’s gonna get you all worked up. It’s fairly neat when Claudia cuts it open.
  • Dubraska made a Venezuelan dessert, golfeado, with cinnamon instead of anise. The brioche was a bit dense. And the caramel was burnt (burned? burnt?).
  • And last…Dennis, with his gorgeous little guayaba cake. Ennio complains that it doesn’t have a name. Dennis suggests Guayaba Rainbow.

Not Nancy?! I’m so confused. Unless they were picking the ones they were most curious about rather than the five “best.”

As usual, the best 2 are team captains for the next challenge. First runner-up is Noelián, and Dennis had the best dish. Of the ones they tried. Just saying.

Team challenge

  • Blue Team: Dennis, Lauren, Dubraska, Nancy, Aurelio, Miriam
  • Red Team: Noelián, María Luisa, King, Javier, Sara, John

The challenge…make a 3-course Mexican dinner. An amuse, a starter, and a main dish. They emphasize that the amuse needs to be small. And the captains have to switch teams…or the teams switch captains.

Either way, I do think the teams are evenly matched, except for personalities. Noelián and Dennis switch aprons and she giggles at Dennis wearing her apron with “Noelián” embroidered on the front.

But wait! There’s more! They have sixty minutes of cook time and at the 30-minute mark they’ve gotta start ditching one team member every ten minutes. Who comes up with this stuff?! And Claudia and Ennio aren’t sharing, so they need two of each course.

The contestants hit the pantry and talk in the confessional about who is and who isn’t familiar with Mexican food. (I like how they keep reminding us Latino =/= Mexican, ’cause I’ve got a bad habit of thinking that way too.)

Gaby is having an absolute blast, gleefully counting down the time in the pantry. Back in the kitchen they bring in mariachis on the balcony and it’s turning into a sing-along of Cielito Lindo. Gaby and Claudia are cracking me up.

Dennis has zero control over his team. He’s not listening to Maria Luisa telling him tacos dorados aren’t the same thing as enchiladas verdes and he tells her to just do whatever she wants. And not in a nice way.

The mariachis play La Cucaracha and Gaby and Claudia have a dance party.

Miriam’s getting different instructions from different people and it’s pissing her off. Claudia ends up going over and giving Miriam a mini-tutorial on the chilis Miriam’s working wish.

And now it’s time to start kicking people off. Dennis ditches John, which John was more or less expecting once Dennis put him in charge of making the pico. Noelián says Miriam has already finished her soup, so she can go.

Noelián lets Nancy go next. Dennis lets King go, but he thinks it’s a good move because the Mexicanos are still cooking. From the sidelines, King keeps giving plating instructions.

Lauren and Sara are out next. Aurelio makes a snide remark that Noelián’s the one who should go next. Which I thought sounded rude, but she doesn’t seem to be listening to him or it’s not bothering her.

John’s frustrated that his team made tacos.

The judges taste the red team’s dishes first. The amuse is a tiny tostada with guacamole, the starter is some nopal, a couple of small tacos, a queso fundido, and a chile relleno de pico de gallo. And the main dish is rice with chicken and mole.

Claudia seriously objects to the appetizers being nearly as much as the main dish. It was supposed to be ONE entrada. When Claudia says “But whatever” I’m terrified. She thinks the amuse was good, the mole was very good, but the queso fundido was separating. The most Mexican dish for her was the chicken, rice, and mole.

Ennio’s good with the amuse, takes a bite of taco, and likes the taste of the main dish more than the technique.

Now it’s the blue team’s turn. The amuse is a tostada, the starter is a tortilla soup, and the main dish is a cheese-stuffed chicken breast on rice. With a sauce. I find it kind of weird that both teams went for similar amuses and main dishes.

Claudia liked the sauce on the main dish, but she was disappointed in the rice. Ennio’s ok with the taste of everything, but the chicken breast was kind of “meh.”

After they confer, Claudia announces that the blue team gets to go hang out on the balcony. In confessional interviews, Dennis and Javier blame each other. Claudia congratulates Dennis for putting together the winning team. That’s cold.

Elimination Challenge

It’s the mystery boxes again! Gaby points out that no one from Team Ennio is downstairs. Noelián feels like she’s responsible for them being down there.

Claudia tells them this is why they’re so hard on them. They don’t want anyone to go home. And Claudia was in five elimination challenges and still won. She wants them to fight.

Javier gets all teary because this is what he’s needed to hear. Dubraska and Noelián look like they’re crying with him.

In the mystery boxes is…a pork chop and two smaller boxes. The deal is, everybody gets half an hour and a pork chop…but if you take what’s in the smaller mystery boxes you get an extra twenty and/or an extra fifteen minutes.

John’s the only one who takes the twenty minute box. It’s chapulines (grasshoppers).

Everyone else besides Dennis and Maria Luisa opts to open the fifteen minute box. Asparagus.

As soon as John’s cook time starts, everybody starts muttering advice at him and complaining that he’s not listening. Ennio tries to give John another lecture about “less is more.”

Everyone with the asparagus gets to start twenty minutes in…and finally Dennis and Maria Luisa get to start. The balcony is shouting advice on anyone who will listen and stressing over King’s overdone  chop. Claudia loses patience with them and says she knows they’re trying to help, but they’re distracting.

When John brings his dish up there’s a lot of “and…and…and…and….” And a lot of those “and”s are chapulines. I’m gonna take a stand here and declare that the words “chapulines” and “rallados” do not belong anywhere near each other and they especially don’t belong on my plate together! Ennio doesn’t like how it’s plated and he also doesn’t like that John was touching and shaping the purees with his hands. This is where his whole “we don’t eat modeling clay” and “modeling clay is for playing and we’re not playing here” came from.

Maria Luisa made her pork chop in the oven with a red wine reduction sauce and some smashed purple potatoes. Once again, Ennio’s not bothering with the side stuffs and he’s complaining that if all you’re gonna cook is a pork chop it had better be perfect.

King did an Asian-style pork chop. Yes, Ennio, there’s char on it. Ennio also doesn’t think the marinade did much for it. And he’s not bothering with the veggies on the side. Claudia says nothing which is more terrifying than if she had criticism.

Ennio makes a face when he tastes Sara’s. Claudia thinks there’s too much garlic in the mashed potatoes. She wouldn’t even give that to her worst enemy. Sara tells her it wasn’t ajo, it was cebollín (chives).

Javier’s feeling pretty confident when he comes up. He glazed his pork chop with mango. I’m barely listening to the rest. Neither Ennio not Claudia had any feedback.

Dennis is the last one up. He went with an achiote marinade and some potatoes on the side. No reaction from Ennio. Claudia says he’s inconsistent today.

In the judges’ conference, Claudia says they need to address cooking protein in their mentorship ’cause nobody cooked it to the correct degree.

Ennio says he’s disappointed in all of them and gets right to sending King home. No fakeouts, no commercial break, he’s out.

Javier’s pissed because he thinks King can cook and Nancy can’t.

Author: 5ftLatina

Kat is 5ftLatina. She is really 5' tall (and probably shrinking) and Latina. She is not actually a cactus, but she is both prickly and cute. Mr. 5ft is actually married to Kat, but is not 5' tall or Latina. He is also not a form of plant life.

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I just got over the trauma of “chapulines” and “rallados” together in a sentence….

John is really struggling with “less is more.”

I hated to see King go.