August 21, 2012 01:00 PM by Christine McDow
I never thought I would want to ask Gordon Ramsay to shout louder but that’s exactly how I feel right now on MasterChef. I am hard of hearing, the result of 12 years of working in radio, with my headphones cranked on 11 for hours a day. Our Team Challenge this week is to run a Michelin Star kitchen and it is HANDS DOWN the hardest and THE LOUDEST challenge we have ever had. There are six of us cooking our butts off, machines humming, plates and pans clamoring, fans sucking up all the smoke and one incredibly heated Gordon Ramsay yelling out orders. I can’t hear myself think…much less make out what Gordon is saying to me. I smile and nod. It’s my go-to move whenever I miss what someone is saying but Gordon isn’t buying it.
“MONTI! ANSWER! ME!” I stare blankly at him as he unleashes a torrent of curse words. I turn to Becky, our Team Captain, “What did he say?” Becky calmly replies, “How long ’til your app is ready?”
“Oh. Two minutes.” I mumble and rush back to my Agnolotti. Becky has really impressed me in the last hour. She is a natural behind the line. She glides swiftly between me, Christine and Gordon as she puts together her Branzino entrée and finishes off plates.
The owners/executive chefs of Hatfield’s gave us a ten minute tutorial on four signature dishes with so many components I am dizzy just trying to remember them much less EXECUTE them. But thanks to Becky’s leadership and calm demeanor we are way ahead of Frank’s Blue Team. We are done with our appetizer course and waiting on them to begin serving entrees.
We put together all four signature dishes for the VIP table to try. It is intense to think of the executive chefs and owners of one of the most applauded restaurants in the country tasting my food. I’m proud to watch them say that my Agnolotti is superior to Frank’s. It is the only dish that they say is better than the Blue Team’s. It’s a HIGHLIGHT OF MY LIFE to know that my first attempt at Agnolotti got the nod from a Michelin Star Chef!
Our Red Team wins the Hatfield’s challenge and Frank gives himself safety leaving David and Josh to battle it out for the last spot in the MasterChef Top 5. They have to cook three filet mignon three different ways: one rare, one medium rare and one well done. I want David to win with every fiber of my being. He is hands down my favorite person on the show. But David doesn’t nail any of his steaks and the judges send him packing.
And then the most amazing thing happens: Graham Elliot offers David a job in the kitchen of any of his Chicago restaurants. I get choked up watching David digest the news. While his time in the MasterChef kitchen is over, he has just been handed the opportunity of a lifetime and it is difficult for any of us to keep our composure. There is nothing more moving than watching someone’s dream come true.
David is like a brother to me and I know that we will be lifelong friends. My heart is beating out of my chest as he leaves the kitchen for the last time. I look around. Out of over 60 thousand auditions there are just 5 of us left to battle it out for the MasterChef trophy, the cookbook and the quarter of a million dollars. I have to hold on to the railing to keep my knees from buckling. I can’t believe this is my life.